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Rwanda: President Kagame tries to diffuse the diplomatic fallout of Ibuka’s speech on anti-Tutsi international conspiracy

Kagame, mad? angry? upset?

Paul Kagame, mad? angry? upset?

Kigali – After official Tutsi spokesperson Theodore Simburudari unleashed his anger yesterday alleging  international conspiracy to exterminate Tutsis, President Paul Kagame is trying to “disassociate” himself from the speech.

He has rapped the IBUKA head for making a “pronouncement” which he was not entitled to raise. “Anything attacking the East Africans is not correct,” said President Kagame.

Here is the last development:
Following what may have become a major diplomatic scandal when Genocide survivors’ group IBUKA said there was an international conspiracy to exterminate Tutsis, President Paul Kagame on Wednesday moved to “disassociate” his government from the comments, RNA reports.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20100413-ibuka-simburudari-conspiracy-tutsi.mp3″ text=”Listen to Full Speech of Theodore Simburudari of anti-Tutsis international conspiracy” dl=”0″]
in Kinyarwanda.

Yesterday, IBUKA head Mr. Theodore Simburudari specifically attacked Rwanda’s regional neighbours for not being helpful in battling the extremist FDLR rebels – who he said are determined to “exterminate the remaining Tutsis”. IBUKA fired at DR Congo – singling out its PM Adolphe Muzito.

Mr. Simburudari was giving a speech at Rebero here in Kigali, to mark the end of the Tutsi Genocide commemoration period. The whole speech was derived from a report by UN experts on the FDLR. The document released in October details which countries, individuals and companies are aiding the continued survival of the rebels.

Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania were also not spared from the 22-minute long tirade by Mr. Simburudari, in addition to all of Rwanda’s donors, accusing them of harbouring, financing and protecting sympathizers of the militia group.

IBUKA’s argument was the fact that the whole world, including Rwanda’s neighbours are not doing anything on the rebels – as mentioned in the UN report, was testament that Tutsis will continue to be haunted and killed, as governments look on.

What Mr. Simburudari did not seem to take note of was that the event was attended by the members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) which is in Kigali for its annual session. The Rebero event was presided over by Senate President Dr. Vincent Biruta, also attended by the entire diplomatic corp.

To diffuse the imminent diplomatic fallout, President Kagame told a session of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Wednesday morning that “anything attacking” the East Africa Community is “not correct”. The President rapped the IBUKA head for making “pronouncements” which he was not entitled to raise.

“…Any matters arising out of such [UN] reports and other issues…sometimes they should be left to some of us…the leaders who manage such affairs,…and not everybody taking it upon himself or herself to make such a pronouncement,” Mr. Kagame said amid loud applause from the Legislators.

“So, in short, I am disassociating myself,” he added, amid more prolonged applause, as he continued, “…and disassociating our government and our people from such things.”

The President said Rwanda “has been hurt in many ways” by the UN “and we have to sort that out, but it shouldn’t provide ground to hurt others in the process.”

“On the contrary, I think Rwanda has everything to be grateful for in relation to our brothers and sisters in the East African Community,” said Mr. Kagame, as more applause came his way.

On the UN, the President was none apologetic, saying “I don’t believe everything as said in the UN reports…there are many reports.” He added: “So, anything attacking the East Africans is not correct.”

Meanwhile, yesterday at the event, realizing that IBUKA’s comments could complicate the improving relations with Kinshasa, the Senate President Dr. Vincent Biruta, tried to play down the alleged DRC’s support to the rebels.

He said even if there are other countries still helping the rebels, it was worthy to recognize the efforts of DR Congo and regional neighbours working together to end the problem.

Regional countries have showed willingness to solve the problem, said Biruta, but avoided mentioning FDLR directly in his brief intervention before he started reading from his written speech.

[Adapted from ARI-RNA]

April 14, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda: Campaigners plead for suspended UMUSESO and UMUVUGIZI newspapers

Kigali: Media rights groups are urging the High Council of Media to “reverse” the suspension of the two tabloids it accuses of insulting the Head of State and inciting the Police and Army into possible insubordinatio, RNA reports.

“By silencing these two local-language newspapers the Media High Council is robbing Rwanda voters of crucial alternative voices during the presidential election campaign,” said Committee to Protect Journalists’ Africa Program Coordinator, Mr. Tom Rhodes.

“The ruling is a thinly disguised attempt at censorship. If the election is to be seen as free and fair, the council must reverse this ruling and ensure that all media are able to cover the campaign.”

