Tanzania replies to President Kagame; claims it is ready for anything and if he dares, he will be walloped like a little child.
The government of Tanzania has issued a stern warning to Rwanda advising the country to avoid delusional dreams about militarily attacking Tanzania. Otherwise Tanzania will retaliate with full force.
This first warning was issued yesterday by the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation after vitriolic rhetoric from the president of Rwanda Paul Kagame against president Jakaya Kikwete and threats to attack Tanzania.
Speaking yesterday to Tanzania Daima in Dar es Salaam, Mkumbwa Ally the spokesperson for the ministry said although up until now the government of Tanzania knows it has no quarrels with Rwanda, he admits there was what he termed to as an “exchange of words” between Kikwete and Kagame.
Mkumbwa admitted the government of Tanzania was aware of the utterances claimed to be from Kagame made during one of his speeches on June 30th while speaking at a youth summit.
During the speech which has been spreading across social media for a week now, Kagame is claimed to be heard giving threats against Kikwete that he will wait for him and hit him.
Some of what Kagame said to the youth attending the event dubbed ‘Youth Konnect’ and sponsored by his wife Janet Kagame are: “This person you just heard siding with the Interahamwe and FDLR and urging negotiations…negotiations?”
Kagame then says he will never discuss the topic but will wait for Kikwete at the right place and strike him.
“I will not waste my time answering him (Kikwete), it is well known there is a line you cannot cross…it is impossible,” Kagame was heard saying while threatening president Kikwete.
Apart from Kagame, other members of the Rwandan government have been constantly attacking president Kikwete by calling him names; “Terrorist sympathizer, genocidaire, spiteful and disrespectful.”
Despite this, Mkumbwa said the government of Tanzania has no reason to go to war with Rwanda, just because president Kikwete suggested talks on peace in the Great Lakes region between Kagame and his opposition living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He said Tanzania’s stance remains the same; Rwanda’s government should agree to meet with the opposition to end the unrest going on in the Great Lakes region, a stand supported by the UN and SADC.
“You know that unrest in DRC and Rwanda cannot end without both countries sitting down with their opponents to find a long lasting solution,” said Mkumbwa.
He wanted Tanzanians to be calm and to continue with their daily lives as usual since their government is vigilantly protecting it’s borders.
Onset of the Disagreement
Tension between these two countries started a few days after the end of a special meeting of heads of state from the Great Lakes region in Addis Ababa attended by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon.
President Kikwete while addressing president Museveni on what they had discussed during the meeting , said it was better if the governments of Rwanda and Uganda opened doors for talks with their rebels. He started naming the rebel groups from the respective countries, currently in the DRC.
Reports indicate president Kikwete’s advice was supported by Museveni saying: “Without talks we cannot go anywhere.”
Despite this, the government of Rwanda responded so harshly to the point the Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation, Bernard Membe had to issue a statement in parliament.
Membe said the government was shocked by the Rwandan government’s condemnations as it was not bad to give advice aimed at diplomacy so as to avoid more bloodshed.
He added it was the right of the government of Rwanda to accept or refuse the advice but it should not resort to insults and threats.
Speaking on the issue of threats, firebrand politician and deputy leader of opposition party CHADEMA, Zitto Kabwe, said the advice from Kikwete to Rwanda was given with good intentions and he was shocked to see a neighbouring country resorting to threats, insults, lack of respect and lack of manners against Kikwete.
On one of his statements on social media, Zitto who is a member of parliament for Kigoma North said even America is having talks with the Taliban meaning there is no fault in Rwanda doing the same.
“If you don’t want advice you simply refuse, why start hurling insults? You don’t want advice, that’s it.
Why petty insults? Since Kikwete said what he said in Addis, he never spoke of it again. Membe (minister) replied in Dodoma and Tanzania didn’t say anything afterwards. Why is Kigali still going on about this?
“Taliban and Al Qaeda? Children born in 1994 and Hutu refugees in Congo, are they killers too? Let us think very carefully on this. Indeed there are genocidaires, they should be pursued, arrested, tried and convicted. And then there are people with full rights who want to participate in the politics of Rwanda but they are prevented from doing so and have thus resorted to arms. With these they must sit together and come to an agreement,” said Zitto.
The politician said for now the governments of the two countries need to go to war against poverty and not armed war.
“Neutral leaders like Uhuru Kenyatta should facilitate for Kagame and Kikwete to iron out their differences,” he said.
He said war will not hurt president Kagame or president Kikwete or their families but it will hurt ordinary citizens of Kagera regions and Kigoma and the regions bordering Rwanda.
“War will pull our development efforts backwards. War will shut down efforts to build democracy in the country. Diplomacy should be used,” said Zitto.