Rwanda will retaliate against any new attacks launched from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Rwandan foreign minister has warned, as tensions between the two neighboring countries rise, writes The East African .
Diplomatic tensions between Kigali and Kinshasa have escalated in recent days as the two sides trade accusations of aiding armed groups operating in eastern DRC.
“If the attacks continue, Rwanda has the right and the capacity to retaliate. Should we let everyone shoot us and shut up? As a government, we have a duty to protect the lives of Rwandans”, warned Vincent Biruta, Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs during a press conference in Kigali on May 31. And to maintain that his country does not want war, but peace.
On May 28, Congolese authorities suspended Rwanda’s national airline RwandAir after accusing Kigali of supporting the M23 rebel group, prompting the airline to cancel all flights to the DRC, reports The East African .
Relations between the two countries began to thaw after DRC President Felix Tshisekedi took office in 2019, but recent fighting between Congolese forces and the M23 has reignited tensions.
On Monday, May 30, hundreds of people staged a protest in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, calling for the expulsion of the Rwandan ambassador.
The UN said last week that the new clashes had displaced 72,000 people and that they were facing constant violence and the looting of their homes.
“A failure of the international community”
What is happening in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo is a failure of the international community, said Stéphanie Nyombayire, the press attaché to the Rwandan presidency. “MONUSCO can no longer claim observer status. It’s complicity,” she said.
According to The New Times , the press attaché to the Rwandan presidency also dismissed claims recently raised by Kinshasa that the government supports the M23 rebels. She stressed that this is an internal problem for which the Congolese state must find a solution.
She reiterated that Rwanda has no interest in destabilizing eastern DRC, a position that has been echoed by various officials, including Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta.
However, she stressed that Kigali’s demand remains the same as it has always been: “That the more than 20,000 soldiers of MONUSCO fulfill their two-decade mandate and that the FDLR be treated as genocidaires and not benefit impunity to attack our country”.
South Kivu: demonstrations in Bukavu against “the aggression of the DRC by Rwanda”
According to the Congolese daily Actualité.Cd , thousands of people from different social strata demonstrated this Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in the city of Bukavu, capital of the province of South Kivu, to say no to the aggression of the DRC by Rwanda through the M23.
“We demand the immediate severance of diplomatic relations with the country identified as the aggressor. There is no point in maintaining diplomatic relations with a country at open war against our dear country, the Congo. The closure of all our land, lake and air borders with the aggressor country. The taking of economic sanctions against Rwanda and the freezing of the assets of all Rwandan economic operators operating on Congolese territory”, reads the memorandum of the living forces of the province of South Kivu addressed to the President of the Republic.
In addition, they demand the immediate termination and cancellation of all contracts signed with Rwanda, including the one relating to the exploitation of our minerals.
For the president of the consultation framework of civil society in South Kivu, Zozo Sakali, the population must now take charge of itself. “We are mobilized today as one man to say no and no to aggression. We felt that it is high time to ask the population to raise our long-bowed foreheads from now on”.
Students also say they are mobilized to accompany the armed forces to the war front to defend national integrity: “We provide 100% support to the FARDC”.
The African Union calls for dialogue between the DRC and Rwanda
According to The East African , Senegalese President Macky Sall, who also chairs the African Union, has called for dialogue between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda as tensions escalate between the two countries over a resurgence of the group. rebel M23.
He also urged Angolan President João Lourenço, also president of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), to lead the peace talks between the DRC and Rwanda.
“I am seriously concerned about the rising tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I call for calm and dialogue between the two countries, and for the peaceful resolution of the crisis with the support of regional mechanisms and the African Union,” reads a tweet from Macky Sall, who holds the rotating presidency. of the African Union.
During a briefing on the situation in North Kivu on May 30, the spokesperson for the DRC government, Patrick Muyaya insisted that his country will make peace with those who want peace.
“Whatever the nature of the crisis, we cannot close the doors to the possibility of talks. Even if there is war today, we will end up talking”.
EAC: Towards a single currency by 2024
According to Uganda’s Minister for East African Community (EAC) Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, the EAC will have a single currency by 2024, if all goes as planned.
Speaking at the Uganda-DRC business summit in Kinshasa, Minister Kadaga said member states of the East African Community are currently working on some details to choose a country to host the West African Monetary Institute. East, which would later become the Central Bank of East Africa, says Daily Monitor .
“By the end of this year, we should know which country will host the monetary institute. We hope that if we go as planned, by 2024 we will have a single currency,” she said. And to note that Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Kenya have already submitted requests to host the institute.
According to Daily Monitor , only four countries, apart from the DRC, have so far ratified the protocol on the single currency. South Sudan remains an observer state, as it has not yet harmonized its internal laws and still has laws that prevent the free movement of people.
Monetary Union is the third stage of EAC regional integration which should be crowned by Political Federation. EAC member states are working towards the full realization of a customs union and common market, despite a number of challenges, including non-tariff barriers, trade blocs and closed border points.
Kenya: The resurgence of positive cases for covid-19 worries
Kenyans are urged to wear the masks as the country prepares for a potential new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, writes The East African.
According to Francis Kuria, director of public health at the Ministry of Health, the positivity rate has been rising since the beginning of May, reaching 5.6% and an average of 3.3% per week. He urges Kenyans to wear masks: “Covid-19 numbers are going crescendo”.
When the containment measures were lifted, the positivity rate was around 1%. At the beginning of May, it was around 0.1%. As a result, the rate rose to 5.6%.
Since March, Kenya has lifted mandatory mask-wearing. Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe had decided to lift the wearing of masks in open public places, but had encouraged citizens to continue wearing masks in public ceremonies and large gatherings.
Uganda/ Karamoja: Hunger kills 200 children a year
More than 200 children die each year from malnutrition or lack of adequate nutrition in Karamoja, especially in Moroto and Kaabong districts, health officials in the Karamoja sub-region have said.
According to The Observer, the deaths are linked to lack of food and poverty in the region. According to the annual Integrated Classification Report (IPC), about 520,000 people are in urgent need of health care, including nearly 200,000 under the age of five. The Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate among children under five has fallen from 9.7% in 2020 to 10.7% in 2022.
The director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Karamoja region, Rebecca Kwagala, explains that the prevalence of acute malnutrition among children in Karamoja is 13.1%; 21.9 and 19.6% in Moroto and Kaabong districts.
“A total of 22,740 children suffering from severe wasting in the region need urgent treatment. Only 24.7% (6,238) received treatment between January and March 2022.”
According to the Director of the Moroto Regional Referral Hospital, Steven Mpade, cases of malnutrition are so high in the nine districts of the Karamoja sub-region: “More than 200 children die every year. The situation is worse in Kaabong and Moroto districts”.
Access to drinking water is 20% in the region. Hand washing is therefore a challenge. “More than 52% have no toilets, which contributes to the transmission of diarrheal infections,” he laments.
Source: IWACU Burundi