Rwandan President Paul Kagame says countries must prioritise strengthening governance to create sustainable peace to achieve development as external interventions including military have largely failed to restore stability not only in Africa but elsewhere, with the most recent being the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban.
Last week, speaking virtually at the Global Security Forum 2021 hosted by Qatar on October 12, President Kagame argued that while the nature of insecurity threats has evolved and devastated countries, the global system for dealing with these threats including United Nations interventions remain ineffective.
He cited the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the DRC (Monusco) created in 1999, tasked with neutralising armed groups that have “operated for 20 years, with meagre results,”; the UN mission in the Sahel region, and the recent collapse of the Afghan government.
“Insecurity is caused by shortfalls in governance. Sometimes insecurity takes especially dangerous forms, such as terrorism or even genocide, as was the case in Rwanda. It crosses borders and affects neighbours and entire regions,” President Kagame said, adding that “despite many chances to learn lessons from past failures, the global toolbox for dealing with these threats has hardly evolved.”
“It is not from lack of engagement or lack of money. I would say that no amount of external funding or troop commitment can create sustainable peace, without putting governance at the centre of it all,” said the president.
His comments come at a time when Rwanda has 1,000 troops deployed in Mozambique under a bilateral agreement, and have since been joined by 1,500 troops under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to fight Islamic insurgents in Cabo Delgado.
The military interventions have liberated almost all territory that had been lost to the insurgents.
“Lately we have responded to a bilateral appeal from Mozambique to combat the radical insurgency in Cabo Delgado. External forces can create the safety and political space for new forms of consensus-based leadership within a society to gain the upper hand. But it can’t be forced or imposed,” President Kagame said.
Last week, the Mozambican army announced that the joint operations had conquered all the known terrorist bases in Cabo Delgado.
“In Palma district, and also in Mocimboa da Praia district, approximately 100 percent of the enemy bases were occupied by the joint Mozambican and Rwandan troops.
“There is no formally known base that still prevails or is in an area under terrorist control”, Mr Cristóvão Chume, commander of the Mozambican army said adding fight against terrorism is not yet over admitting it could “take a year, two years or three years”.
He was speaking to the press after a meeting with commanders of the Rwandan troops and the SADC forces command involved in the military operations in Mocímboa da Praia, Cabo Delgado province.
President Kagame recently said Rwandan troops will stay as long as needed.
Col Ronald Rwivanga, the spokesperson of Rwanda’s Defence Forces told The EastAfrican that next on the agenda was to ensure the return of refugees, reinstating state authority, and ensure the economy starts running smoothly, while at the same time “reforming the security sector to be more proactive in dealing with insurgents moving forward.”
Over the past four years, more than 3,000 people have been killed and 820,000 displaced in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
“...You have to maintain vigilant security operations to ensure that civilians are protected throughout. People think you just go in dislodge and go home. No. You maintain a presence until the situation goes back to full normalcy,” Col Rwivanga told The EastAfrican.