By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame has no friends left in the Great Lakes Region. The Rwanda-Burundi diplomatic relations collapsed when Rwanda supported Burundian coup d’etat makers in 2015. Kagame locked up Rwanda-Uganda border in 2019 claiming that Uganda hosted enemies of Rwanda. Meanwhile, Rwanda-South Africa relations collapsed in 2015 when South Africa expelled Rwandan diplomats for their involvements in murdering Rwandan exiles on South African soil. Kagame’s last friend in the Great Lakes Region was Félix Tshisekedi, who just decamped onto the Uganda side to jointly build roads and promote trade.
Uganda’s head of state Yoweri Museveni and his DR Congo counterpart, Félix Tshisekedi, launched the bridge in Kasese District that links the two countries. They also commissioned a road infrastructure connectivity project covering the Mpondwe/Kasindi-Beni Road (80km), the Bunagana-Rutshuru-Goma road (89km), and the Beni-Butembo Axis (54km). Even before the construction of these economic infrastructures, DR Congo was already the second-largest market for Uganda’s exports after Kenya. In 2018, the value of Uganda’s formal and informal exports to DR Congo was over half a billion dollars. The leadership of the two countries believes that the road infrastructure project network will improve mobility, security and boost trade and investment between Uganda and DRC. With Félix Tshisekedi decamping onto the Uganda side, the Rwandan ruler, General Paul Kagame has no friends in the Great Lakes Region – Tshisekedi was the last friend. Stay tuned.