President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has told ruling RPF party officials it is high time Kigali prepared to respond to any threats and provocation from Uganda.
Addressing RPF extended National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at the weekend, Kagame made it clear Uganda was Rwanda’s single most worrying security threat.
“We are surrounded by only four neighbours whom we are at peace with. However, we have issues with only one neighbour,” said Kagame.
He was glad to report that Rwanda and Burundi had worked on most of their differences, especially following the 2015 ‘coup de theatre’ against late president Pierre Nkurunziza, whose plotters were linked to Kigali.
“In the past, we had two enemies, the second of the two [besides Uganda] being the country to our south, which is Burundi,” Kagame continued.
“As far as Burundi is concerned, we are gradually getting along with them.”
He added: “We resolved our previous problems with DRC and are working well with them.”
Downplaying Kigali’s troubles with Tanzania, mostly those during the Jakaya Kikwete administration, Kagame said Rwanda has always been at peace with Tanzania.
“For Tanzania, we have never had issues with them.”
A former official in Uganda’s government and a comrade in President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s NRA bush war, Kagame then told delegates he was not sure what Kampala wanted from Kigali.
“Now, the neighbouring country to the north, they have an issue which I have failed to understand,” he said.
“I lived there, I worked with them, but if you asked me the root of their issue with us, I can’t really tell.”
He revealed he had decided that Rwanda prepares for any eventuality, which was interpreted to include war.
“In conclusion, about this matter, I will thatch my house properly to protect me from the rain,” he noted.
“Let us build a house with a foundation, a strong house with solid doors, and a solid roof so that when it rains while we are sleeping, our house will not leak.”
Rwanda and Uganda have had cold relations for decades now, with their disagreements playing out in some sort of cold war.
Succession politics in the mineral rich DR Congo is believed to have played a key role in the rift between Kampala and Kigali.
In recent years, both countries have accused each other of backing rebels to cause instability.
The rift’s peak, in recent years, was Kagame’s decision to close the Rwandan border in February 2019.
Mediation talks to mend the broken relations between the two neighbours are still ongoing.
Additional reporting and translation: Courtesy