Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rwanda, the key to peace in Democratic Republic of Congo

By Jooneed Khan

Many Congolese denounced the arrogance of Paul Kagame, president of neighboring Rwanda.

Link to this article in French:

Bukavu, February 15, 2009--"It took up to 30 years in exile for the Tutsi minority to prepare for their conquest of Rwanda. Do you think the Hutu majority, driven out with their army, treasury, public services, etc. would easily give up their struggle? What is needed is an inter-Rwandan dialogue, modeled to the one that took place in neighboring Burundi."

This proposal was recently made to the Belgian Senate by Théophile Habamungu, Vice-President of the Provincial Assembly of Sud-Kivu, as part of a mission in Brussels, Belgium.

The proposal is well received and echoed by all Congolese political actors bothin Kinshasa as well as in South and North Kivu, and by people from the Congolese civil society and the clergy.

The Rwandan Hutu refugees settled in the Congo, civilians and military alike have formed the FDLR (Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda). Kigali holds the FDLR rebels responsible for the genocide in which 800 000 people were killed in 1994 in Rwanda.

"The DRC disaster stems from Rwanda in 1994. Twelve times as many Congolese have died since then compared to the victims of the Rwandan genocide while our resources are being plundered. This complacency towards Rwanda has got to stop", he said.

"The Rwandan president Paul Kagame is too arrogant. His Western sponsors have made him to believe that he is the Napoleon of Africa. We rather see him as Hitler of Africa. He must take a closer look at what hapened in Burundi where the Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority have negotiated a power-sharing within the framework of democracy", he said.

Kigali Blamed

Pressure on Kigali began a few weeks ago. The United Nations has accused Rwanda of fomenting rebellion in the Congo. Sweden and Holland have already stopped their assistance. Critics are spreading in London. Germany has recently arrested and extradited to France Kagame’s chef of protocol for the downing of the Rwandan presidential aircraft in 1994, which triggered the Rwandan genocide.

The former regime in Rwanda was not flexible but there was no justification for the invasion of Rwanda by the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) in 1990. This is the genesis of the drama, the original sin. The Great Western powers have supported the invasion and ultimately Habyarimana and France lost. But the big loser is the Congolese people”, said Leon Bariyanga, president of the Provincial Assembly of North Kivu.

"The Rwandan army comes back to DRC to hunt down the genocidaires. How can one distinguish a Congolese from a Hutu? How can one label as “genocidaire” the Hutu children who were born in the Congo since 1994? No, the solution resides in an inter-Rwandan dialogue", he said too.

"According to an advisor to President Joseph Kabila speaking under anonymity, "the Kagame regime is worse than the one of Habyarimana. However, Kagame continues to enjoy strong support from the United States just as Habyarimana did with France’s support. The world would like all of us to believe that the Kagame regime is a model to follow, but this regime is a real dictatorship financed from the looting of the Congo’s resources, "he said.

The European Union mission has just published its final report on the September elections in Rwanda. They hammered a central conclusion: bullying has marked the campaign and the balloting has clearly lacked transparency.

The FDLR leadership is based in Germany. In a recent text signed by its President, Dr Ignace Murwanashyaka, the FDLR "reiterate their firm conviction that the Rwandan political deadlock cannot be solved by arms, rather by a negotiated compromise".

But so far, Rwanda continues to turn a deaf ear.


Related Materails:
Laurent Nkundabatware, his rwandan allies and the Ex-ANC Mutiny: Chronic barriers to lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


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