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Africa Report: Tensions rise in Rwanda, food scarcity in Africa and Kenyan elections

Jun 09, 2022

Raahil Sain

In the Africa report on Radio Islam International political analyst, Stephanie Wolters discusses rising tensions in Rwanda, food scarcity in Africa and the upcoming Kenyan election.

According to Wolters, the M23 rebel group is symbolic of the relationship between two neighbouring countries Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo which have had on and off tense relations for decades. 

She said the military campaign M23 launched earlier this year has since ended any cordial relationship between the two states.

Wolters said, M23 a rebel movement which has emerged in different forms for the last 20 years, is backed by Rwanda.

According to Wolters, Rwanda has used M23 to interfere in eastern Congo for the last two decades. 

“So, we are now seeing a deterioration of the relationship between Rwanda and the DRC which had briefly improved dramatically since the arrival of the President in 2019.”

“We’ve seen the exchange of ambassadors between the two countries and the resumption of Rwanda air flights to Kinshasa.”

“But the military campaign that the M23 launched earlier this year has really ended that cordial relationship, and we see two presidents trading accusations,” Wolters said.

Rwanda has denied its support to the rebel group. 

“The international community is soft on Rwanda when these types of things happen. We are now waiting for Angolan mediation to hold a meeting to avert the worst between these two countries,” she said. 

Meanwhile, a blockade on the Ukrainian food supply and Russia blocking some Ukrainian ports have made food scarcity in Africa more of a reality. 

Walters said this was a great concern for African countries that could not afford to have any disruption in the food supply.

She said alternatives just take too long to organise and are not readily available in Africa. 

Last week the African Union met with Russian President Vladimir Putin who reportedly gave his reassurances to do everything he can to restore food supplies.

“This kind of initiative comes with political strings attached. Russia is competing with the west for influence on the continent economically but particularly militarily.”

“Russia being one of the countries on the UN Security Council, it is able to offer Africa options. It’s a complicated relationship, it’s not just about food security, but of course, that is a priority for many African governments making sure they can restore those supplies as soon as possible,” Walters said. 

Kenyan elections are set to take place in August later this year. 

Walters said Kenyan elections were always a source of potential violence and tension. 

“We saw campaigning begin at the end of last month and [on Monday] candidates had to declare themselves,” Walters said. 

“Immediately thereafter we saw Vice President [William Ruto] already alleging fraud saying that one million names had been taken off the voter registration in his particular constituency. This has been denied by the head of the electoral commission, saying that the register is still finalised.

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