’The US can do better than just condemnation’ - Kagame on Rwanda-DRC conflict

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 21 May 2024 at 04:54

President Paul Kagame has challenged foreign powers to do more in addressing conflicts in Africa, rather than merely passing condemnation without getting to the bottom of the root causes of the challenges the continent faces.

Reacting to a recent statement from the United States calling on the Rwanda government to punish soldiers purported to be backing M23 rebels in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kagame said such statements “simply add to the problem”.

“If I were talking to the leaders in the United States and others I would start by telling them that they can do much better than that [passing condemnation]. Because in the end, they are doing nothing. Passing statements of condemnation and blaming this and that without addressing the problem, I think, simply adds to the problem,” President Kagame stated.

The Head of State spoke virtually during his participation at the 2024 Global Security Forum in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

“For every problem, there is a root cause. To solve it, you simply look at the root cause of the problem and work with the parties involved to address what needs to be addressed and reduce the politics and interests. Some of these things don’t just go away unless you do what needs to be done. It doesn’t need a lot of capacity to think. What all of us have can serve us to understand issues like this,” he added.

The US State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller had early this month claimed that the attack on the Mugunga camp that claimed at least nine lives came from "Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) and M23 positions."

However, Rwandan government spokesperson Yolande Makolo dismissed the US accusation as "ridiculous," adding that Rwanda’s "professional army" would "never attack" a camp for displaced people.

Rwanda and DRC have been feuding over tension in the eastern DRC where the Congolese army has been fighting the M23 rebel group, part of the minority Tutsi ethnic group, which has accused the government of marginalization and persecution. On the other hand, Rwanda accuses DRC of backing FDLR, which consists of the remnants of the Interahamwe group that plotted and perpetrated the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Coups in West Africa

Meanwhile, weighing in on the recent coups in West African countries such as Niger and Guinea, President Kagame emphasized that poor leadership should be blamed. He insisted that foreign powers should refrain from taking sides in the crises.

“If you look at where coups have been happening, nobody wishes to see coups happen in any place. There is nothing to celebrate about that. But at the same time, you don’t stop there. You don’t just condemn coups without even trying to find out what led to this coup. What was lacking for a coup to happen? This is when you start seeing signs of that in governance or lack of security, as we have seen in some of these countries in West Africa," President Kagame said.

Citing Rwanda’s military support in fighting armed insurgents in Mozambique, President Kagame emphasized that African nations should find ways to work together to solve security and other common problems facing the continent instead of over-relying on the West.

“Why can’t people, first on our own continent, find ways of working together to address these problems like we did in Mozambique and the Central African Republic? With support from developed countries, it would happen faster and more easily. But they all concentrate on condemning.

"In fact, it is ridiculous that in some cases, they would condemn people in some places where coups have happened and be silent in similar cases. They will attack countries citing lack of freedom and human rights, and where some of these are lacking the most, because of interests people have in those countries, it will be muted.”