Home NewsNational “It Can’t Be Rwanda. It Can’t Be Paul Kagame”- President Kagame On The Causes of Insecurity In DRC

“It Can’t Be Rwanda. It Can’t Be Paul Kagame”- President Kagame On The Causes of Insecurity In DRC

by Edmund Kagire
6:50 pm

President Kagame said Rwanda or himself cannot be responsible for the conflict in DRC.

President Paul Kagame has reiterated that Rwanda or himself are not the cause of the ongoing insecurity in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), once again pointing out that those keen on accusing Rwanda for being responsible for the conflict are deliberately disregarding historical facts.

In an interview conducted by veteran journalist and Director General of Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), Cleophas Barore and journalist Martina Abera, which was aired on the public broadcaster and synchronized on different televisions and radio stations, including KT Radio, the Head of State took time to speak about the conflict in DRC.

President Kagame pointed out that those accusing Rwanda of being the main cause of the conflict ignore the fact that the country was dragged into DRC when millions of Rwandans, including genocide perpetrators, fled into what was then Zaire, in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

At the time, Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPA-Inkotanyi), which had triumphed over the genocidal government, entered Zaire to repatriate millions of refugees, with hundreds, if not thousands of others, held captive by former soldiers and Interahamwe militia who were not keen on returning to Rwanda, fearing to be prosecuted for their crimes.

They went on to form different militia groups, among them the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), many of them with the support of the Congolese government, with the aim of removing the government in Rwanda and continuing with their genocidal agenda.

President Kagame sat down with RBA’s Cleophas Barore and Martina Abera at Urugwiro Village.

He pointed out that while the Rwandan government succeeded in repatriating refugees and resettling them, those who remained in DRC in different armed groups, which have changed face over the years, have been the main cause of conflict in the Great Lakes Region, predominantly supported and armed by Congolese authorities, leading to endless conflicts over the past three decades.

“The FDLR is something that kept changing names over the years but the people are clear and then the local groups that had their own issues combined. For example one thing they combined on and worked together was based on the ethnic ideology that was underlying genocide,”

“They worked together with the groups to kill, to displace, to relocate the Congolese Tutsis in Eastern Congo,” he said, adding that these attacks spread to the Southern part of Congo [Kivu] and other parts of the country where the Kinyarwanda-speaking communities of Tutsi origin live.

President Kagame said that it is such injustices that led to the birth of the M23 rebel group in 2012, to counter these injustices, something he said is linked to what is happening today, in reference to the ongoing hate speech and ethnic violence, which led to the renewed fighting by the rebel group in 2022.

The Head of State said that the ongoing hate speech, public executions and displacement of people while others are being turned into refugees, simply because they are Congolese Tutsi, is a problem he is not responsible for.

Veteran journalist Cleophas Barore led the interview.

“How these people went to Congo or happened to be in Congo as citizens of Congo, is not an issue anybody can ask me to explain or to answer for or hold Rwanda responsible for. The history is completely different. Some of the things of course, if not most of them, happened even before some of us were born,”

“I am a very old man now but those are things that happened before I was born,” he said in reference to border demarcations by colonial powers, which left Kinyarwanda-speaking communities on the other side of the border.

President Kagame said the answer to this long-standing conflict can be found in that history, pointing out that there have been different efforts to resolve the situation, including deploying a United Nations Peacekeeping force to “allegedly” address the problem, but a solution has never been found.

He added that so many groups were brought in from outside and billions of dollars spent but to date the problem has not been addressed

“They have spent many years, decades into so to speak, they spent so much money but we have the problem even getting worse,” President Kagame said, adding however that outsiders to a large extent are not to blame but rather the Congolese authorities in Kinshasa, which have not showed the will to resolve the crisis.

“You don’t also want to think that it is the problem of the outsiders. The bigger part is that there has never been a government in Kinshasa, the capital of DRC, that addresses the problem. I’m not even sure whether they really want to address the problem,” President Kagame said, adding that it might not be a problem to them because it is hurting the people they don’t like.

“That’s the way they want to keep it and to keep it forever,” he said, adding that Rwanda, which hosts over 100, 000 Congolese refugees, found itself in the crisis like that. As such, he said Rwanda tried to play a role in resolving the situation through different negotiations but the authorities in Kinshasa continued to renege on their responsibilities.

President Kagame responds to Martina Abera’s question on DRC.

“We tried to work within the different frameworks that we have created to address the crisis as the East African region, the African Union, whatever efforts that are there, even from the outside, whether it is the U.S, France, European Union, UK, China or whoever wanted to participate or to contribute his solution, we were there, always working with them,”

“But somehow, the problem continues and even it gets worse sometimes. The main question to be raised is about the government, the governance of Cong itself, because they should have seized this opportunity, where the whole world is present to help, but they end up either not helping, or not helping adequately or even worsening the problem,”

“So, Rwanda is just caught up in all that but we really have little responsibility, if any. We hope the efforts will one day move in the right direction or maybe reason will prevail and some people will do the right thing, but Rwanda is always there to participate and support the efforts to find a peaceful resolution of the problem,” President Kagame said.

President Kagame added that he doesn’t mind being accused of being the problem as long as it can lead towards finding a solution to their own problems but it cannot change facts.

“Scapegoating does not provide the solution,” he said, pointing out that making him or Rwanda a scapegoat is not a very smart idea because everybody in the world sees that they are avoiding dealing with a problem the way it should be dealt with.

“I don’t think anybody needs to be given that much explanation or to be shown there’s nothing that is complicated about seeing how those who create scapegoats are doing it for their own reasons their own benefit their own politics, but very clearly, 100 percent, the matter lies in the hands of whoever is in charge of Congo,”

“I don’t know. Maybe there’s nobody in charge of that situation? But certainly I’m not in charge of that situation,” President Kagame asserted.

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