On 27 June 2012, UN Group of Experts provided extensive evidence showing that Rwanda was supplying arms and recruiting for the Congolese rebel movement M23. And this was not the first time a UN mandated team reported persistent Rwandan interference in Democratic Republic of Congo in the last sixteen years.
As a consequence, several donor countries have delayed or suspended aid to Rwanda.
So far, Belgium, former colonising country of Rwanda has however been reluctant to make its position known.
Being one of the last strong partners who had not made clear where they stood until recently, Belgium announced to do so soon, this after a recent visit of Didier Reynders, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Great Lakes region.
After Kinshasa, Reydners announced in Kigali that Rwanda needed to demonstrate some positive signs. RFI reports the minister saying that,
“It is urgent to take action and if this is not the case, there will be an escalation. And not just on the ground, but perhaps internationally. Belgium is looking forward to discussions that will take place in the Security Council and UN Sanctions Committee in the coming days. But if the outcome is an inclination for sanctions at the international level, we will take part.”
Persistent denial of intervening in Democratic Republic of Congo for any alleged reason has been the constant position of the Rwandan government on the whole issue of either plundering mineral resources or recruiting fighters for funded militias of rebel forces..
Instead, Rwandan response to the current cutting of aid has been, among other measures, the creation of Agaciro Fund apparently aimed at filling the void created by significant reduction of income in the government coffers.
In addition, reliable sources inside Rwanda confirm that forced recruitment of young people are continuing despite the fact donor countries have clearly told the Rwandan president Paul Kagame that in order to un-freeze aid for the country, he must provide evidence that he had stopped his support for M23.
Young people are being rounded up, and sent into fast training camps, then trucked to M23 in North Kivu. This unfortunate behaviour of the Rwandan government seriously compromises any research of long term sustainability for the region.
As we remember, following the publication of the UN Groups of Experts and the outcry it had caused from several circles, it had been agreed to create an international neutral force to monitor border between Rwanda and DRC.
First such force was discussed at Addis Ababa during the Summit of Heads of states, then more recently at the Kampala meeting where governments of the Great Lakes region followed on Addis Ababa discussions about security issues.
Despite technical and financial difficulties that putting in place such force have to overcome, even if it became operational, from past experience in the region, it won’t stop support that Rwanda, and even Uganda, are providing to M23.
It is important to remember that the master-minder of all the chaos and tragedies experienced in the region has always been Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, since he took power in that country in 1986, with his strongly held concept of establishing a federation of East African States where he would be the main leading figure.
Paul Kagame, who worked as his Chief of Internal Intelligence in Uganda, before leading the invasion of Rwanda in 1990, is only a mentee or a follower. And in his numerous violent ventures across countries of the Great Lakes, he has widely proven to be more deadly than his master.
After Rwandan invasion, when Habyarimana government complained that Uganda was attacking his country using the Rwandan Patriotic Forces which were part of the Ugandan army, the temporary solution was to establish an African contingent of neutral force, which was then called Group of Military Observers.
This African neutral force did not stop the Rwandan Patriotic Front from pursuing its devastating civil war, creating chaos and disrupting political, economic and social lives across the country, until the fall of Habyarimana and his regime.
Yoweri Museveni, forces took Kampala [Ugandan capital city] in 1986 while his team of representatives were in negotiation with the Okello government side in Nairobi [Kenya].
His mentee Paul Kagame took by force Kigali [Rwandan capital] in July 1994 after his RPF rebel movement had signed in August 1993 Arusha Peace Agreements with Habyarimana government.
One important area for action for patriotic Congolese who care strongly for their country is to denounce as much as possible the creation of an international neutral force for Eastern Congo. As indicated, learning from the same pattern of events and tactics being used by same actors responsible of the overall suffering of millions of civilians in DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, it would be unpatriotic for Congolese to give any credibility to such force, knowing that its purpose is only to lure DRC authorities into not addressing seriously the root causes of instability in their country.
Alternative and more effective solutions to get more security in DRC are 1) to get MONUSCO being less a structure to maintain the exploitative statu quo of the ongoing situation which benefits the West and its multinationals, 2) to get representative and democratic governments in Rwanda and Uganda, which serve citizens of those countries, instead of being managed like private properties. Museveni and Kagame’s dictatorships are the main cause of insecurity in the region; them being around, it will be impossible to have peace. And we may keep counting their victims until they will be gone.