Days after announcing a coalition with Rwandan FDLR rebels based in DR Congo, former prime minister Faustin Twagiramungu is a special guest of Tanzania’s president Jakaya Kikwete, according to sources in Dodoma, Tanzania.
Twagiramungu arrived in Tanzania on Sunday 19thJanuary and has been hosted at secret locations under the direct protection of President Kikwete’s official detail, say the sources.
The former prime minister has been living in Belgium since 1995, and returned to contest in the 2003 Rwanda presidential polls in which he got 3.62 percent. After the humiliating defeat at the hands of incumbent President Paul Kagame, Twagiramungu immediately left the country and has never set foot in Rwanda.
Over the years, he has formed different political groups, from which he has become a fierce critic of the government of Rwanda. Twagiramungu’s current political organization is RDI-RWANDA RWIZA. Most of its members have abandoned the group, choosing to return to Rwanda.
On January 14th, Twagiramungu announced that he was going into coalition with Rwandan FDLR rebels who are accused of executing the genocide in Rwanda and fled to DR Congo back in 1994. Twagiramungu’s move followed that of another group PS Imberakuri days earlier, based inside Rwanda.
Twagiramungu’s presence in Tanzania is not surprising, said our sources in Tanzania. President Kikwete is the only world leader who has come out with a public endorsement of the FDLR. The group has been vilified world over for being unapologetic about the genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda.
On 26th June 2013, President Kikwete made the unthinkable. During a closed-door African Union heads of state special summit on DRC in Ethiopia, President Kikwete called for talks between the government of Rwanda and the FDLR.
The months that followed saw a near-complete breakdown of relations between Kigali and Dodoma, as Rwandan officials and ordinary population believed they had a serious large enemy on its eastern border. Rwanda foreign affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo was so angry that she described President Kikwete in subsequent media interviews, as “spokesman” of FDLR.
However, Tanzania’s connections with the FDLR are not new. Around mid-last year, FDLR deputy commander General Stanislas Nzeyimana (aka Izabayo Bigaruka) was announced to be in Tanzania. But weeks later, news surfaced that he had disappeared – prompting questions as to why he was in Tanzania in the first place.
In Twagiramungu forming alliance with the FDLR, the rowdy politician said in a statement last week that he wants to force the government in Rwanda out by use of arms. Before January 2014, no Rwandan political organization or international group has ever given public backing to the FDLR.