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Posts from — March 2010

Rwanda: The World Bank Approves US$115.6 Million For Poverty Reduction

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a total amount of US$115.6 million from the International Development Association (IDA), including US$29.5 million from the Crisis Response Window (CRW), to assist the Government of Rwanda with implementing key policy actions outlined in its Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS). Given Rwanda’s status as a blend country, US $15.2 million of the CRW funds is a grant and US $14.3 million is a credit. These funds have been disbursed as part of a series of the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategy operations for Rwanda launched in 2002.

“Strengthening economic governance and improving implementation capacity are essential for laying the foundations of a strong and sustainable economic growth,” said Kene Ezemenari World Bank Senior Economist. “The World Bank is proud of its partnership with the Government of Rwanda which is leading to tangible improvements in the lives of ordinary Rwandans.”

The Sixth Poverty Reduction Support Grant (PRSG VI) will continue to support priority areas identified in the previous PRSGs including agriculture, infrastructure and social sectors.

Within this context, the grant will support growth for export and jobs by enhancing the skills of the population through improved quality of service delivery in post-basic education, in energy, transport and water sectors.

Key focus of the sixth PRSGVI is to increase participation of the private sector in the development of the agricultural sector as well as enhancing Rural Road Access by Improving the Condition of the Classified District Road network, strengthening the framework for private sector participation in the energy and water sectors, and support reforms to raise agriculture productivity.

The grant will help the Government of Rwanda to improve its economic governance and Implementation Capacity by increasing access to finance for the private sector; improve the accounting and internal audit functions; and develop the institutional and legal framework to support capacity development and transparency in procurement.

March 31, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Secret Services Fabricating Evidence Against Victoire Ingabire

Mr Sylvain Sibomana, Secretary General of FDU-Inkingi, has issued a press release on March 30 titled: Rwanda: Secret services in flagrante delicto fabricating criminal evidence against opposition leader, Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. He writes:

The determination of the regime to derail the democratic process will know no limits as long as the main bilateral partners of Rwanda remain, once again, silent while the country is obviously sinking in a new political and military crisis. The escalating campaign of persecution and harassment of the opposition has reached a critical point. In a witch-hunting strategy to destroy or to put a stop to the opposition before they have a chance to put forward their ideas and make political gains, the secret services have resorted to fabricating criminal evidence by all means including the internet and electronic surveillance.

Leave alone the questionable use by the government of electronic wide-reaching surveillance tools, in a country like Rwanda, to spy on its citizens and residents (wiretapping; interception of phone calls, emails and internet), the shame is to use the technology to create baseless facts against people i.e. editing emails print-outs and computer hacking.

Since February 2010, only three weeks in her home country after 17 years in exile, the National Police mirroring threats from the President started the grilling of the FDU Inkingi Chair, Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. The aim of those endless interrogations is obviously to deter her determination, to dig anything that would help the government reject the registration of the political party, to freeze her freedom and finally to throw her in jail. In this respect, she is placed under a permanent surveillance, her communications are monitored and many hacking attempts to our computers have been noticed, while intelligence “technicians” have been alternatively emailing threats, security advices and volunteering offers on behalf of so called rebel groups. In order to substantiate the accusations of collaboration with FDLR rebels, secret services are using rebel fugitives, recruits prepared by some RDF intelligence officers including Major John (.) engaged in cross border secret operations, and attacks to my private emails pretending to deliver security and terrain reports. One of the email address used by the attackers is for instance JACKSON Emmanuel migrating from different Internet Providers (IP) 80.255.61.162 or 80.255.61.162 or 196.44.240.62 or 196.44.240.61 and 196.44.240.62. Our computer trackers have noticed that those mails written in English, use Kigali MTN severs, AFRINIC internet service provider, Kinshasa Intelsat with links to GAUTENG-JOHANNESBURG (Reassignment to VODACOM CUSTOMER, SOUTH AFRICA). The timing of this serial mailing is related to police summons and the content is always referring to unknown rebel activities, plans and orders in the DRC, secret missions linked to strange code names such as CAMBA, etc, … Some of those emails have been posted via Rwandatel servers to our IP for example on March 24th and 29th 2010 while Mrs. Victoire Ingabire was being interrogated the whole day in the CID and troubling similarities with the main questions raised at the very time by investigators tend to confirm the existence of an active direct link between the strange secret agent and the investigating team. Other details related to weird email address, or an unknown Congo based rebel group “CDF”, or anonymous letters and other baseless accusations reveal that the secret services machinery behind this grilling has left no means behind. The details of this information are available to the media.

