The rousing welcome President Kagame received at the Martyrs’ Stadium in Kinshasa where he had gone to pay his last respects to veteran Congolese politician, Etienne Tshisekedi, rubbed some people – especially those with short memories – the wrong way.
Tshisekedi was one of the very few Congolese politicians who came out publicly to declare that, unlike many Congolese have been taught to believe that their problems were not brought about by Rwanda, ex-Zairean leaders, the late Mobutu Sese Seko in particular, were the ones to blame.
It was not a popular stance, but he stuck to his guns, pointing out that Mobutu had allowed the defeated Rwandan soldiers and Interahamwe militia to enter his country with their weapons and refused to separate them from genuine refugees.
And contrary to international conventions, he let them set camp a short distance from the Rwandan border and looked the other way when the regularly made incursions into Rwanda. It was only a matter of time before Rwanda took it upon itself to deal with the matter decisively.
The rest is history, the armed insurgents moved deeper into the country, led an outlaw life, spreading their violent ideology and influencing a once peaceful people to make their statement using guns. That is the Congolese tragedy.
Now the new Congolese President, Felix Tshisekedi, is proving to be a chip off the old block to the dismay of many who don’t wish Rwanda well. Those are the ones frothing at the new rapprochement between the two countries.
But the ones worried most are the sponsors of the many armed groups now that Angola, DRC and Rwanda have agreed to work together to eradicate them. They should have reason to worry.