Congolese president Felix Tshisekedi has boxed himself into a corner with claims that he will “defeat the Rwandans” in the East of the country. Of course, when Tshisekedi and his people say this, everyone knows they are referring to the M23 rebel movement. But the M23 is no more Rwandan than Felix Tshisekedi (a Luba) is Zambian, for instance. Now, when Kinshasa attempts to label the indigenous M23 as “Rwandan foreigners”, there are two subtexts here, which even a child can easily discern. First, this is in keeping with the rumors Tshisekedi’s people persistently peddle, that Rwanda is behind the M23. Secondly, when they cast the M23 as foreigners, the (unstated) aim is wholesale expulsion, logically to “where they come from.” When the authorities, using the language of genocide, incite the hate of the rest of the Congolese populace against the Tutsi communities, it is with this objective (expulsion) in mind. But Tshisekedi is playing a more dangerous game than he seems to discern; one whose dangers his hubris blinds him to. His regime in its determination to strip the DRC’s Tutsi communities of their nationality, thereby rendering them stateless, instead will turn them into more formidable enemies. No man or woman fights as hard, and as determinedly, as one threatened with disenfranchisement. There is no greater incentive to fight to the death than the right to one’s ancestral land. No person will fight as ferociously, and for as long, as one that asserts the rights and freedoms of their people, which cannot exist without a homeland. If Tshisekedi were just a little bit intellectually curious, he might want to study events just next door in Rwanda some thirty-three years ago, to find out what happens when someone thinks they can resort to mass crimes against humanity to lock out a section of their country’s citizenry. Maybe he might want to think of the SPLA in Sudan, which could fight for over three decades against the government in Khartoum to gain independence for the people of South Sudan, why? Because the Arab north treated the southerners as second-class citizens. Think of that. These people could fight for over three decades, against far superior, much better equipped forces, because of disrespect and contempt against them and their identity, until they got their own country in 2011. Imagine what those faced with actual annihilation will do. Yet the Congolese president is on his unrelenting course of violence, and listens to no other logic. Apparently he has given very little thought to the possibility might backfire. A few years ago, the Banyamulenge, and members of other Tutsi herder communities were fighting to assert their full rights as citizens of the country. Now, what’s at stake for them is nothing short of a homeland itself. What is at stake is whether they or their children will ever have a place to call home, where their security is guaranteed, and where they no longer will be haunted by the specter of genocide. Sadly, there is very little prospect of the tragedies happening in DRC, the insecurity roiling the country and that threaten to spill across borders will end any time soon. They stem from nothing less than the cynical plotting of Tshisekedi who has bet the farm on war as the only event guaranteed to help keep him in power. Tshisekedi has good reason to fear that his government’s record – marred by worse insecurity than any of his predecessors’, and during which corruption and all other kinds of abuse of office have sunk the DRC economy, to the extent it now is the fifth poorest country in the world, according to the World Bank – will doom him at the polls. And so, ripping a page from the playbook of the great tyrants of history, the Congolese president has decided to target a section of his country (the Tutsi communities) to deflect attention from his failures. All the while he hopes to provoke war with Rwanda, which would provide the excuse to call off the elections. Everything that Kinshasa does – from the ongoing campaign of genocide against the Congo’s Tutsi communities, to its campaign of propaganda and misinformation against Rwanda, to the many incidents when its military, the FARDC, and its genocidal partners FDLR have fired shells into Rwanda, or its fighter jets violated Rwandan airspace, and more – is evidence of that calculus. Tshisekedi has no interest in resolving his country’s problems peacefully, or in bringing insecurity in its east to an end. There isn’t a peace deal (such as those hammered out by reginal leaders in Nairobi and Luanda) that Kinshasa will respect. The simple fact is that the endless crises are what Tshisekedi sees as essential to keeping him in power. However, in trying not only to genocide his country’s Tutsi, Kinyarwanda-speaking populations, but also attempting to render them a people with no homeland, the president of the DRC may have opened a pandora’s box he won’t know how to close again.