The senior leadership of Rwanda Freedom Movement-ISHAKWE met December 27-29, 2022 in Lyon, France, to deliberate on the state of the Rwandan nation, the war of aggression General Kagame’s RPF regime has imposed on the Democratic Republic of Congo, initiatives by the East African Community to support DRC’s national efforts to end aggression, as well as regional and international efforts to find a durable and just peaceful settlement to the crisis in Eastern DRC.
As it was in our strategic assessment of 2021, Rwanda’s domestic social, economic, political, diplomatic and security situation continues to deteriorate. The false facade of calmness, clean streets, orderliness, democracy and economic development is beginning to crumble. Never before in his two and half decades’ rule has General Kagame shown worse ominous signs of all-round meltdown. Rwanda’s citizens are trapped in a perpetual state of anger, disgust, sadness, fear, despair, hopelessness, unexpressed grief and rebellion.
Rwandans are held hostage by the military regime whose secret police strikes terror across every family in and outside Rwanda. General Kagame’s public lamentations towards the end of 2022 indicate that he has lost the hearts and minds of the Rwandan people, and losing the support of his former foreign allies.
The Kigali military regime is consistently at war with DRC because it is perpetually at war with its own citizens. Tyranny at home and external aggression are the regime’s survival strategies. Kagame’s trademarks remain unaccountable rule by impunity, regional aggression, callous manipulation of genocide, deception, total disregard for human life in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Never since colonial times and the Cold War has there been a greater destabilizing influence in east and central Africa, with devastating humanitarian consequences, loss of life, and socio-economic disruption.
Since coming to power in Rwanda in 1994 after a bloody civil war and genocide, General Kagame has launched perpetual wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo whose strategic intent has been to fragment DRC and plunder its natural resources, while deceiving the world that it seeks to protect Congolese indigenous Tutsi (Banyamulenge) and pursuing what it calls Rwandan genocidal rebel groups operating in eastern DRC. The Kigali regime keeps Rwanda and east Africa in a state of perpetual armed conflict, thus manipulating the international community against looking at the horrible state of governance within Rwanda itself.
The tide is turning against the regime’s domestic tyranny and wars of plunder in DRC. The government and people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, supported by the East African Community and the international community, are mobilizing to stop and reverse General Kagame’s wars once and for all. The deceptive self-marketing of the regime as the organized and efficient state that will serve as the regional gendarme (peacekeeping) serving external actors in the DRC and other conflict-prone regions of Africa has reached its limits. The regime’s relentless effort to seek protection from accountability for its crimes through a combination of blackmail over Western guilt, and service to global commercial and geo-strategic interests are proving to be a failing enterprise.
We salute and support our brothers and sisters from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and their government, for standing up against General Kagame’s wars of killing and plunder.
We commend East African Community’s security and diplomatic efforts-through the Nairobi and Luanda processes- to secure a just and lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We commend the efforts of the international community to be resolute and consistent in breaking silence over General Kagame’s destabilizing war in DRC, and holding him accountable for the mass atrocity that his regime has committed.
We urge the Congolese and Rwandan people, the East African Community, the international community and all stakeholders to remain vigilant and cautious when it comes to negotiating with General Kagame. He is a habitual promise-breaker, serial liar, and conspirator who has not hesitated to bid his time, ultimately trash peace deals, and eliminate the signatories with whom he has negotiated.
As long as General Kagame’s regime of terror reigns in Rwanda, there will be no peace and security in East Africa.
We call upon all Rwandese people to overcome fear and all forms of divisions to seize this window of opportunity presented by General Kagame’s diplomatic melt-down and isolation. Rwandans must unite behind an agenda for ending RPF’s impunity that holds us hostage; striving to uproot the secret police (DMI) that terrorizes us; embracing truth-telling that will free and bind us, heal our wounds, and break Rwanda’s endless cycles of impunity; innovating towards democracy, the rule of law, and sustainable socio-economic growth; and, creating the necessary peace and security conditions conducive to the ultimate goal of a fully integrated East African Community.
In this noble and existential common venture, the struggle of the Congolese and Rwandan people is one. We must resist and win together. Only when Rwandans have uprooted General Kagame’s despotic rule at home, and the wars of plunder, pillage, conquest and killing have been stopped will DRC and Rwanda be able to exploit the full potential of peace, security, and prosperity within their borders and in the context of the East African Community.
General Kagame has made it clear he intends to extend his violent and despotic rule for another 20 years and beyond. It is incumbent upon all Rwandese people to link their peaceful struggle for change with DRC’s and East African effort to push back Rwanda’s regional aggression once and for all. East Africa should stop and roll back Rwanda’s destabilization campaign masquerading as M23 and ever-mutating proxy rebel groups, and peacekeeping on behalf of external commercial and other interests. The greatest enemy to the East African Community’s push for full integration, prosperity, peace and security is the Kigali regime.
Rwandans and Congolese people must face the future with boldness, courage, faith in our common just cause, hope, and authentic brotherhood and sisterhood in our African family.
We wish members and supporters of Rwanda Freedom Movement-Ishakwe, all Rwandans and Congolese people a Happy and productive 2023!
Done at Lyon, France
January 1, 2023