2010 June — Rwandinfo_ENG
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Posts from — June 2010

Rwanda’s Hutus live in fear of attacks, repression

By GODFREY OLUKYA and JASON STRAZIUSO (AP)

KAMPALA, Uganda — The Rwandan refugee was walking home one night when four men jumped him and put him in a stranglehold. He lay still, pretending to be dead as one attacker made a phone call and announced the hit had been carried out.

With his assailants just yards away, Mani Uwimana jumped up and fled, startling the attackers and becoming a survivor of what appears to be an assassination campaign targeting Rwandan dissidents at home and abroad.

International rights groups have condemned Rwanda in recent weeks for clamping down on dissent, curbing freedoms and silencing opponents in advance of the country’s August presidential election.

Among the apparent victims was a former senior Rwandan military commander who had a falling out with President Paul Kagame. Lt. Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa was shot in the stomach outside his home in South Africa, and his wife blamed Kagame — an accusation the president denied. Nyamwasa survived the June 19 shooting.

A human rights report released this week said Rwanda’s Tutsi-led government is oppressing Hutus in neighboring Uganda and the ethnic divisions that sparked Rwanda’s 1994 genocide have re-emerged. At least 500,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the Hutu-led slaughter — violence that ended when a Tutsi-dominated militia headed by Kagame entered the country, causing droves of Hutus to flee.

Rwanda’s government has denied involvement in the recent attacks. Kagame, who is running for a second seven-year term, bristled at a news conference Monday over the allegations of repression and said the country is not experiencing any ethnic tension.

Uwimana, a Hutu who fled Rwanda two years ago, says he caught the attention of Rwandan authorities after criticizing them over human rights abuses.

On May 15, the 27-year-old said he was walking home from the roadside kiosk he operates selling soap and other toiletries outside Uganda’s capital, when he was jumped by four men who wrestled him to the ground.

“They squeezed my neck attempting to strangle me. I pretended that I was dead,” he said. “They moved a short distance from me and one of them made a phone call.”

Speaking in Rwanda’s Kinyarwanda language, the attacker reported that Uwimana was dead, and “they should send a vehicle to take away my dead body.”

That’s when Uwimana jumped up and ran for his life.

Other Hutu Rwandan refugees in Uganda say they live in fear of Kagame’s Tutsi-led government.

“Our lives are in danger,” said Hope Semukanya, one of some 18,000 Rwandans who live in Uganda. “We fear that we can be killed anytime by Rwandan spies.”

Police in Uganda told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the editor of an opposition Rwandan newspaper escaped an attack last week on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Uganda police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said police officers rescued Jean-Bosco Gasasira, who is now reportedly in hiding.

Six men confronted Gasasira, editor of the opposition Umuvugizi newspaper, on June 22, according to Timothy Mugabi, a friend of the victim. Gasasira ran to his house and called police, Mugabi said.

Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda, Maj. Gen. Frank Mugambage, said it is “nonsense” to believe Rwandan authorities were behind the assault.

Two days after the attack on Gasasira, the deputy editor of Umuvugizi, Jean-Leonard Rugambage, was shot dead in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

Kagame said Monday he has ordered Rwanda’s police, intelligence agents and army to find the journalist’s killers. “We will not rest until we get to the bottom of this and make it clear to everyone,” he said.

Though Kagame faces little real opposition in the August election, Carina Tertsakian, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who specializes in Rwanda, said she believes it is possible the government was behind Rugambage’s slaying.

In a report released Monday, the International Refugee Rights Initiative and the Refugee Law Project said Rwanda is using the legacy of the genocide to repress Hutus. Refugees in Uganda are afraid to return home and some reported that Rwandan authorities were torturing, imprisoning and even killing Hutus, the report said.

“This situation threatens to shatter Rwanda’s outward peace and prosperity as the cycles of violence” based on ethnicity continue, it said.

Mugambage, the ambassador, dismissed the report as “hopeless and fabricated.” He said the research is not credible and is based on only a few interviews. The reports’ authors say they interviewed 102 refugees.

