Tshisekedi is a manipulator – Kagame reacts to Tshisekedi‘s conditions on Rwanda-DRC conflict

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 26 March 2024 at 01:13

Rwandan President Paul Kagame insists his Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) counterpart Felix Tshisekedi is to blame for escalating tension between the two neighbouring countries.

Speaking during a recent interview with Jeune Afrique, President Kagame said the conditions set by Tshisekedi were a stumbling block to peaceful resolution of ongoing instability in the Eastern DRC fueled by the ongoing fight between the Congolese army and the M23 rebel group.

President Tshisekedi had earlier demanded the withdrawal of Rwandan troops from Congolese territory as a precondition for meeting Kagame for discussions over the conflict.

He also said he was ready to meet Kagame on the condition of the precontaining of the M23 militia, which DRC accuses Rwanda of backing.

reacting to the conditions, Kagame accused President Tshisekedi of manipulation and playing to the gallery of ‘external forces’.

“Tshisekedi has been able to manipulate individual leaders, countries and is now almost bringing a misunderstanding between and among regions. Because he was playing SADC (Southern African Development Community) against East Africa,” Kagame stated.

“Why don’t we therefore find a way of talking about it and not allowing Tshisekedi to dictate the terms of what must happen because we know he is wrong.”

Kagame said he could also declare his conditions but maintained that he won’t for the sake of finding a lasting solution to the conflict.

“I could also start by giving conditions, but it’s the wrong way to go about it,” he noted, adding, “I could also say that unless the FDRL is removed from Congo, I am not going to talk to President Tshisekedi. However, this does not serve the purpose of bringing peace.”

The Rwandan Head of State further noted that President Tshisekedi’s threats to invade Rwanda should not be taken lightly.

"I think he has the capacity to understand what he is saying as the leader of the country. That’s a serious problem I need to prepare for and take care of… This means that one night he could wake up and do something that you never thought normal people would do," he said in response to a question about whether he was concerned about Tshisekedi’s remarks during the campaign period last year, suggesting he could break off cautious diplomacy with Rwanda and declare war if re-elected.

Kagame’s recent remarks comes two weeks after he confirmed his readiness to engage in talks with Tshisekedi in order to tackle the crisis in eastern Congo.
The announcement followed mediation efforts led by Angola President João Lourenço, who is serving as the African Union’s mediator in the DR Congo crisis.