Rwanda-DRC rapprochement: Tension abated in Lake Kivu waters
At nightfall, the busy time starts in Lake Kivu waters that connect Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Rwanda’s fishermen on canoe pick up tools and set off for catching silver fish. The mood is similar on the other side of DRC.
This night work is not easy task as you may think as both countries’ fishermen usually come to blows inside Lake Kivu waters due to selfishness.
Every side wants to control big swathes of fishing areas to scale up produce. As result, some get drowned or lose lives while others are abducted but released afterward.
However, the tension among two fishing community gradually faded away as they come together.
Yesterday, fishermen from Bukavu in South Kivu joined their counterparts from Rusizi and Nyamasheke Districts in the Western part of Rwanda to celebrate International Peace Day.
Nizeyimana Jean Claude, Rwanda’s fisherman said both fishing communities disagree on various issues which breed confrontation and deaths but have currently started settling their differences through dialogue and meetings.
“There were a lot of things which pitch one another as Rwandans and Congolese but it wasn’t right. The Rwandans understand that the lake is theirs and it was the same for the Congolese,” said Nizeyimana adding that when they crossed into DRC, they were violently assaulted by the Congolese.
Kadakara Mulaza, fisherman from Congo affirmed that it was important to attend the dialogue between two fishing communities to call an end to hostilities in Lake Kivu waters.
“Now, we are seeing how we can meet to come along with a Rwandan and don’t call him/her a Rwandan and beat him/her,” Mulaza said.
The celebration of international Peace day comes when opposition parties in DRC went to streets of the capital Kinshasa to protest against the delay of presidential elections which will put an end to Kabila’s term office.
Conflicting reports say the demonstrations left 17 people dead, as opposition and Human Rights Watch confirmed that more than 40 demonstrators were killed.
Speaking at International Peace Day event, Ngoma King, Benevolencia worker called upon the Congolese to promote peace and learn from 1994 Genocide against Tutsi not to lead the country into the political turmoil putting innocent lives on the line.
The renewal of diplomatic relations and heads of state’s visits signal friendly relations prevailing in between both countries.
Congolese President, Joseph Kabila met his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame at Rwanda’s border city of Rubavu on August 12th this year and held closed-door talks.
The heads of state agreed to strengthen bilateral ties particularly in areas of cross-border trade and energy specifically in the extraction of methane gas in Lake Kivu.