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Congo – Rwanda: Is It the Beginning of the Divorce?

Over the week, Rwandan and Democratic Republic of the COngo (DRC) governments delegations were in front of the United Nations Security Council.
The two delegations were defending their respective and divergent positions about the infamous M23 rebels. For DRC, the aim was to confirm UN Group Experts’ findings that Rwandan government officials and Rwandan Defense Forces have been training, arming, reinforcing and funding and militarily supporting the M23 congolese rebels. For Rwanda, the objective was to convince the UN Security Council that the findings are not true.

From sources at the United Nations, the general consensus is the arguments presented by the Rwandan delegation led by the self-styled Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister and Government Spokesperson Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo failed to convince. Most of the defense staged by the Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo rested on accusing the UN Experts head, Mr Steve Hege, of bias against Rwanda (see our article here). Rwandan delegation was also lost into too much useless and immaterial details, sometimes contradicted by other sources available to UN Security Council members.

The frustration of Ms Louise Mushikiwabo was visible when she emerged from the hour long closed door meeting with the UN Security Council. In an intervew with the media, she spent more time on Steve Hege and accusing Western governments who use economic and military aid to put pressure on “poor” third world countries, like Rwanda. The US, Sweden, Great Britain, and other donors have suspended the aid to Rwanda following the UN Experts findings. She also accused President Joseph Kabila of incompetence and said, in what she qualified as “undiplomatic terms” that the powerful DRC country has a leadership vacuum and is led by the ghost leader, General Joseph Kabila. Present diplomats and observers appeared surprised by the appalling public loss of control and the visible emotional distress of Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo and some members of her delegation. Some observers commented on the fact that if Rwanda wants aid, then the Rwandan government should conduct itself as one who deserves aid and abide by the international standards of human rights and the rule of law.

DRC delegation appeared this time unusually well prepared, coordinated and reserved. The head of the delegation, DRC Foreign Affairs Minister Raymond Tshibanga traveled to New York with representatives of Congolese churches and non government organizations. In preparation of Raymond Tshibanga’s presentation, the representatives sent a memorandum to the UN Security Council, accusing the Rwanda government of being responsible for the chaos and the human tragedy in Eastern DRC. Mr. Raymond Thsibanga also had prior coordination meetings with UN DRC experts and private consultations with Steve Hege.

According to sources at the UN, the presentation by the DRC government was to the point and better received by the UN Security Council.

Emboldened by the positive reception by the UN Security Council and upset with Louise Mushikiwabo’s comments, the DRC President General Joseph Kabila has now asked Rwanda to withdraw all its troops from the DRC territory, including the special forces operating under the Umoja Wetu and Amani agreements. The Rwandan special forces have been conducting joint military operations with Congolese government forces, FARDC, since February 2009. They targeted Rwandan rebels of FDLR and have been responsible for assassinating a number of FDLR military and civilian leaders.

On Friday August 31, 2012 columns of troops on foot and trucks full of Rwandan special forces were seen leaving their positions located in Rutshuru area, and heading to the Rwandan border. At the same time, FARDC troops who were working with Rwandan special forces also left the villages of Kiseguro and Binza and headed in opposite direction as the Rwandan troops were driving towards the border town of Kibumba. The Rwandan special forces on the DRC territory are estimated to be between 3 and four combat units.

However, as most the Rwandan special forces were officially leaving the DRC, other Rwandan special units embedded within the congolese Mai-Mai Raia Mutomboki were conducting raids against Rwandan and Congolese ethnic Hutu in Masisi and Walikale. On Wednesday August 29, 2012 night, they attacked and burned villages occupied by Congolese Hutu and Rwandan Hutu refugees in Walikale. It is believed that the FDLR military leader, General Mudacumura has been living in one of the burned villages until a few weeks ago. However, when the Rwanda special forces and Raia Mutomboki stormed the villages, they only found civilians and hacked most of them to death and later burned the entire villages along with the civilian bodies.

Whether or not the divorce between General Paul Kagame and General Joseph Kabila is being materialized, the end of the chaos in DRC remains a distant dream.

©2012 AfroAmerica Network. All rights reserved.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Andre Gombaniro September 14, 2012, 9:07 am

    I am a Rwandan living in Kigali
    You seem not to be professional. Your opinions on Rwanda lacks evidences and your article is not well referenced( It looks like rumors from UN corridors, According to… etc. How was the other side of the Congo Delegation, well prepared, what did they talk about? We need to understand what they said in details if you were really there. Please share with all of us. By the way why don’t you talk about M23 concerns. It is a congolese political movement and need to be understood instead of accusing Rwanda, why Congo refused to dismantle FDLR. Dig deeper, go further and be neutral.

