Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Tanzania and Rwanda should tone down on the ‘negotiating with the FDLR’ remarks

Nicodemus Minde
The governments of Tanzania and Rwanda, through their Foreign Ministries have been embroiled in a heated war of words over remarks made by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete on the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels. President Kikwete during the 50th anniversary of the African Union in Addis Ababa, called on Rwanda to negotiate with the rebel outfit because the military efforts have failed. In a quick rejoinder Louise Mushikiwabo, the Rwandan Foreign Minister described Kikwete’s remarks as “aberrant” and “shocking”. His Tanzanian counterpart Bernard Membe recently told the Tanzanian parliament that President Kikwete will not apologize or change his opinion over the need for Rwanda to negotiate with FDLR. This is indeed a sensitive topic within the realm of the region’s stability. Rwanda negotiating with FDLR will be hard thing to do. This majority Hutu rebel outfit has based in Eastern DRC has fought the government of President Kagame and consists of Hutu remnants who fled to DRC after the 1994 Genocide. President Kikwete only gave a possible avenue for resolving the impasse. The hyperbolic reactions by the two Foreign Ministers should be toned down. Tanzania and Rwanda have enjoyed a peaceful and cordial relationship over the years and this small affairs should not ruin the relationship.

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