The Rwandan army: a candle to fight the darkness | New times

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“A brief introduction from Rwandans to Mozambicans.

There is a famous line in a classic 1940s movie called “Casablanca”. How are you, “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.” This line comes to mind when we think of Rwanda and Mozambique.

This friendship, I fear, might make some people jealous; he already did. As a person who has lived in both countries, I would therefore like to take this opportunity, in Portuguese, to present to Rwandans our irmãos e irmãs from Mozambique, with the promise that I will ask a colleague from Mozambique to present his country to Rwandans. and to have his article published in Kigali.

First, let’s tackle the prejudices: according to Western media, Paul Kagame is an iron-fisted dictator who relies on his police to rule over Rwandans out of fear, and uses his army to plunder the resources of the Neighboring ground floor.

It is fiction for a foreign audience. In fact, for more than fifteen years, the Rwandan army has been frequently formally invited by the government of the DRC to help fight the insurgency in its eastern region. To date, there is a standing invitation in this regard, formulated by the President of the DRC Félix Tshisekedi to his eastern neighbors, namely Rwanda and Uganda.

The current leadership of the DRC army was formed in Rwanda. Former President Joseph Kabila was a former protégé of a Rwandan general and most residents of eastern DRC receive medical care, financial services, education, residency and, at times, asylum in the neighborhood. neighbor of Rubavu, a district of Rwanda.

That said, Rwandan feelings towards Paul Kagame, the Rwandan army and police, are best seen through the prism of his personal deployment and that of his army and police outside of Rwanda.

On the personal deployment of Paul Kagame: He has been appointed to reform the African Union since 2016 and elected president for the year 2018.

The reasons put forward by the Rwandans for keeping Kagame in the presidency challenge political orthodoxy. The percentage by which they elect him seems suspect and the achievements frequently reported by the government seem too good to be true.

It has been difficult to explain what it means to have a president like Paul Kagame to non-Rwandans, let alone human rights colleagues across the continent, without sounding like a sycophant. So it becomes easier for us to explain when others have also had the chance to “experience” Paul Kagame’s leadership.

In the year that Kagame was president of the African Union (AU), his self-financing increased by 17 percent: from 43 to 60 percent. In 2016, when he was appointed to lead AU reforms, contributions from African states represented 36% of its total budget.

Thanks to these reforms, a self-financing mechanism was adopted by the AU, establishing a 0.2% levy on eligible imports on the African continent. He was nominated “the Kigali Decision on the financing of the Union ”, after the capital of Rwanda.

Before Kagame was called in, the African Union had only managed 36% of self-reliance. As a result, our union has been the pity of other continental blocks and the laughing stock of African youth. According to the graph below, AU funding was only increasing by 2.4% per year, while data shows that in some years it even decreased:

Foreign powers, notably the United States, were readily opposed to this levy, while some African states were also dragging their feet. Fortunately, Mozambique has always paid its contribution to the continental body.

And the tax has enabled a dramatic 24% increase in self-financing by African states and is expected to generate around $ 1.2 billion per year and cover most of the AU’s activities, including programs, operations and peace and security missions – like the one in Cabo. Delgado (although this operation is not funded by the AU instrument).

Alas! You will read several articles claiming that Africans are unable to fund their own continental body, but you won’t find the above story anywhere.

From Africa, stories of doom abound while those of light are distorted or silenced. People who read Western media think Rwandans are either mad or forced to keep Kagame as president. They also suspect Rwandan government doctors of frequently quantifying and lying about his impressive statistics.

To date, Western media refuse to record that Rwanda has halved its aid dependency every ten years (from 86 percent in 2000 to 45 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2017). They still bring in 40 percent, because the real numbers are unknown.

But there is a Kinyarwanda saying that goes: “Isuku igira Isoko”. (Literally translated: Thousands of candles can be lit by one.) Kagame’s character is reflected in the Rwandan troops who are deployed across Africa and beyond, to bring peace. How Paul Kagame, his army and his police in these countries speak for themselves, and those they protect, are the ones who know how we feel, the Rwandans.

