Rwanda refutes DRC foreign minister’s false claims against President Paul Kagame

By Esther Muhozi
On 10 May 2024 at 12:20

The Government of Rwanda’s spokesperson, Yolande Makolo, has dismissed assertions by Dr. Christophe Lutundula, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Foreign Minister, who lied about President Paul Kagame.

On May 8, 2024, Minister Lutundula told diplomats in Kinshasa that President Kagame had stated to a foreign media outlet, “Rwandan troops will not leave the DRC until we bring back the Tutsi Congolese and until their rights are restored.”

These claims are in direct contradiction to President Kagame’s repeated statements to both Rwandan and international media. He has been highlighting that over 100,000 Congolese refugees currently in Rwanda fled due to persecution in their homeland.

President Kagame further noted that these refugees include relatives of M23 militants, who are fighting to reclaim their rights, underscoring the need for a resolution to the refugee crisis to facilitate their peaceful return.

The Rwandan government, including President Kagame, has firmly rejected the DRC government’s charges of Rwandan military presence in North Kivu province, asserting that Rwanda does not seek to meddle in Congolese affairs.

While Rwanda has voiced its condemnation of the ongoing genocide and targeted killings of Tutsi Congolese, Minister Lutundula has refuted these claims. He suggested that the conflict zones, primarily involve Hutus, ’and might experience genocide’ instead.

Yolande Makolo sharply criticized Lutundula’s comments as "insane," pointing to the DRC government’s backing of the FDLR militia, which she blames for significant violence against the Congolese.

This role of the FDLR in harming Congolese citizens was confirmed by DRC military spokesperson, Brig Gen Sylvain Ekenge, who stated on national television in April 2024 that the FDLR had played a major role in the deaths of "10 million Congolese in the past 30 years."

In response to Lutundula’s remarks, Makolo said, “This is madness from the Foreign Minister of the only country in the world that allows a genocidal group [FDLR] to kill its people and spread genocide ideology in the DRC.”

She also accused the DRC government of continuing to arm and support the FDLR, responsible for Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, to perpetrate violence against Tutsi Congolese in North Kivu and the Banyamulenge in South Kivu.

Makolo emphasized that the spread of hate and genocide ideology and the ongoing genocide against Tutsi Congolese in the DRC should be universally condemned and not overshadowed by Minister Lutundula’s misrepresentations.

Echoing these sentiments, the Rwandan Ambassador to the Netherlands, Olivier Nduhungirehe, expressed his concerns about Lutundula’s statements but was not surprised, given the DRC government’s history of aligning with genocidal strategies similar to those of the former Habyarimana regime.

Amb. Nduhungirehe recalled that between 1990 and 1993, the Habyarimana government, through extremist factions within the CDR party and media like RTLM and Kangura, propagated the notion that Tutsis planned to exterminate the Hutus. He argued that such misinformation was aimed at justifying the subsequent Genocide against the Tutsi as an act of self-defense.

Amb. Nduhungirehe asserted that the international community should denounce the DRC government’s continued persecution of Tutsi Congolese, although he speculated that economic and political interests might lead to their silence.

The Spokesperson for the Rwandan government, Yolande Makolo, called on Africans to condemn the killings of Congolese Tutsis.
Ambassador Nduhungirehe compared Lutundula's words to utterances by CDR, on RTLM and Kangura.