Source: AP
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iyTr99jjjsigIQvALPe-jaO2oEEAD9GL64I80.

Straziuso reported from Nairobi, Kenya. Associated Press reporter Edmund Kagire contributed from Kigali, Rwanda.

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June 30, 2010   1 Comment

Call for Support to the Family of the Murdered Rwandan Journalist

by Frank Habineza – Democratic Green Party of Rwanda.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda strongly condemns the murder of the Rwandan Journalist, Jean Leonard RUGAMBAGE, Deputy Editor of UMUVUGIZI Newspaper, who was gunned down on 24th June 2010, outside his home in Kigali.

We call upon the Rwandan and International media fraternity plus all other well-wishers to extend their support to the family of the murdered Rwandan journalist. The deceased journalist has left behind a two year old boy whose mother is un-employed.

We appeal to the Rwandan Government to use all means available to bring to justice these criminals and do whatever possible to help end these sad happenings. Revenge killings are completely un-acceptable. We support all non-violent means in conflict resolution.

We call upon the Rwandan Journalist Association to take this initiative forward and support the Late RUGAMBAJE’s family. The International media fraternity should take this initiative seriously and show solidarity to the deceased’s family, which is indeed in urgent need for support.

Issued at Kigali, 28th June 2010.

Frank HABINEZA
Founding President
Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

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June 30, 2010   No Comments

Letter to General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa

by Ambrose Nzeyimana.

This week I learnt from the Monitor that Rwandan troops were being deployed at the border with Uganda, probably for another show of military might or other venture as Paul Kagame strategically uses such tactic whenever confronted with political problems. With time, people have come to realize his modus operandi in difficult periods. He avoids fronts he knows he can easily loose and takes his energy to battlefields where he can comfortably win whatever the human cost. You would probably be leading on one of such fronts if you were still in good favors with him.

But because you seem to be a serious threat to his feeling good mood, especially when he treats his detractors and opponents, as useless and worthless, he wants you dead. He just attempted once. He missed. Maybe you will be luckier than others like Seth Sendashonga, his ex-minister of interior affairs that he killed in Nairobi on the second attempt of assassination. I assume you already know, while you recover from his messenger’s shots, that Jean-Leonard Rugambage, editor of the banned Rwandan newspaper Umuvugizi, didn’t have a second chance. The fact of investigating on who may be behind the attempt of assassination on your person was fatal for him. His killer’s gun didn’t jam. Several shots at the head and heart couldn’t leave him alive.

Contrary to your killer’s wish, most Rwandans would like to see you alive than dead. You shared criminal responsibilities with Kagame, your today’s declared enemy, this according to Spanish and French judges, and of course thousands of Rwandans that your military expeditions have made orphans, widows, destitute, and refugees. Your death doesn’t serve Rwandans but Kagame’s only interests, because with it he can close one of the windows of possible reconciliation between them.

As a military man, you may have had to obey orders blindly, decimating everything alive in some places. Only those who miraculously survived your military expeditions, tell of your triumphs. Even you acknowledge yourself how worthy was what you were doing then through an interview you gave to BBC while in mission. If you die without telling Rwandans, Hutus and Tutsis, how far you disagreed with what Paul Kagame got you involved in unwillingly, people will only remember what you will have left them to contemplate, only a sort of personal enmity between you and him.

Before fleeing you explained that your RPF peers requested from you to ask for forgiveness for things you disagreed with. You then decided to leave Rwanda. Knowing how the system works you passed through its control mechanisms and found you outside. I wonder if you had to ask for forgiveness what it would be for. What your RPF colleagues were asking you would’ve apparently been for the wrong reasons. Would you ever consider that the victims of your military expeditions from 1990 until the time you left the soldier career were not necessary and that there were some other possibilities?

