The legacy of DRC-Rwanda relations can be described as indifferent depending on the times.
The relations have in the past hit an all time low mainly concerning the security situation in eastern Congo, where tensions fueled by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi created new horrors for Rwanda.
More international peacekeepers and aid workers rushed in, but the United Nations Security Council has shamefully until today failed to act on Rwanda’s concerns.
A situation overcame when the two countries buried the hatchet and decided through operation ‘Umoja Wetu’, to confront the menace in the Eastern Congo jointly.
Congo already over stretched by more than 1.5 million displaced people and having to watch her people suffer, looting, rape and killings; was more than willing to join forces with Rwanda.
The benefits of the joint operation are still trickling in to this day, as more former FDLR soldiers are finding their way home.
Albeit, some hardliners in the Eastern Congo still resist change, but their path of violence is not sustainable, Rwanda has raised the tempo.
The success of ‘Umoja Wetu’ was in not only in building trust between the two countries, they are now looking into a future of friendly diplomatic relations.
Amandin Rugira, the outgoing Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, has been named Rwanda’s Ambassador in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This effort speaks volumes as the two countries seek to restore diplomatic relations.
When the custodians of the two countries’ foreign policies (Foreign Ministers) met last month, they agreed and committed themselves to exchange Ambassadors in a bid to advance diplomatic relations. And that’s what Rwanda has done.
It is an extremely positive step towards the normalization of relations between the two countries that we all want.
So now the burden of proof is on DRC to return the favour for the good of the greater region in order to show that it is committed to solidify a reciprocal commitment to normalizing diplomatic relations.
Such a move is a source of hope and satisfaction, notably for the region.