Towards Arusha ll for Rwanda or end of FDLR!

This is the Tanzanian president Kikwete explaining to his fellow compatriots his position on the relations of his country with Rwanda after his statement on the necessity of dialogue between Kagame and FDLR. This was back in May/July 2013.

During the Rwandan civil war of 90/94, sides to the armed conflict, meaning the Rwandan Patriotic Front [RPF] of Paul Kagame and the Rwandan government of Juvenal Habyarimana at the time met in Arusha for several months of 1992 and 93 before coming to an agreement for peace on August 4th, 1993. Unfortunately this agreement was thrown in the air by RPF which did not want to share power with nobody else. War resumed after the assassination of the Rwandan president on April 6th 1994. It officially ended in July of that year after the killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians from all the ethnic groups of the Rwandan society.

More than two decades later, the failure of Arusha negotiations should demand from any side that will be called upon to discuss the future of Rwanda to learn seriously the lessons: asking why they failed. One of the reasons of such failure has been the fact that these negotiations were not owned by Rwandans. They were instruments in the hands of whichever forces either regional or international which wanted to get access to the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] and exploit its minerals freely. That Paul Kagame took advantage of the ambitions of diverse parties involved to impose to Rwandans the old order of his Tutsi ancestors who ruled over the country for several centuries, the amounts of benefits blinded their beneficiaries in front of his criminal excesses both in Rwanda and DRC, and even beyond.

At two occasions, it was almost only through the intervention of countries from SADC that it was possible to counter Kagame and his affiliates in crime and their destabilizing activities in the entire region for the last twenty five years. The first time was during the 1998 war of the Congo and the second time with the intervention of the international brigade consisting of soldiers from SADC and operating under MONUSCO. After defeating M23, the turn was for FDLR. And probably because of the fact that this latter rebel group decided to use peaceful means to achieve its political intentions, it was not appropriate for the international community to confront it militarily, as this was the case with the former. As we know, Kikwete who privileges peaceful talks to war, received insults from Rwandan authorities when he called for dialogue between Kigali and FDLR, the two opposing sides.

Despite Kagame’s opposition to such talks, he is being gradually cornered in such way that he might loose many of the members in his clan he counts strongly on to to stay in power, once they will realize that he is going down with them. And the pressure around his neck is taking some momentum. Are Rwandans ready for another Arusha peace talks or are they thinking of welcoming FDLR as a political force instead of being considered otherwise. If the whole situation is not dealt with appropriately, the rebel movement might be forcibly erased from the Rwandan political scene without a shot. Again recent history of the region should teach Rwandan Hutus how the international community has treated them as the last of its preoccupations.




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