The HCM claims articles published since the beginning of the year by weekly UMUSESO are insulting to President Kagame; are inciting the police and army to insubordination; as well as creating fear among the public.

At a hastily convened press conference on Tuesday, seated side-by-side, Council Chairman Mr. Arthur Asiimwe and the Executive Secretary Mr. Patrice Mulama argued that the information which these papers publish could undermine foreign investment efforts as they scare investors.

The articles create the impression the country is insecure, said Mr. Mulama, amid a pile of copies of the two controversial newspapers.

However, during the press conference, most of the examples of articles the Council claims are dangerous were from UMUSESO – prompting questions as why the suspension was targeting UMUVUGIZI too.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says the Media Council can legally suspend a weekly publication for a maximum of two weeks unless the paper is seen as a repeat offender. But the Council maintains it has the powers.

However, the two papers can challenge the council’s suspensions in court.

[ARI-RNA]

April 14, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: IBUKA Tutsi Extremist Leader in Diplomatic Row

Theodore Simburudari

Theodore Simburudari: claims that there is an international conspiracy to exterminate Tutsis

A Tutsi Extremist causes diplomatic incident in Kigali

Kigali, Rwanda – Tuesday April 13, 2010. Theodore Simburudari, the leader of a Rwandan Tutsi extremist group IBUKA which claims to represent ethnic Tutsis in Rwanda has caused a diplomatic row between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.

In a speech at the memorial to honor Rwandan Hutu politicians killed during the 1994 Rwandan civil war, the Tutsi extremist leader lashed out at the Congolese diplomats and envoys sitting among the guests during the ceremony held in the hill of Rebero and led by the Rwandan Speaker of the Parliament, Vincent Biruta.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20100413-ibuka-simburudari-conspiracy-tutsi.mp3″ text=”Listen to the Full Speech – Theodore Simburudari – international conspiracy against Tutsis” dl=”0″]
in Kinyarwanda.

Staging a theatrical show, Mr Theodore Simburudari accused the Congolese Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito of having met the FDLR leaders in 2008.

The diplomats to whom the speech was addressed appeared shocked at the accusations but remained impassible.

Muzito became Prime Minister in October 2008 and there are no indications that he ever met the FDLR leaders.

Rather, it is well documented that since January 2008, the Congolese Government had been in negotiations with two other Rwandan armed political organizations, the Rally for Unity and Democracy, also known as RUD-Urunana and Rally for the Rwandan People, composed of Tutsi ex-RPF members, otherwise known as RPR.

Basing his speech on a controversial UN Group of Experts’ report published in November 2009, Simburudari accused all the countries in the region, including DRC, Burundi, and Uganda, and countries in the West, especially the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, and Belgium to seek to exterminate the Tutsis by supporting the Hutu opposition.

He singled out the opposition politician Ms. Victoire Ingabire who, according to Mr Simburudari, citing the UN Group’s report allegedly attended meetings along with FDLR members.

Apparently confused, he ended the tirade and rambling against the Rwandan opposition by accusing it of working with the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), drawing a boo from the audience.

The embarrassed Speaker of the Parliament Biruta who followed and was leading the ceremony, had to first reject the allegations raised by the Tutsi extremist, by thanking the Congolese and other neighboring governments for helping Rwanda in trying to foster peace in the African Great Lakes Region.

It is ironic that the UN Experts’ Report, which has been cooly received by UN Security Council because of the blatant influence by the Rwandan Intelligence Services, be used in a speech by a Rwandan Tutsi extremist.

In fact, the report appears to be based on the work by Rakiya Omaar, the controversial Director Africa Rights who has been on the payroll of the Rwandan Government. In 2008, Rakiya Omaar contracted with the Rwandan Government to produce the report titled: “The Leadership of Rwandan Armed Groups Abroad With a Focus on the FDLR and RUD-URUNANA” which appeared to serve as the main reference for the UN Group of Experts’ report, which in turn formed the theme of the speech by the Tutsi Extremist.

fdlr-letters_Mucyo_Rakiya-250

Rakiya Omaar’s report was to be used to thwart the peace process between the DRC government and the RUD – RPR facilitated by Sant’Egidio Community.

Eventually, the Rwandan government took too long to pay Rakiya Omaar all the money promised, which led to a delay in the publication.

This led to bitter exchanges including the following between the Rwandan Government and Rakiya Omaar. The report was eventually published in December 2008, after the Rwandan government paid Rakiya Omaar.