As an exiled Rwandan and Tutsi, you helped Joweri Museveni, the Ugandan President, to get into power. Tactic used implied killing thousands of civilians. Today 24 years after Museveni has become a notorious dictator who is far away from leaving power. The same tactics were again used in Rwanda. They were later exported in Democratic Republic of Congo. Today 16 years after 1994, Kagame the colleague you helped to get where he is now is described by the Economist as the worst dictators the continent has ever had.

Following you downfall from Kagame’s regime, there are emerging voices which think that you could lead another armed movement for the liberation of Rwanda. That would be one of the reasons that Kagame wants you dead. But I don’t personally think Rwandans need other sacrifices in thousands on the battle fields. They long for democracy, for freedom of speech, justice and development. As you will reckon with me, none of these concepts has ever taken root wherever you passed, though everything was loudly claimed to be done in their name. There are others who think you could be of some help in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. So far, in all your declarations, there seems to be rather a personal vendetta against Kagame than a much broad concern for Rwandans.

I sincerely wish you good recovery. Before he catches you next time I would like you think of the best way you could help Rwandans, all ethnic groups inclusively. Otherwise, your premature death, as of millions before you in the Great Lakes region, could be vain for the victims of your military expeditions and those you rightly thought you were fighting for.

[The Rising Continent]

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June 29, 2010   4 Comments

Please help raise awareness about elections violence in Rwanda

by Susan Thomson.

Please help raise awareness about elections violence in Rwanda

As many of you likely already know, Rwanda is having Presidential elections this August. In the run up to the elections, the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, has done everything in its power to suppress the opposition. The situation is very tense. And is growing more tense by the day as dissent within the military increases, and the government opts for assassination as a viable option to control its opposition and critics. Of course, as the Swahili proverb goes, “When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers…”, meaning of course the ordinary people are caught in the crossfire.

There are some very easy and powerful things you can do to raise awareness about the likelihood of elections-related violence in Rwanda.

1. Call your Member of Parliament (Canada) or your Senator (America) to tell them you are concerned about reports of violent repression in Rwanda.

Simply google your “Member of Parliament” and your city of residence in Canada and just the name of your state in the US. You’ll get direct numbers and email address there.

In Canada:
– call Paul Dewer’s office, as he is the head of the All-Parliamentary Committee on the Prevention of Genocide (613-946-8682 or dewarp@parl.gc.ca);
– call the office of Senator Dallaire (613-995-4191 or 1-800-267-7362 or dallar@sen.parl.gc.ca).

In the US, contact the office of Senator Russ Feingold, chairman of the Subcommittee on African Affairs (http://feingold.senate.gov/contact_opinion.html).

2. Worried that you don’t know enough about the political situation in Rwanda to call?
If so, call anyway and ask your representative what the policy of her/her office on Rwandans upcoming elections.
If you think a simple phone call is not effect, public policy scholars have found in Canada that politicians equate 1 phone call from a concerned citizen with the opinions of at least 250 constituents. So you phone call could indeed make a difference!

3. Get talking about politics in Rwanda. You can easily educate yourself with online resources like the Rwanda page on the BBC Africa homepage.
Write letters to the editor, blog, repost this message on your facebook page.
Watch Hotel Rwanda with your friends.
Do something!

4. Share the idea of raising awareness with your networks and with journalists. We all know people who care about social justice issues both at home and abroad. Stand up and let folks in your network know that this is a pressing issue.

5. Still have questions?
Get in touch with researchers like me (susanm.thomson@gmail.com; 413.835.0156).
I will share all my knowledge with you, and can put you in touch with other academics, human rights advocates, and other like-minded individuals who can share their thoughts and opinions on the current situation.

Please consider acting on this important issue. Studies have shown that one of the main reasons that the international community did not intervene early enough to stop the Rwandan genocide of 1994 was the lack of alarm. The issues simply did not matter to enough Westerners for their governments to act….

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June 28, 2010   1 Comment

Deployment of Rwanda troops on border scares Ugandans

Kigali – Communities along the Ugandan side of the border are reportedly in panic as they continue to see a daily build up of Rwandan troops to patrol in areas of their country’s side.

