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Relations Between Rwanda and Tanzania Have Soured, President Jakaya Kikwete Says

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete Addressing the Nation on July 31, 2013

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete With the Media after Addressing the Nation on July 31, 2013

“Over  the past two months, especially since the end of May, 2013, the relations between our country and Rwanda have been going through a tough time. Rwandan officials’ statements against me and our country is a  proof of the deterioration of these relations.

Let me assure you, my fellow citizens and our Rwandan brothers. As  the leader of the government and the people of Tanzania, I am committed to good relations and close cooperation with Rwanda as well as  with all neighboring countries. Neighbors need  each other, hence we must have a good relations and cooperation,” Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said on Wednesday July 31, 2013  as he closed his monthly address to the Nation.

Rwandan Officials’ Insults Are Directed at Tanzania and Myself, Says President Jakaya Kikwete

President Jakaya Kikwete was referring to the war of words that pits Rwandan  against Tanzanian officials after he advised that the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda open negotiations with their armed opposition in order to bring long lasting peace and security to the DRC and the Great Lakes Region of Africa (see our articles on the subject and UN Security Council on Great Lakes: Rwanda Subdued, Tanzania Maintains Stand, Threatens to Deal With Enemies Like It Did With Idi Amin of July 26, 2013).

President Kikwete added that he is aware of insults, slanders and demeaning  behaviors  of Rwandan leaders directed at his person, his country and his people.

Tanzanian People and Government Remain Committed to Peaceful Relations with Neighbors

He insisted that as the head of state of Tanzania, he remains committed to peaceful cohabitation and good relations with Tanzania’s neighbors. Below is an excerpt of his speech on  Rwanda-Tanzanian souring relations:

“Fellow Citizens;
It is a matter of fact that, in our national interest,  we have promoted  actions aimed at  building good neighborliness and would strengthen our relations with our neighbors.
That is one of the main pillars of the Foreign Policy of Tanzania. That has been the tenet of our  relations with  the country of  Rwanda,  before and after the recent uncertainty. I would like to assure our Rwandan brothers  that, as far as Tanzania is concerned,   nothing has changed and  the level of our cooperation has not declined.

Things are the same. For me, personally, I have not said anything  against Rwanda, despite a lot of abusive words, insults and sarcasm  coming out of the mouth of  Rwanda leaders and aimed at me. Not because I do not know what was said, who said it and when,  or that  I have nothing to say. Of course not. I have not done this because I do not see  the  benefits from doing it. To me, I feel like there is  some conflict. The sages have taught  us that we should not fuel  all conflicts. The British say  that “two wrongs do not make a right”.

Fellow Citizens;
As you know our relationship with Rwanda has been good for many years. We cooperate and help each other so much between our countries in our region,  bilaterally, in  East Africa community,  the Great Lakes Region, in the African Union,  and even internationally.

Our relations seem to have deteriorate after I gave  an advice to the Government of Rwanda to talk to their  opposition. The advice was given in good faith, because I truly  believe that if something can be resolved through dialogue, it  is the best way to go.
Furthermore, the same advice was also given to the Government of the Congo and the Government of Uganda. At the meeting, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda echoed my statement. Rwandan president did not say anything at the meeting. It is after his return to Rwanda that we began to hear the words we hear and we continued to hear as of today.

I am really amazed by how they reacted to my advice and what they did. They  absolutely overreacted  and took my words out of context. My statements were based on my many years experience with the regional matters. We have been meeting in various conferences,  and in meetings we  talk openly and consult on ways to address problems and issues that occur.
On all the matters that are of common concern,  giving advice is the responsibility of all of us. And very often we gave each other advice. Now, how is  then  that  advising each other  has become wrong and should be seen as ingenious?

Disagreement and insult! It’s not at all the same! Advice is not forced, advice is  not a command. One must  be willing to accept or to reject. A gentleman  would have said: “I disagree with your advice.” No need to insult or  use abusive  or twisted  words.

Fellow Citizens;
I would repeatedly say that I,  personally, and our Government of Tanzania have no quarrel nor any serious  conflict with  Rwanda. We would like to maintain good relations with Rwanda.
Maybe  Rwandan officials  have a beef against us that we do not know. For us we heard a lot words spoken  and actions  allegedly by Rwanda against me and our country. We consider these as absurdities.”

Relations Between  United republic of Tanzania and United States Are  Good

In the national address, President  Jakaya Kikwete also spend a deal of time on the recent visit by the US President Barack Obama (see our article here). He praised the good relations between  the United States and the United Republic of Tanzania:

“Fellow Citizens;
During his visit, President Obama  emphasized his commitment and  that of his government to further strengthen the relations and  cooperation between our countries. He expressed satisfaction with the steps we have taken in our country to   promote democracy and good governance and  to invest in the development of our people. He promised to continue to support our efforts. To that end,  he has promised to increase  financial and technical aid  in health, education, agriculture, roads, energy and youth development. He also confirmed that our country will continue to benefit from the funding of the second phase of the Millennium Challenge Fund. During  this phase, our areas of priority are electricity  and transportation infrastructure. Talks on the projects to be implemented in this phase are going  well.”