On the deployment of the Rwandan army: The history of Cabo Delgado is no different from the history of Africa as a continent. At independence, while Kwame Nkrumah called for immediate unity, other African figures listed a set of preconditions for our union, still to this day.

In Cabo Delgado too, there was always a piece of paper to sign, last-minute preparation to do, information to collect, etc. – nowadays.

The Rwandan army does not work that way; they have a bitter history with hesitation. When civilian lives are at stake, now is the time to act! They will not let the people of Cabo Delgado down.

Contrary to what critics say, it is impossible for a police or army to be gentle when deployed overseas and not to do the same at home. We have seen this with many armies who, although praised by their media and acclaimed by their film industries, exposed their violent ways while serving in foreign countries.

Indeed, Rwandan troops are known as the most professional and disciplined force in the African Union and UN peacekeeping mechanisms around the world. They have been decorated several times for their service in the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, Ivory Coast and Mali, to name a few.

To Mozambican readers, let me reassure them with a story about the Rwandan army: When Rwandan troops were deployed to the Central African Republic, its capital, Bangui was cut off from its supply routes with Chad and Cameroon, by the so-called Anti-rebel Balaka, and was rapidly sinking into hunger and deprivation of medical supplies.

Photo: Igihe

Meanwhile, humanitarian supply trucks were stranded at the Cameroonian border with the CAR, unable to cross the dangerous area controlled by the rebels. Other foreign troops who were the first to deploy to CAR had been completely useless, anxious to protect themselves and their large communications team who reported daily on the dangerous nature of ground operations and the impending human catastrophe. .

Rwandans are always sent with a mission: you should never let what happened in Rwanda happen anywhere. People’s lives are in your hands, don’t let them down.

As soon as they arrive in the CAR, Inkotanyi – the nom-de-guerre of the Rwandan army, organized an operation to open up the so-called Bangui-Beloko road and escorted vital supplies from the Cameroonian border to Bangui, thus avoiding a certain human tragedy.

No peacekeepers were killed and the road is still safely operational to this day. The mission was a success – and as a result, Rwandan troops were chosen from among all peacekeepers in CAR, to be the ones to protect the former president Ms. Catherine Samba Panza, the new president Faustin Archange-Touadéra and other VIPs to date.

Mine is therefore insurance for the inhabitants of Cabo Delgado. With the Rwandan army by their side, they will soon find sleep. The guns are silent, while peace and security return to their province. The Rwandan army and police will serve them as if they were serving their own, the Rwandans.

And John [the Baptist] heard from prison the works of Christ, and sent his disciples to ask him: “Are you the One to come, or should we be looking for someone else? “ Jesus answered: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised … “ – Paraphrased from the good book of Matthew 11: 1-5.

For having denigrated Paul Kagame and Rwanda for years, Western or South African journalists know no better. Unlike the disciples of John the Baptist, they will not report what they see or hear to Cabo Delgado, as this would contradict what they have been preaching for years.

However, the Mozambican people and the African people should not be misled or frightened by disinformation; they should trust the reality on the ground, they should speak to the people of Cabo Delgado and to the African people.

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: “those who were seen dancing were considered crazy by those who couldn’t hear the music. “This quote was the epigraph to”Rwanda tomorrow “, a book by Dr Jean Paul Kimonyo, former senior advisor to Kagame, a man who worked with him for 25 years.

Paul Kagame’s story with Africans and with Rwandans is a link that only they can bear witness to, because as a Kinyarwanda saying goes: “it is those who sleep in the house, who know where it is leaking … “

Indeed, isn’t it extraordinary that a room full of darkness can be lit by a single candle? The play in this metaphor being the gloomy and gloomy portrayal of Kagame, Rwanda, and Africa by Western media and NGOs. With its small size and limited means, Rwanda demonstrates that a country armed with courage and pan-Africanism can bring effective peace to an entire continent.

This article was first published in “O Pais”, a Mozambican newspaper. It was written by Gatete Ruhumuliza Nyiringabo, former researcher at the Faculty of Law, Universidade Edouardo Mondlane, in Maputo, Mozambique. Gatete is a business lawyer in Kigali. He is currently with Rwandan troops in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.

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