The Rwandan envoy to Tanzania yesterday refuted as “untrue and distortion of facts” accusations that his country was behind the escalating violence and civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Speaking during talks with IPP Executive Chairman, Dr Reginald Mengi in Dar es Salaam, the Rwanda High Commissioner to Tanzania, Ben Rugangazi distanced his government from the protracted DRC conflicts.
“The government of Rwanda has no hand in the DRC civil wars…we are not involved in any way,” Rugangazi, who was paying a courtesy visit to the IPP Executive Chairman said.
The response by the Rwanda High Commissioner comes as rebel-led violence coupled with civil war persist in the eastern parts of DRC, with some people and institutions pointing an accusing finger at the Kagame regime for having a hand in the conflicts.
“There are reports that Rwanda is among the countries that are fueling conflicts in the DRC. What are your comments on these accusations?” Mengi had asked the Rwanda envoy.
Responding, Rugangazi described the reports and accusations leveled against his government as “wrong, untrue and a distortion of facts.” He noted that Rwanda had never and cannot be involved in fueling conflicts in the DRC.
He explained that DRC problems were complicated and diverse, and required combined efforts to tackle them.
According to Rugangazi: “DRC conflicts and problems are diverse…and in fact, they have been there for many years… so, attributing them to Rwanda is quite unfair. My President Paul Kagame and his government should not be seen as the cause of these problems.” He insisted: “DRC problems should be dealt with by “the DRC government itself…and of course with the help of the international community.”He said that at the recent African Union Summit, Heads of State and Government, including Rwandan President Paul Kagame, met (on the sidelines of the meeting) to discuss the DRC conflicts.
He said: “They agreed to meet again soon to try to find practical strategies to end the DRC conflicts, which have been persistent for years.”
Responding to Dr Mengi’s questions on ICT development, East African integration processes, private sector’s contribution to Rwanda’s economic progress, the envoy made an impassionate appeal to the regional media to play an active role in fast-tracking the regional integration processes.
While praising the media as a key tool in fostering the agenda of development in the region, Rugangazi was also concerned that it has been very slow in sending out important messages on regional integration processes.
“Regional leaders have made initiatives — setting up systems and making decisions, in the course of pushing for regional integration, but these important messages have not reached many East Africans. We need the media to assist and actively support governments in the integration processes,” the envoy said.
Describing education as one of the important components in regional integration, Rugangazi said it allows interactions among East Africans, enabling them to understand each other and create solid bounds.
Citing specific examples, he said there are about 100 students from Rwanda pursuing different courses at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), adding that students from East African partner states should be encouraged to study in “Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.
It’s through this way, our students/people would mix and understand each other.”
“EAC governments and higher learning institutions need to encourage this spirit if we really want to speed up the regional integration,” the Rwanda envoy said.