By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame had hoped to cash on the fight for saving the US$20 billion French investments in liquefied natural gas in northern Mozambique. He was ready to send his armies to fight the Islamist rebels that overrun the region. But Kagame’s grand plan fell apart. Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would have nothing to do with the Rwandan strongman. SADC is instead sending its own standby force to Mozambique.
When Islamist rebels overran the US$20 billion French investment in Liquefied Natural Gas Project in northern Mozambique, General Paul Kagame saw an opportunity to capitalize on the war. Kagame and his Mozambican counterpart, President Filipe Nyusi were soon singing the same tune – only Rwanda has experience in combating terrorism and violent extremism. Kagame went into high gear with his grand plan to fight in Mozambique. But the plan was derailed by SADC leaders.
During the May 2021 Summit of the Heads of State and Government held in Maputo, Mozambique, SADC rejected Kagame’s involvement in its region’s affairs. The SADC leaders advised the Mozambican President that Rwanda can only get involved in the fight against the insurgency in Mozambique through regional structures. On June 23, 2021, SADC member states agreed to deploy a SADC standby force in Mozambique. The decision ended months of deliberation and disagreement among SADC leaders on how to stem the violence in Mozambique. With the deployment of the SADC standby force, Kagame’s grand plan of capitalizing on fighting in Mozambique fell apart.