Kinyarwanda Speakers in DRC- Where do they Belong?
Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo ( Global Conflict Tracker, 2015)
Discrimination, The denied citizenship, desperation, death, and rapist to the people who live in the DRC are the main problem that Africa is facing. Because they speak Kinyarwanda, North and South Kivu of DRC( Democratic Republic of Congo), the cycle of civil war does not end where the other society does consider the Kinyarwanda speaker as Rwandan. But does it speak the truth of who they are? How does the Kinyarwanda speaker feel after this discrimination? Does the Government consider them as the citizens of DRC or? How are they treated in refugee camps in Rwanda? This blog will take us into their history, and we get to know much about these conflicts and the Kinyarwanda speaker tribe.
Who are the Kinyarwanda speakers in DRC?
DRC is one of the most diverse countries in Africa. It has more than a hundred ethnics groups with language. Even Though 4 of them are the leading official languages. Those official languages are Chiluba, Lingala, Swahili, and Kikongo. In these hundreds of ethnic groups, Kinyarwanda speakers are also included. They live in the north and south Kivu of DRC. Kinyarwanda speakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are mostly known as Banyarwanda. They are mainly Hutu, with a minority Tutsi. While Tutsi are traditionally considered as pastoralists, and Hutu, the ‘indigenous’ groups, have been cultivators, most groups have always uplifted cattle when they can. Even though they can trace their origin since 1960 and should be nationals under the law adopted in 2004, they still face the problem of being denied as Congolese systematically(Democratic Republic of the Congo -Banyarwanda, 2015). it has been criticized by the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, while he was asked about the identity problem in DRC and Rwanda’s role in their conflict.
Does the language have what to do with the identity? If it was only about the language, then the Chiluba speaker should have also been called Zambian(Times Reporter, 2012). The answer to why some people link Rwanda to Congolese problems lies in the misinformation, disinformation, or ignorance about the DRC’s reality, its ethnic composition, and the presence of Genocide perpetrators in the area.
Why should we talk about the civil war in DRC?
Over six million people have been killed in the DRC civil war since the second world war. The International Rescue Committee has said that 5.4 million people died from 1998 to 2007, and 45,000 more victims being added to the death list every month(Six million dead in Congo’s war – Caritas, 2010). Also, the civil war in DRC has caused the children to be the worst in the humanitarian crisis. Children face extreme poverty, diseases, sexual violence’s and forced labor to join the armed group. What is the result of all these? Street kids, homelessness, desperation, and displacement inside the country, and finally, run the mountain and hills to look for exile.
Who is killing them?
After the 1994 genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda, the armed Hutu( Interahamwe) have fled to the DRC to hide. So, they are left with the idea of killing each and any Tutsi that they will meet. It may be on the road, forest, or even in the camps. Reaching the DRC, they realize that they are Tut’s living in North and south Kivu of Congo, which became their target in partnership with the Maimai rebels that have the ideology of calling the Kinyarwanda speaker Rwandans.
Every year Congolese leave their country to the different countries to look for refuge. Over918,000 DRC Refugees are being hosted in African countries, 5.01 million displaced inside the country DRC, and Rwanda has over 8% of DRC refugees in Africa.
Dilemma of congolese Refugees in Rwanda(Shadows of Return, 2011)
Some of them come to Rwanda with the hope of being nationals because it’s what they have been called back home. When they reach, they put them in the Refugee camps, which raises the dilemma of asking themselves where they belong?
The issue of belongingness has been a big problem in some African countries. They were looking back to the causes of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, president Kayibanda, who said that the Tusi’s originality was not in Rwanda. He said that they originated in Ethiopia and that they have to go back to their country. The ideology led to the death of thousands of people during 1994.
(refugees on the airport – Google Search, 2011)
Where do refugees go at the end?
The resettlement cases are being done to the refugees every year. See how Europe, America, and other countries promise refugees and asylum seekers, including Africans. They will tell you how good they are being treated. Why?
In Western countries, they are given peace, which they have lost back home; it shows how Africa risks losing tomorrow’s power. Includes youth energies, the older adults who are going and going abroad, and also the born in the west who are studying and working to develop western countries instead of home Africa But are they to blame? The number of dead relatives shows where their fear is based on. Do you think they can fight for themselves? If even the UN and AU have been working on it for over 2decades but still failed to stop the war, it shows one can not blame the Kinyarwanda speaker for staying away from their country.