Whereas some members of the police and the army are manipulated for partisan goals we are aware of the growing frustrations of many officers on account of, among many other reasons, gloomy management and politicization of their institutions, unfair rules of promotions and deployments.

We condemn humiliation tactics used by the police as a way of breaking down the morale of our leader: arrest at the airport, search with sniffer dogs, lengthy interrogations, and long waiting hours in the CID corridors and handbag routine scrutiny by policemen. Officially her case is still pending police investigations but curiously an undercover prosecution officer is participating in the grilling sessions.

The Minister of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama in an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide last week stated that “the police hasn’t found hard facts”… “They have not found evidence to incriminate her. Once the investigation shows that she’s innocent, nobody will touch her. But everybody in Rwanda should be held accountable and play by the rules.” Nevertheless, Mrs Victoire’s party was denied many times to convene and register by the Minister of Local government on the pretext of the politically motivated endless police harassment.

The United Democratic Forces, FDU-INKINGI, are considering ways of lawsuits against this police endless wild-goose chase and the Minister of local government for harassment, abuse of powers, violations of the laws and the use of the institutions for political purposes and partisan’s interests.

Sylvain Sibomana
Secretary General
FDU INKINGI

March 31, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda Senate Raises Concerns Over Gacaca Archives

Kigali – Members of the Senate have raised concerns over how government plans to archive Gacaca files indicating that the documents are fragile and need immediate care.

The concerns were raised on March 30 during a meeting with the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), aimed at updating the legislators on the preparations for the 16th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Senator Joseph Karemera said plans to archive Gacaca documents came in late and that concerned authorities should take immediate action to ensure that the files are not damaged.

“Gacaca courts have now ended and we are currently facing problems of how we can preserve these documents,” Karemera said. ‘These are delicate files that are currently kept in a risky state; there are many people out here who would want to destroy them.”

The government chose CNLG to inherit the archives of the National Gacaca Courts Service (SNJG) after the closure of the semi-traditional courts.

CNLG is currently identifying the most effective way of archiving the documents.

Meanwhile, during the senatorial session, CNLG Commissioner, Francois Xavier Rusanganwa urged Senators to take a prime role in the upcoming commemoration of the Genocide.

“We request all of you to play a major role in the talk shows that have been organized as part of the commemoration week,” Rusanganwa said.

He also told Senators that the 16th Genocide commemoration will be centered on managing trauma cases.

According to CNLG commissioner, Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, although several measures have been put in place, including training of local authorities to handle cases of the consequences of the Genocide, 16 years after the Genocide, trauma cases are still increasing.

The Executive Secretary of CNLG Jean de Dieu Mucyo told the senators that to date, handling of consequences of the 1994 Genocide is still one of the challenges the country is facing.

“We are preparing an International Symposium from April 4-6 in which local and international experts will come up with concrete plans of dealing with trauma cases related to the genocide.”

Several activities, including talk shows, town hall meetings and public addresses, will be held as part of the commemoration.

[TNT]

March 31, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda Law: Jail For Life For Illegal Possession Of Firearm

Kigali: After June 28, anybody found illegally possessing a firearm faces the rough side of the law with up to a possible life sentence, according to a new law which comes into force on that date.

Penalties in the law also range from fives years in prison to a life sentence, or a fine of up to Rwf 2million (Approx. US$3,500), or even both.

Publicizing the new law is part of a new campaign by Police to encourage those still keeping weapons in their homes to hand them in. Other measures have included an arms-marking programme for future identification of arms.

The Police marked 2,263 firearms between January and September last year, according to records from the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region. Some 2,604 firearms, 50,000 rounds of ammunition and 780 ammunition cases were destroyed in the same period.

Police say the recent series of grenade blasts across the country are a clear indication that there are firearms still in illegal hands. Several people alleged to be belonging to criminal gangs have been arrested and dozens of grenades recovered.

The authorities were stunned last month on finding a civilian man keeping some 150 pistol bullets in his house. Incidentally, an elderly sister to ex-Rwandan president Gregoire Kayibanda was living in the same house – prompting speculation something was seriously out of order.

Different from Southern Rwanda and Kigali where grenades have been hurled at crowds, in eastern Rwanda, grenades have gone off as children played with the weapon at home. The same thing happened in Northern Rwanda.

