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Rwanda and DRC will always be together; they are joined at the hip

By March 1, 2024March 27th, 2024No Comments

March 1, 2024

A view of La Petite Barrière, the border between Rwanda and DR Congo. Courtesy

A view of La Petite Barrière, the border between Rwanda and DR Congo. Courtesy

It was a small but interesting news item. But being on social media meant that none could take it at face value as accurate. For sure, it was a video of a mudslide. Still, whether it was part of a hill that flowed across River Rusizi to fill it up and connect two hills, one in Rwanda and the other in D.R. Congo, that could not immediately be ascertained.

Whatever the case, though, whether or not the news item was genuine does not matter. What matters is that it can happen any time in the future.  Which is a powerful message to leaders of the two countries: their countries cannot avoid living together.

And that renders laughable accusations by DRC leaders that Rwanda is stealing their minerals. It’d mean that minerals listened to some Western leaders around a map in 1884/5, at the balkanisation of Africa, and stopped where they determined one country should end and the other start.

Apart from minerals not listening to those colonial kingpins, there is the fact of these landmasses around the borders being fluid and likely to flow from one side to the other, without leaving their minerals behind. It’s when you consider this that you see the futility of Congolese leaders trying to stretch the world’s imagination. Absurd doesn’t begin to describe their utterances!

However, you haven’t heard the half of it.

When these ‘Balkanists’ were chopping up swathes of territories to divide them among themselves, they did not give a hoot about which community belonged to which part of the land. The map reflected the land, not the community. So, it’s only a primitive killer government authority who’d dare, in this civilised age, evict compatriot communities from their ancestral land and send them to a foreign country because their mother tongue is similar to that of the foreign country’s community.

If those authorities have the callousness to evict a people, they should have the grace to accompany them with their land – with all its minerals.

Anyway, we shouldn’t rack our brains over these leaders’ shadowy processes of thought and rash decisions of action. Their thought and action, and their head President Tshisekedi’s, are obscurities few have the time to waste on.

We can only tell Tshisekedi to beware. There have been canny similarities with the president of another country not so far from DRC and not in the so distant past. And his end wasn’t anything to lament.

Like him, when in the 1990s Habyarimana (Kinani) saw his compatriots who had been denied their citizen rights rise to claim them, he externalised the problem by crying to the world that he was being attacked by Uganda. Forces bigger than Tshisekedi’s local coterie of rebels; than imported terrorists; than his mercenaries; than the Burundi army; than some elements from SADC mission all gathered to lend support. But then, like now, they all received bloody noses and left him high and dry. And the rebellious group triumphed, in the end.

However, unlike Tshisekedi, Kinani hadn’t drafted into his army a Ugandan genocidal force, when it was duly recognised by the UN as a terrorist group, the way the former has, the FDLR.

Their bent to genocide commission is the same, of course, though we haven’t seen the consummation or, hopefully, the interruption of the former’s.

Another less bad for Kinani? He had had the presence of mind to swallow his pride and, even if in fits and starts, agree to the small group’s demands for dialogue. He didn’t request to talk to Uganda. But of course he was an equally bad devil because he had made preparations for a genocide.

The whole of the above disgraceful acts and behaviours and other similar ones apart, however, it’s good that Tshisekedi has moved from threatening hell for Rwanda to mouthing noises about peace. Only, he veers towards President Kagame as usual, instead of his aggrieved countrymen and women. Doubtless, to deflect scrutiny from his culpability. He has finally given in to Angolan President Lourenço’s request to talk peace but on condition: The Rwandan president must ask M23 to “stop fighting, leave their occupied areas and return to where they came from.”

M23 is on their ancestral soil and so where they’ll return to, search me!

Anyway, the way I see it, President Kagame can only succeed in convincing M23 to cease fire and move from their strongholds if he is allowed to address their complaints. That means punishing the expellers of their kin and their harassers, choppers of their cattle, burners and eaters of their flesh, rapists of their women, killers of their people, etc.: M23 kins’ fellow citizens and the leaders who incite them.

Rwanda has ever dealt with more complex problems and I am sure she can clinch this, too.

But back to the landslide. When it happens, it’ll be a message to President Tshisekedi that none of his citizens are foreigner to their motherland. It’ll be a message to him, too, that as neighbours forever, DRC and Rwanda are joined at the hip. They are sister countries and posterity demands that they start living thus.

Congolese leaders must be seized of the matter of the cry of this region’s land.

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