Why the meeting of Kagame and Kabila was historical

When the Draft UN Expert Report on DRC was leaked in November 2008, accusing Rwanda of supporting the Congolese rebel Gen. Laurent Nkunda and the DRC of aiding and abating the Rwandan rebel group FDLR, every major news outlet reported it.

When the Draft UN Expert Report on DRC was leaked in November 2008, accusing Rwanda of supporting the Congolese rebel Gen. Laurent Nkunda and the DRC of aiding and abating the Rwandan rebel group FDLR, every major news outlet reported it.

The leaked information sparked outrage and protest from the accused parties and understandably so. Interestingly enough, this same Report has not seen the light of day.

In contrast, virtually no reaction is noted by these same international media houses when President Paul Kagame of Rwanda honored the invitation from his counterpart of the DRC President Joseph Kabila to meet in Goma on August 6th 2009.

Was it, in the view of these media powerhouses not newsworthy enough? Was it to them just a front, a masquerade, designed to cover up for past, present or future political schemes? 

Or did it hold no value in their eyes because the two Presidents weren’t looking westward while doing so?

It was indeed a local initiative which deserves all accolades for having been carried out without first seeking the blessings of those who deem themselves our ‘Big Brothers’ Nor is it linked to Hilary Clinton’s visit to the region.

Making history is hardly a Western privilege. In the case of Rwanda, this is nothing new. When in 1994 the RPF, under the leadership of Paul Kagame, had all the cards in its hands, revenge seemed to be the logical course of action to be taken by those who viewed and still view Africans as a bloodthirsty subhuman race whose actions remain motivated by primal instincts.

Is that what happened? Heavens, no!  Instead, a process of peace and reconciliation was put in motion, calling on all Rwandans to overcome divisionism by joining hands as we journey together towards sustainable development.

Fifteen years after the fact, Rwanda still stands the test of time. If Rwanda was still operating under the logic of assistance, we wouldn’t have reached this far. 

We would most probably still be on our knees begging for the crumbs from those who view African emancipation as a nightmare. 

Ironically enough, those who were rooting for us to fail now cite Rwanda as the African example.

After a decade of animosity between Kigali and Kinshasa, the leadership of these countries decided to turn the page and work together towards making this region a conflict-free place. 

The commitment to working together can only be best demonstrated by the recent joint military operation, Umoja Wetu; which did more for peace in the region than MONUC ever did. 

Maybe the international community should stop throwing money at this mission and invest in supporting regional efforts for conflict resolution.

For making this unexpected and bold move towards peace, stability and cooperation, these two African Leaders deserve a lot of the credit. Can Africans take the lead and solve their own problems simply by engaging each other in talks? Yes we can.

With this step, two main actors on the African continent are ushering in the dawn of a new day, a day when African Leaders will be relevant and accountable to their people and their Nations.

alberuda@gmail.com

 

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