Police urge local officials in all districts to remind the population that time is running out for those still keeping arms illegally.

The ‘Law N°33/2009 of 18/11/2009 relating to arms’  was published in the Rwandan Official Gazette in December 2009.

March 30, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Presidential Advisory Council members meet in Kigali

Kagame and members of his Presidential Advisory Council (PAC)

Kagame and members of his Presidential Advisory Council (PAC)

KIGALI – The Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), a group of eminent Rwandan and International experts who offer strategic advice and guidance to President Paul Kagame, began a three-day meeting in Kigali yesterday March 29.

The group, which meets in April and in September every year, will discuss a number of issues including education and skills; taxation policy and the development of the financial sector in Rwanda. It is not known if they’ll advise him on urgent matters of the day regarding opening Rwanda governance to a democratic system and listening to numerous voices of dissatisfied Rwandans.

The discussions will be informed by visits to various parts of the country.

PAC was officially launched on September 26, 2007, by President Paul Kagame. It comprises a special team of Rwandans and “friends of Rwanda” coming from a variety of high level backgrounds whose mission is to advise the President on Rwanda’s strategic development choices and initiatives, using their considerable combined and wide-ranging knowledge, experience and contacts.

PAC is co-chaired by President Kagame and Joe Ritchie the Chicago based multimillionaire founding CEO of Fox River Financial Resources Inc. one of the world’s leading commodity trader was one of the first key and outstanding persons to pick interest in Rwanda.  Joe Ritchie is currently the CEO of Rwanda Development Board, a grouping of different government parastatals managed under one head.

The inaugural PAC meeting took place in New York, when President Kagame travelled there to take part in the annual United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative.

The members Presidential Advisory Council are (as of 2009):

  1. Scott Ford – President and CEO of Alltel
  2. Sir Tom Hunter – Scottish entrepreneur, philanthropist, co-founder Clinton-Hunter Development Initiative
  3. Dr. Donald Kaberuka – President of the African Development Bank Group, former Minister of Finance, Rwanda
  4. Dr. Clet Niyikiza – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Vice President of Worldwide Research & Development
  5. Kaia Miller – founder of Aslan Global, Inc.
  6. Joe Ritchie – Rwanda’s Honorary Consul in Chicago, founder Fox River Financial Resources, Inc and CEO of Rwanda Developement Board.
  7. Michael Roux – Rwanda’s Honorary Consul General in Australia, Chairman, Asian Markets, KPMG; Roux International Pty Ltd; RI Group;
  8. Bishop John Rucyahana – Retired ex-Bishop of Shyira Diocese of Rwanda
  9. Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa – Rwandan Entrepreneur, Board President of Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency
  10. Dr. Eliane Ubalijoro – Assistant Professor at McGill University, Canada
  11. Pastor Rick Warren – Religious leader, founder Saddleback Church, and PEACE Plan.
  12. Prof. Michael Porter is also a member of PAC though he did not attend the launch.
  13. Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Others PAC members are:

  1. Bel Dowson
  2. James Musoni, Rwanda’s minister of Finance
  3. Rosemary Museminari, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister
  4. Gatare Francis, new Personal Representative of President Kagame to the NEPAD Steering Committee
  5. Himbara David, Private Secretary to President Kagame
  6. Kanimba François. Governor, Rwanda National Bank
  7. Michael Fairbank, Chairman Emeritus and founder of The OTF Group, a software and strategy consulting firm based in USA.

March 30, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: My Tutsi Friend In The Hands Of The Gang Of Death

Deogratias Mushayidi, Political Opponent

Deogratias Mushayidi, in the hands of the RPF Gang Of Death

By Charles Onana

Who will stop the cartel crime that rages today in Kigali? Who will end the bloody plight of the Tutsi, Hutu and Congolese? Who will do justice to the French, Spaniards and Canadians killed by the missiles and bullets of the murderers who took power by force in Rwanda in 1994?

For the moment, silence reigns. Perhaps some discomfort! Faced with escalating murderous Rwandan authorities, faced with the cascade of Rwandan soldiers and diplomats fleeing abroad, faced with the many persecutions of political opponents, faced with the arbitrary arrests of citizens of Rwanda in their countries and abroad, Western powers that support the Kigali regime are low profile. Yet, the lives of many Rwandans, both inside and outside, are more than ever threatened. Regardless of they are whether Hutu or Tutsi. Since the days of single-parties, Africa has never experienced a dictatorship as ferocious and cruel as the one in Kigali. An unsustainable situation that is truly unbearable for all the victims of the 1994 Rwandan tragedy.

