Three Great Lakes states – Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda – are trading charges of subversion, each accusing another of sponsoring rebels based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Outside powers should help the Congolese president resolve these tensions, lest a lethal multi-sided melee ensue.
Rwanda-Uganda tensions persisted after President Kagame and Ugandan President Museveni took steps to mend ties in Feb. Uganda in March expelled over 300 Rwandans for allegedly “spreading COVID-19” and Ugandan security forces 12 March arrested Ugandan presidential candidate and former security minister Henry Tumukunde on charges of treason for allegedly seeking to obtain support from Rwanda to remove current President Museveni from office. Defence and security officials 11 March met with counterparts from Burundi, DR Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Uganda in Goma, DRC, to assess information exchange mechanisms to help stabilise eastern DRC. Govt 22 March banned all “unnecessary movements” and closed all borders in attempt to combat spread of COVID-19.
One year ago, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was mired in trouble, under serious time constraint because of the firm date by which its work had to be finished.
While a transition government is scheduled to be installed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in June 2003, the program of the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) for voluntary disarmament and demobilisation, repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration (DDRRR, henceforth DR) of foreign armed groups has remained a failure.
Nine years after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has reached another crossroads. The transition period defined by the Arusha Accords will be concluded in less than a year by a constitutional referendum and by multi-party elections which should symbolize the successful democratisation of the country.
There are just over five years left for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to complete the mission conferred upon it by the United Nations Security Council in November 1994. The Tribunal is halfway through its mandate, and in the past eighteen months, a number of new trials have begun.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda were once called the “new breed” of African leaders but hopes that they can deliver peace and prosperity to their countries are being severely shaken.
Seeking the leadership of the Francophonie is clearly part of Rwanda's goal for a greater continental and global role.
It’s been essentially the Paul Kagame show [in Rwanda] for the last two decades, and not too many people see that changing.
President Tshisekedi’s plans for joint operations with DR Congo’s belligerent eastern neighbours against its rebels risks regional proxy warfare. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to encourage diplomatic efforts in the region and Tshisekedi to shelve his plan for the joint operations.
Testimony by Mark L. Schneider, Senior Vice President, International Crisis Group to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on “Examining the Role of Rwanda in the DRC Insurgency”.
Originally published in Le Soir
Originally published in The Africa Report