US-Taliban talks: a lesson for Kagame and Museveni

Why US-Taliban talks should open the way for Kagame-FDLR, Museveni-LRA dialogue – Published on Pambazuka News, by Antoine Roger Lokongo, June 26, 2013.

The current US-Taliban talks now remove any pretexts Kagame and Museveni might have not to talk to the FDLR and to the LRA, respectively. Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete’s proposal for talks involving all parties in the Great Lakes region to find a permanent political solution to the problems of the region must be urgently heeded.  

What was inconceivable just a few days ago is now becoming a reality. At last, the US has agreed to open direct peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar to find a political solution to the crisis in Afghanistan (BBC report, 18 June 2013), notwithstanding the fact that the Taliban are a well-known ‘terrorist group’ affiliated to, in fact the main backer of Al Qaida.

Why US-Taliban talks should open the way for Kagame-FDLR, Museveni-LRA dialogue – Published on Pambazuka News, by ntoine Roger Lokongo, June 26, 2013. http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/87995

The current US-Taliban talks now remove any pretexts Kagame and Museveni might have not to talk to the FDLR and to the LRA, respectively. Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete’s proposal for talks involving all parties in the Great Lakes region to find a permanent political solution to the problems of the region must be urgently heeded.

What was inconceivable just a few days ago is now becoming a reality. At last, the US has agreed to open direct peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar to find a political solution to the crisis in Afghanistan (BBC report, 18 June 2013), notwithstanding the fact that the Taliban are a well-known ‘terrorist group’ affiliated to, in fact the main backer of Al Qaida.

Similarly, at last, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete has come up with a solution that can transform the Great Lakes Region, root and branch, from a state of insecurity to a state of peace which can lead to sustainable development for the region. Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will definitely deal with justice issues related to the crimes against humanity and genocide committed by Congo’s two neighbours in Congo since 1998, but right now this process must begin with the ‘Inter-Rwandan Dialogue’ and ‘Inter-Ugandan Dialogue.’ In this regard, the DRC has already shown the way by accepting to dialogue with rebels beginning with the Lusaka peace accord, the Sun City peace accord and now the Kampala peace dialogue with the M23 rebels, chaired by Uganda; notwithstanding the fact that several UN Security Council reports have clearly proven, as a matter of fact, that the M23 is just a creature of Rwandan and Uganda. Just this week, 16 Rwandan youth escaped to Uganda and demanded political asylum there after refusing to be forcefully recruited to fight for the M23, according to a South Africa-based Times Live report on 17 June 2013.

WHISPERING FOR TOO LONG: … //

… AGAINST ODDS, PATH OPENS UP FOR US-TALIBAN TALKS: … //

… WHY THE ‘INTER-RWANDAN DIALOGUE’ MAKES SENSE:

