Today’s meeting in Angola between President Kagame and his Congolese counterpart, Felix Tchisekedi has triggered a lot of talk and debates, especially on social media platforms, where some misinformed narratives posit that this is a vindication of Congo leaders who have maintained that the ongoing war in North Kivu is not an internal conflict.
They base their reasoning on the fact that if indeed it was internal, the meeting would instead be a direct encounter between Tchisekedi and the M23 rebel movement. However, those advancing such an argument are deliberately ignoring a lot of things.
First and foremost, Rwanda finds herself in a precarious position in this situation. As a Pan Africanist and proponent of peace and stability in the region, President Kagame had no choice but to attend this summit to which he was invited by the Angolan President, Joao Lourenço, current president of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL), under the mandate of the AU to mediate to reduce tension.
Second, President Tsisekedi has on more than one occasion made direct public accusations against Rwanda, to the effect that the M23 rebel movement was receiving military support from Rwanda, as an explanation of the incompetence of the national army FARDC. Since the Congolese President has maintained this position, the Rwanda President must meet him face to face to put the record straight. Also, the UN Security Council as well as other international actors have insisted that the two leaders should meet “to ease tensions”, based on the misguided belief that the conflict is indeed between Rwanda and Congo as the Congolese leaders have been claiming.
However, it won’t matter how many meetings are held to ‘ease tensions’ (which were brought about by the shelling by FARDC on Rwandan territory in the first place), the problem will always remain an internal matter to be solved between the Congolese themselves. For peace to prevail in Congo, the world should help Congo leaders to understand that they need to put their house in order.
As President Kagame has said time and time again, Rwanda wishes for peace for Rwanda as well as for Congo, but it is Congo’s responsibility to see to it that they deal once and for all, with issues that cause insecurity for them as well as the rest of the region.