Friday, February 7, 2014

Tanzania/Rwanda: Kikwete Besieged between Kagame and CHADEMA


By Nkunda
Cry for Freedom in Rwanda
February 7, 2014

When President Kagame first launched attacks on his Tanzanian counterpart, Kikwete, they were largely easy to ignore. Indeed, President Kikwete did just that. Part of the reason was that the attacks were brazenly below the belt and turned into a well -coordinated, full-blown, character assassination campaign. Kigali claimed to have done a background check on Kikwete in which they "discovered" his genocidal roots. The fiction-rich defamation plot went this way: Kikwete is a Burundian Hutu who is married into Habyarimana's family. On his part, Kikwete remained hushed.

Characteristic of Kigali (there isn't much for the war-mongers to do since the M23 defeat), the war on Kikwete's reputation didn't stop. Instead, it worsened: the claims were amplified by government-owned sites and a Twitter hashtag "#KikweteforFDLR" was enlisted to back this effort. Still, Kikwete kept silent.

However, it was the allegation that Kikwete had welcomed Rwanda's "enemies", into Tanzania's State House, which splattered the vomit close to his face. The provocation had reached home and Kikwete couldn't keep quiet anymore.

So the Tanzanian embassy in Kigali issued a statement, which denounced the "dangerous lies" fabricated by sources close to the Rwandan government. It was a strong statement in which Kikwete offered his convincing alibi: he was attending the World Economic Forum in Davos at the time the alleged meetings took place.

The truth is that Kikwete never met with any high officials of the FDLR or the RNC for that matter. There was never a meeting between the Rwandan opposition convened by the Tanzanian State House. My sources have confirmed that it is true that Twagiramungu traveled to Tanzania, but this was not by invitation of the state. Twagiramungu holds a Belgian passport, is not a fugitive and has every right to travel to Tanzania.

Will the attacks on Kikwete now stop? I am highly doubtful. Readers have to remember that the genesis of these attacks are in an Addis Ababa meeting last year where Kikwete suggested that Kagame holds talks with his armed opposition to resolve the problems in the East of DRC. While this suggestion fell on deaf years, it ignited the ongoing character assassination campaign directed from Rwanda's State House.

The moral of the story is that Kagame is a tough nut to crack. A seemingly larger than life dictator, he is not one to admit weakness. To negotiate with his enemies would suggest so. This is a no-go zone for him and his supporters. And, as he said last year, "he will wait for the right moment and hit Kikwete hard."

In case you haven't noticed, he has already started to strike hard. Just two days ago, the Tanzanian opposition party, CHADEMA, seemed to bandwagon with him. This is dangerous. Tanzanians tear each other down, while Kagame folds his arms and gets the last laugh.

The bottom line in all these leaves a difficult dilemma. This is the dilemma that no one wants to discuss in this hullabaloo over Eastern Congo. If we know that Kagame won't agree to negotiate with his armed opposition, what solution is there for the Eastern DRC conflict? This is important because repeated armed offensives against the FDLR have failed to produce its permanent defeat. Just like the M23, it is not difficult to see that a military solution will not work.

Already, Kabila is talking with M23 and making concessions with them. This of course will be useless unless a solution for the FDLR is found. And as long as the FDLR pretext lingers, Kagame will sooner or later find a way to sneak back into the DRC's forests. Indeed, while a solution for M23 is feasible (in large part due to Kabila's flexibility), a solution for the FDLR remains unthinkable and shrouded in mystery.

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