Persecution of Congolese Rwandophone should be the focus, the rest is distraction and diversion

After so much misinformation has been thrown around by the Congolese authorities, President Kagame recently came out to categorically set the record straight on the conflict in Congo as well as the diversionary narratives of the Kinshasa authorities. “If you look at the Congolese of Rwandan ethnicity and how that issue has been handled in the DR Congo, it needs more serious attention. If that was to be addressed and it can be addressed, there’s no question about that,” President Kagame said, adding “If you look at the rights of people, fixing their problems is a simple matter. So I don’t see why DR Congo has not done so. When the international community got involved, they ended up being part of the problem.”

The persecution of Tutsi Congolese for decades is the cause of the M23 movement, not any alleged foreign support. Unless the world has forgotten, AFDL was born after Mobutu started persecuting Congolese Tutsi, and senior officials in that government declaring publicly that Congolese Tutsi were not Congolese and were even given an ultimatum to “go back to their home- Rwanda.” The option of taking up arms to fight for their right to nationality and land was forced on them from that point in time.

Sadly, nothing has changed since then. The Rwandophone Congolese have to fight or die, because they are damned if they do, they are still damned if they don’t. Their tribulations started when Genocide perpetrators, fleeing from the RPA forces, that committed genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda entered and settled all over DR Congo and started sowing anti Tutsi sentiments among Congolese.

The Hutu power lobby group has since then grown from strength to strength, especially in the Eastern Congo, where they have mobilised Congolese Hutu to form armed groups that have sought to incessantly harass Tutsi and make them flee from their historical localities. Many Tutsis have been killed and their property confiscated with the complicity of DRC authorities. The fact that these genocide perpetrators have been integrated by Congolese governments into government systems has multiplied the tribulations of Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese

Rwanda today is host to over 70,000 Congolese Rwandophone refugees who have been fleeing sporadic attacks from the FARDC as well as an assortment of armed groups that have happened since 1996, many of them a result of the genocide ideology imparted to them by the genocide perpetrators who have been morphing into different forms and names over time.

The world should understand the M23 conflict in the context of people who have been persecuted for decades and denied their right to nationality. The rebels fight with the psyche of a wounded lion. Their only way out is to fight to restore their right as Congolese nationals because Congo is the only country they know as their home. They consider whoever stands between them and their nationality as the enemy.

The narrative about M23 receiving external support is a deliberately crafted ruse by the Congolese authority to divert global pressure to address the issue of Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese. Support or no support, the issues of Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese will always be the responsibility of Congolese authorities to fix.

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