By David Himbara
On the same day General Paul Kagame labeled the international community liars, the European Union joined the US, Germany, France, Belgium, and Norway in condemning him for fuelling wars in DRC.
Two statements about Rwanda’s involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were made on December 31, 2022. One statement was delivered in Rwanda by its strongman, General Paul Kagame, while the other was delivered in Brussels by the European Council of the European Union. The two statements were marked by sharply different views on the DRC situation.
In his speech, General Kagame attacked the international community for fabricating lies that undermines the regional efforts for securing peace in DRC. As he thundered, “it’s important to expose the so-called Africa experts and policy-makers, wherever they come from, who have peddled lies, and created confusion about Rwanda and this region.” Kagame further castigated the international community as follows:
“This is a very expensive lie, which makes no logical sense. They speak the truth only in whispers, afraid to displease the Congolese government, and compromise their own interests, but in fact, they embolden leaders of the DRC to take more and more drastic steps to consolidate its populist base, in the process hurting their own people…We have had enough of this hypocrisy. It is high time that the unwarranted vilification of Rwanda stopped.”
As General Kagame was attacking the international community, the European Council of the European Union issued the following statement:
“The EU welcomes the political commitment of the Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) and of Angola, and in particular, the leadership of former President Uhuru Kenyatta, President William Ruto of Kenya, President Joao Lourenço of Angola and President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, chair of the EAC…
More specifically, the EU firmly urges Rwanda to stop supporting the M23 and use all means to press the M23 to comply with the decisions taken by the EAC and at the Mini-Summit on Peace and Security in the Eastern Region of the DRC in Luanda on 23 November 2022.”
The debate between General Kagame and the international community recalls Thomas Paine’s famous remark that to argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. The only language General Kagame understands is money and brute force. Recall that in 2012 when Rwanda was supporting M23, Rwanda’s biggest aid donor, the European Union, partially froze its financial support to Rwanda – the heaviest blow to the Rwandan strongman. The move followed decisions by the United States, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden to suspend foreign aid to Rwanda for supporting a murderous rebellion that had captured Goma, the largest town in eastern DRC. Will the international community take such serious measures this time around? Stay tuned.