By Erasme Rugemintwaza
Rwanda has been ruled with an iron fist for 27 years by General Paul Kagame. This Machiavelli prince who knows how to use the cunning of the fox and the strength of the lion at the opportune moments is at the same time cursed for the crimes that have marked his career since 1990 and adored for his “humanitarian” gestures. Kagame does everything but nothing and that makes him an exceptional man who wants to win, despite everything in the African Great Lakes region. What are Kagame’s favorite fronts right now?
KAGAME reaches out to Burundi
Since 2015, Rwanda and Burundi have been living in a situation of maximum alert. This extremely tense atmosphere is the result of the manifest destabilization of the power of Burundi by Rwanda. Without asking too many idle questions, Kigali wanted to overthrow the power of Bujumbura by a putsch. The regime of the late Pierre NKURUNZIZA was saved in extremis by the elder brother of the region, Yoweri Museveni, as an interposition of the West. Museveni thus became the hero for Burundi. In an attempt to confuse the situation, Kigali then began accusing Burundi of supporting an armed group, the Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FLN),against the Kigali regime. It was total diplomatic chaos; Kigali even carried out simulated attacks by its own Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) in the south of the country, killing its own citizens.
Currently, Rwanda has set up Israeli-style surveillance cameras on its border with Burundi. But Kagame will quickly realize that Burundi is well supported by its great godmother Tanzania, its savior elder brother, Uganda. Kagame remained with the DRC, which he was shooting at the end of the nose, because she did not want it to get involved, but also these eastern provinces are a hotbed of tension where armed groups from her neighbors swarm. So after the death of Pierre NKURUNZIZA that Paul Kagame took the leisure to ridicule even in small meetings of his party, like a cowardly president, who is hiding, Kigali has recovered, certainly by advice from his think-tank, and has reached out to Burundi. General Evariste NDAYISHIMIYE knows Kagame well, he knows where Kigali’s ambitions to dominate the region can push Kagame, he preferred diplomatic fairplay by accepting the hand of Paul Kagame. He was well aware that in his pocket Kagame has a fully loaded rifle. Paul Kagame had no choice, he had just been well isolated by his neighbors; then the tension had to be released. Apart from bilateral meetings between the heads of diplomacy of two countries, Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard NGIRENTE paid an official visit to Burundi on July 1, 2021, for the celebration of the 59 anniversary of Burundi’s independence, a holiday which should be celebrated by Kigali on the same day, but which has become taboo in Rwanda because Rwandan independence rekindles the nostalgia of the Tutsi monarchy ousted by the Hutu republic. July 1 is the day of mourning for the Tutsi and a day of celebration for the Hutus! The day rekindles the post-monarchical wounds of which those in power in Kigali were “victims” while the Hutus are seen as heroes-executioners, of this independence which has nevertheless put an end to the outrages of a perniciously divisionist monarchy.To push Bujumbura to calm down, Kigali went a long way by handing over 19 RED Tabara fighters, arched out of Burundi at the end of 2020. No one is unaware that the RED Tabara armed group was created by the special forces of Kigali to overthrow the Bujumbura regime, if not as a shock group against the FLN. All this is a game of Kagame to deceive President Evaristre NDAYISHIMIYE, who, if he is fooled, can accuse himself by handing over to Kigali the FLN fighters, whom Kigali thinks have the rear base in the Kibira forest which is an extension natural forest on the Congo-Nile ridge of which the Rwandan part is Nyungwe. Some say that Paul Kagame would even be ready to hand over the Burundian putschists who are in Kigali because he finally realizes that his plan to overthrow power in Bujumbura is already known by everyone and ipso facto can never succeed and that ‘on the contrary, his plan can provoke boomerang effects. Kagame is in the sad obligation to reach out to Burundi for his survival; a poisoned gift to be taken with a grain of salt!
KAGAME bows to Tanzania
Given the historical importance of Tanzania in the geopolitics of the region, Rwanda should not continue to deviate from it. Note that Kagame once publicly swore to kill President Jakaya Mlisho Kikwete, because he had simply suggested open negotiations with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group of Rwandan Hutu refugees in the DRC, and labeled as terrorist by the Kagame friends. This diplomatic game was lulled with the arrival of John Pombe MAGUFULI, who during his lifetime never set foot in Kigali. It seems that what Pombe MAGUFULI feared has finally happened to him: the slow hemlock which has become a silent weapon of Kigali. Briefly, the regimes in the region are dependent on Tanzania. Starting with Samora Machel’s Mozambique, Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda, Nelson Mandela’s South Africa and Paul Kagame’s Rwanda. The thrones of these countries were the product of the plots or better the pleadings of the father of the Tanzanian nation Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who undoubtedly was also the gravedigger of so many regimes. To depart from his successors seems as an ingratitude, but also to elect the seat under the sword of Damocles. Thus Paul Kagame invited Suluhu HASSAN to Kigali, to “find new allies among his neighbors, since he is in the cold with almost everyone, except Kenya”, explains Alex Vines, Africa director of the British think tank Chatham.
