The Democratic Republic of Congo (particularly under its current ruler Felix Tshisekedi) is Rwanda’s neighbour from hell, if we are to call a spade a spade. The most apt analogy I can think of for Rwanda’s situation is that of DRC as the village loser who has decided to pick on his more organised, tidy, orderly neighbour. The village loser is that fellow whose penchant for squandering every resource he has on cheap, moonshine – kanyanga – not only long ago made him destitute, it also turned him into a public nuisance. This is the type of person that goes around barefoot, in rags, and habitually staggers home well beyond midnight, shouting at the top of his voice, singing incoherent songs, swearing, waking everyone from their peaceful sleep. This type of man, most likely out of envy, or jealousy, or just to make himself feel better about his sorry lot in life (which is entirely his own doing), will become a tormentor of his more orderly neighbour. After several bottles of kanyanga, the loser often will go looking for that quiet neighbour, to harass him with insults and slanders. But the latter, because he is afraid to be seen exchanging words with a borderline madman, will usually walk away. The unruly man often will follow his peaceful neighbour up to his home, and even when the latter locks himself inside, the drunkard will start throwing stones at his house. Anyone that hasn’t been living under a rock for the past few years has seen such behaviour in the conduct of Tshisekedi’s government, and his military vis-a-vis Rwanda. Everyone that follows the news is aware of Kinshasa’s unceasing, undignified loud noises of accusation against Rwanda; most frequently claims that “Rwanda is destabilising Congo”, or, “Rwanda is stealing” Congo’s wealth, or, “Rwanda is spying”, and a whole slew of other ludicrous smears for which they never produce an iota of evidence. As for the Congolese military’s provocations, the only thing to say is that Rwanda has preternatural reserves of restraint. Any other country would long ago have retaliated with full-scale war. When Tshisekedi’s military isn’t violating Rwandan airspace with its aircraft, it is organising anti-Rwanda riots at the border. Congolese fighter aircraft not only violate Rwandan airspace; one even landed at the aerodrome in Rubavu in November last year, before immediately taking off to fly back across the border. There have been incidents of Congolese soldiers actually entering Rwanda firing their weapons at Rwandan security personnel completely unprovoked. There have been countless situations whereby Congolese troops strayed into Rwanda, fully armed, probably looking to provoke incidents with the Rwandan army. Such is Kinshasa’s unruly behaviour towards Rwanda that, last year when Kigali was in preparations to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) summit, the Congolese army was busily plotting to disrupt it by ramping up insecurity. They fired shells into Rwanda, in Musanze in May (last year), but Rwanda was able to contain the problem before it got out of hand. The reason Tshisekedi has been hankering to bring war to Rwanda is because he wants to derail his own country’s elections, which are supposed to be held this December. The war will be a manufactured crisis that not only enables him postpone the elections, but gives him “emergency powers” – to do pretty much anything he wants. The strategy to get Tshisekedi his war hinges on targeting the Congo’s Tutsi communities, with the propaganda that “they are Rwandans”, or that they “work with Rwanda to cause insecurity (in DRC).” In fact, what’s going on is that the Tshisekedi regime has been trying to deflect attention from the abject failures of his tenure as head of state. It is a tenure that has seen insecurity in DRC become worse than ever, with corruption and poor governance at a nadir, and out-of-control nepotism whereby Tshisekedi’s close cronies or family members run anything of importance – all factors which have sunk the DRC down to fifth poorest country in the world, according to the World Bank. So, Kinshasa cranks up the hate and incites genocide against a section of his country’s population to deflect public discontent from himself and his gang. The regime apparently calculates that as a result of the hate for Congolese Tutsi communities, combined with a relentless anti-Rwanda campaign of propaganda and falsehoods, they have found their justification for war. But much as Rwanda is restrained, and does not easily get riled (which Tshisekedi’s and his people probably mistake for weakness), they would be foolhardy to imagine Kigali will sit back and wait for the Congolese army, FARDC, and its genocidal partners FDLR to invade. For those with no idea what may happen when the Congolese and their ex-FAR/Interahamwe pals try something like that, one will want to think of a philosophy of war that President Kagame, who knows a thing or two about the subject, has articulated. “Whoever attacks Rwanda, let them know that the war will be fought from where it came, and it will end there.” Shyaka Kanuma is a Kigali-based journalist.