Congolese ruler Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo has a recurring pattern of avoiding responsibility for the numerous challenges afflicting his country. Acknowledging responsibility is never a thing for him. instead, he consistently directs accusations elsewhere.
This issue isn’t novel in the DRC; it’s a deeply ingrained habit of searching for others to turn into scapegoats. The list of potential culprits is extensive and ever-shifting, sometimes it’s Uganda, the United States, the United Nations, and more recently, the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF). Nevertheless, Rwanda, and the Congolese Tutsi community are the primary targets to turn into scapegoats.
Despite enduring the chaos of civil wars in the 1960s, enduring the oppressive regime of Mobutu throughout the 1970s to the 1990s, and even extending a hospitable hand to armed genocidal perpetrators fresh from massacring their own countrymen, and subsequently supporting them, as the FDLR, a substantial portion of the Congolese population persistently attributes virtually every challenge that has afflicted the DRC, both historical and ongoing, to Rwanda and the Tutsi community.
An extreme example of this blame game occurred on May 22, 2021, when a volcano erupted in Goma. Instead of recognizing it as a natural disaster, some in Goma insisted that “Rwanda and the Tutsis” were responsible. It’s a bizarre claim that leaves you questioning whether it’s so absurd that it’s almost comical, or if it reflects an unhealthy obsession with accusing Rwanda and the Tutsi community.
Another example is when Georges Nzongola Ntalaja, the DRC’s representative at the UN, accused Rwanda of stealing gorillas and chimpanzees from the DRC and transporting them to Rwanda. He made this allegation with a straight face, which highlights the lengths Congolese leaders are willing to go to pin blame on Rwanda for almost anything.
Nevertheless, what’s more concerning is that this blame game is rooted in the same toxic ideas that caused significant loss of life during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. This rhetoric, blaming the Tutsi and post-genocide Rwanda Government, for all the problems in DRC, originates from genocidal propaganda outlets like Kangura. It brings to mind two things: first, the well-known image of a Hutu extremist telling a doctor, “I’m sick, doctor!” When the doctor asks what’s wrong, the patient responds, “The Tutsi…Tutsi…Tutsi…!!!” Second, it underscores how the influx of extremists from Rwanda into Congo also brought with them genocide ideology against the Tutsis.
In short, the fixation on Rwanda and the Tutsi, coupled with these peculiar accusations, does nothing to address the genuine issues facing the DRC. It’s an obsession fueled by hatred that has poisoned the minds of many Congolese.