During his visit to Benin over the weekend, President Paul Kagame and his counterpart, Patrice Talon addressed members of the press to respond to different questions of concern.
One of journalists asked Kagame to comment on allegations by Congolese President, Felix Tshisekedi who accuses Rwanda of supporting M23.
Kagame said that M23 is not the real problem but rather a product of many other problems that have not been addressed for decades.
He explained that M23 problem was there even before Tshisekedi became president as it escalated in 2012.
The Head of State the problem is related to Congolese who have Rwandese heritage due to borders drawn during colonial times where a big part of Rwanda was left to eastern Congo and south-western Uganda.
Kagame highlighted that these people are citizens of those countries.
“This is a fact of history, those problems are much older than me, much older than Tshisekedi, and probably, those who were there at the time are no longer alive. So that is the origin of the problem, “he stated.
The President said that these people have been denied their rights within Congo, until they took up arms in 2012 against their own government ‘because of this problem’. He underscored that the problem was mismanaged as it is coming back in 2023.
“That means it wasn’t properly handled,” said Kagame.
He stressed that the UN and many countries got involved in the problem but never addressed it.
“Really, to call the problem of that region either M23 or to call it Rwanda’s problem is just running away from the problem and not wanting to find a solution for it,” noted Kagame.
The Head of State aid that the East African Community and Angola have two processes including Nairobi and Luanda aimed at solving the problem.
“They have done everything they can to try and address the matter but such complaints are the ones actually stopping people getting a solution because the Luanda and Nairobi processes are very clear on the origin, the need and how to resolve the problem, But apparently, it is the country that has the problem meaning DRC that is making it difficult for it to be resolved,” he disclosed.
However, Kagame expressed optimism that matters will be sorted out with the region’s involvement.
President Felix Tshisekedi recently announced that his country won’t engage in negotiations with M23 despite being among recommendations of Nairobi process.
This saw M23 rescinding its promise of laying arms down after handing over several captured areas to EAC troops.
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