Kagame-Kabila summit: border residents speak out

RUBAVU - Residents of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the town of Goma and their Rwandan counterparts of Gisenyi town believe that the meeting by the two Heads of State is vital and will restore cross-border relationship and cooperation.
Congolese Traditional dancers who entertaining President Kagame upon his arrival at the border (Photo J Mbanda).
Congolese Traditional dancers who entertaining President Kagame upon his arrival at the border (Photo J Mbanda).

RUBAVU - Residents of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the town of Goma and their Rwandan counterparts of Gisenyi town believe that the meeting by the two Heads of State is vital and will restore cross-border relationship and cooperation.

The New Times, ROBERT MUGABE interviewed various people from both towns to get their views on the meeting.

Bienvenue Rukimbira (Rwandan/Gisenyi)

At my bar here, Nganda-Nabiso, we play Congolese music and 70 percent of my clientele are Congolese. The meeting of both leaders will definitely bring security in our region which will also improve our business environment.

Most of our family business is in Goma (the Provincial Capital of Eastern DRC) and when Eastern Congo is insecure, all our houses and shops are at risk.

That is why we wake up early to cross the border to Goma and do the same when we come home here in Gisenyi because Goma is still marred by insecurity which we hope will be sorted out by the normalisation of relations between our two countries.

Edmond Mulamba (Congolese businessman)

I heard that our presidents will order the border to open 24 hours. This is a milestone; it is going to greatly facilitate our businesses because we go to Gisenyi for banking services.

I, like the entire business community within our two countries, am optimistic that this rejuvenated relationship between our two countries will have a very big impact on our businesses.

Gisenyi is a clean tourist town that most of us Congolese like.

Seleman Birimabagabo (Rwandan salesman in Gisenyi)


The majority of my regular clients come from across in Goma, and the improved relations will help boost my business. There used to be tension and mistrust between the two peoples, but it has since subsided. This meeting will only cement this.


Bahati Musanga (Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese)

When there is conflict between the two countries, we Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese suffer all kinds of harassment.

It is time for us to enjoy our brotherly relations.

 Alex Mudahemuka, receptionist, BCR-Gisenyi

You know when your neighbour is sick you might get infected. The meeting of two leaders I believe will heal the disease of insecurity that has rocked both the North and South Kivu.

This means that their peace is our peace. The issue of opening the border 24 hours will encourage business on both sides of the border.

You see, most of the Congolese in Goma use the services of our banks here in Gisenyi. And when there is security, it has a great impact on the economy, not only for the residents here but also the entire country.


Beatrice Tshibana (a Congolese woman)

I am here to welcome President Kagame! This means a lot to all of us and I am sure our revived relationship will not please some people, especially from the West who have always strived to keep our two countries at loggerheads.

When Nyirangongo volcano erupted, our fellow Rwandans received as like their own citizens and it touched me. But what hurt me most was the time Kinyarwanda speaking Rwandans were suffering, we did not give them the hospitality they deserved.

My parents had convinced me that Rwandans were not good people to live with and I grew up with these feelings. But now I am witnessing the opposite. I am so proud to have witnessed this moment.

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