Rwandan ambassador to Uganda Major General Frank Mugambage has described his countryâ€™s election to the UN Security Council as a vote of confidence in it despite continuous accusations of supporting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwanda was on Thursday selected with four other countries to occupy the UN Security Council’s non permanent seat for the next two years amidst allegations by the UN panel of experts that both Rwanda and Uganda are behind the M23 rebel insurgency in DR Congo.
The African Union endorsed Rwanda in spite of the opposition from some African countries including the current holder of the seat South Africa, Zimbabwe and DRC. Rwanda won its place with 148 votes of the 192-member General Assembly.
Mugambage said that the accusations will never take away Rwanda’s record in contributing to peace in the region and its clear foreign policy of keeping peace and stability. He said that Rwanda’s election on to the Security Council has a lot to do with its contributions as one of the countries with the biggest number of contingents in Darfur, Sierra Leone and Haiti.
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Mugambage notes that the fact that further allegations came up a day before the elections proves the manipulation by people with hidden agendas and that those claims are empty and unfounded.
Researcher and political analyst, Dr Fredrick Golooba Mutebi, attributed the development to the admiration that Rwanda has won across the world on how it miraculously re-emerged from the war and genocide, events that people thought would make it a failed state.
He said that the controversy that Rwanda supports M23 rebels has not taken away the general view that Rwanda’s government has been influential both in the Great Lakes region and beyond.
The development has been criticised by many as reported in the international media with speculation that it might renew questions over the image of the Security Council as it still struggles to recover over the war in Syria.
A Congo-based Human Rights Watch researcher, Ida Sawyer, told The Washington Post that Rwanda has been rewarded for violating the Security Council’s arms embargo on Congo and undermining the work of the UN by propping up the abusive M23 rebels.
She added that Kigali is now in a position to and shield its own officials implicated in abuses from UN sanctions, which she calls a flagrant conflict of interest. She said other Security Council members now have an even greater responsibility to hold Rwanda to account.
Joseph Lake, a Great Lakes Specialist from The Economist Intelligence Unit, also said the election will increase Rwanda's bargaining power and will also increase the power of the M23 rebellion.
Golooba also agrees that it will have immense impact on Rwanda and the ongoing allegations but says Kigali now has the opportunity to prove its detractors wrong and to contribute towards tackling the problem in DR Congo from a higher level.
He says sitting on the UN Security Council means direct involvement in making decisions on issues that are a responsibility of the body.
Mugambage also says Rwanda will have an opportunity of contributing to solution seeking in the country even more than it has been doing.
He says the crisis in Congo affects the whole region and that Rwanda has shown its full commitment to working with other countries in the region to address the crisis.
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