US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Rwandan President Paul Kagame engaged in a productive call on August 15, 2023, discussing the pressing and volatile situation along the border shared by Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Firstly, the timing of this exchange is notably crucial, given the escalating tensions that have been stoked by a series of reports regarding the actions of the Tshisekedi regime. These actions encompass the arming of the FDLR, a US-UN-sanctioned group infamous for its genocidal pursuits and subsequent notoriety. In addition, tribal militias operating under the emblem of “Wazalendo” have been enlisted, alongside the enlistment of mercenaries from the Agemira company.
Adding weight to the urgency of the situation, Lt. Col. William Ryarasa, the Commanding Officer of the Rwanda Defense Forces- RDF 3rd Division based in Gisenyi, recently highlighted the presence of these armed non-state actors, strategically poised at the Rwanda-DRC border. Their purpose appears to be nothing short of destabilizing the painstakingly established security that the peace-loving Rwandan population cherishes.
These developments have not escaped the attention of the United States, and their views on Tshisekedi’s actions are unequivocal. They see Tshisekedi’s arming of non-state actors as a calculated attempt to undermine the ongoing peace initiatives in Nairobi and Luanda. These diplomatic platforms emphasize the importance of dialogue and diplomatic resolutions over the escalator approach Tshisekedi seems to be pursuing.
It is essential to understand that Tshisekedi’s recent endeavors, heavily centered around military buildup and antagonistic posturing, aim to spark conflict with Rwanda. The rationale behind such a strategy seems to be an attempt to divert attention from internal challenges and postpone impending elections that, according to various analysts, might well spell the end of Tshisekedi’s political reign.
As these developments continue to unfold, it remains to be seen whether Tshisekedi will change course and align with the regional peace frameworks that have garnered the support of all other stakeholders or partners.