The fact that Tanzania is also a member of SADC, the organization of southern Africa, is also to be taken into account. According to observers, the arrival of Mrs. Suluhu HASSAN offers Rwanda the opportunity to rally to its cause one of the main members of SADC on the issue of instability in Mozambique, after criticism of its military deployment in this country. Tanzania shares its southern border with Mozambique which was part of a jihadist insurgency. The agreement on immigration is therefore also a way of asking Tanzania to control its border well, because as Minister Vincent BIRUTA suggested, it seems that there are, among the fighters of the insurgency jihadist, the Rwandans. Added to this is a perennial concern that Rwanda has always had over the Hutu refugee community in Mozambique. Mozambique is home to a Rwandan Hutu refugee community who, according to the ruling Kigali, have prosperous economic activities and ipso facto would constitute a threat from the Tutsi regime. Tanzania can then easily be a porous border for these “enemies” of Rwanda from Mozambique.
Despite the signed agreements, and the appearances of a cordial diplomatic atmosphere, the message that President Madame Suluhu HASSAN left at the Kigali memorial almost entirely recalls what her brother and mentor Jakaya Mlisho KIKWETE, said to Kagame, when he proposed him to go beyond tribal ideas towards the FDLR. We must never put in front of the divisions of the communities, because the Kigali Memorial is nothing but a way of perpetuating this ethnic division, the victimization of the Tutsi and beyond that, the demonization of the Hutus. Kigali did not say anything about the message, but it is assumed that she killed herself with death in her soul. “It was a sad and pitiful story. I wish it was a story, just find out it was a reality. African leaders should realize that dividing communities is not the way to go. May God bless them all and allow them to rest in peace. Amen, ”she wrote in the memorial’s guestbook.
Dealings with Kinshasa!
If there is a difficult relationship to manage, it is the relationship between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And yet, it exists. It exists despite the millions of Hutu refugees that Rwanda dumped in Zaire, and despite their hunting and their massacres by the Kagame regime. This relationship must exist despite the two deadly wars that Rwanda waged in the DRC. It exists despite the alleged assassination of its president Désiré Kabila by Kagame; this relationship must exist despite the “Mapping Report” which makes Kagame a great criminal comparable to Hitler and his ignominious arrogance towards the Congolese people whom he publicly insults. It exists despite the anti-Kagame sentiment that is in the very heart of a Congolese toddler.
Why does this relationship, this bilateral cooperation exist or must it exist at all costs? Why does Kagame persist in staying in the DRC despite all this? Why?
The answer is, however, simple. We can make a simple allegorical reference. It is very difficult to chase a hyena that is already eating carrion. It will be nice to scream, to throw stones even spears, the hyena will ignore all that and growl as she shows her fangs. The DRC is a carrion that the scavenger can never leave. It will be nice to cry, write reports on the unofficial Rwandan military presence, on the illegal exploitation of minerals in the DRC, Kagame like the hyena on the carrion will turn a deaf ear, and one way or another, officially or unofficially Rwanda will remain in the DRC. And the Congolese authorities are very afraid of the Kagame wars! Twice is enough! Kinshasa is forced to accept the gold agreements because its refusal would change nothing, Rwanda wants gold from the Congo, nothing more! And in the context of a state of siege, imposed on Ituri and North Kivu, Kigali says it is ready. “Rwanda is committed to making efforts and that in collaboration with the DRC in respect of its national sovereignty (…) Rwanda is ready to lend a hand to the DRC to the extent of our means”, declared Kagame.
