Timely German-Rwanda rapprochement

Well, the circle is now complete once again. A “mutual” press release by the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday announced that both countries would reappoint heads of their respective diplomatic missions, ending a two month row.
Rose Kabuye at Kigali International Airport. Her arrest by the German Police November last year sparked off protests worldwide. (File photo)
Rose Kabuye at Kigali International Airport. Her arrest by the German Police November last year sparked off protests worldwide. (File photo)

Well, the circle is now complete once again. A “mutual” press release by the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday announced that both countries would reappoint heads of their respective diplomatic missions, ending a two month row.

“Germany and Rwanda share a long history of friendly relations. In the mutual interest of both countries and their peoples, they want to look forward and have agreed to work together to iron out matters disagreed upon.”

The diplomatic tone of the statement should not take anything away from the quality of the statement. It is not everyday that two feuding parties seek and arrive to a mutually beneficial understanding.

Though, there is a lot of diplomatic niceties in the mutual press release, it goes without saying that there must have been plenty of soul searching on both sides. To truly understand just how far both sides have come since the dark days of Rose Kabuye’s arrest in Frankfurt.

Rose Kabuye’s arrest by German Police, following French Judge Louse Brugiere’s indictment of her and senior leaders of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) merited a quick and virulent response we did.

The government cut off ties with Germany, recalled our ambassador and, declaring their ambassador persona non grata, gave him 48 hours to leave. That was the government’s response…but the people had to put their two cents in as well.
The nation-wide clamour was not, as some people thought it was, a government ploy but rather the anger of a people who’ve been let down time and time again by the international community. This time, the people made sure that their voices were heard all the way to Berlin and Paris.

But the people didn’t end at just marching on the German embassy. Women camped just outside the embassy’s walls, vowing not to move until she was released, Rwandans in the Diaspora did their bit, while even the florist’s had a part to play as their white roses sold out.

It must have come as a shock to Germany that we could make such a fuss. They must not have truly understood just how serious we are in defending our sovereignty.

It has become the norm that if the ‘west’ tells us ‘poor’ nations to “jump”, the only question they expect from us is “how high”. Well, not us.

The notion that justice and fairness is a western preserve was put to the sword. And happily, our point was received without too much rancour.

I’m not sure whether the German government has given our government a full explanation but I can only hope that they have eaten a bit of humble pie.

But for every feud there must be resolution because, as one politician once said, “there are no permanent friends, just permanent interests”. 

The joint press statement put this in stark view. “Germany and Rwanda share a long history of friendly relations. In the mutual interest of both countries and their peoples, they want to look forward and have agreed to work together to iron out matters disagreed upon.”

Well, the Rose Kabuye scandal isn’t the only thing that we need to iron out. As the Foreign Minister, Rosemary Museminali, pointed out, the issue of FDLR’s Ignace Murwanyashayka is one that hadn’t reached a satisfactory conclusion.

The fellow, who is the self-proclaimed leader of this terrorist organisation (according to the U.S State Department), lives and moves freely in and out of Germany without the slightest hindrance from the German authorities.

It is rather surprising that a nation like Germany, with its World War II record ( the Holocaust et al), can have the gumption to harbour the leader of a group of terrorists that have either directly participated in a genocide or have the desire to repeat one. 

Here are some sentiments that Murwanyashayka’s comrades have. ‘Major’ Vincent Habamungu told The Daily Telegraph that “we (FDLR) are fighting everyday because we are Hutu and they are Tutsis,” “We will never live in peace with them (Tutsis). We have to fight them all the time.”

If the German government found out that a group of skin-head youths had the same ideology as the FDLR, only this time targeting Jews and other minorities, they’d be quickly put out of business.

Therefore, it is time that Germany did something about this bleeding sore in our relations. And I believe that, with our improved relations, this problem will be tackled head on.

Contact: sunny_ntayombya@hotmail.com 

 

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