Consequences of civil war in DRC.
As any other result of wars are the same. Also, civil actions in DRC harm the Kinyarwanda speakers who are being killed and accused of being Rwandan. Those effects include desperation, homelessness, death, leaving their home behind, lack of education, unemployment, orphanage, and depression. It is depressing to live like you do not belong where you belong.
The civil war doesn’t affect the victims only, but also the DRC country(Ali et al., 2015). We all know DRC is one of the wealthiest countries in mineral resources. But due to the conflict and wars between the rebels and citizens, not only the Banyamulenge but also the other tribes, people are busy killing each other instead of developing their country’s economy, infrastructure, and government stability. During the wars, the schools and hospitals are destroyed. Even many other people who are not being killed are missing the chance to live their peaceful life. Children are not going to school, which leads them to join armed groups or rebels. It is an evil path to the future of DRC. Besides, in general, Africa is being affected by this Civil war in DRC; the more refugees increase, the more the number of people increases, and then poverty comes in.
What should be the Government’s role?
The north and south Kivu of DRC is worthy of security like Kinshasa does. It even deserves extra care and protection as the victims, and the country’s citizens are being attacked every day. Suppose the Government makes sure that no one of its citizens is undocumented; it may help increase security by knowing a stranger and national. It can be done by ensuring that they are in charge of their safety, not anyone else.
“No man alone.” This word explains exactly how working together makes men stand firm. The Government of DRC should think of including the neighboring countries to fight against rebels. The resources it has should be a potent weapon to fight against insurgents. The Government should think of this as regional integration. Rwanda and South Africa do provide peace in the country. The Government’s role should be the priority of its security before anything else.
What if the UN, AU, and the Government of DRC corporate?
People who are dying in DRC are worth being protected by the human rights organization. Not only to be kept in exile but also the war to be stopped so that they can go back home peacefully. If both organizations’ experience combined with the Government’s access to its country, I believe that it can solve this problem. All the parts should look at Africa’s benefits, not the country itself, the organization’s Pride, or the individual service.
To keep Africa’s sustainable development goals, including ending poverty, providing peace, and ending hunger by 2030, DRC needs to be looked like the first country to consider. As it is very rich in mineral resources, Africa can be the first phone producer if the security issue is fixed. Poverty can be the history to teach because if security is stabilized, regional integration on behalf of the economy can be very successful, leading to a stable Africa that we all African dream of having.
Natural resource exploitation and human rights in the DRC, 1993-2003 | Global Witness. (2020). Global Witness. https://www.globalwitness.org/en/archive/natural-resource-exploitation-and-human-rights-drc-1993-2003/#:~:text=The%20Democratic%20Republic%20of%20Congo,coltan%20%E2%80%93%20to%20timber%20and%20oil.
Children of Democratic Republic of the Congo – Humanium. (2020, May 30). Humanium. https://www.humanium.org/en/democratic-republic-congo/
Democratic Republic of the Congo -Banyarwanda. (2015). https://www.justice.gov/eoir/page/file/1026921/download
Times Reporter. (2012, June 22). Kinyarwanda speakers and the question of identity in the region. The New Times | Rwanda. https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/54310
civil war in drc images – Google Search. (2011). Google.com. https://www.google.com/search?q=civil+war+in+drc+images&rlz=1C1GCEA_enRW858RW858&sxsrf=ALeKk00gkg88MIT_QW6Kt5Ox9GYhSPGVJA:1607550194937&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=59kvsCXmmHZ0-M%252CQTntpAbK96hc_M%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kRXM9NcgxQanB1221cGYucsoJC2Cg&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi1ps-S78HtAhVbSxUIHRZyAfkQ9QF6BAgMEAE#imgrc=eZ7-dtIovsPqAM
Shadows of Return: The Dilemmas of Congolese Refugees in Rwanda CITIZENSHIP AND DISPLACEMENT IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION Background to the Paper. (2011). https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/53b3dc834.pdf
Ali, R., Federico Barra, A., Berg, C., Damania, R., Nash, J., & Russ, J. (2015). Infrastructure in conflict prone and fragile environments: Evidence from Democratic Republic of Congo. http://cega.berkeley.edu/assets/miscellaneous_files/66_-ABCA-Infrastructure_and_Conflict_(Damania_conf).pdf