Alongside these mercantile schemes, there is also the DRC’s demand to join the East African Community (EAC), which relies on the support of Rwanda. But quite simply one wonders whaT the DRC is looking in the EAC. Membership cannot be motivated by the desire to take advantage of good governance because, with the exception of Tanzania which preferred a political oligarchy with Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) rather than tribal, the East African community is torn apart by tribal antagonists starting with Rwanda itself, Burundi which is slowly getting out of it, Kenya with the Kikuyu-Luo problem, Uganda of the Bahima. It is not the economy either, because the DRC alone has wealth more immense than that of all the current East African community. This is not even the market because the DRC has little or nothing to export to the area if it is only electricity from Inga! What is the DRC really looking for in the EAC if it is only its invasion by its neighbors who still cherish the dream of exploiting its wealth. Who would have lured Tshisekedi to deliver his country to legal looting by his neighbors? We could be wrong and think that this is a way to pacify the DRC and avoid its balkanization, but this is not certain, because the example of Burundi is convincing to defeat this hypothesis.
Thus the next summit of the East African Community (EAC), to be held in February 2022, will be the opportunity to initiate the process of examining Kinshasa’s application for membership in the organization. .
Indeed, on June 8, 2019, the DRC requested, in a letter to Paul Kagame, its integration into the EAC. So the February 2022 meeting should make it possible to establish the necessary timetable for the examination of this request, including visits to the DRC by EAC delegations. Even if the process can be sometimes long, let us underline that Kigali has already declared itself in favor of the membership of its neighbor but the internal blockages against this membership persist, there are those who prefer SADC than EAC.
KAGAME in the Central African Republic
In the Central African Republic, Rwanda is militarily and doubly present. First through bilateral cooperation between the two countries, then under the banner of the Security Council within the framework of MONUSCA. It is under this bilateral cooperation that from 05 to 08 August 2021 President Faustin Archange Touadera visited Rwanda. This visit was a courtesy visit whose main objective was to strengthen the bonds of friendship that already exist between the two countries , particularly in matters of security cooperation and mining. In these two areas, several agreements had already been signed before Touadera’s visit, between the two countries and four others were during the visit. The field of transport has been developed as a Kigali-Bangui airline was inaugurated this year. In economic matters, the two heads of state announced increased cooperation between the two countries. As a reminder, in April, a delegation of around 50 Rwandan investors visited the capital Bangui and among the four agreements two were signed between the Federation of the Private Sector of Rwanda and the Central African Government.
The speeches delivered during this visit are poignant testimonies of respectful South-South cooperation. During the official banquet, President Paul Kagame stressed that: “Rwanda and the Central African Republic share the difficulties linked to our history. But we are, together, committed to national unity and the dignity of our peoples ”
Faustin Archange Touadera did appreciate the cooperation which aims “to make our bilateral relations a model of South-South cooperation based on the cardinal values of solidarity and sharing and African integration capable of withstanding the vagaries of time and perpetuate in history ”. Touadera was moved by Kigali’s rapid intervention to save the Central African Republic on the outskirts of the rebels, because the sending of the peacekeepers was going to be delayed following the UN procedures and perhaps the peacekeepers were not going to be allowed to carry out offensive operations. Touadera concludes, “If it had not been for the arrival of the Rwandan soldiers who assisted our armed forces, the situation would be different from what we are experiencing now. We are very satisfied with the way the Rwandan army is working ”
Recall that Rwandan soldiers intervened in early 2021 to officially support the blue helmets in front of the rebels who threatened to take Bangui.
Alongside this bilateral cooperation, Rwanda has sent peacekeepers to the Central African Republic. This new contingent which must be sent is 750 soldiers. The first group of 300 blues helmets are sent in early August 2021 to secure the road connecting Bangui to Cameroon. A vital axis, which had been cut at the height of the rebel offensive in December 2020. “The rest of the battalion which counts 450 soldiers will arrive by the end of the year”, declared Abdoulaziz Fall, spokesperson the strength of MONUSCA. With this contingent of 750 more, Rwanda thus becomes the first country which contributes the most soldiers to MONUSCA. Kagame said “We are being asked to provide more troops under the United Nations banner. We are always ready to do it because we can afford it and because we have been asked to do so ”
In Mozambique we sing KAGAME!
Kagame’s military interventions often confuse analysts, like this one from Mozambique. In fact plagued since 2017 by the attacks of an insurgency led by the jihadist group known as the “Shebabs”, probably a subsidiary of the Islamic State, called upon the friends.But SADC, of which Mozambique is a member, did not welcome Rwanda’s invitation. Despite the procrastination, Rwanda finally sent a contingent of 1,000 people.