  • President Kagame has to come off his high horse (provided by Britain and America and powerful lobbies in Europe and America. This applies to President Museveni as well). It really, really beggars belief why, the Rwandan President thinks ‘the problems related to the situation in Congo are mainly political and need political solutions, not military ones [meaning the UN-SADC intervention brigade will solve nothing in eastern Congo]’ (BBC interview, 20 May 2013), but when President Kikwete suggests that the solution to Rwanda’s problems are political since the military option seems not to be working, he hits the roof! The Rwandan story has been distorted by Western governments, media and powerful lobbies’assumptions, so much so that, anybody who wants to apply ‘Ockham’s razor’ to it, is immediately accused of being a ‘genocide denier’ or harbouring ‘genocide ideology’!
  • The following facts, recently highlighted by Julien Paluku, the Congolese governor of the North Kivu Province (parts of which are now occupied by Rwanda and Uganda backed M23) tend to be swept under the carpet for reasons that beggar belief:
  • - To affirm that Kagame’s Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda from Uganda and from Virunga Park, is a fact. Equally, to affirm that from Uganda and from the Virunga Park, to the periphery of Kigali (before actually the main atrocities took place following the shooting down of Hutu President Habyarimana’s plane about which light still needs to be shed), the RPF killed nobody at all in this war scenario beggars belief!
  • - Should all Hutu Rwandans who live outside the country be considered as ‘genocidists’? No! In fact there are three categories of Hutu Rwandans living outside the country:
  • a. There are those most sought after by the Rwandan and the international justice systems because they are the real criminals who perpetrated heinous atrocities in Rwanda in 1994. These individuals must answer for the crimes they committed against their fellow Rwandans, they should have a much harsher treatment from the Rwandan government and the international justice system. However, they no longer represent a security threat to Rwanda because their numbers have significantly been reduced, according to Rwandan Defence Minister General James Kabarebe himself.
  • ‘Years of a combination of political, social and military engagements have left the militia group in dismal numbers. That is why [their] strength has diminished from 150,000 to a dismal 2000!’ he said (News of Rwanda, 3 June 2013).
  • b. Then there are those Rwandans who are political refugees, having fled the authoritarian, mono-ethnic and monolithic regime of terror now in place in Kigali for the last 19 years. That regime abhors any slightest possibility of power sharing among all sons and daughters of Rwanda. The illustration is the conviction of an internationally-known opposition leader, Ms.Victoire Ingabire. She was sentenced to eight years in prison, a sentence which will run until 2018. All this is aimed at preventing her from standing for the 2017 presidential election. Her only sin is to have dared to present herself as a candidate for the office of president in the 2010 presidential election.
  • In line with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete’s plan, this is the category of Rwandans President Paul Kagame should engage and dialogue with since they have nothing to do with the genocide but they have been unfairly and indiscriminately labeled as ‘genocidists’ or people harbouring a ‘genocidal ideology’, simply in order to silence them.
  • c. Finally, there is this other category of totally innocent Rwandans who have nothing to do with the genocide because when the atrocities occurred in 1994, they were either teenagers (under 18 years old in 1994) or those who have been born after 1994. They are fortuitously accused of having participated in the genocide while they were neither closely nor far away involved in the atrocities of 1994. This category includes all those who have been born outside Rwanda, that is to say, during this time of refuge. To date, their age varies between 19 and nearly 35-year-old. The ideology of genocide must not be imputed on or attributed to them because they did not reach the age of reason at the time of the crime, nor have they been present on Rwandan soil during those days because they were born outside the country.
  • So, President Jakaya Kikwete’s plan concerns these last two categories of Rwandans who are completely excluded from the political management of their country, Rwanda. Those who call upon Kagame to dialogue with them are in no way ‘bearer of the genocide ideology,’ nor ‘FDLR’s mouthpieces.’

WHY THE ‘INTER-UGANDAN DIALOGUE’ MAKES SENSE: … //

… CONCLUSION:

  • By analogy, the solution in Rwanda is not to eliminate the Hutu physically. At its core the Hutu problem remains a Rwandan problem calling for a Rwandan political solution. We Congolese have had enough to bear the brunt of the Ugandan and Rwandan internal problems which they export into our country. The US-Taliban talks now remove any pretexts Kagame and Museveni might have NOT to talk to the FDLR and to the LRA, respectively. Despite the voice of ‘double standards’ and ‘Rwandan exceptionalism’ coming out of Europe and America, Kigali may not escape this route for too long now. Right now, the voice of reason comes from Tanzania and it is going to prove to be irresistible for humanity’s sake. The genie is already out of the bottle and the total liberation of Patrice Lumumba and Laurent Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s Congo is nigh!

(full text).

(Antoine Roger Lokongo is a journalist and Beijing University PhD candidate from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Links:

Evaluating the dual citizenship-state-building-nation-building nexus in Liberia, on Pambazuka News, by Robtel Neajai Pailey, June 27, 2013: Post-conflict reconstruction in Liberia has primarily focused on building state structures at the expense of solidifying national cohesion. The author contends that in this context the proposed dual citizenship legislation should undergo national deliberations, beginning with the Liberia Rising 2030 consultations;

International discourse on sexual violence as security threat in Congo, on Pambazuka News, by Leila van Rinsum, June 26, 2013: Without identifying the structural causes of sexual violence which emanate from cultural, political and economic factors on the national and global scale, the problem will remain. Sexual violence has been feminized, though it includes men and is not an isolated crime during war time but normalised and systematised as highlighted in the Congo.

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