Rwanda’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Robert Kayinamura, has said that whenever DR Congo is headed for presidential elections, a pile of accusations against Rwanda crop up and later disappear after polls.
Kayinamura was speaking at the 11th Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly, as he responded to DR Congo’s Permanent Representative, Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, who accused Rwanda of ‘stealing gorillas and chimpanzees’ from his country.
Although the session was organised for member countries to debate and vote on a resolution on the referendum and annexation of four regions of Ukraine by Russia, Nzongola-Ntalaja took the floor and instead accused Rwanda of ‘stealing minerals, gorillas, and chimpanzees from DR Congo’.
This compelled Kayinamura to respond to Nzongola-Ntalaja, urguing that Congolese officials should stop outsourcing solutions to their internal challenges.
“DR Congo has had a difficult past, right from colonial times. Rwanda is just 28 years old. Every time there is no water, electricity, or roads, it’s Rwanda to blame.
“We need to move from that mentality and address the problems in your country. You cannot outsource a solution. You have to deal with the issues you are dealing with locally and find sustainable solutions,” said Kayinamura.
The Congolese diplomat had made reference to a certain report which he said was published “about 10 years ago” but could not recall what the report was called.
In his submission, Kayinamura said, “every time there are elections in DR Congo, Rwanda is going to be named. I know probably after 2023 when the elections are done, you may not hear Rwanda being mentioned again and that’s why the report he was referring to could not come to mind because these are just allegations.”
Rwanda is renowned globally for her efforts to preserve Mountain Gorillas, whose habitat cuts across three neighbouring countries; Rwanda Uganda and DR Congo.
In 2005, Rwanda began officially naming gorillas, an internationally renowned ceremony dubbed Kwita Izina where baby gorillas born in families on the Rwandan side are named anually. Since then, more than 350 mountain gorillas have been named.
Meanwhile, Kayinamura pointed out that DR Congo’s continued misuse of various platforms to engage in baseless and malicious propaganda” against neghbouring countries, including Rwanda, is not new.
During the 77th UN General Assembly, DR Congo President, Felix Tshisekedi, accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebel group claiming that his efforts to reunite the country and pursue peaceful settlements have been dragged by continual external interference.
Rwanda has denied the accusation and insisted that DR Congo should stop collaborating with anti-Rwanda groups, a fact that had been .
Kayinamura also pointed out that externalizing domestic problems of DR Congo will not solve them; it will only serve short-term goals, reiterating that Rwanda is fully committed to working with DR Congo through existing frameworks to address the root causes of the problems, including the dignified return of Congolese refugees who have stayed in neighboring countries, including Rwanda, for more than 20 years.
He added, “What DR Congo is not telling this august house is that DR Congo is home to over 130 armed groups, combining both local and foreign armed groups, including the FDLR an armed group active in DRC, and its splinter groups, which committed genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.”
There are currently existing frameworks, agreements, and roadmaps to follow in addressing the root causes of the security issues in DR Congo, however, Kayinamura said that due to lack of political will, DR Congo has successfully failed to implement these agreements and frameworks.