Rwanda, like the other members of the East African Community, welcomes the Democratic Republic of Congo to the East African Community. Rwanda strongly believes that the DRC will add momentum towards achieving the EAC’s objectives of achieving prosperity, competitiveness, security, stability, and political unification, all leading to changing livelihoods of the people of the Great Lakes Region.
However, DRC badly needs brotherly counsel as they prepare to be part of a diversity of cultures, languages, values, political and religious orientations, and varying ambitions. In all African cultures, when someone from a community is about to join another community for various reasons, they are subjected to sessions of orientation by the elders of his community to ensure he or she upholds the name and respect of that community by being at the best of their behaviors at all times.
Going by this crucial aspect of the African culture, it is imperative to advise DRC to learn to be mature, and responsible and especially drop their penchant for playing the victim. For the East African Community to realize its aspirations, the members must endeavor to contribute to the cause with utmost commitment, responsibility, and accountability for their actions.
As DRC joins the East African Community, it still is the hotbed for various armed groups threatening regional security. Some of these groups, like the FDLR and ADF, have been designated by the international community as terror groups that must be eliminated for peace to be achieved. However, for decades, DRC has shown reluctance to deal with the armed groups operating on its territory, some of which have ambitions to destabilize EAC member states.
Many agreements have been signed both at regional and international levels aiming at finding sustainable peace in the DRC and the region, but Congo has failed to fully implement the agreements, throwing the efforts into confusion. Even worse, the DRC has been caught cooperating with some of the armed groups at different levels which has frustrated the region.
DRC’s non-committal attitude has resulted in a litany of issues that threaten to push the region further into realms of insecurity. Instead of taking responsibility for their inaction, they blame other members for problems resulting from their dithering, casting themselves as victims.
As much as it is now the responsibility of the EAC to intervene and bring about security in Congo, DRC needs to first lay the ground for this intervention to be effective and beneficial to the entire region.