[AfroAmerica]

April 14, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda: President Kagame proud to have killed Hutu refugees in DRC

Paul Kagame: Those who preferred repatriation were safely brought into the country, but those who chose otherwise were shot "That’s what we did".

Those who preferred repatriation were safely brought into the country, but those who chose otherwise were shot "That’s what we did".

Kigali – Senior army officers were sworn in On Tuesday afternoon to take new responsibilities. These are new defence minister General James Kabarebe, new Chief of defence staff Lieutenant General Charles Kayonga, new army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ceaser Kayizari who is the new army chief of staff, and commander of the reserve forces Lieutenant General Charles Muhire.

In his speech President Paul Kagame praised the four sworn-in officers for unwavering service they have offered to their country and for their contribution to the struggle to make Rwanda the better country it is today. According to him, their experience and commitment give assurance for Rwanda’s security.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20100413-kagame-yigamba-ko-yarashe-impunzi.mp3″ text=”Listen- where Kagame proudly says his army shot refugees” dl=”0″]
in Kinyarwanda.

However, President Kagame noted that the responsibility to guard national security was not for the military alone. He said every leader in all posts of leadership, and every citizen in Rwanda, must take this responsibility seriously.

“We have done all we promised”

President Kagame spoke with pride how the military pursued the Rwandan rebels “across the borders” – which eventually brought much needed security.
He said those who preferred repatriation were safely brought into the country, but those who chose otherwise were shot. “We did that,” he said in Kinyarwanda, adding in English, “That’s what we did.”
As he was winding up his 20-minute address, not reading a prepared speech, the President repeated that “on good or bad terms,” whoever tries to “provoke the country into war” should be prepared to face the repercussions. He ended pounding the podium as he reminded his team to get to work.

Other themes developed by President Kagame during the same ceremony:
“Rwandan exiled officials are like excreted human waste”.
President Kagame vows to stop newspapers who sell rumours.

April 14, 2010   11 Comments

Rwanda: President Kagame vows to stop newspapers who sell rumours

Kigali – Media organizations publishing rumours which undermine state security “must stop”. The President Paul Kagame made the call in his speech at the Parliamentary buildings during the ceremony in which four senior army officers were sworn in to take new responsibilities.

He wondered why some media “sell rumours” as government officials looked on.

The President was speaking about media reports which suggested, among others, that newly appointed Lt. Gen Charles Kayonga and other top officers were under house arrest over coup plot links. Some were claimed to have left the country.
Local tabloids, particularly UMUSESO, have alleged that Lt. Gen. Kayonga was in deep trouble with the Commander-in-Chief. Other senior officers in the army and intelligence apparatus were reported to be fleeing or in detention.

“There are people who survive on selling rumour… Surprisingly, Rwandans even buy the rumour. Why cant you buy what feeds you or what has value instead of rumours,” he said.

The President said the “profession of trading in rumours” – which disturbs the harmony and security of the country cannot be allowed to continue. “It must stop…on good or bad terms,” he said.
I promise you that will happen, ” he said gesturing to emphasize his point, amid applause from the audience of the country’s elite.
“Those rumour mongers who keep saying officials have been arrested – with the goal to destabilize the country…confuse Rwandans…that one has no right over that,” he said.

As though he was not done yet, the President said if the outsiders accept that, “fine”, then threw the bombshell:
“…Or they take them to live in their countries. It is impossible here,” Mr. Kagame said pounding his podium, adding that “never” will he accept anybody to undermine the blood that Rwandans have spilled rebuilding their country.

Related article: Rwanda: Tabloids Umuseso and Umuvugizi suspended

April 14, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda alleges international conspiracy against Tutsis

Président d'IBUKA

President Theodore Simburudari of IBUKA developing his 'international conspiracy theory against Tutsis'

Kigali –  In the presence of Envoys from DR Congo and others accredited to Kigali, and picking-on opposition critic Victoire Ingabire, Genocide survivors organisation IBUKA claimed Tuesday that there is an international, regional and national conspiracy to “exterminate all Tutsis”, RNA reports.

Coming out strongly against what they described as “just commemorating the Tutsi Genocide” when governments and politicians continue to support the plan aimed at finishing Tutsis, survivors’ group IBUKA says “it is time” to act on the Rwandan FDLR rebels.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20100413-ibuka-simburudari-conspiracy-tutsi.mp3″ text=”Full Speech – Theodore Simburudari – international conspiracy against Tutsis” dl=”0″]
in Kinyarwanda.

