DRC: Patrick Muyaya Accuses Paul Kagame of Regional Destabilization

In an interview with France 24, Patrick Muyaya, the Minister of Communication and Media for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), expressed strong criticisms towards Rwandan President Paul Kagame, attributing regional instability to his policies. Muyaya stated, “The problem in the region is well-known, and its name is Paul Kagame,” alleging that destabilizing neighboring countries forms part of the Rwandan president’s ongoing strategy.

The interview followed closely after the re-election of Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi. Tshisekedi, proclaimed the winner of the presidential election with 73.47% of the votes, embarked on his second term on January 20th. While this election has been praised by Muyaya as the first equitable electoral process in the DRC since 2006, it has faced criticism from the opposition and the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (Cenco), which described it as an “electoral disaster,” citing widespread fraud and corruption.

Acknowledging the imperfections of the electoral process, Muyaya nonetheless defended Tshisekedi’s significant re-election victory. He emphasized that no controversy should overshadow the president’s popular mandate.

A central pledge of Tshisekedi’s administration has been to improve security, particularly in the eastern regions of the country, such as North Kivu province. This area, bordering Rwanda, has experienced persistent violence, exacerbated by the resurgence of the M23 rebel group at the end of 2021.

The DRC, supported by accusations from the United States and several European nations, alleges that Kigali backs the M23. Muyaya pointed to recent claims by the Burundian president, accusing Rwanda of attempting to destabilize his country by supporting rebels, as further evidence of a broader regional problem. To counter these challenges, Tshisekedi has initiated the deployment of a military force from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

However, Muyaya noted that the deep-rooted issues, persisting for over two decades, cannot be resolved in a short span of five or two years. He strongly condemned what he termed the “greedy and murderous appetites of the Rwandan regime,” underscoring a tense and complex regional dynamic.