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Rwanda: About Iwawa prison island, President Kagame describes The New York Times as “pathetic”

Teenager detained on Iwawa prison campTeenager detained on Iwawa prison camp

During the press conference on Tuesday May 11th, President Kagame came out strongly against a damning article by The New York Times in which it revealed that youths are imprisoned in harsh conditions on Iwawa island in Lake Kivu.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20100511-kagame-conference-iwawa-newyorktimes.mp3″ text=”Kagame talking about New York Times article” dl=”0″]

President Kagame said that Mr. Jeffrey Gentlemen, the author of the New York Times article, is a “person very fond of writing negatively against Rwanda”.

According to Kagame, the journalist wrote the story “as if he carried out some daring operation to go and discover an island where secret activities are taking place that suggest repression …”, when in fact he had been invited by the line minister.

Mr. Kagame described the article as “pathetic” and accused The New York Times of hiding behind “professionalism” to consistently “tarnishing the image” of the country.
“This is how manipulative some people can be,” Mr. Kagame told the press conference.

Indicative of the seriousness of The New York Times allegations, the question was asked in Kinyarwanda but President Kagame refused to answer in the same language, saying he wanted to respond to an article published in English.

The question of the Iwawa island detention centre (the Rwandan Island of Shame) was raised by reporter Nelson Gatsimbazi who had visited the island and had also discovered damning evidence against Rwandan governement.
Read further and listen to President’s and Minister explanations: Rwanda: No case against governement about Iwawa detention camp.

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May 20, 2010   2 Comments

Rwanda: EU funds the August presidential polls, but rules out sending elections observers’ team

Kigali – The European Union which has recently injected millions of Euros into the August presidential elections has announced that it will not send observers.

According to the Rwanda News Agency, the reason put forward by the European Commission Delegation in Kigali for not sending observers from Brussels to monitor the presidential poll is lack of money.

“This is due to a large number of other observation missions in other countries this year in Africa (Sudan, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, etc.) on a limited budget,” said Ms. Esther Tidjani, a spokesperson of the Kigali Delegation, in an email.

However, in mid June, the EU will send election experts to help the block’s embassies and missions with organizing for their own observation plans.

The team of experts could support the National Electoral Commission “if it so desires”, according to the Kigali Delegation.

“In addition, we will train local observers, and coordinate with the Commonwealth observer mission,” said Tidjani.

The announcement comes just a week after the EU and Rwanda signed a 73.8million Euro grant agreement – a package which includes 5.3 million euro for the Electoral Commission.

Just after the end of the 2003 presidential polls where President Kagame scooped more than 95 percent, the 34 EU observers severely criticized the poll.

The block did not also give government any single cent for the poll – prompting a campaign in which the population was encouraged to make individual contributions. Over the past years, the EU has turned out to be the biggest money-purse for the authorities.

The EU did observe the 2008 parliamentary polls which they gave mixed approval.

In the recent months, President Paul Kagame’s party Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has shut down outspoken newspapers, sent opposition leaders to jail, split the opposition parties and erected all kind of administrative obstacles to bar opposition parties from registering and preparing for the elections. Observers, opposition parties and human rights groups predict that the August presidential elections can not be free and fair. This situation has prompted opposition leaders Ms Victoire Ingabire and Me Bernard Ntaganda, respectively from FDU-Inkingi and PS Imberakuri, to call for election’s postponement.
The European Union did not finance the 2003 elections but sent observers who fiercely criticized the poll. Now, knowing the conditions prevailing in Rwandan current social and political landscape, they are funding Paul Kagame to organize the controversial presidential elections and do not dare sending observers. A question to ask at this stage would be: “what game is playing the European Union?”

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May 20, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Heavy rains claim lives and hundreds homeless in Northern and Western Provinces

floods-in-western-province-sm

At least eleven people have died while hundreds of others were over the weekend left homeless as landslides caused by water gushing from the Virunga Mountains hit the Northern and Western Provinces.

Many people in Nyabihu and Rubavu districts in the Western Province have been left homeless and lack food, shelter and other basic needs.

Several sectors in Musanze District in Northern Province have also been seriously affected.

In the Western Province, the rains reportedly left five dead while one died in Nyabihu, according to reports. Five others died in Musanze.

“It started the day before yesterday (Friday), when residents started complaining of the waters that started invading their houses… now my children have spent a day without food,” said Patricia Nyirasavena in Musanze.

She added that she is being asked to pay Rwf 50,000 for accommodation which she maintains she cannot afford.

More than 600 people’s homes were completely destroyed in Muko sector of Musanze, including eight business structures and an estimated 30 hectares of food crops destroyed in the five sectors close to the Virunga Mountains.

The Mayor of Musanze, Winifrida Mpembyemungu, said that there was urgent need for humanitarian assistance, especially food and tents, and called on stakeholders and the general public to intervene.

‘’The district has offered to raise Rwf600,000 to buy food stuffs. We are now monitoring the situation to see if there will be no health hazards especially, to those displaced by the floods,” Mpembyemungu said.

Gen Marcel Gatsinzi, the Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs, who was at the scene in the areas most affected in Musanze, Nyabihu and Rubavu, said that after assessing the magnitude of the damage, a quick humanitarian relief will be provided to rescue the affected residents.

He said that a Disaster Management Task Force will liaise with the Ministry of Finance, and other partners to provide a quick intervention.

Sectors of Kinigi, Gataraga, Muko, Musanze and Shingiro, were littered with debris of stones and parts from a broken bridges.

Source: New Times.

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May 20, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Defiant suspended newspaper ‘Umuvugizi’ now published online

The last covers of Umuseso and Umuvugizi, for a whileThe last covers of Umuseso and Umuvugizi, before April ban.

Kigali – Mr. Jean Bosco Gasasira, the exiled editor of the suspended Rwandan newspaper UMUVUGIZI has announced that he has started publishing the tabloid on the Internet, at www.umuvugizi.com.

UMUVUGIZI and UMUSESO have been suspended in April by the High Media Council. The reasons given to force these tabloids off the streets were that they were insulting President Kagame, causing panic within the population, provoking insubordination in the army and scaring existing and potential foreign investors.

The papers have petitioned court to reverse the six-month suspension, arguing the Media Council was acting illegally but in the meantime, the Media Council has asked the court to definitely ban them.

Mr Gasasira, the UMUVUGIZI editor, has left the country fearing for his life. He has not officially revealed his whereabouts yet. In an interview to the BBC Kinyarwanda, Mr Gasasira has confirmed that his newspaper has started publishing online, insisting that the current suspension doesn’t apply to publications he can make in exile from outside Rwanda.

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May 20, 2010   No Comments