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la Francophonie Didn’t Blame Rwanda Over M23 Rebels, DRC Angry

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President Emmanuel Macron of France (L) talks to President Kagame of Rwanda During the 18th Francophonie Summit | Djerba, 19 November 2022. DRC expected the summit to heap blame on Rwanda for the ongoing insurgency in Eastern DRC a haven of more than 100 armed groups both local and foreign

The international community may have clearly understood that Rwanda is not always going to be blamed for everything that goes wrong in DRC.

Kinshasa regime diplomats have been on marathon flights crisscrossing the airspace from Moscow, London, Paris, Brussels, Tel Aviv and even Washington just to sell the idea that Rwanda is to blame for all Congo’s problems.

These host nations have been very reluctant to buy into the Congolese idea against Rwanda and have repeatedly looked the other way.

President Felix Tshisekedi in June became bitter as Rwanda hosted the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and pleaded, “We ask our international partners, in Africa, the US and especially the UK to pressure Rwanda. Given the UK’s recent U$150 million immigration deal struck with Rwanda, we hope that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to leverage his influence,” President Tshisekedi said in June.

However, the commonwealth summit had no mention of the M23 rebellion in DRC which is not a member of this league of 56 member countries.

According to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, “There is a need to address this problem of kinyarwanda speaking congolese including the so called M23. That is the problem of the DRC to solve, not mine,” President Kagame said during a state address in July this year.

“Problems of governance in DRC continue but are not considered as a key cause of the crisis because of the hypocrisy of the international community. People make it seem as if Congo does not exist on its own. There is a tendency of people running away from issues to make Rwanda the scapegoat,” Kagame previously observed.

“Rwanda cannot take responsibility for Congo’s problems,” Kagame says, adding, “it is not my responsibility to address the internal problems of Congo.”

Kagame has always reminded the Congolese and International community that Rwanda is concerned about the continued presence of FDLR and the support it gets from Kinshasa.

Kagame warned the DRC government in July that such a relationship and the resultant joint actions with the FDLR was unacceptable.

“It is not acceptable that FDLR would be supported to cross into Rwanda or shell our territory and kill citizens. We have not done that to Congo,” the President said.

DRC which is left bruised on the frontline against battle hardened M23 fighters that have seized massive territory and controlling major towns, still Kinshasa says it will not discuss with the rebels it referes to as terrorists.

Kinshasa had high hopes in the la Francophonie summit in Tunisia and expected to use the platform to mobilise blame against Rwanda.

“If the summit of the Francophonie in Djerba, Tunisia does not condemn the aggression of the DRC by Rwanda through its auxiliaries of M23, this international institution loses its raison d’être. And the DRC will no longer have any interest in remaining a member,” said Martin Fayulu, an opposition leader in DRC.

DRC Prime Minister Sama Lukonde who represented President Felix Tshisekedi at the summit, protested against the la Francophonie summit by refusing to take part in the group photo of the la Francophonie.

President Tshisekedi repeatedly accuses Rwanda of medling into DRC’s affairs, however, President Kagame outrightly rejects the accusations.

According to President Kagame, “I wish for the best for both of us, DR Congo and Rwanda. But if the best doesn’t come, it should always find me prepared for the worst.”

Meanwhile, Just as the la Francophonie summit in Tunisia was concluding, a Congolese soldier crossed into the Rwanda border at the “petite barriere” and started shooting at the Rwanda Defence Force towers.

Rwanda Military said the attacker was immediately shot dead by the RDF patrol before he could cause any casualty. The incident took place on Saturday 19, November 2022 near the local market.

Also at the beginning of this month on November 7, a DRC fighter Jet-a Sukhoi-25 entered Rwandan airspace while on a reconnaissance mission near the border and it landed at Rubavu Airport in Rwanda at 11:20. Kigali denounced this action saying it violated Rwandan airspace.

Kigali, which for many years had troubled relations with France, the ultimate apex of la Francophonie, currently enjoys very positive and productive relations with France. Rwandan national Louise Mushikiwabo also heads the la Francophonie.

France has hailed Rwanda for successful intervention in Mozambique and securing the French energy giant Total gas project worth more than U$15 billion in Cabo Delgado province.

Total had suspended operations at this facility after suffering attacks by the jihadist insurgency since 2017.

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