The Rwandan strongman tried to make a deal with South Africa to fight in Mozambique but instead got a lecture on territorial integrity and national sovereignty.
By David Himbara
After the Southern African Development Community (SADC) rejected General Paul Kagame involvement in SADC affairs regarding Mozambique, Kagame came up with what he thought was a clever scheme. He would lobby SADC leaders on an individual basis. That is how Kagame sent his foreign minister Vincent Biruta on a mission to lobby SADC leaders to allow Rwanda to fight in Mozambique. Biruta first jetted to Tanzania where he lobbied Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
Biruta then jetted to South Africa. He was in for a shock. First, he was not received by President Cyril Ramaphosa. He had to lobby South African foreign minister Naledi Pandor who delivered a lecture to the Rwandan visitor. Biruta was reminded that Rwanda and South Africa ceased to have bilateral relations years back when Rwanda killed people on the South African soil, an issue that has yet be addressed by Rwanda. Therefore, before talking about joining forces to fight in Mozambique, the long road of normalizing relations between South Africa and Rwanda must begin first. The South African lecture to Kagame is contained in the statement issued at the end of Biruta’s visit to South Africa which reads as follows:
“The ministers agreed on a roadmap that will support the normalization process, predicted on agreed times. Both countries must value and respect the international laws and regulations that govern relations between countries, including territorial integrity and national sovereignty.”
The South Africans further lectured Kagame and his regime that before relations can normalize, a mechanism must be established to engage “the spectrum of issues affecting the bilateral relations. Over to you – General Kagame.