“Looking on as politicians operating here and the region which we have joined continue to propagate hate is evident that anybody Tutsi will remain being abused and killed,” said IBUKA president Theodore Simburudari, at Rebero to mark the end of the commemoration week.

Government officials, diplomats, genocide survivors and the Kigali community had converged at Rebero memorial site (Kicukiro) where politicians killed during the Tutsi Genocide are laid to rest. The site is dedicated solely to the politicians.

Congolese PM meets FDLR

Mr. Simburudari’s speech was entirely drawn from a UN investigation which detailed the international and regional networks of the FDLR militia. He accused opposition politician Victoire Ingabire of attending FDLR meetings and fundraising for the rebels – along with her party colleagues.

Disregarding diplomatic protocol, Mr. Simburudari used his lengthy speech to condemn DR Congo’s government which he claimed still supports the rebels. Without mincing words, he named Congolese PM Adolphe Muzito, saying he met the rebels in 2008.

In the midst of all diplomats, Mr. Simburudari named Spain, United States, Norway and Netherlands – as the countries which continue to harbour FDLR contacts and source of financing.

For France, the IBUKA leader said the fact that Paris had refused to cooperate with the UN investigators collecting information on the rebels, was testament of the double standard still prevalent. On Belgium, he said it also refused to give information to the UN team on Lt. Col Theophile Gakara, a top FDLR officer living there, and other individuals.

Germany, Mr. Simburudari said, only arrested FDLR chief Dr. Ignace Murwanashyaka with his deputy Straton Musoni in November last year after the publication of the UN report.

Mr. Simburudari was not done yet, turning his guns on Uganda – where he claims the FDLR are getting recruits from Nakivale and Cyaka refugee camps in the south west, and in Congo. Some 10,000 Rwandan refugees are in these Ugandan camps. Thousands others are in DRC.

Biruta cools waters

Burundi was not left out either. The IBUKA head singled out intelligence chief Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana – who he said “openly” arms the rebels with other police officers.

“Denouncing the FDLR is described as undermining political debate,” he said, sounding irritated.

Realizing that Mr. Simburudari’s comments could complicate the improving relations with Kinshasa, the Senate Speaker Dr. Vincent Biruta, who presided over the function, tried to play down DRC’s support to the rebels. He said even if there are other countries still helping the rebels, it was worthy to recognize the efforts of DR Congo and regional neighbours working together to end the problem.

Regional countries have showed willingness to solve the problem, said Biruta, but avoided mentioning FDLR directly in his brief intervention before he started reading from his written speech.

Done with the outside world, Mr. Simburudari shifted to inside Rwanda, wondering why government is not acting on opposition politicians mentioned in the UN report.

“The United Democratic Forces – FDU Inkingi led by Victoire Ingabire, and other political parties…are tangible examples also written in this report,” he said.

Listing FDU-Inkingi officials directly helping FDLR rebels, Mr. Simburudari named them as Victoire Ingabire, Jean-Baptiste Mberabahizi and Antoinette Mukakimenyi.

However, the IBUKA head caused laughter when by the slip of the tongue, he said these FDU officials are “openly working with FPR”, in reference to the ruling party. He immediately corrected the mistake saying again: “openly working with FDLR”.

[ARI-RNA]

April 14, 2010   No Comments

Kagame: “Rwandan exiled officials are like excreted human waste”

Paul Kagame is not upset by those 'human waste'

Paul Kagame is not upset by 'human waste'

In a speech Tuesday afternoon at the Parliamentary buildings,  President Paul Kagame took a few minutes to talk in perplexing terms about those officials who flee the country.

He was swearing in: General James Kabarebe, former chief of defence staff who has been appointed to be new defence minister, Lieutenant General Charles Kayonga, former Army chief of staff who has been promoted to be chief of defence staff, Lieutenant General Ceaser Kayizari who is the new army chief of staff, and Lieutenant General Charles Muhire, former commander of Rwanda air force who has been appointed to be commander of the reserve forces.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20100413-kagame-abahunga-ni-umwanda.mp3″ text=”Listen where Kagame says that those who flee the country are like excreted human waste” dl=”0″]
in Kinyarwanda.

In the strongest comments so far on officials who have been fleeing the country, the President compared them to human waste which the body expels because it does not need it.