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bizimana Theo August 15, 2013, 11:09 pm

    My dear brother allow me to tell u something, we RWANDANS know where we came fm and where we are going, nobody should tell us to negociate with the genocidaires who destroyed Rwanda and its population, even today they have in their mind the negative ideology of killing their fellow rwandans(tutsi). Those who advise Rwanda to sit for negociation should know clearly that it is impossible, instead they should have come to Rwanda and ask for forgiveness. this is the right advice Kikwete should have given to them, otherwise Rwanda has no problem, the doors are open to any rwandan who want to come back to his nation.

    • Yeremiya August 16, 2013, 2:51 am

      Bizimana Theo,
      You may not have been in Rwanda at the time, but that is exactly what Kayibanda Gregoire and, after him, General Habyarimana Juvenal were saying: Hey, these Tutsi Inyenzi who want to exterminate the Hutu or keep them in bondage should come and ask for forgiveness! That kind of reaction by a government was stupid then, and it is stupid now.

      When RPF invaded, the first reaction by the Hutu government was to blame all the Tutsis. It was a stupid reaction by an inept Hutu government. Now it is the turn of the Tutsi government to blame all the Hutus.
      How can you say that all the Hutu rebels are genocidaires? Do you think Rwandans do not know who some of these rebels and their leaders are? It is equally a stupid reaction by a Tutsi government out of ideas.
      As I said in my earlier response to you, what are our Rwandan leaders afraid of? Why don’t they invite these Hutu rebels at the negotiation table. Whoever is a genocidiare will not surely come, but I think, actually I can affirm, that those who have nothing to be ashamed of will not hesitate to heed the call.
      What you guys (because I suspect you are one of our leaders – no need to deny) are afraid of ? Yeremiya

  • trews August 14, 2013, 4:12 pm

    You people should stop urging. It was just an advice to Kagame for the benefit of Rwanda and its people. The reactions shown by Rwandese leaders, including Kagame gives us a doubt of what they understand ftom just a simple advise. Maybe the leaders know more about what is going on behind the scene. Do a research and you stop making noise without knowing what is the real deal about the matter. You poor africans never think, you are just ordinary citizens, non of you knows anything, you better ask and stop thinking you are better than the other in military way

  • Victor August 12, 2013, 6:59 am

    Mr.Rooster, if you knew how things are changing on the ground or how dangerous situation Kagame is leading your poor country,you would never forgive yourself as long as you still have that discriminating thought in your mind. I advice you to think about the hutu people who still are in DRC,are they all genocidal ? I don’t think so, but the only wise way is to talk . Something is going crazy in all you from Kagame to his last criminal man as you are by reacting against Mr.Kikwete’s wise advice

  • ROOSTER August 11, 2013, 10:59 am

    Congo (Zaire) of Mobutu used to be a country of peace and happiness with their Rumba, ndombolo and soukouss . Mobutu befriended Habyarimana and his wife. He was not happy to see them falling. He decided to expel the Banyamurenge who lived there for years. Today, DRC is as it is – a bull shit country full of transgressions and uncertainties. Tanzania used to be a country of Umoja, Amani na Mshikamano. And beautiful Tanzanians (those who are dead) including Mwalimu Nyerere believed that “BINADAMU WOTE NI SAWA NA AFRIKA NI MOJA. Kikwete seems to be taking Mobutu’s hallway by expelling Rwandese who were even granted citizenship by a beautiful Tanzanian (Mwl. Nyerere). He’s creating problems for poor and malnourished Tanzanians who have nothing to sing but umaskini, umoja na mshikamano.

  • k. Dennis August 9, 2013, 8:41 pm

    to john s..m i strongly advice you to take some English lessons before you make a public comment again. on the issue of FDLR, Rwanda can never negotiate with rebels who fled the country after committing Genocide and this is our stand point

  • John S.. M August 6, 2013, 2:36 am

    Our President J. Kikwete speek right on the Rwanda peace issue i think the big nations if are really supporting peace program let them join Hon J. Kikwete on what he advice to Rwanda and the area of great lakes

  • Verité Pure August 3, 2013, 10:33 am

    The FDLR are a small force. Miniature and insignificant. For now!! Inside the country, they are backed by a good number of the population and the fact that Kagame continues to believe he can’t negociate with them proves conclusively how ignorantly stubborn he is. He should ask the hard learned truth by fellow Burundian Tutsi!!