My friend and colleague Deo Mushayidi is one of those victims. Yesterday, he was a member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Today, he is a victim of the RPF regime. Yesterday it was Hutu extremists who slaughtered the members of his family; today it is the ruling Tutsi extremists who are plotting to assassinate him. Given the gravity of the situation, I could not stand idly by. If I react with this text now, it is because I want to support my friend who was kidnapped and sent to the firing squad.

Two weeks Deo Mushayidi was arrested in Tanzania before being deported in Kigali, the new African capital of authorized crime. I did not react in haste. I wanted to know exactly what he had done and what he was accused of. After several days of waiting, Paul Kagame’s regime, spat its venom, accusing Deo Mushayidi for ”endangering state security”. This charge has been served during his first appearance before a judge in Kigali. Then, the charge was swollen with other charges: “disturbing public order, forgery, association with a terrorist group, genocide revisionism and divisiveness”. A tutsi victim as Deo Mushayidi could not expect less of the self-appointed spokesmen of the Tutsi. Rwandan hills are now governed by those impostors.

Under what circumstances was Deo Mushayidi arrested? Who took the decision to send him to Kigali? Under which international convention has he been handed over to Rwandan authorities, or more exactly to Paul Kagame?

The least we can say is that nothing is clear in this case. But the very political decision to send Deo Mushayidi in Rwanda is an incitement to murder exiled Rwandan political opponents. This initiative particularly put at risk all the Tutsis who refuse to submit to Paul Kagame’s bloody authoritarianism.

My friend Mushayidi has indeed become an opponent of the regime of Paul Kagame after having actively campaigned for the RPF in Switzerland during the early 90s. Until 1994, before the takeover by Paul Kagame, he was the representative of the RPF in Geneva. Upon his arrival in Kigali, he was among the first few Tutsi who quickly understood the reality behind this new Rwanda regime led by Paul Kagame.

It was in 1999, in Washington, that I first met Deo Mushayidi. Careful, measured and critical, Deo is a professional journalist and an open minded person. At the time, he was running a newspaper in Kigali and chaired the Rwandan Journalists Association.

One evening in my hotel room in Washington, Deo Mushayidi warned me against the image the Western media gave to Paul Kagame and his regime. He knew well, having worked with him and seen him act.
I was already investigating the role of Paul Kagame in the terrorist attack of April 6, 1994 against the plane of former Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana. A terrorist attack in which the Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira, and the entire French crew were killed.
Deo Mushayidi had agreed to cooperate in the investigation despite the huge risks he incurred in Kigali.
During a dinner in the United States, he told me at length about the crimes committed by the Tutsi rebels during the takeover of Kigali and the multiple killings of Hutus in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
He had also reported the plan to murder the former president of the Rwandan parliament Joseph Sebarenzi, a Tutsi who fought against the regime of arbitrariness in the Rwandan parliament. “Kagame told me he wanted Sebarenzi death. Because he feared that the speaker of parliament, well respected, would overshadow him“. Joseph Sebarenzi fled Rwanda and is now exiled in the United States.

Deo Mushayidi told me about other projects to murder opponents such as the Tutsi journalist Jean Pierre Mugabe, also a refugee in the United States now, with whom I shared a lot on the record of the terrorist attack and the violent methods of Paul Kagame.
Deo Mushayidi had also spoken of assassination threats against him. He was calm but concerned. We had stayed in touch and I tried to encourage him as much as I could. The climate in this country was atrocious and it remains as such.

The following year, in March 2000, my phone rings. It Deo Mushayidi who calling me from the French Embassy in Kigali. With a calm but anxious voice, he said he is in danger.
“Do not worry, he says, a French friend made arrangements to evacuate me in Europe. I gave him your phone number in case I need something. As soon as I arrive in Europe, I call you, he concluded”.
I was indeed reassured to know that my friend was in the premises of the French Embassy. It was at this time, the most reliable place for his safety.
The following days were difficult because I did not know if Deo Mushayidi would succeed in leaving Kigali unhindered.
But a week later I received another phone call. It was him again on the line. He had finally arrived in Europe and was far from Paul Kagame’s henchmen.
I was thrilled that my friend was out of danger.