The statement issued by the Rwandan government of July 9, 2021, said: “The Government of Rwanda, at the request of the Government of Mozambique, will begin today, the deployment of a contingent of 1000 people of the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF ) and the Rwanda National Police (RNP), in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, which is currently affected by terrorism and insecurity.”
In fact, to contain and respond to terrorist attacks, Mozambique has negotiated with several of its partners such as France, the USA, and neighboring Tanzania, to benefit from their military assistance and expertise. The Rwandan soldiers then come to join the others sent in particular by Portugal. This is to say that the Rwandan military will work with other countries already there. Because “The joint force will work in close collaboration with the Armed Defense Forces of Mozambique (FADM) and the forces of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in designated areas of responsibility. The Rwandan contingent will support efforts aimed at restoring the authority of the Mozambican state by carrying out combat and security operations, as well as stabilization and security sector reform (SSR) operations, ” continues the press release from the Rwandan government.
And success after success, faced with almost non-existent resistance, the RDF released on August 08, 2021, Mocimboa da Praia. “The port city of Macimboa da Praia, a major stronghold of the insurgency for over two years, has been taken by Rwandan and Mozambican security forces,” RDF said on Twitter, which was confirmed, to the AFP, by Colonel Ronald Rwivanga, spokesperson for the Rwandan army. The Rwandan, had previously announced, to have taken another agglomeration of Fungi which shelters the gas megaproject of the French Total, a project of 17 billion Euros which had been interrupted after the attack, by these jihadists, of the city of Palma, in March 2021.
Why is Kagame flying to Mozambique a thousand miles from Kigali? If we analyze the almost forced intervention of the Rwandan soldiers in the province of Cabo Delgado, there are the difficult-to-hide deals being played out between Kigali-Paris-Maputo. Filipe Nyusi persistently defended the presence of Rwandan soldiers, claiming that they have experience of fighting armed groups. If we asked him what these same soldiers did in eastern DRC in those 25, he wouldn’t believe his eyes. Because they only looted and created armed groups to maintain the insecurity conducive to looting. However, we can clearly see that behind this persistence of Filipe Nyusi and Paul Kagame, there is the hand of Emmanuel Macron who wants to protect the interests of French multi-internationals like Total. And Kagame on his side is not fooled because he knows what the intervention of his army brings him. Apart from the alleged experience of fighting terrorist groups, Kagame has another special one, that of plundering the mineral wealth which has made Rwanda the leading producer of gold and coltan in Africa!
And Chad too?
The president of the Transitional Military Council (CMT), General Mahamat Idriss Deby, received Sunday, August 15, 2021, the head of Rwandan diplomacy, Vincent BIRUTA who carried a message from the president Paul Kagame, addressed to the chief of the Chadian state. Discussions are reported to have focused on several topics of common interest, including bilateral and regional ones. “We have reviewed various issues on the continent. Most of it is contained in the message that was conveyed to the president of the CMT, “said Vincent Biruta.
We learn that a few weeks after taking power, the CMT sent to Kigali the deputy director of the civilian cabinet of the presidency, Abdelkerim Idriss Deby, who had delivered a message to President Paul Kagame.
In short, Paul Kagame is everywhere, he wants to impose his leadership in this region of Central Africa. It seems that he is looking for a little strength from his African colleagues after his divorce from the powers that put him in Kigali. . And as a good prince of Machiavelli, he knows how to use both means: the cunning of the fox and the strength of the lion. Kagame makes interventions which sometimes rekindle passions and sympathy which was in distress, this is the case of Mozambique, without forgetting the “Libyan” refugees. He often dedicates his men to improve his image: by handing over 19 fighters of RED Tabara, he knew full well that he was handing over his men and the Kalashnikovs he himself bought; but the gesture earned him an image of a repentant Kagame, but in reality far from it. These Rwandan military interventions are carried out with the aim of exhibiting the military might of Rwanda with a hidden agenda of looting to satisfy ambitions to consolidate the economic empire and the greatness of Kagame. Thus, the Rwandan army satisfies the ambitions of its leader, but also the success of his sides, positions him as a hero in the face of an international community too delaying to save the country in distress. And to each lord, all honor! Thus Kagame as a humanitarian hero, makes people forget the things that annoy, such as these recurring UN investigations, which point the finger at Rwanda’s role in the smuggling of Congolese minerals. Where are Bruguière’s arrest warrants, where is the “Mapping Report”, where are the Rwandan political opponents? Where are simple Youtubers like Karasira and Idamange? Where is the Rwandan justice?