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Joseph Kabila responds to Ruto’s comments on DRC, “comments must be condemned”

Joseph Kabila, the former president of DRC Congo has responded to DP Ruto’s undiplomatic comments on DRC.

Statement by Joseph Kabila

The electioneering seasons in most African nations are marred with hateful and reckless remarks.

Most of the time, some of these remarks are intra-country leading to post-election violence hurting the already reeling economies of these 3 rd World nations.

Rarely have these forms of hate speech played a cross-border card, leading to unpatriotic and diplomatic spills in Africa, at least in recent times.

However, and unfortunately, as Kenya goes into elections in August 2022, an overpitch of these injurious remarks seem to have gone ahead to show a tip of an overdrive push.

On Monday, February 14, 2022, ironically the day to show love, in Nyeri, Central Kenya, a remark made by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto on DRC’s Agricultural sector has not sat well with the Congolese citizens and humanity at large.

While campaigning in Kenya’s vote-rich central, a backyard of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto made an uncouth and undiplomatic sensational remark about DR Congo.

This must be condemned by all the right-thinking humans.

Whereas Ruto MAY HAVE erroneously made the tongue loose and sensationalized the DRC issue, he must know that Africa needs to move forward as a united continent on a liberalized trade front.

Referring to DRC citizens as ‘…hawa watu hawana ng’ombe hata moja…hii watu ya kuimba hii…’ is demeaning and an upfront abuse to not only Congolese citizens but also Africa as a whole.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau argues that (1712-1778) people who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little.

Is this the case with William Ruto?

Perhaps, Ruto has no idea about agriculture in Congo; the country has over 80 million hectares of arable land, over 4 million hectares of irrigated land, and several rivers with important fishery resources.

The aforementioned facts pit DRC as a global agricultural powerhouse, contrary to his argument that the country has one dairy cattle. 

It is important to underscore that the agricultural sector in Congo employs over 60 percent of the Congolese population and comprises about 20 percent of the Country’s GDP.

This is a critical sector in a rising nation that is key food security and generates sufficient revenues and sustainable employment, especially to the youthful population in DRC.

Notably and for the record, the DRC has various cash crops, which include coffee, palm oil, rubber, cotton, sugar, tea, and cocoa.

Perhaps if Mr. Ruto had invited us to learn about the coffee and tea sector reforms being undertaken by the government of Kenya, we would have taken it kindly.

But unfortunately, while serving as the Minister for Agriculture in Kenya, that is when some of these key sectors collapsed with him being boggled up with many corruption cases including the famous maize scandals and land grabbing.

Whereas developing Cocoa and Coffee for export has had success in DRC, it is important to note that Food crops including cassava, plantains, maize, groundnuts, and rice have had a great success story in the country. 

Furthermore, Commercial agricultural production remains on an upward trajectory in Congo, with most producers engaged in subsistence food agriculture to feed the population and looking into the future for exports.

Is this still a one-cow DRC, Dr. Ruto?

Whereas we hold lots of respect for William Ruto, his anger should be directed elsewhere.

It is important for Africa to caution politicians full of venom if the continent has to liberate itself and redeem its image in the International arena.

Notably, during this era of high usage and consumption of social media and its information, reckless statements can render relations and peace an uphill task in the World.

We do not expect knee-jack reactions from Ruto on his hate speech such as issuing an escapist statement through junior officers in his campaign team.

He must apologize personally and unreservedly withdraw his utterances on DRC. While Dr. Ruto has freedom of speech, this is an overboard stifling of his rights.

It is important for leaders in the league of William Ruto not to lead advocacy of international, national, ethnic, racial, or and religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence, prohibited by Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), that often precedes mass atrocities like genocide, civil wars, mass and forceful displacements of populations, and war.

This is bearing in mind that the ghosts of 2007/08 Kenya’s post-election violence and the International Criminal Court’s berg is on his head.

Advisedly, Dr. Ruto, who is aspiring to be Kenya’s President, needs to understand the tenets of diplomacy and international relations.

Such reckless utterances can ruin relations and hurt the businesses of innocent citizens from either nation.

Unreservedly, Ruto must apologize personally to the people of DRC and Africa at large.

This kind of recklessness and impunity must not be tolerated in Africa.

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