Late last year, Congolese Tshisekedi told a gathering in Kinshasa that he would “get rid of the Rwandan leadership.” On another occasion, he claimed, “the cause of insecurity in DRC is Rwanda”. Recently the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Lutundula, released a statement with a veiled declaration of war against Rwanda.
This is now getting out of hand. Rwandans thought this was the traditional election season ritual by Congolese politicians where they bash Rwanda and are rewarded with votes. But Tshisekedi has taken the ritual too far. His belligerence portends something else.
The world, and Tshisekedi himself, and his administration know that the M23 movement (which they falsely claim to be Rwandan) are Congolese nationals, and nothing else. To keep putting the “Rwanda” label on them is to look for excuses to exacerbate conflict – the only think Tshisekedi wants.
In persecuting Congolese Tutsi citizens, the highly irresponsible Tshisekedi also has exacerbated problems for everyone else in the region. Thousands of Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese refugees are scattered all over the region, even as the Kinshasa regime reneges on regional initiatives to find a solution to conflict, and to repatriate the refugees.
But then after the Congolese military FARDC (and its allied terrorist groups such as FDLR) faced military defeat at the hands of the M23 movement, the regime made louder belligerent noises about “declaring war” on Rwanda. Tshisekedi and his cronies think the loudest noises are a solution
In this case, he has chosen to ignore the presence of twin regional mechanisms, and is intent on escalating the conflict, without taking time to think through the consequences.
Rwanda has demonstrated restraint, for a long time, in the face of all the bellicose Congolese rhetoric. The pampering of Kinshasa by the international community has not helped the situation either, since Tshisekedi takes this as a green light to act with impunity.
But at this rate, Rwanda cannot go on being the scapegoat of Congolese, for problems that purely are a result of their failures, and incompetence at running their state. More so when, in the midst of all the scapegoating, Kinshasa also engages in threats of war at every turn.
As President Kagame said recently, Rwanda can be a good partner to whoever wants partnership. But again, whoever, for any reason wants enmity with Rwanda, they would definitely regret their bad choice.