“Hundreds of Rwandan soldiers are seen patrolling along the border in the areas adjacent to my sub-county,” said a Ugandan official in Kabale district.

“I was told that in the past they used to carry out their night patrols at 8pm but now they are doing it at 6pm. The people here are worried,” the official told Ugandan media.

Both Ugandan and Rwandan military officials said the border is safe.

“The UPDF is not bothered by the deployments and the movements of the Rwanda army because we don’t control them. Ours is to guarantee the security of our people by ensuring that our border is safe. There is no need for any worry or panic,” said a Ugandan military spokesman.

Ugandan officials said deployment of Rwandan troops on the border is the right of the Rwandan government that should not scare the Ugandans.

“Don’t be scared of the Rwandan deployment because they are doing it on their land,’’ the Kabale district commissioner reportedly said.

[ARI-RNA]

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June 28, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Journalist murder suspects arrested – Security minister

Kigali – Security agencies have arrested a suspect in the murder of journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage who has also confessed to the case, the Internal Security Minister informed President Kagame on Monday.

Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana revealed in the Presidential press conference that from information acquired from the suspect, the facts point to a revenge killing. The Police said Monday morning that two people had been arrested in connection with the killing.

One of the suspect was revenging for the death of a family member allegedly killed by Rugambage during the Genocide, said Minister Harelimana. The brother of the suspect worked with Bank Populaire in Kamonyi (Southern Rwanda), according to the Minister.

He said the suspect even revealed to the security agencies where he had buried the gun he used for the murder.

Rugambage, supposed editor of suspended UMUVUGIZI was gunned down on Thursday at 10pm outside his house in his car. The exiled publisher of the paper Jean Bosco Gasasira said government assassins had been responsible – accusing the President directly.

Responding to the Minister’s update on the situation, President Kagame expressed satisfaction that there were some arrests. “You were going to have trouble with me,” said Kagame.

Earlier, the President called the murder “unacceptable”, promising that the government will go to the “bottom of it”.

“We will not rest until we get to the bottom of this,” said the President.

He also suggested it could be criminals who are taking advantage of the current political situation to undermine the stability of the country.

Mr Rugambage, who is survived by his wife and a child, was acquitted of genocide crimes by a local “Gacaca” court in 2006. The Police also said Monday that one of the suspects is related to someone allegedly killed by Mr Rugambage during the 1994 genocide.

The President also accused Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and international media of using “false basis” to shape the destiny of Rwanda. Branding them as “few adventurers,” the President said Rwanda’s existence is not owed to anybody or institution.

[ARI-RNA]

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June 28, 2010   2 Comments

Rwanda: political opponents assaulted and arrested by Kagame police

by Victoire Ingabire and Frank Habineza.
(Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda)

Rwandan Opposition Leaders and members have been assaulted, arrested and hundreds are still missing.

– “The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda is deeply concerned with the deteriorating political harassment and denial of political space in Rwanda ahead of the August 9th Presidential elections.

– “We call upon the Rwandan Government to postpone these elections until the political field is levelled enough to allow a peaceful competition for political power in Rwanda.
Victoire Ingabire and Frank Habineza (PCC)

A planned demonstration against the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has been blocked today, while they are receiving nominations for the Presidential Elections.
The genuine opposition has been denied a chance to participate in these presidential elections.
The planned demonstration was blocked this morning when Maitre Bernard NTAGANDA, founding president of PS Imberakuri was violently grabbed from his home by unidentified armed plain clothed officers. Sources suggest that he is held incommunicado in a police cell.
On the same occasion Ms. Victoire INGABIRE of FDU Inkingi woke up to find that her house had been surrounded by armed policemen and was prevented to get out of the residence.
The Democratic Green Party Leader, Mr. Frank HABINEZA, and his Vice President, Andre Kagwa RWISEREKA were held up by police, their National Identity cards and phones were taken for almost one hour at US Embassy in Kigali.
Two Executive Members of FDU INKINGI, the Secretary General Sylvain Sibomana and the Treasurer Alice Muhirwa are missing.
The Secretary General of PS Imberakuri, Theobald MUTARAMBIRWA is believed to be in police custody.