If I relate this episode today it’s because I think my friend has been delivered to those who tried to assassinate him in 2000.
Were all these efforts to get him out of Kigali made in vain?
Can the French officer who saved Deo from the gang of death be heard by Mr Bernard Kouchner, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, or Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy who both appreciate Paul Kagame so much?
For my part, I thank the French for extending the life of Deo Mushayidi and allowing him to fight for ten years for the truth and justice in his country.

During the trial that Paul Kagame had filed against me in Paris in 2002 out of our book on the bombing of April 6, 1994, Deo Mushayidi came to support me.He always argued against the many attacks have been the subject for daring to highlight Kagame’s crimes against the Hutu, Tutsi and Congolese.
When he fled to Belgium in 2000, he left journalism to continue his fight in politics. He continued to advocate fairness and justice for all victims (Hutu and Tutsi alike) of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
In 2008 he published, along with former Rwandan Defense Minister General Emmanuel Habyarimana, a former collaborator of Paul Kagame now exiled in Switzerland, a memorandum that was sent to the Security Council.
That memo was extremely documented (with among other many highly classified documents) and explained Paul Kagame’s involvement in the plundering of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in the terrorist attack against President Juvenal Habyarimana and many other crimes.
Deo Mushayidi has always advocated for peace and reconciliation among Rwandans. An approach that the current government of Rwanda completely rejects.

Yesterday, the Hutu were accused by Paul Kagame, of having “planned genocide” against Tutsis.
Today, my Tutsi friend is accused by the same regime of Paul Kagame of terrorism and denial of “Tutsi genocide.”
However, Deo Mushayidi has never held a Kalashnikov like Paul Kagame, he never shoot down a president’s aircraft as did Paul Kagame, he never killed his staff as did Paul Kagame, he never killed either Hutu or Tutsi, as did Paul Kagame, he never advocated separatism between Rwandans as does Paul Kagame.
He never invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and butchered millions of Congolese as Paul Kagame’s army has and continues to.
He never plundered the DRC as Paul Kagame has for nearly thirteen years.
Yet, it is Deo Mushayidi who is now on the accused dock or should I say in the death row in Kigali.
And I note with curiosity but hope, the lukewarm enthusiasm international media showed handling the case of Deo Mushayidi.
I am surprised at the heavy silence of Belgium, a country that had welcomed my friend and granted him political asylum.
I looked, thoughtfully, at the few gestures Human Rights organizations, usually so quick to harass, on the orders of Paul Kagame, so-called for “Hutu genociders”.
Do they perhaps get my Tutsi friend mixed up with some a poor Hutu that deserves, as former RPF Rwandan president, Pasteur Bizimungu, to disappear in jail to protect this criminal gang in power in Kigali?
Do they also see Mushayidi as “genocider” or “divisive” and a “revisionist”?
Since the regime said he was “terrorist” and all at once, perhaps there are still some brainless to believe it.
In reality, my friend pays for his assistance in my investigation into the terrorist attack of April 6, 1994, for his involvement in the investigative work that led to the memorandum of 2008 and for his public positions, as Tutsi victim and former member of the RPF against the Kagame regime.
The charges of the Rwandan military dictatorship against Deo Mushayidi are simply fabricated and arbitrary.

Given the weak consensus of the European Union, the leading provider of public funds to the repressive and autocratic regime in Kigali, I would like to believe, for my part that my friend will not stay very long or forever in the hands of the gang of death that now prevails on Rwanda and the DRC.

Note:
Charles Onana is Author of:
-The Secrets of the Rwandan genocide, Paris, Editions Duboiris, 2002
(in collaboration with Mushayidi Deo)

-The secrets of international justice, Paris, Editions Duboiris, 2005

-These Tutsi killers at the heart of the Congolese tragedy, Paris, Editions Duboiris, 2009

See:

“Foyalé pour Déo”

March 30, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda’s plan to prevent return to genocide

Rwanda has a plan to prevent any return to the genocide of 1994: connect 100,000 children to the outside world with their own laptops.

The authoritarian president, Paul Kagame – once embraced by President Clinton as an exemplar of Africa’s new leadership – stands accused by human rights organisations of suppressing opposition politics and parties, most commonly by accusing them of harbouring ideological sympathies with the genocidaires. In recent weeks, too, a series of unexplained grenade attacks have rocked the capital.

Most Rwandans, when they do talk of the past and what it means today, say that while they can live and work together for the sake of peace, they cannot forget.

Peter Beaumont
via Rwanda’s laptop revolution | Technology | The Observer.

