Rwanda Information Portal

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