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UN Security Council on Great Lakes: Rwanda Subdued, Tanzania Maintains Stand, Threatens to Deal With Enemies Like It Did With Idi Amin

Jakaya Kikwete at the Heros Monument at Naliendele Mwara, Tanzania

Jakaya Kikwete at the Heros Monument at Naliendele Mwara, Tanzania

“Allow me also to thank … Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Mary Robinson for [her] valued contributions and briefings.” “we[Rwanda] urge the UN’s Special Envoy, Mary Robinson, to play an active part in seeing through the Kampala talks without much further delay. Her engagement would be a welcome and helpful contribution. “But as Special Envoy Mary Robinson has stressed in the past, the Framework is a shared endeavour and its success depends on each party living up to their respective commitment.”

It is in these terms that the unusually subdued and visibly uncomfortable Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo addressed the United Nations Security Council during a session dedicated to peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa and led by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The clear showering of praises and gratitudes  on the UN Special Envoy Mary Robinson by Rwanda, the unusually  less confrontation tone of the message, and the low key demeanor by Louise Mushikiwabo who led the Rwandan delegation may be yet another indication of how Rwandan Government has been taken notice of the wide international condemnation of its appalling role in causing havoc in the Great Lakes Region.

US Senator John Kerry put it clearly when he stated: “So I want to be emphatic here today. All parties must immediately end their support for armed rebel groups. All governments must hold human rights violators and abusers accountable. We must end the era of impunity and that, unfortunately, has been rampant“. The message to the Rwandan Government regarding its support to M23 rebels could not be clearer, especially after the US State Department Spokesperson Jen Piski spelled out condemnations of Rwanda leaders, the day before (see our articles M23 Rebels Loot Kiwandja, in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo of July 24, 2013   and  M23 Rebels Loot Kiwandja, in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo of July 26, 2013).

Unapologetic Tanzanian Government

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government representative’s speech was expected: FARDC do not collaborate with armed groups and M23 rebels are the enemy along with its supporters. The usual problem  with DRC government was its vague plan and the lack of clarity in its message.  DRC Minister Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophonie, Raymond Tshibanda N’Tungamulongo adopted a defensive tone, defending  his government against allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes against elements of FARDC,  instead of laying out their plan for the future.

Ugandan Minister  of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa must have surprised only few. He agreed with everybody that political solutions are the best way to achieve peace and security and  concluded that Uganda is for concerted efforts and for redoubling them. What does it mean? anyone’s guess  may be  good.

France was clear: DRC neighboring states are the culprits in deteriorating peace in the Great Lakes region.

SADC repeated what they have been saying all along: Rwanda, Uganda and DRC must negotiate with their armed opposition (see our article: US Government to Push For Direct Peace Talks Among African Governments and Their Moderate Armed Opposition? of June 18, 2013). SADC’s representative from Mozambique added that: “Countries in the region must engage all the “negative” forces and SADC reiterates that call”.

Belgium supported the condemnation by US Secretary of State of foreign support of M23 rebels, hence adding a nail into the Rwandan coffin.

Tanzanian Representative,  Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations, New York,  Nathaniel Tuvako Manongi, was unapologetic, reiterating Jakaya Kikwete’s position that solutions will not be military,  but political. For Tanzanian representative, the UN Security Council must support  President Jakaya Kikwete’s proposal that “all countries must engage their respective armed opposition groups.”  He added:“we must be bold and honest enough to admit that it is only though in an all inclusive conciliatory process shall we meaningfully attain peace that has eluded us for decades.”Scapegoating is never been a successful tool in diplomacy and certainly a tool for conflict resolution. … peace negotiations is among enemies.”

Tanzania also condemned detractors who maliciously heaped malicious allegations on UN Experts on the DRC, perhaps referring to Rwandan consistent attacks on any UN Expert who does not want to buy the Rwandan version of the story. Among the  UN experts who have been the targets of the Rwandan government wrath are the Belgian Bernard Leloup, the Moldavan Marie Plamadiala and the American Steve Hege (see our articles: UN Experts on DRC, Belgian Bernard Leloup and Moldovan Marie Plamadiala, targeted by Rwandan Government of February 14, 2013. , Rwandan Government Delegation Attacks UN Expert Steve Hege at the UN Security Council of August 28, 2012  and  UN Experts on Congo Stick to Their Guns and Accuse Rwandan Military and Government of Continued Support to M23 Rebels of October 12, 2012).

Tanzania representative did not  deceive: he reinforced why their President said on May 26, 2013 and did not apologize for it and seek to change their stand.

Burundi Foreign Affairs Minister, Laurent Kavakure, whose regime got in power after a long bloody civil war between the Hutu rebels and the Tutsi government and with the support from Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete; support that led to negotiations between the Burundian Tutsi government and the Hutu rebels of CNDD-FDD and FNL, did not even allude to President Jakaya Kikwete’s proposal. Instead, he rambled and said that the issue in the Great Lakes Region is the lack of economic cooperation among Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and regional integration (see here – at about 7 min).

As for Rwandan Louise Mushikiwabo. “She does no longer appear as excited as before to be at the United Nations, especially after she lost the position of Executive Director of UN Women to the South African Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka  on July 10, 2013,” a source at the UN told AfroAmerica Network before adding: “or maybe she is tired defending her president [Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame] when everybody else is convinced otherwise.”

We Will Deal With Enemies Like We  Did  With Idi Amin, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete Says.

While the debate was about to start at the United Nations in New York, thousand of miles away, in Tanzania, Tanzania President Jakaya Kimwete in a speech  to mark the country’s national heroes’ day celebrations, took the opportunity to set the record  straight in regarding with those threatening his country:.

Anyone who tries to provoke our country will face consequences … Our country is safe and the army is strong and ready to defend our country. We will not allow anyone to mess with our country, or try to take away our territory. We will deal with them just as we dealt with [NDLR: late Ugandan dictator ruler Idi]  Amin.

According to observers, Jakaya Kikwete, although he did not cite names,  was referring to both Rwanda and Malawi.  In recent month, Rwandan dictator has threatened to kill Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete ( see our article I will Just Wait For You At the Right Place And I will Hit You, Rwandan General Paul Kagame Threatens Tanzanian Jakaya Kikwete of July 3, 2013) who in turn responded he will give an appropriate punishment to Paul Kagame (see our article: You Will Be Whipped Like a Small Boy, Tanzania Government Warns Rwandan Dictator General Kagame of July 13, 2013).

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  • Victor July 31, 2013, 3:38 am

    I really can say that dictators are like people from same family because the more they are about to fall, the more they become blind.They can’t even see how their closest friends are stepping back.