The ‘Parti Social Imberakuri-PS Imberakuri, had written to the Mayor of GASABO district on 17th June 2010, requesting for permission to demonstrate on 24th June 2010. The Letter specified that the demonstrations were to start from the Prime Minister’s Office in Kimiruhura, continue to the Parliament and then end at the Ministry of Local Government in Kacyiru, where a public message was to be read.

The District never responded by Wednesday, 23rd June and Maitre NTAGANDA a senior Lawyer and advocate, confirmed to other opposition Leaders that legally in this case silence is not NO, and the program remained as planned.

To our surprise early this morning, the Democratic Green Party Leader, Frank HABINEZA, received a phone call from PS Imberakuri Secretary General, informing that the party Leader had gone missing and they have changed plans and instead of the planned demonstrations they will go to the American Embassy in Kacyiru and ask US Embassy officials to intervene in this serious situation. They also asked the Green Party Leader to help them out so that Maitre NTAGANDA could be released.

To our surprise upon arrival at the US Embassy visitors parking at around 09:00 local time, when we called the PS Imberakuri Secretary General, instead of getting his response we heard a lot of commotions on his phone and by the time we reached outside the US Embassy buildings, we saw police chasing PS Imberakuri members and also saw others being arrested and being put on Police Vans. The Secretary General is believed to be in police custody with hundreds of other Imberakuri members.

We proceeded and talked to US Embassy officials and after a while as we were leaving the US Embassy grounds, police stopped us and took away our National Identity Cards and Phones for about an hour. Both the President and Vice President of the Green Party were released, thereafter but without any harm.

Meanwhile, hundreds of members of FDU Inkingi were arraigned and beaten by policemen at Gishushu (Remera) and in front of the Ministry of Justice in Kimihurura. They were heading to a peaceful demonstration in front of the Ministry of Justice to request the government to lift restrictive measures and false charges against their leader Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza who remains since April 22nd 2010 bailed under house surveillance deprived of her political rights.
Demonstrators spontaneously reacted to the statement by the General Prosecutor that the government does not have enough evidence to prosecute and challenge the case in a court of law.

The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda is deeply concerned with the deteriorating political harassment and denial of political space in Rwanda ahead of the August 9th Presidential elections.

The Government of Rwanda has continuously done all political manoeuvres to deny the genuine political opposition a chance to exist and be able to participate in the upcoming Presidential elections.
The Ruling Party-RPF has indeed shown to the Rwandan people and the International community that it is too scared to compete with the real opposition and has rather resorted to getting stooge candidates to compete with.

That is the real picture of President Kagame’s RPF competing with stooge candidates of PSD, PL and other satellite partners, who have been comfortably enjoying ministerial and parliamentary positions along the RPF state party for the last 16 years.

The opposition in Rwanda has been subjected to verbal, physical intimidation and abuse.
The legal framework has also been used to stop the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and United Democratic Forces (FDU–Inkingi) from registering their political parties and exercising their political rights.
The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda’s founding convention on 30th October 2009 was sabotaged violently, by people suspected to be connected to security organs and others to be working for the Government.
The Green Party Leader, Mr.Frank HABINEZA has also received several death threats, the latest one indicating that he is supposed to be killed before the August 2010 Presidential Elections. Despite the fact that he reported this matter to the police and wrote to the Minister of Internal Security, he never received any response.
The FDU Inkingi Leader, Ms.Victoire INGABIRE was physically assaulted early this year in a Government office at Kinyinya-Kigali. She has also faced serious allegations and has been charged for working with a terrorist organisation and as well for having a genocide ideology. Her Party has also been refused chance to register on pretext that its leader has criminal charges, which must be cleared first. The problem though is that even though she was charged in court, she has never been given chance to defend herself.
Instead her lawyer, Peter Erlinder, was arrested as well.

