DRC raises new allegations that Rwanda seeks to disrupt elections

On 25 January 2023 at 02:34

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has raised new allegations that Rwanda is seeking to disrupt elections scheduled towards the end of this year.

The accusations are part of a statement released by DR Congo on Tuesday 24th January 2023 after Rwanda shot at a warplane Sukhoi-25 belonging to Congolese Army (FARDC) violating its airspace in Rubavu District.

Short videos shared on social media show that the fighter jet flew back to Goma airport where firefighters extinguished its burning right wing.

However, the Government of Congo has through a statement released by government spokesman Patrick Muyaya refuted the violation of Rwanda’s airspace claiming that the fighter jet was attacked during its landing in Goma.

He said that directing the fire at a Congolese aircraft is a provocation inciting war and aimed at reversing the progress of Luanda and Nairobi processes to restore peace in eastern Congo and the Great Lakes Region.

In the morning of Tuesday 24th January 2023, M23 captured Kitchanga region in Northern Kivu Province after hours of intense fighting against the Congolese Army.

DR Congo has again blamed Rwanda for the attacks claiming that they are happening at a time when the country begins to register eligible voters and demanded the international community to exert pressure on Rwanda and M23 rebel group to stop actions that may tamper with elections’ preparations.

A political analyst and journalist, Tite Gatabazi has observed that the statement reaffirm other utterances of Muyaya that ‘elections won’t take place’.

“Complaining that Rwanda wants to disrupt elections is a stand taken by DRC to put its problems on the shoulders of Rwanda,” he said.

Gatabazi continued to explain that the failure of Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi to facilitate access to education, build decent roads and health facilities, provide electricity and safe water among other basic utilities prompts him to divert citizens’ attention by externalizing his country’s problems.

“Tshisekedi is dodging Luanda and Nairobi peaceful processes to postpone elections and tries to find a reason to convince Congolese citizens that Rwanda is behind the turmoil that triggered delays,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission in DRC (INEC) is being denied support and necessary resources to fulfill its mandate.

The commission has been claiming that it is not ready because it was denied funds to make preparations on time. Besides, there have been irregularities in the registration of eligible voters as well as in the issuance voters’ cards, identity cards and passports.

The INEC has for several times requested equipment facilitating voters’ registration exercise upcountry but ended to no avail.

“This shows how there are no external factors influencing poor preparations by the electoral commission. The onus remains on DR Congo government,” said Gatabazi.

President Paul Kagame recently accused Congolese President of seeking an excuse to postpone presidential polls by putting security problems in eastern Congo on the shoulders of Rwanda.

“[…] If he is trying to find another way of having the next elections postponed, then I would rather he used other excuses not us," he said.

The statement is part of the Head of State’s speech towards the end of last year after receiving the oaths of newly appointed cabinet members including the new Minister of Health, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana and the State Minister in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ivan Butera.

Tshisekedi continues to seek an excuse for postponement of elections in DRC.