March 29, 2010   No Comments

‘No proof against Victoire Ingabire’

There is no evidence yet against the leader of the Rwandan opposition, says the Rwandan minister of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama in a recent interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The case of Victoire Ingabire is still under police investigation in Kigali. Ingabire was forbidden to leave the country last week.

“The police has not found hard facts”, Karugarama said during a visit last weekend in the Netherlands. “They have not found evidence to incriminate her. Once the investigation shows that she is innocent, nobody will touch her. But everybody in Rwanda should be held accountable and play by the rules.”

via ‘No proof against Victoire Ingabire’ | Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

March 29, 2010   No Comments

As Rwanda Prepares For Elections: More Questions Than Answers

EurAc

continued from: The Cracks in the mirror

Conclusion: more questions than answers

Cracks in the mirror as Rwanda prepares for elections.
by Kris Berwouts,
Director of EurAc
Intro: Cracks in the mirror as Rwanda prepares for elections
1) Open debate in a closed political context?
2) Hawks on the run
3) Déo Mushayidi
4) Cracks in the mirror
Conclusion: more questions than answers.


Is the Rwandan regime in crisis?

It is possible, certainly. Given the over-reaction of the authorities when confronted by new situations on the ground, we get the impression that the regime believes so, even while the authorities keep declaring that everything is under control. Is the reign of the FPR approaching its end? I meet many people who hope so, but that remains to be seen. Even though I believe that the Rwanda government is not working towards a lasting solution to its problems, it seems clear that the control which it has established remains solid based as it is on a culture of silence and a tradition of obedience to authority.

Is the country about to implode again?
We definitely hope it isn’t. It is very hard to imagine that Rwanda and its people have anything to gain from that, and any such event would have serious consequences for the whole region – for the essential but fragile peace process in Burundi for example; or for the people in eastern Congo who have seen many changes since the Umoja Wetu operation without any resulting sign of future lasting peace.

What is certain is that things are not going well. People are not comparing the situation with the pre-electoral atmosphere in 2003 but with that of 1993.
The grenade attacks have provoked fear.
The question: « Who threw them? » remains unanswered.
Victoire Ingabire and the presidents of the other opposition parties simply want a really free and transparent electoral process. For them the present climate is counter productive.
Kayumba ? There are plenty of precedents in the history of post-colonial Africa of generals trying to take power but I do not remember any case where they began their campaign by throwing grenades at a bus stop.
The FDLR? I have just been in eastern Congo and I had a strong impression that the FDLR had other things on their mind.
Déo Mushayidi? Frustrated demobilised soldiers? People who were angry because they found that Sarkozy was not forced to make a proper apology (that was one of the suggestions I heard)?
Not very likely. In fact there are no probable explanations but one of the least improbable ones is that the regime itself organised the attacks so as to create a climate where citizens could be arrested and intimidated. I met many people who were frightened and there were others I was not able to meet as they were so frightened that they did not dare meet me.

The pre-electoral situation remains volatile.
It is hard to foresee what Rwanda will be like during and after the elections if the opposition remains muzzled, harassed or crushed. It is important for the Rwandan regime to receive signals from the international community that it must stop this intimidation.
At the present time this community gives the impression that it is not at all concerned.
It seems to believe that the pre-election tension was predictable, that the situation is under control, that the nervousness might increase a little before the election but that in the end Kagame will win with a comfortable, even crushing, majority.
Then the international community will continue business as usual.
This is a rather weak analysis. It underestimates the destabilising potential of the present situation and it serves very badly the chances for democracy in Rwanda in the medium and longer term.

From our point of view we must recommend that the international community put pressure on the regime to take measures that will help create political stability in Rwanda and the holding of truly free and transparent elections. Such pressures should principally consist of:

* urging the regime not to refuse to register opposition parties, not to prevent them from working on the ground and not destroying them;
* stopping political and police harassment of the leaders and members of the opposition ;
* asking the government not to use the public media to demonise its opponents;
* demand that a new electoral law be published and an independent electoral commission be set up;
* rapidly deploy an international electoral observer mission.

Beyond the immediate question of the election, it is really important for the FPR to reverse trend to restriction and exclusion and to put its effort into solving the antagonisms which exist, but this falls outside the Terms of Reference of my March visit.
EurAc will come back to this matter in a future document.

