June 9, 2019

Why Cant Rwanda Add DR Congo’s Lingala Language? – Asks Jeannette Kagame

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DR Congo First Lady Denise Nyakeru Tshisekedi (L) is hosted by Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame to dinner in Kigali as she begins a two-day visit (Courtesy Photos)

In a new diplomatic overture to DR Congo, its First Lady Denise Nyakeru Tshisekedi is in Rwanda for a two-day visit.

She arrived in the country on Sunday morning via the Rubavu border with Goma. She was received by Rwandan officials and a team from the office of Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame.

On Sunday night, Mrs Kagame hosted her guest to a dinner where all the trappings of state were on display in effort to put on the best show.

Rwanda and DR Congo are suddenly best of friends, even last week establishing what was branded as new tripartite “axis” involving also Angola.

The heads of state of the three countries met in Kinshasa last weekend where they formed a new alliance – bringing together unlikely partners.

At the First Lady dinner this evening, Mrs Kagame and Mrs Tshisekedi are meeting for the first time.

When President Felix Tshisekedi was in Rwanda in March 25-26, he did not come with his wife, as the two leaders met for short bilateral meetings. Tshisekedi was also here for the CEO Africa Forum.

When Kagame was in Kinshasa last weekend, he met Mrs Tshisekedi with her husband as they hosted him at their official residence.

Today, Mrs Tshisekedi was therefore meeting her Rwandan counterpart for the first time.

At the dinner today, Jeannette Kagame opened her own diplomatic bottle, a move that will ade more spices to the new bilateral friendship.

Rwanda and DR Congo have “an undeniable relationship”, Mrs Kagame told her guest.

This “relationship [has been] forged over time, and that we want to strengthen to finally find the dynamism and depth it deserves,” added Mrs Kagame.

“I sometimes wonder if Rwanda should not seriously consider adding Lingala to its four official languages!”

Lingala is a language spoken in DRC and believed to be spoken by all Congolese. There are also hundreds of other tribal languages as well as French and Swahili.

Rwandans who grew up there before returning home following the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi also speak Lingala.

Mrs Kagame may have made the comment about Rwanda taking up Lingala for purposes of courtesy, but it is the latest of indications of how Kigali and Kinshasa are determined to forge a new bond.

The four official languages in Rwanda are Kinyarwanda, French, English and Swahili.

At the dinner, the DR Congo First Lady Denise Tshisekedi was treated to different local entertainment.

Earlier in the day, Mrs Tshisekedi and her delegations had a tour of Kigali city all Sunday afternoon in the newly introduced double-decker City Tour buses.

Currently, Rwandan engaged in bitter fallout with Uganda to the north ans Burundi to the south. Kigali is also only regaining relations with Tanzania.

Rwanda cannot afford to have a hostile neighbor to the east in the form of the vast DR Congo – where there are several groups mobilizing to wage war on Kigali.

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