The concern stemmed from Tshisekedi’s controversial remarks about President Paul Kagame during a campaign event in Bukavu, where he went as far as likening Kagame to Hitler. These statements, deemed inappropriate for a president, sparked reactions from both Rwanda and the international community.
A Congolese diplomat highlighted the inappropriateness of certain words, emphasizing the need for diplomatic discourse despite existing misunderstandings between the two nations.
Tshisekedi’s questionable actions were further scrutinized, particularly his support for the FDLR, a terrorist group implicated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and his pledge to topple the Rwandan government. Critics argue that Tshisekedi is playing a dangerous game in the Great Lakes Region by aligning himself with the FDLR.
President Kagame, in March 2023, accused the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of supporting the FDLR in plans against Rwanda’s peace. He highlighted the group’s historical ties to the Congolese Army, resulting in attacks on Rwanda. In response, Rwanda bolstered troop presence along its border to prevent further security breaches.
Diplomats, including Amb Vincent Karenga, criticized the DRC’s leaders, accusing them of having a misguided perception of Rwanda and a desire to confront it without adequate preparation.
Rwanda’s ambassador in the Netherlands, Amb Nduhungirehe Olivier, acknowledged historical mistakes in choosing leaders but emphasized the uniqueness of Tshisekedi’s case. He called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to address the escalating situation, highlighting the FDLR’s increased integration and criminal activities against Congolese Tutsi.