For further details:
Kris Berwouts
Rue des Tanneurs, 165 B – 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 213 04 000
@: kris.berwouts@eurac-network.org
www.eurac-network.org

EurAc is the European Network of Active NGOs in Central Africa. EurAC is made up of 49 member-organisations from 12 European countries.

March 29, 2010   No Comments

As Rwanda Prepares For Elections: The Cracks In The Mirror

EurAc

continued from: Déo Mushayidi

The cracks in the mirror

Cracks in the mirror as Rwanda prepares for elections.
by Kris Berwouts,
Director of EurAc
Intro: Cracks in the mirror as Rwanda prepares for elections
1) Open debate in a closed political context?
2) Hawks on the run
3) Déo Mushayidi
4) Cracks in the mirror
Conclusion: more questions than answers.

The traditional opposition is not the main concern of the Rwandan regime at the present moment.
When you have almost complete control over the legislative, executive and judicial institutions, when an independent press has almost completely disappeared, when that section of opinion which has not openly sided with you has attained an extraordinary level of sophistication in the noble art of self-censorship, when for a large part of national and international opinion you represent the ending of genocide and the return to stability, you are not going to lose the elections.
Not against Victoire Ingabire who has not played any role in Rwandan public life and is therefore not known by the electorate in Rwanda.
Not against Bernard Ntaganda either – his team is unstable and easily manipulated.
And not against Frank Habineza, even though he has worked with people close to you including the first president (i.e. one of the first dissidents) of your country.
They have a party which was still not in existence a year ago and which is not certain to be recognised in time to take part in the elections.

The Democratic Green Party is not going to defeat the FPR in the elections but it is making the regime nervous.
This is because it shows how the Rwandan elite, the inner circle of power is losing its cohesion.
This is not the only indication and it is not new, but Kayumba’s departure, the arrest of Mushayidi and the emergence of the Democratic Green Party prove that what the government sees when it looks in the mirror can be seen by everybody, not just by the government itself.

Nothing grows underneath a baobab

Part of the problem of tension inside the regime has nothing to do with the specific context of Rwanda.
After the death of Fred Rwigema on the second day of the FPR armed struggle in October 1990, Paul Kagame took over the command of the rebellion and he still commands it today.
He was the strong man during the war and after the victory, even though he reserved for himself the role of Minister of Defense, leaving Pasteur Bizimungu to head the institutions of state.
This did not prevent anybody, inside Rwanda or not, being aware that it was he who was really running the country.
Many in the international community had a high opinion of him: after the fall of the Mobutu generation, Kagame was for some people the incarnation of a new type of African leadership with an inspiring vision, an ability to mobilise and effective enough to achieve palpable and, in some areas, even spectacular results.

However, he is following the same track as other African heads of state (e.g. Museveni and Mugabe).
His self-confidence is turning to arrogance and reading carefully the list of key people (high ranking military personnel, ministers, ambassadors) who have left the country shows that his rule has developed a self-destructive tendency, sawing off the branch on which he is sitting.
Like Museveni, Mugabe and so many others, Kagame is turning himself into the “Roi Soleil” with no heir, a baobab tree beneath which nothing can grow.

Part of the discontent within the party and the associated community results from a build up of frustration among those who hang on to the coat tails of power without having access to it, people who thought that the FPR could be the motive force to drag them out of poverty.
They can see people they grew up with in the refugee camps in Uganda who are now billionaires but they see no way in to that closed circle.

A generational aspect to their exclusion from power is also developing.
The generation which took up arms won the war and took over the running of the country invested a lot in the education of their sons and daughters who are now returning home.
Their intellectual and technical level far exceeds that of their fathers’ generation and they want to play a leading role in running the country.

International justice: the sword of Damocles

The legal procedures initiated by Juge Jean-Louis Bruguière in France and Fernando Andreu Merelles in Spain have badly shaken the inner circle of power.
The Rwanda government can rely on the loyalty of a number of countries and international institutions, and this is at least partly based on feelings of guilt on the part of the international community for not having been able to prevent the genocide (and, frankly, not having tried too much to prevent it).

To preserve international support it is vital for the Rwandan regime to be sure of the interpretation the world makes of Rwanda’s recent history.
Since 1994, the country has been managed in a psychological climate of winners of the war versus its losers, the victims of the crimes against their executioners, in which, for example, a whole system has been put in place through the gacaca courts to deal with crimes of genocide against Tutsis while at the same time there is a complete taboo regarding crimes committed by the FPR since the start of the war.
This taboo reduces the positive effect that gacaca should have been able to have: instead of being the means of taking on board its traumatic past, gacaca has become a strategy for consolidating the winners/victims versus losers/ criminals scenario.

