What should we expect from mediation of Macron on tensions between Rwanda and DRC?

On 24 September 2022 at 01:00

In the evening of Wednesday 22nd September 2022, a photo showing President Paul Kagame and his counterpart of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi along with French President, Emmannuel Macron standing between them was made public. It was released at a time when the speeches delivered by heads of state of the two neighboring countries at the 77th United Nations General Assembly were being analyzed.

The photo followed another one showing both countries’ First Ladies exchanging greetings in a friendly atmosphere.

However, the speech delivered by Tshisekedi at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday this week pointing at Rwanda as the origin of his country’s instability that existed for long and requesting the international community to take action reignited confusion among some people.

It was followed by the speech by President Kagame on Wednesday who stressed that blame games will not solve the problems highlighting that political will is much needed to address the root causes of instability in eastern DRC.

Later on, French President released a statement announcing that the three heads of state met in New York on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly.

President Kagame and Tshisekedi were invited by Macron for discussions with a view to calm tensions between both countries.

The tensions rose early this year following the resurgence of M23 rebel group which resumed attacks requesting the Congolese government to implement peace accords that did not materialize.

A statement released by France indicated that Kagame and Tshisekedi expressed concerns over the resurgence of violence in eastern DRC.

France said that Kagame and Tshisekedi agreed on the need for the pullout of M23 rebels which has currently seized different areas, put an end to activities of armed groups in the Great Lakes region, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), going hand in hand with the Nairobi Peace process and the mediation of Angola in collaboration with the African Union.


Since he was installed French President in 2017, Emmanuel Macron has shown interest in peace and security with a focus on restoring the country’s image tarnished by its disputed reactions in problems that the world has been facing for over 100 years.

International analysts consider Macron as one of influential leaders in Europe after Angel Merkel left German chancellery.

Having Macron as a mediator is nothing of extraordinary as France is currently chairing the UN Security Council in September.

It goes with the active involvement of Macron in handling different problems facing the world where he attempted to mediate the tension between Russia and Ukraine.

A journalist and analyst, Tite Gatanazi has observed that France already enjoys cordial relations with Rwanda at the regime of Macron where serving as a mediator on the issue is something of critical significance.

Gatabazi also highlighted that France is a country with global influence that it would be easier for DRC to respect its mediation efforts.

“Tshisekedi would be lucky to have Macron getting him out of his labyrinth. Secondly, France is a powerful country whether you accept or not and has strong connections with USA. It is an influential country in the European Union and other international organizations like the World Bank, Francophonie, International Monetary Fund [IMF] and UN agencies,” he said.

France has for long been blamed by African countries over continuing to exercise colonial policy especially in its former colonies in West and Central Africa.

Macron came with new policies to admit mistakes committed by his country like its responsibility during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He has also shown that there are other avenues for collaboration between France and Africa where companies from the European country can be given floor to contribute to Africa’s development.

Gatabazi says that France has already identified potential development opportunities in East Africa in the near future where building strong connections with countries in the region would be an ideal approach.

“France strongly wants to bridge the gap resulting from a negative reputation associated with the Genocide to forge development partnerships,” he noted.

France last enjoyed cordial relations with Congo at the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko.

After leaving power, the leadership of Kabila and his son, Joseph Kabila seem to have turned backs against Europeans and focused on deepening ties with countries in eastern part of the world.

As Felix Tshisekedi was installed, it served as an opportunity for France to approach Congo given that the current president understands well Europe where he spent many days of his life in Brussels.

Ten months after Tshisekedi took power (towards the end of 2019), France committed to strengthening relations with DRC especially in the area of security to fight armed groups.

A political analyst, Albert Rudatsimburwa has observed that France’s gesture in New York was just to calm down the wrath of Tshisekedi.

“French people have many problems that DRC issues cannot sidetrack their attention. For the time being, the major problem is in Europe. Putin cut the supply […] Congo is not on their agenda,” he said.

The statement released after the tripartite meeting does neither indicate that France replaced Angola nor Kenya but supports their mediation efforts and call for speedy implementation.

For Rudatsimburwa, the mediation of Macron on Rwanda, DRC tensions bore no fruits.

“There is no mediation. It is just about taking pictures. Tshisekedi was crying loud to be heard. In fact, there is no new development. It is a time to cool down the wrath,” he said.

“Nothing is expected to change because there are no specific commitments on each concerned side. Do you think Rwanda can accept to call Makenga over the phone and propose the withdrawal? Does the country command the rebel group [M23]?” wondered Rudatsimburwa.

He underscored that the solution will come out of Nairobi process requesting DRC to engage with armed groups and particularly respecting peace accords signed with M23 in 2013 that have not yet been implemented.

France has been supporting dialogues to solve the issue of instability in DRC but the latter has been boycotting any engagements, particularly with M23.

President Kagame, Macron and Tshisekedi met in New York on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly.