Rwanda Information Portal

Bernard Ntaganda ousted by party PS-Imberakuri

Breaking News:

Bernard Ntaganda

Bernard Ntaganda

Hundreds of PS Imberakuri party members have ousted their leader at an impromptu conference in Kigali. Mr. Bernard Ntaganda is said to be in hiding, RNA can reveal.

Up to 1,000 delegates flooded into Kigali Wednesday morning, with some chanting ‘he must go’. The rowdy group converged with just one item on agenda – to vote out Mr. Bernard Ntaganda. The new team includes a woman.

Mr. Ntaganda has not been seen in public yet.

ARI-RNA

March 17, 2010   2 Comments

Victoire Ingabire accuses Government of Rwanda

In a press release issued by UDF Inkingi, Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza writes:

Rwanda political stalemate: police investigations, another tool to thwart political rights.

Victoire Ingabire

Victoire Ingabire

The Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, on VOA Kinyarwanda today confirmed that as long as the police is investigating Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza or her political party, she and her party UDF INKINGI, will be definitely denied the right to convene anywhere in Rwanda.

On 12th March 2010, responding to both our applications dated 16th February and 04th March 2010, the Mayor of Nyarugenge (Kigali City) informs that because of pending police investigations regarding Victoire Ingabire, the Chair of UDF INKINGI, there will be no authorisation for UDF INKINGI to hold a national congress in the municipality.

In an interview on national Radio aired on 12th March 2010 the same authority added that “we can’t allow them to convene because we don’t know what they will say to the public”! This is totally against the freedom of expression and freedom of association.

The current controversial party law, the organic law n° 19/2007 of 04/05/2007 modifying and complementing organic law n° 16/2003 of 27/06/2003 governing political organizations and politicians grants to the Ministry of Local government the key position to handle political parties’ applications, registrations and activities.

It’s the last resort and the highest authority in the hierarchy of appellate system. The Minister is clear: there will be no authorisation for congress, no registration of UDF INKINGI.
The national police is weighed down by the orders from the President to grill opposition leaders.
The Ministry and the municipal administrations bestow the issue as a tool strong enough to deny political rights.
This political tactic to silence any opposition is systematically used against all opposition leaders.

How about the presumption of innocence? Why should the government deny citizens constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty?

This conspiracy and the use of powers of the police to try and silence the opposition are unacceptable.
It is not surprising that public confidence in the force and the administration has been shaken.
We call upon the President of Rwanda to prove his real commitment to a peaceful democratic process by distancing himself from Minister James Musoni’s views.

We call on the partners of the government of Rwanda, the bilateral donors funding the election in Rwanda and the international community to make sure all the actors in this process are sincere and accountable.

The current standoff reveals the hidden agenda of the ruling party and its government to shy away any serious competition and its clear intention to rig the process from the start.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza
UDF INKINGI
Chair.

March 17, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Crisis in PS Imberakuri party with plan to oust leader Ntaganda

Party members want Mr. Ntaganda to resign or they force him out – accusing him of grave charges

Bernard Ntaganda

Bernard Ntaganda - Parti Social Imberakuri

Kigali: Dozens of members of opposition Social Party Imberakuri are converging in Kigali Wednesday to vote out their controversial leader Mr. Bernard Ntaganda accusing him of promoting divisionism, ethnic politics and other charges, RNA reports.

At the Nyabugogo bus and taxi park, several party members are coming in from the provinces chanting ‘he must go’ as they head for an impromptu delegates’ conference, according to our reporter.

Mr. Ntaganda himself is organizing a press conference this morning to defend his position.

He is under fire from party members accusing him of using the party for his own selfish ends. Disgruntled members also claim his language is divisive and that he also negates the Genocide, accusations he has previously rejected.

Mr. Ntaganda has instead claimed that the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) is fomenting trouble among his members to destroy the party.

PS Imberakuri is one of the three vocal opposition parties which have formed a coalition. The other two – the Green Party and the United Democratic Forces Inkingi have not been registered yet. Speculation is rife that the two could fall behind PS Imberakuri if they fail to secure registration.

ARI-RNA

March 17, 2010   No Comments

Rwandan Refugees To Return, says Rwanda Envoy to Uganda

Kampala: Mr Frank Mugambage, the Rwandan envoy to Uganda, told Daily Monitor in Kampala that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has declared that by next year, all Rwandan refugees in Uganda and other countries will be returned home, saying Rwanda is now safe.
Most Rwandans fled their country during the 1994 genocide, described as the worst humanitarian catastrophe in Africa in recent history.

Daily Monitor – monitor.co.ug.

March 17, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Deo Mushayidi To Appear In Court On Terror Charges

Deo Mushayidi at the back of a Police Pick-up

Deo Mushayidi at the back of a Police Pick-up

The case of so-called terror suspect, Deo Mushayidi, who has been appearing at the Prosecutor General’s office, has now been transferred to the courts.

This was revealed yesterday afternoon by the Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga.

The former president of the Rwanda Journalist Association, Deo Mushayidi was kidnapped from Burundi following cooperation by law enforcement organs of both countries. Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga announced that Mushayidi was part of a network of people threatening Rwanda’s security including renegade military officers, Lt Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa and Patrick Karegeya.

He had been shuttling between various countries in the region and his movements were being monitored.

His arrest came days after Rwandan authorities linked recent grenade attacks in the country on the defected senior RDF officers, who are now reported to be in South Africa.

More about Deo Mushayidi (in French):

March 17, 2010   2 Comments

Rwanda: No Contradiction in Rwanda Being Both Member of ‘Francophonie’ and Commonwealth

Mr Frank Mugambage, the Rwandan envoy to Uganda, said on Friday in Kampala that there is no contradiction in Rwanda joining the Commonwealth while staying as a member of the Francophone society.

He insisted that joining the Commonwealth, a loose grouping of former British colonies, is a mere lingua-franca issue rather than political. “We view language as a tool that helps Rwandans to engage in search for knowledge, technology and economic growth,” Mr Mugambage said, “We shall participate fully in the 40th anniversary of Francophone Day on March 20.”

Francophone Day brings together the 56 member states and governments and 14 observer countries that have close or colonial ties with France.
The French ambassador in Uganda Mr Rene Forceville said the Francophone Day is open to any country that wants to associate with France.
Although Rwanda was colonised by Belgium and has been using French as an official and instruction language, it was last November admitted to the Commonwealth community.

Recently, Rwanda adopted English as language of instruction in learning institutions, and is slowly on the path to dump French. The move is understood to stem from a French judge’s implication of President Kagame in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, an accusation which he rejected.

Daily Monitor – monitor.co.ug.

March 17, 2010   No Comments

France looks to put ghosts of Rwandan genocide to rest

Here is what Edward Cody of Washington Post Foreign Service writes about Rwanda and France after last month’s visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Rwanda.

For years, the ghosts of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide have haunted France, finally intruding even into this tidy suburb of Bordeaux and the comfortable home of Sosthene Munyemana.

Munyemana, a French-trained gynecologist, was arrested here in January on an international warrant from the Rwandan government, which is seeking his extradition to face charges of rape, genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and association with criminals to carry out genocide. The 55-year-old physician was released pending the outcome of a court hearing scheduled for June.

Munyemana’s case, which raised anew the issue of France’s long-criticized attitude toward the genocide, could hardly have been more poorly timed. After years of estrangement, the leaders of France and Rwanda have sought to reconcile despite lingering resentment over France’s close military and diplomatic ties to the Hutu-run government that was blamed for the massacre of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis during a civil war in 1994.

For Rwanda, now controlled by Tutsis, the rapprochement has meant an opportunity to deal normally with one of the main diplomatic and economic actors in Africa, where France retains numerous allies and considerable influence among its former colonies.

For France, renewal of relations has carried another message as well: hope for an end to the accusations at home and in Africa that French soldiers and political leaders stood by while Tutsis were being slaughtered by the thousands.

An official Rwandan investigation concluded two years ago that France had been “politically and militarily complicit” in the genocide. But a French parliamentary investigation in 1998 affirmed that the government at the time, headed by President François Mitterrand and Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, did nothing wrong.

Against that uneasy background, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, during a landmark visit to Kigali, the Rwandan capital, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame vowed last month to put the blood-soaked debate behind them — or at least to act as if the chapter were closed.

Acknowledging ‘errors’

Using carefully negotiated language, Sarkozy acknowledged for the first time that France and its troops in Rwanda at the time committed “errors” as the Tutsis were being killed by France’s Hutu allies. In return, Kagame, a former Tutsi rebel leader, dispatched an ambassador to Paris and promised to work with France in pacifying Congo and other areas of Central Africa’s war-racked Great Lakes region.

Munyemana, a Hutu who lives in France with his wife, said he has little faith in the reconciliation effort because it is based on “too many lies.” Too many people, in France and Rwanda, have something to hide, he said, and neither France nor Rwanda’s now-governing Tutsis have come to grips with everything that happened during those four bloody months.

The prosecution against him, he said in an interview, is based on a friendship gone sour, a Tutsi classmate at the University of Bordeaux who after the genocide decided to make Munyemana pay because he is a Hutu. Guided by the erstwhile friend, Munyemana said, French human rights activists went to Rwanda and gathered false testimony linking him to massacres in Tumba, where he worked at the time.

Much of that testimony ended up in Rwandan courts, where Munyemana was sentenced in absentia in 2008 to life in prison. In addition to unspecified rapes, the extradition request accused Munyemana of killing three people on the University of Butare campus and of cooperating with known genocide leaders in drawing up plans for many other killings.

“Everything is false,” he said. “There are people in there I didn’t even know. And there are people I know but that I never associated with. Sure, I knew some of the people involved in the massacres. But should I be held responsible for what they did?”

The main document alleging his involvement, Munyemana said, was later proven to be an unofficial compilation of charges and not a U.N. report as alleged. But the harm was done, and the reputation he built during 16 years of study and medical practice in France has been ruined, he added.

“The issue is not judged yet,” he said. “Waiting for the justice system to move, it’s a real pain.”

Munyemana’s attorneys have led him to expect a favorable ruling. So far, all extradition requests such as the one he is fighting have been turned down by French courts, which consistently have held that the Tutsi-run Rwandan justice system cannot guarantee a fair trial to Hutus accused of participation in the genocide.

Slow to act

Alain Gauthier, who heads the Civil Plaintiffs Collective representing genocide survivors, said that if French courts will not extradite exiles accused of participating in the killings, the government should put them on trial in France. Several Rwandans have been tried in Belgium and Switzerland, he noted, but the French justice system has been slow to move.

So slow, in fact, that the European Human Rights Court accused France of dragging its feet in the case of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a priest accused of encouraging the genocide in his onetime Kigali parish who found refuge in France and now lives in a vicarage at Gisors, northwest of Paris.

Gauthier, who is married to a Rwandan Tutsi woman, said, however, that several encouraging signs have emerged in recent months as France and Rwanda negotiated their reconciliation. Four investigating magistrates have traveled to Rwanda to gather evidence for cases brought by the collective, he said, and the Justice Ministry has promised to set up a special cell equipped to investigate such crimes with more speed and efficiency.

In addition, French police this month briefly arrested Agathe Kanziga, the widow of Juvénal Habyarimana, the slain Rwandan president, in response to a Rwandan warrant accusing her of helping plan the genocide after his assassination. Like Munyemana, she was brought before a French court to decide on extradition and is awaiting a ruling.

Gauthier’s group has brought charges against 16 Rwandans living in France but estimates that several times that number could be present in the country without having been identified. Some of them, he said, particularly military officers with friends among French forces, were spirited out of Rwanda in French military aircraft after it became clear that Kagame’s rebel group was about to take power.

“If we had not filed complaints, those guilty of genocide would be living happily in France,” he said in an interview at his home in Reims. “Government prosecutors have not opened a single case. Nobody in France wants all these things to come out.”

In fact, he noted, the most prominent case brought by the French government was an indictment handed down against Kagame, accusing him of complicity in the April 1994 shooting down of an airplane carrying Habyarimana. Habyarimana’s killing, which outraged his fellow Hutu leaders, became the spark for the genocide.

Edward Cody – washingtonpost.com.

March 17, 2010   No Comments

Rwandan President Kagame Rejects Human Rights Criticism

Here an article from Tom Evans, showing how President Paul Kagame rejects human rights criticism:

Rwandan President Paul Kagame hit back Monday at human rights activists who say he’s behaving like an autocrat and fueling a bloody civil war in Rwanda’s neighbor, Congo.

If you are talking about people in the human rights community from outside… I have an issue with this,” Kagame said, 16 years after he was hailed as a hero for ending a genocide that killed at least 800,000 people.

You tend to make a judgment of a country, 11 million people, on what a couple of people have said and (they) don’t take into account what Rwandans say.

Kagame added, “Nobody has asked the Rwandans … it’s as if they don’t matter in the eyes of the human rights people. It’s our own decisions in the end.

He said everyone in Rwanda has to play by the rules and be accountable. “There has to be leadership to make things move in the right direction,” Kagame stated.

Kagame’s comments came a month after the New York-based group, Human Rights Watch, said opposition activists are facing increasing threats, attacks, and harassment ahead of Rwanda’s presidential election in August.

Human Rights Watch said opposition party members have suffered serious intimidation by individuals and institutions close to the government and Kagame’s ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

The RPF took power in 1994 after its army swept into the capital of Kigali and overthrew the Hutu-dominated government responsible for the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans, most of them members of the minority Tutsi community.

In the aftermath of the 100-day genocide, the fastest in modern history, Kagame transformed his country, turning it into one of the fastest growing nations in Africa and — in the view of some — a model of economic and social development.

Kagame said Rwanda has made significant progress in erasing some of the scars left behind after the tragedy.

That’s why the country is stable. That’s why the country is moving on. That’s why the country is developing.

Kagame insisted he has nothing to do with the continuing civil war in mineral-rich Congo, even though he acknowledged that Rwandan troops intervened there a decade ago in an attempt to stop rebel groups from returning to Rwanda.

The war became the largest and most destructive conflict in African history, costing more than 5 million lives, as various groups and foreign armies fought for control of Congo’s land and mineral resources.

I cannot be blamed for the problems of Congo or any other country,” Kagame said. “There are the Congolese who have their own country, who are supposed to manage it, who are supposed to govern it. It has nothing to do with me.

Tom Evans – cnn.com

March 17, 2010   No Comments

Kagame accuses media of role in blasts

NEWSROOMS and journalists in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali are on tenterhooks after President Paul Kagame made new accusations of their supposed involvement in a bomb attack in Rwanda, writes Dennis Itumbi for journalism.co.za.

Just months before Rwanda’s presidential elections, Kigali was recently hit by two grenade attacks that killed two people and injured 30 others.

In a press conference last week, Kagame accused Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, a former ambassador to India and chief of staff, and another senior ex-military officer, Patrick Karegeya, of plotting the first grenade attack.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), “the president went on to say that journalists had met with Karegeya in South Africa prior to the attacks, leaving a not-so-subtle implication of impropriety.”

“There are those [journalists] who found Karegeya in South Africa and spoke to him. There are even those who went there, but have not returned,” he said.

No journalists were named, but Charles Kabonero and Jean Bosco Gasasira, founders of two private vernacular weeklies, knew that the president’s message was aimed at them. Both papers had conducted interviews with Karegeya.

For his part, Kabonero makes no apologies. “I believe that Kagame is educated enough to know that, as a journalist, if I had a chance to meet [Osama] bin Laden I would not hesitate to do it [in order to] to get news. It’s the job. So, yes, I met Karegyeya for journalism-related purposes,” he told CPJ.

Nyamwasa and Karegeya have left Rwanda, but Nyamwasa has denied the president’s allegations in interviews with international news outlets.

Over the weekend, the former president of the Rwanda Journalist Association, Deo Mushayidi, was arrested in connection with the recent grenade attacks.

Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga announced at a press conference that Mushayidi was part of a network of people threatening Rwanda’s security.

This is not the first time the Rwandan government has accused independent journalists of involvement in a bomb attack.
The pro-government bimonthly magazine, The Rwanda Focus, claimed in April 2006 that Kabonero conspired with a military officer to launch a wave of bombings in Kigali.

Reporters Without Borders investigated the allegations and claimed the allegations were baseless.

CPJ argues that, “one thing is clear: Kagame’s televised warnings will help silence critics prior to the August presidential election. With pro-government media outlets outweighing the country’s beleaguered private press, the chances of balanced election coverage are now slimmer than ever.”

Source: journalism.co.za.

March 17, 2010   No Comments