Rwanda's Paul Kagame accuses DRC's Tshisekedi of using conflict to delay 2023 polls

Rwanda President Paul Kagame at the 77th UN General Assembly. [File, Standard]

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is now accusing his Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) counterpart Felix Tshisekedi of taking advantage of the current security situation to delay the 2023 polls.

Kagame, in an address to Parliament on Wednesday, November 30 in Kigali, said the leadership of the DRC is using delay tactics to postpone the presidential elections slated for December 2023.

“This problem can be resolved if one country headed for elections next year is not trying to create an emergency so that the elections don’t take place, not that he won the first elections as we know. If he is trying to find another way of having the next elections postponed, then I would rather he uses other excuses, not us,” Kagame said in the hour-long speech.

Tshisekedi assumed the top office in January 2019.

Kagame on Wednesday also called out the double standards by countries and parties dealing with the DRC crisis, adding that Rwanda has been made the scapegoat.

He posed: “How can all these powerful countries that speak so much of humanitarian crisis and human rights and speak up for wanting to resolve all this, sit with this kind of situation…keep massaging it and blame everybody else except them?”

“It has become so convenient for long that all problems are heavily put on the shoulders of Rwanda. Rwanda is always the culprit.”

DRC and Rwanda have accused each other of backing rebel groups.

Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and peace envoy for the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa earlier in the week called for an end to the conflict and for warring parties to cease hostilities.

“Peace cannot be brought to DRC by foreigners but from the people of DRC. The wealth of Congo is meant to help you and not to make the country and its people bleed,” he said.

Kenya and Burundi have already deployed troops to DRC  to quell tensions in the region.