“Those fleeing are like [the waste] being excreted,” he said amid applause, before he had even completed the idea he was advancing. “It means the country has sieved.”

He added: “Those who do good for the country [as well as] understanding the role they have, the country owns them…they live in it. But for the waste, the country throws them out. These are things that are automatic. If that is how it’s supposed to be, so be it.

President Kagame did not make any specific attacks at any individuals but it was clear he was firing at ex-army chiefs Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, Col. Patrick Karegeya – exiled in South Africa, and other officials like previous ministers or ambassadors.

While winding up his 20-minute diatribe, pounding the podium and not reading a prepared speech, President Kagame reminded that whoever tries to “provoke the country into war” should be prepared to face the repercussions.

April 14, 2010   17 Comments

Rwanda: Tabloids Umuseso and Umuvugizi suspended

Kigali –  The two tabloid newspapers will not be allowed to publish on the territory of Rwanda for the next six months over among the accusations – defaming the Head of State. The decision came just before President Kagame demanded an end to rumours.

The government-supported High Council of the Media (HCM) and the Ministry of Information (MININFOR) announced Tuesday that the publication licenses of UMUSESO and UMUVUGIZI newspapers are suspended with immediate effect.

However, the editors of the affected newspapers had not been notified formally by press time.

Seated side-by-side, Mr. Arthur Asiimwe, the Council President and the Council’s Executive Secretary Mr. Patrice Mulama told reporters at an impromptu press conference that the papers are causing state instability and defaming the Head of State. The Council said it had to act after reviewing the copies of the two papers published since the beginning of the year.

The announcement came just a few hours before another major speech made by President Paul Kagame in Parliament after accepting the oath of office of the new chiefs at the Ministry of Defense. The President warned those he described as “trading on rumours”, referring to media reports that Lt. Gen Charles Kayonga was in trouble with the authorities.

At a press conference two weeks ago, the President dismissed the reports as rumours. In an unexpected turn of events, on Monday Saturday, the President named Lt. Gen Kayonga as Chief of Defense Staff.

Kagame-Habyarimana: “Twins?”

On Tuesday, he made direct reference to the reports. But without elaborating specifics as to which media exactly, the President said whoever was propagating such rumours – which he said undermine the country’s security, “must stop”. He added that will happen “on good or bad terms”.

The decision of the Media Council and the Ministry came following another Council recommended for the suspension of UMUSESO in August last year. The Council took the decision in reaction to an article published by UMUSESO in its July 20-27 issue comparing President Kagame with former president Habyarimana, alleging that Kagame’s regime superseded Habyarimana’s by its “technological dictatorship.”

The article was an opinion piece entitled “Twins?”, with a photo of President Kagame and Habyarimana, underscored by a kicker, “Kagame better than Habyarimana by technological dictatorship.”

In an August 3 letter seeking the suspension of the publication, the HCM said the UMUSESO article defamed the head of state, was confusing to the public, carried false information and news without any source and was exaggerated.

Then in the recent issues, the controversial weekly has repeatedly claimed that Lt. Gen. Kayonga and other top military and intelligence officers are under house arrest or jail over coup plot attempts. UMUVUGIZI has also been running similar articles.

Referring to this, the Media Council says the two papers have deliberately continued publishing information which destabilizes the harmony in the country. The two papers are also battling different court cases.

Editors speak

The decision announced Tuesday also comes after the Council wrote to UMUSESO over the weekend – demanding an apology over another article which claimed Cabinet Affair Minister Protais Musoni had had an extramarital relationship with Kigali city Mayor Dr. Aissa Kirabo Kacyira.

However, both Mr. Didas Gasana, of UMUSESO and Mr. Jean Bosco Gasasira told RNA they have not been notified officially of the decision to suspend their papers. Neither were they invited to the press conference announcing the decision.

“I just heard about the decision – which is actually illegal,” argued Mr. Gasana. The counterpart, Mr. Gasasira says he has never been summoned by the Media Council over anything to do with defaming the President or publishing rumours.

It is not the first time the Media Council has taken action against UMUSESO. In 2005, the council issued a similar recommendation but the then Minister of information, Prof. Laurent Nkusi, did not respond and publication continued. He said the case was already in court.

The tabloid’s current fate was lying with the Ministry of Information which was yet to respond to the council’s August recommendation. Under Rwanda’s media law, only the minister can suspend or ban a publication.

The suspension comes into effect on Tuesday.

[ARI-RNA]

April 14, 2010   No Comments