  • Andre Gombaniro September 14, 2012, 9:01 am

    I am a Rwandan living in Kigali
    You seem not to be professional. Your opinions on Rwanda lacks evidences and your sources look like rumors from UN corridors, According to is like I was told, I understood,.. etc. Please revise your mind and be neutral. How was the other side of the Congo Delegation, well prepared, what did they talk about? We need to understand what they said in full detals if you were really there. Please sahre with all of us. By the way why dont you talk about M23 concerns. It is a congolese political organization and need to be understood instead of accusing Rwanda, why Congo refused to dismantle FDLR. Dig deeper, go further and be neutral.

  • Benzion September 8, 2012, 1:03 pm

    I thank you for your convincing analyze but I would love more you to scrutinize more why the majority of the congolese think that Joseph Kabila works hand in hand with Kagame… The outburst for most of the DRC people is just an other diversion for the survivor of their powers.
    1. During the election, the M23(ex CNDP) the rwanda defence army mixt with Congolese tutsi were the one who bidding for Kabila on the east part of congo, intimidating local to vote for Kabila, stuffing ballot and ready to take on anyone who would contest the result, uganda send his troop force to reinforce Kabila regime.
    2. Laurent Nkunda Batware expresso extradition request has been thrown in the rubbish bin by Kabila as soon as there was not spotlight.
    3. Joseph Kabila has never been willing to arrest Bosco Tanganda, arguing about his arrest on daylight, following with timid move
    4. NKunda Declared publicly that if he is arrested, most of the presidents in the region will be overthrown… Why because the RPF(FPR) was made up of Uganda tutsi of rwanda origin with the help of Mr Yuweri Museveni, They took over Rwanda and instal on them, went on to instal a puppet in burundi, and finally Took over Congo… They made up Joseph Kabila, if Kagame fall, Kabila will fall then Museveni…. they all Link together… they may play publicly on chest game to calm down the wrath of congolese people and diverting curious media eyes.

  • Korogo S September 1, 2012, 8:07 pm

    Dear Afro America team

    I am in Ivory Coast and I have been following what is happening in DRC. One of the sources I have is your website.
    I usually read your articles, but over the time, it seems that you are not having professional skills of communication and journalism. You always tend to justify one side instead of writing things as they are. In clear terms, you lean too much on the DRC side as if you are the government spokesperson.
    In this article, you say “According to sources at the UN, the presentation of DRC government was to the point and better received by UN Security Council”. My question is this: where you there? what are these sources namely?
    Other sources I have say this:

    “Despite the length of the session it was difficult to get Tshibanda to engage with the specific criticisms against the Group of Experts report on which he relied.”

    it is said that Tchibanda failed to convince the UN security council reason why sanctions will not be taken for Rwanda but instead on M23.
    I urgue you to be neutral otherwise you are pro-DRC and writing only false information cannot guarantee DRC sucess.

    • AfroAmerica Network September 1, 2012, 8:32 pm

      Dear Korogo,

      Thanks for making AfroAmerica Network your source of information on the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
      At AfroAmerica Network, we strive to provide you with accurate, balanced and objective news. Our readers are always our priority.

      Yes, AfroAmerica team was at the United Nations in New York City and had the information from direct sources. One of the sources is Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo herself during her interview.

      Despite what you say, the decision by the UN Security Council about the sanctions is not yet made. Rwandan government may or may not be sanctioned. UN Sanctions are political decisions and the UN Experts’ findings are just one piece the UN Security Council will consider.

      For our editorial position please read our article: DRC: What to Do. Experts’ views of August 23, 2012. The fact that some say we favor Rwandan government positions and others, like you, that we lean towards the DRC government, still others that we lean towards this or that rebel group is a clear testimony of our lack of bias and of our balanced approach.

      Best Regards.

      AfroAmerica Network.

  • Mobutu September 1, 2012, 7:15 pm

    Please please there is no ethnic group called Hutu Congolese in DRCongo.

    • AfroAmerica Network September 1, 2012, 8:18 pm

      Really? Yes there is a Congolese Hutu ethnic group, usually classified in what other ethic groups (Nande, Nyanga, Hunde, Ntembo) qualify as Banyarwanda (this qualification being of course another issue).