Will Paul Kagame EAC’s Chairmanship help solve frosty ties between Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda?

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has acknowledged that relationships between his country Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda are on a bumpy ride path. He said it in an exclusive interview with The East African. President Kagame is the chairman of the East African Community.

Paul Kagame has called for an urgent resolution of differences between countries in the region, notably Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda.

Paul Kagame cited the reluctance of concerned parties to solve the underlying issues between them.

On Uganda, Kagame said that there have been ongoing efforts to put the cover on the growing pit of frosty ties between his country and Uganda. Rwanda accuses Uganda of wanting to destabilize and deporting a number of Rwandans from Uganda.

Uganda, in turn, accuses Rwanda of espionage, which leads to expulsion of Rwandans from Uganda.

About ties with Uganda, Kagame said: “…That must be resolved. Because the alternative is not something that we should even be thinking about or entertaining”.

Asked what plans he has for the EAC block as the Chairman of the EAC block, Paul Kagame said that ‘he is creating new plans and is working with leaders of the EAC block’

Paul Kagame invited all EAC leaders to experience on their own the benefits of the EAC. ” This can’t just be on paper. People want to do business; they have families in all these countries and, if you stand in their way, it defeats the purpose”, he said.

Relationships between Rwanda and Burundi.

As he has taken over the chairmanship of the EAC block, Paul Kagame was asked if his tenure will help to solve the relationships between Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, Paul Kagame said that ‘he doesn’t think so’.

Related: Analysis: Is the East African Community on the brink of split-up?

We need to figure out how we can resolve those issues, while at the same time not allowing them to stand in the way of the progress we should be making as East Africans…Surely, there has to be a way of dealing with that. I’m sure the other leaders are thinking about it. I’m thinking about it, for sure. We’re better than this. I think we can do better.“, Kagame told The East African.

About Burundi, Kagame said that Burundi has said that Rwanda is its main enemy and problem. But Kagame asked if Burundi would not have problems if Rwanda was not there. “People make their own judgment. Let’s imagine that Rwanda does not exist. Would Burundi not be having problems?”,Kagame said.

Kagame went even far by saying that even African leaders such as the facilitator in the Inter-Burundian talks have said that Burundi problems come from ‘outside’.

About the recent letter of Nkurunziza in which he accused Rwanda of wanting to destabilize Burundi, Kagame did not want to bring up the ‘old quarrel’, but instead, he said that those charged with solving the Burundi problems have to examine the real problem Burundi is facing.

kagame said that the East African Community problems matter more than Burundi’s problem. He thus sends a ‘belittling tone’ on the Burundi crisis to be over during his tenure.

Paul Kagame said that he is so busy with the tight schedule of handling difficult matters. He said that he sometimes sleeps less than 4 hours a day because of complex matters that he is doing for the EAC block and Africa in general.

Rwanda and DR Congo.

Asked if he has some problems with DR Congo, Kagame said that his country does not have any problem with DR Congo.

It should be remembered that Paul Kagame has done everything possible for the DR government to suspend the results outcome of DR Congo presidential elections when he was still the African Union chairperson back then.

Critics said that Kagame ‘ate a humble pie’  and was forced to accept the  new president of the DR Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, even if the elections of the DR Congo president ware deemed to have been ‘rigged’.

Kagame on China’s ‘debt-trap diplomacy’.

As China has been accused of ‘modern slavery of the Africans’ by lending poor African countries huge sums of money they cannot pay back, Paul Kagame said that, even if he does not advocate for China, people don’t need to attribute so many negatives to China that it doesn’t deserve.

Kagame said: “Now, if I keep borrowing from you, and you keep giving, you know why you’re giving me the money. So how do I blame you? Is it really a Chinese problem, or my problem that I keep taking money from the Chinese and in the end drown in the debt?”.

kagame said that Chinese presence in Africa meets the demands of the Africans that the West, main accuser of China’s enslaving practices to Africa, does not meet.




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