Understanding Rwandan future instability according to AFRICOM

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM ) commissioned a study to examine the risks of instability in 10 African countries over the next decade. Among these is Rwanda.

Understandably events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and in the Middle East unfolded without many Western policymakers knowing exactly the underlying causes. Have they been able to predict the upheavals and revolutions we have witnessed since early 2011, they would apparently and certainly have better protected their national interests in each particular situation. Forget about the humanitarian pretexts.

For targeted countries, the aim of the study was to understand underlying factors, possibly stretch out some potential scenarios, analyse the dynamics that could result into instability, and ultimately prepare for action to face it [this last outcome is assumed].

Jennifer G. Cooke, the author of the study on Rwanda, makes the following possible scenarios which, in the coming years, could result for the country in a situation of instability

  1. A stalling of the government’s development programme which has become its flagship; this could come for example from a decrease of external flow of capital (aid and others including hard currencies from exports and tourism), or an increase of key commodity prices which could change radically the current economic and social parameters
  2. The situation in Eastern Congo could create favourable conditions, or become with time a strong base for a serious military opposition to Kagame’s regime
  3. The assassination of a high level figure within the RPF or in the opposition could provoke on the one hand a disproportionate security response from the RPF, or on the other hand, a spontaneous popular uprising
  4. The high level of uncertainty surrounding Kagame’s succession, come 2017, if he manages to finish in office his second constitutional term


In Rwanda, many, if not all channels for social and political debate are either absent or under strict control of the RPF regime. Jennifer predicts what may happen because of such situation. ‘The Rwandan government inability to manage political competition within a democratic framework may ultimately radicalise opponents who have no legitimate means to challenge the regime,’ she explains.

In January 1994, the CIA desk bureau in Kigali predicted that if the then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana was killed [as one of RPF strategies to gain political power], there would be between 300,000 and 500,000 of casualties. On 6 April 1994, he was killed and the genocide ensued. The death toll exceeded the predictions. Since then the Americans have almost achieved the influence they wanted to get in the region.

With this study key points in mind, there are some of the scenarios which are highlighted and could become reality in the coming years. The question that one can ask is whether U.S. and other external partners of Rwanda would want to see any change and prevent from happening the suggested worse case scenarios.

From past experience, more exactly the last two decades, it is recommendable to Rwandans who will be the most affected by any instability to preserve their own security as much they can.  Whatever will happen, U.S. and other countries which are today supporting Kagame’s regime have demonstrated enough that they work with him for their own selfish national and private interests. They don’t care much about ordinary citizens.

To read the study report, click here.


One response to “Understanding Rwandan future instability according to AFRICOM

  1. I don’t understand how a strong military rebel group can suddenly emerge and unite in eastern Congo if nobody but the Rwandan opposition would support this. But even the Rwandan opposition strongly denies the claim that they support military groups in eastern Congo or that they are working to merge these groups.

    Too bad the original document can no longer be viewed through the link. I am curious if the east african community was mentioned and discussed in relation to this topic.It seems to me the East African Community could have an impact on the pacification of eastern Congo too.

    I would also think that the Congolese elections will play a very important role in shaping the political future of Rwanda and Burundi in the coming years. Just like the Arab Spring, a Congolese victory of Tshisekedi could potentially break the spell of fear the RPF has succesfully cast across the region for soo long.


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