Following the decision by the United States to cut military aid to Rwanda on grounds that the latter allegedly supports rebel mutinies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, has said the donor is free to dispense or withhold support, but that the premise is ill-informed.
The U.S. government, Saturday, said it has cut this year’s planned military assistance to Rwanda amid concerns that the government in Kigali is supporting rebel movements in neighbouring Congo.
The aid cut by the US is equivalent to US$200,000 which was part of initially pledged military aid for a training academy. The State Department said they would relocate the amount to another country.
Rwandan military forces
“The United States government is deeply concerned about the evidence that Rwanda is implicated in the provision of support to Congolese rebel groups, including M23,” said Hilary Fuller Renner, a State Department spokeswoman, in a statement.”
“While we respect the rights of any development partner, at the same time we must make it clear to our friends in Washington and elsewhere that this decision is based on bad information, and is wrong on the facts. As we have made clear from the outset, Rwanda is neither the cause nor the enabler of instability in the eastern DRC,” Mushikiwabo said.
Is it a bad information?
A report by a Group of UN Experts say there is evidence Rwanda is backing the M23 mutineers but Kigali has refuted the allegations.
In May this year, a group of defectors fighting for the M23 rebel movement against the Congolese army say that they were recruited and trained in neighbouring Rwanda against their will.
The revelations come after weeks of fighting in the east of the country and would be the first direct evidence that Rwandan troops are involved in the fighting that has displaced thousands from their homes.
The allegations made by the rebel defectors across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo will strain relations with Rwanda, but so far officials from both sides have held back, and are talking about a joint investigation to get to the bottom of the matter.
Speculation of Rwandan involvement in the mineral-rich zone grew as the UN mission said this week 11 rebel fighters had given themselves up in Congo, saying they had been recruited in Rwanda and tricked into crossing the border to fight for the rebels.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikwabo rejected the assertions as untrue and accused the UN of stirring tensions in the Great Lakes region.
Louise Mushikiwabo is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda.
Her brother, Lando Ndasingwa, was the only tutsi minister in the last Habyarimana government, but was killed in the beginning the 1994 genocide.
Louise Mushikiwabo’s career has since the mid 1990s focused on building bridges of communication and championing the rights of women to access education and opportunities for emancipation through business and engagement in civil society programmes, particularly between Africa and the US. As a senior staffer at the African Development Bank’s North American Office, and later Chief Representative and Spokesman for the US-Africa Foundation in Washington DC, Mushikiwabo has facilitated international trade symposiums, cross-border business partnerships and mentoring programmes for African entrepreneurs and educators located in Africa and the Americas. Additionally in her role as Chief Representative for the US-Africa Foundation, Mushikiwabo helped affect change in the United States policy toward Africa, as both the Foundation’s advocate during the development of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, and its representative to the US Agency for Development (USAID).
Prior to focusing on the research and drafting of Rwanda Means the Universe Mushikiwabo held the position of Editor for the African Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), leading reporting and research services for the intergovernmental organisation and its management, as well as holding responsibility for overseeing the preparation of joint World Bank-IMF reporting and publications for Africa.
In 2008, having left Washington DC, Louise Mushikiwabo was honoured to be appointed Minister of Information for the Republic of Rwanda a cabinet-level position in the Government of Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame. She has overseen the transition of the Ministry of Information into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation to become an new, unified department under her leadership, following her appointment as Foreign Minister in November 2009.
As a member of the Rwandan Cabinet, Minister Mushikiwabo has led a series of international negotiations for the Republic, including the final preparations for the country to join the Commonwealth of Nations, trade and financial agreements in the East African Community – of which Rwanda is a member – and the rapprochement between Rwanda and the French Republic, a major international reconciliation.
In May 2010 Minister Mushikiwabo lead the first International Forum in Kigali on the Role of Leadership in Promoting, Accelerating and Sustaining Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment.
“Too many observers have entirely forgotten the central role of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in fomenting almost constant crisis in the region since fleeing into the DRC from Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, during which its members killed more than one million ethnic Tutsis. It has been widely reported, including by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, that the FDLR is taking brutal advantage of the current unrest. The reports of mass rapes, looting, and slaughter in the DRC at the hands of these unrepentant génocidaires echo with a chilling familiarity throughout the region.”
The M23 Movement:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It was formed on 4 April 2012 after close to 300 soldiers, all former members of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), mutinied against the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), complaining of poor conditions. This number rose since the formation of the group. General Bosco Ntaganda, also known as “The Terminator”, has been accused of leading the group, and President Kabila called for his arrest on 11 April 2012. In late March of 2012 there were rumours that the DRC government was willing to bring him to justice. In early April 2012, the government threatened to redeploy former CNDP soldiers away from North Kivu, and this prompted many of them to join up with Ntaganda and defect.
The rebels have been active in the North Kivu province, fighting government forces in the Rutshuru and Miasisi territories. On 6 June 2012 a Congolese spokesman reported that 200 M23 soldiers have died in their mutiny and that over 370 soldiers have surrendered to FARDC, including 25 Rwandan citizens. On 8 July 2012, Colonel Sultani Makenga announced that a government offensive to dislodge the group from their hideouts had failed, and that they had in turn captured several towns towards Goma, the provincial capital.
- New Evidence Points to Rwandan Backing of Rebels
- Fears of War With Rwanda Rattle DRC Youth
- Rwanda supporting D.R. Congo mutineers
Sources: All.africa, wikipedia, Aljeezera, international.gc.ca, Rwanda Factsheet