Kagame welcomes Tshisekedi’s invitation to oust rebels

Wednesday July 3 2019

Presidents

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame (centre) is received by his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa on May 31,2019. PHOTO | URUGWIRO 

IVAN R. MUGISHA
By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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President Paul Kagame said he is delighted by President Felix Tshisekedi’s call on regional countries to join in the fight against rebel groups operating in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), terming it worthy move that will greatly improve the security of the great lakes region.

Tshisekedi recently vowed to flash out rebel groups in his country and asked countries in the region to join his army forces in this fight.

During a media briefing, Kagame on Tuesday said that Rwanda was more than ready to join DRC the fight.

“We will join DRC yesterday. We have been waiting and I am glad that we have a president in DRC who is willing to work with neighbors to solve this problem. This problem has been here for too long and has affected DRC and its neighbors. We cannot sit and wait as the problem grows, so I am happy with how President Tshisekedi is looking at this problem,” Kagame said.

At least three leaders of the Kamwina Nsapu militia group surrendered, alongside 100 of their fighters, surrendered early this year in a show of support to DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi.

Another rebel group – Kasai – laid down its weapons also this year shortly after the inauguration of Tshisekedi.

However, Eastern DRC is still roamed by many rebel groups, who mainly operate in the jungles and exploit the areas vast mineral resources to finance their activities.

Those opposed to Kagame's government include the FDLR, who are made of former Rwandan soldiers and officials suspected of participating in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, as well as the recently created FLN and P5, both started by Rwandan dissidents who are former allies of President Kagame.

 President Kagame also waded into the topic about his succession during the presidential briefing, noting that anyone who wants to replace him must be ready to work extremely hard.

He gave away no hint on his plans for the 2024 presidential elections saying that his decision depends on the will of the people and his ruling party.

“There are very many who want it (the presidency). They have to work hard to get it. I have personal choices to make (regarding a 4th term) but that is not the only thing,” he said

“My view was not to continue (as president for a third term)... but my view was on one side and the views of my party on the other side. I agreed to listen to them but told them to think of finding someone else next time.”

He bushed his critics and told them to focus on the problems in their own countries instead of “making it a habit” to focus on Rwanda.

“There isn’t a single country in the world where there are no problems. Why does someone get so interested in my problems to the point of wanting to cut my finger off?” Kagame said.

“You can point out my problems; I have no problem with that. It is even a good thing because I may see it, but you cannot make it a habit by poking a finger in my eyes about my problems.”

President Kagame declined to comment on the tensions between his country and Uganda.

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