The genesis of Rwanda’s problem with Banyamulenge from Minembwe in Southern Kivu

05 Apr 1997, Pretoria, Tshwane, South Africa --- The Laurent-Desire Kabila's rebel team, led by negotiator Bizima Karaha, at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to start the peace talks with the Zairian government's negotiating team, led by the foreign minister Gerard Kamanda wa Kamanda. --- Image by © Selwyn Tait/Sygma/Corbis

By: Prossy Boona

The banyamulenge name has been miss used since Kabila senior days, but the truth is the true banyamulenge are those in south Kivu, that have been in DR Congo for over three hundred years, while those that live in north Kivu, the likes of Laurent Nkunda, Eric Ntaganda…etc, are those Rwandans that fled to Congo in 1959.

I am explaining this so that we can understand the genesis of Rwanda’s problem with Banyamulenge from Minembwe in Southern Kivu, given those of Masisi – Northern Kivu moved to Congo from Rwanda in 1959, they have an attachment to Rwanda, reasons why they have been used to fight proxy wars in DR Congo and legitimising themselves with being banyamulenge, yet they aren’t.

While the banyamulenge of minembwe Southern Kivu have issues in DR Congo, they however refuse to be bullied to submit to Rwanda as they look at them as cousins, while the banyamasisi those Rwandans settled in North Kivu look at Rwandans as big brothers, this however brought a big rift between Rwanda and the banyamulenge of minembwe in South Kivu, who are also accused of not only sympathising but also harbouring RNC, which is also as a result of the fact that Kayumba Nyamwasa being a muhororo of the Ugandan banyarwanda, who is seen to be close to the banyamulenge due to being cattle keepers and generally easy going.

When it comes to Bizima Karaha, he was used by Rwanda before, just like all other banyamulenge, but when Rwanda disappointed them, the Banyamulenge blamed Bizima Karaha for bringing banyarwanda in their territory, even though he also fell out with Kagame and became disgruntled but he is in DR Congo.

As for the killing going on in minembwe right now, they won’t stop, until Rwanda and RNC, come to an agreement.