Rwanda vs neighbours

Sunday March 17 2019

 

By RISDEL KASASIRA

Rwanda has had diplomatic spats with all its neighbours in the last two decades, with the latest being Uganda that it accuses of harbouring dissidents hostile to Kigali.
Recently while trying to explain why Rwanda had closed its border with Uganda, Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister Richard Sezibera accused Uganda of hosting their enemies.
The border closure caused social media buzz, with one tweet from Magezi Kiriinjju putting into context Rwanda’s relations with its neighbours.
“Rwanda cannot afford a hostile Burundi to the south, a rebel harbouring DR Congo to the west, a cold shouldered Tanzania to the east and blindly create enmity with Uganda to the north. The rocket you sent to the atmosphere won’t create new friendly neighbours in the sky,” Kiriinjju responded Dr Sezibera and tagged president Paul Kagame.

Rwanda vs DR Congo
When the Rwandan Patriotic Front captured power in 1994, there was an influx of Rwandan refugees into DR Congo, including those suspected to have committed genocide.
Rwanda and Uganda backed armed groups and toppled president Mobutu Sese Seko, who they accused of giving these armed groups a safe haven.
Laurent Kabila assumed power in 1997, but in 1998, an insurrection, another backed again by Rwanda and Uganda to topple Kabila, failed.
From then, Rwanda has had frosty relations with DR Congo. But later Kagame moved to restore relations until 2013 when another rebel group, M23, allegedly supported by Rwanda attacked and captured Goma town in South Kivu Province.
The rebel group was later defeated by a joint UN and Congolese forces. Rwanda and DR Congo later normalised their relations, but Rwandan dissidents continued using the Congolese territory to recruit and train.
Early this year when president Kagame called an African Union summit to discuss the recently held Congolese elections with a view of delaying the announcement of Felix Tshisekedi as winner of the disputed election, there were demonstrations in DRC condemning what the Congolese called Mr Kagame’s move to interfere with their affairs.

Rwanda vs Burundi
There is political hostility between Rwanda and Burundi as the two neighbours that were both colonised by Belgium continue to accuse each of security breaches.
Burundi has openly declared Rwanda an enemy state. This pronouncement came after Bujumbura accused Kigali of aiding a coup attempt against president Pierre Nkurunziza in 2015.
But Rwanda has also accused Burundi of cross-border attacks in Nyabitama. The two small countries that have had troubled political paths almost fought each other in 2017.

Rwanda vs Tanzania
Rwanda and Tanzania under president John Pombe Magufuli are opening a new chapter of warm relations after years of turbulence, with former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete threatening to attack Rwanda in 2013.
The bad relations stem from Kikwete’s remarks to Kagame that Rwanda should have negotiated with the FDLR, a Rwandan rebel group whose members were accused of committing the 1994 genocide.

Rwanda vs Uganda
The Uganda-Rwanda relations are at a low again. It is the first time Rwanda is closing its border with Uganda. Even when Rwandan and Ugandan troops clashed in DR Congo, such radical decisions were not made.Rwanda has consistently accused Uganda of working with its enemies, but Kampala has dismissed the allegations.

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