How negligence by Congolese authorities, and the international community, caused M23 resurgence

During his address to Parliament at a function recently, President Kagame exposed how the issue of M23 was mismanaged by the Congolese authorities and the international community. Predictably they cast blame  on Rwanda when the consequences of their negligence came back to haunt them, and up to now they are still misdirecting their blame games.

On the issue of M23, President Kagame revealed how in 2012 the Congolese and the international community were advised not to approach the M23 problem with a military solution but rather, a diplomatic one. He counseled that mismanagement would make the problem come back to haunt the region. This advice was ignored, with parties going ahead with their aggressive and belligerent handling of the issue, only to backfire! Now, 10 years later, they are blaming Rwanda for causing the problem!

“In 2012 we told them this is not a military problem because you would be dealing with half the problem and the other half would come back to haunt all of us and they ignored us. Here we are, 10 years later. To be honest, why wasn’t this problem solved at that time”, the president wondered.

“We have had enough moments to discuss this as heads of state at different meetings, and we had enough time to discuss this issue openly, and it was clearly demonstrated what had been going on (when the M23 had been cantoned in Rwanda for years). And all the Congolese authorities kept repeating over and over again was that they (M23) should go back to where they came from. But it wasn’t clear what they meant by ‘where they came from’. So I pointed out that it would be a waste of time if the meeting did not answer the question of whether the people being discussed are Congolese or not, before moving on with the discussion. The Congolese authorities then accepted that the M23 were indeed Congolese!

But then the same people, moving forward, were trying to establish how the issue becomes a Rwandan problem,” President Kagame revealed. 

President Kagame revealed how during the many years that M23 was cantoned in Rwanda, Congolese leaders would come and be facilitated to meet them, and that they made quite a significant number of visits. Until when the M23 leaders were airlifted to Kinshasa. But when they arrived there, the M23 leaders were abandoned by Congolese authorities in the hotel, for weeks, until they decided to leave.

“Why do you think this problem of FDLR has been there for the last 30 years? It makes me believe that somebody somewhere wishes for this problem to be there forever. It is as if these genocide perpetrators, and us, are considered the same thing. There is no single day I have heard of when anyone fought the FDLR to permanently dislodge them,” President Kagame said.

More than 80,000 Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese who fled targeted state persecution two decades ago still live in refugee camps in Rwanda and other countries in the region. The repatriation back to Congo of these refugees was part of the agreements signed in 2012, but that too was never implemented.

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