It is true that the initiatives of de Bruguière and Andreu are very irritating. They disrupt the picture and spoil the image. And they lead to worry on the part of those who feel concerned.
Even though it is highly improbable that the current leaders of Rwanda would be brought to trial in France or Spain, perhaps the image the country wishes to present is not tenable in the medium term.
It cannot be ruled out, even if this does not happen tomorrow, that the question will become: « What are we going to admit ? Who shall we sacrifice?». Such questions do not greatly help to create cohesion.
The immediate future of Kayumba is a major concern of the regime.
What will he say and before what audience?
What if he is extradited to Spain?
Hence the pressure on the South African government to send him back to Rwanda.

Rwanda’s involvement in the Congo

Since 1996 the Congo has taken a lot of space in Rwanda’s foreign policy, and on several occasions what happened in the Congo has been a bone of contention which has haunted the regime. For example Kayumba was opposed to the confrontation with Uganda in 2000 and 2002.

A recent example is the arrest of Laurent Nkunda at the start of the joint operation, Umoja Wetu.
The operation was led by John Numbi (for the Congo) and James Kabarebe (for Rwanda) and one of the first actions was to arrest Laurent Nkunda who was the subject of a plan by Bosco Ntaganda to replace him at the head of the CNDP.
This arrest provoked much animosity in Rwanda, not only in Congolese Rwandophone refugee circles and camps in Rwanda, but also in the army.
After all, Nkunda had served in the FPR and elements of the FPR had served in Nkunda forces. This collaboration created strong links and common interests.

Clearly a great part of the Congo’s importance for Rwanda is the illegal trafficking of the Congo’s resources through Rwanda.
This traffic is evidently not controlled by the Congo government but a good part is also outside the control of the Rwanda government even though it serves the interests of key people in the Rwandan politico-military establishment.
Such business interests can be very various and do not always contribute to the cohesion of the regime either.
It is partly for this reason that one can understand the nervousness about the current obligation that the Rwandan rulers must report their wealth and their income transparently.

Directly linked to the Rwandan involvement in the Congo is the problem of demobilised soldiers.
Now that a direct presence in the Congo is no longer an option, Rwanda finds itself with much too large an army.
Part of the surplus can be deployed by the African Union but that is a limited option.
The remainder has to be demobilised, and many of these ex-soldiers feel basically abandoned by the regime which they have fought for, often in very tough circumstances.

The language issue

We all know about the linguistic tension in Rwanda: the FPR introduced English since the rebellion was led by those who had grown up in Uganda.
The fact that they had taken power gave English a much more important status in the public life of the country than could be imagined from the numbers that actually spoke it.
Over the years the balance has gradually shifted in favour of English and this was accompanied by a feeling of discrimination among many Francophones.

A decisive moment was in 2008 when English was recognised as the official language in education.
For some this was a visionary decision to open up the country to the regional, continental and global reality; for others it was a decision to set in stone the ambition of a minority regime to monopolize communication and the country’s intellectual life, to dominate the country’s youth, to rewrite history and in the end to take control of the country’s collective memory.

Quite independently of the point of view from which this question is viewed, it is obvious that the decision has strengthened some and marginalised others. It deepens the already existing gulf between those who came out of Uganda and formed the nucleus of the regime and the others, where genocide survivors found themselves in an even more uncomfortable situation than that found by those who returned from Burundi or the Congo in 1994.

Power and the clan structure

The clan structure around the Rwanda royal family, even though it has not reigned for over half a century, is still seen by many as a factor.
The monarchist movement around King Kigeli V (currently in the United States) continues to play a political role and it wants to participate in running the country.
Some Rwandan analysts point out that membership of these clans is an important aspect of the identity of a number of those currently active on the political stage.
In particular the ancestral tension between Banyiginya and Bega is one of the cracks which enable us better to understand the goings on side the power structure: Kagame is a Mwega, whereas Kayumba, Karegeya, Nyetera, Kazura, Sebarenzi and many others are Banyiginya.

I am not at all an expert in this subject to understand to what degree clans play a serious role in the present situation but I thought I should at least mention it.

Read further: Conclusion: more questions than answers.

EurAc is the European Network of Active NGOs in Central Africa. EurAC is made up of 49 member-organisations from 12 European countries.

March 29, 2010   No Comments