By David Himbara
The political game of DR Congo’s head of state Félix Tshisekedi is hard to understand. One would have thought that Tshisekedi would be very careful and stay clear of especially the Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame. This is a man who has inflicted so much misery on the people of Congo and the Great Lakes. One would have thought that Tshisekedi is also sensitive to his own weakness – a factor that would encourage him to avoid controversy in and outside DR Congo. As we all know, Tshisekedi can only rule as long as his predecessor, Joseph Kabila, allows him to rule. The latter controls an overwhelming majority in parliament, which means, therefore, that Tshisekedi can be ousted by Kabila’s party MPs at free will. This leads us to one key question: why then has Tshisekedi wholeheartedly embraced the Rwandan strongman?
Why is Tshisekedi so determined to belong to Kagame’s camp?
The headline in the Rwanda government newspaper, The New Times, reveals the strange politics played by Tshisekedi. In celebratory editorial, The New Times of December 17, 2019 boasted that “it is hunting season in DRC.” The term ‘hunting season’ normally refers to the time when it is free for all to hunt and kill without limits. By this, Kagame and his newspaper are likening DR Congo to a no man’s land. DR Congo, in other words, is open for anyone to hunt and kill. The Kagame paper concludes:
“All in all, the hunting season in DRC has been very successful and productive.”
According to The New Times, the hunting season is thanks to Tshisekedi who is now a hero to Kagame’s Rwanda, unlike Laurent Kabila and his son Joseph Kabila. Says The New Times:
“Unlike with his successors, Felix Tshisekedi brought sincerity on the table; instead of collaborating with armed groups and arming them to become guns-for-hire, he is hunting them down relentlessly.”
Never mind Tshisekedi bringing “sincerity on the table.” The question is: where did the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo suddenly acquire capacity to fight armed groups in the eight months Tshisekedi has led DR Congo? What The New Times is boasting about is the open secret that Tshisekedi has literally handed over the DR Congo territory to Kagame to hunt as he wishes. Kagame’s Special Forces are operating in DRC’s wide open hunting season for humans and minerals.
Tshisekedi made the bed and must sleep in it.
Dear President Félix Tshisekedi, as the saying goes, you have made your bed, now lie in it. Put differently, Tshisekedi must accept the terrible results of getting into a marriage with the Rwandan iron-fisted ruler. Kagame is an opportunist who doesn’t give a damn if the Tshisekedi regime collapses tomorrow. Recall that initially Kagame sought to block Tshisekedi’s presidency. Kagame lives by the day. Kagame knows that Tshisekedi can be ousted by Kabila’s party MPs any time. Kagame does not care about the ever present danger of instability in DR Congo and the Great Lakes that leads to despicable human misery. Which leaves us with still unanswered questions. Why has Tshisekedi made this horrible bed? Why is he adding to his nightmares General Kagame? Stay tuned.