All these actions are done by the Government to demonise these politicians and make them hated by the population.

PS Imberakuri is the only opposition party that had managed to get registered last year, but its leader Maitre Bernard NTAGANDA, has faced a lot of challenges and was summoned by the Rwandan Senate on charges of having the genocide ideology. The party has now been divided into several factions, one illegal faction was recently recognised by the Government after its head was appointed Vice President of the pro- Government’ Political Parties Forum, though they very well know that this Lady has never been gazetted or approved by the cabinet according to the Rwandan Law.
The legally recognised Leader, Maitre NTAGANDA is now unable to present his credentials for official nomination as a Presidential Candidate by the Electoral Commission. This division is believed to be done by the Ruling Party-RPF in order to weaken the real opposition and deny it a chance to participate in the upcoming August 2010 presidential elections.

Neither Ms.Victoire INGABIRE, FDU-Inkingi’s Presidential candidate, nor, Mr. Frank HABINEZA, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda’s Presidential candidate will be able to present their credentials for approval by the Electoral Commission, since both of their parties have been denied a chance to register in time and they are not criminals.

We call upon the Rwandan Government to postpone these elections until the political field is levelled enough to allow a peaceful competition for political power in Rwanda.

We request the President of Rwanda to use his powers as vested to him by the Constitution to impress upon the Rwandan Government officials to allow political parties that are critical of the ruling party-RPF, (the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and FDU-Inkingi) to get registered and exercise their full political rights and as well let the legally recognised leader of PS Imberakuri, Maitre Bernard NTAGANDA, manage his party without any outside interference.

We would like to remind H.E. Paul KAGAME that he took an oath seven years ago, to protect the Rwandan Constitution. He is the custodian of the Law. The Constitution guarantees multi-party politics and democracy in Rwanda. We call upon His Excellency, the President of the Republic to respect his pledge.

Done at Kigali, 24th June 2010.

Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza
Chairperson, United Democratic Forces

Mr. Frank Habineza
Chairman, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC)
C/O. B.P. 6334 Kigali , Rwanda
Tel: +250 788563039,+250 728636000, +250 788307145

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June 26, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Newspaper’s deputy editor gunned down in Kigali

by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders is shocked and outraged to learn that Jean-Léonard Rugambage, the deputy editor of the fortnightly Umuvugizi, was gunned down outside his home in Kigali at about 11 p.m. on 24 June. He was the first journalist to be murdered in Rwanda since Emmanuel Munyemanzi in 1998.

“We have for months been condemning the climate of terror in Rwanda, the escalating repression of independent journalists and totalitarian tendencies,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It seems that newspaper closures, trials of journalists and blocking of websites have not been enough to elicit a reaction from the international community. Will this tragic development finally open the eyes of those who support this government?

The press freedom organisation added: “As the August presidential election approaches, the government is organising a tightly controlled and monolithic electoral campaign in which all sources of criticism are being suppressed. This undertaking seems to have culminated in the ambushing and murder of this renowned journalist.”

In a resumption of diplomatic relations, French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Kigali in February and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, attended the Africa-France summit in Nice on 31 May and 1 June.

Reporters Without Borders believes that dialogue cannot be resumed unless particular attention is paid to press freedom and it therefore calls on the French authorities and the European Union delegation in Kigali to ensure that an independent investigation is carried out into this murder. Monitoring this case should be a priority for France’s ambassador to Kigali, Laurent Contini.

Rugambage was slain by four shots fired at close range by gunmen who have yet to be identified. The police took his body away to carry out an autopsy. Also known as “Sheriff,” he left a wife and two-year-old child. His murder has caused shock and dismay in both Rwanda and abroad.

“Jean-Léonard was without doubt killed as a result of his coverage of last week’s attempted murder of Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa in exile in South Africa,” Reporters Without Borders was told by Jean-Bosco Gasasira, his newspaper’s editor, who is himself in exile.

Rugambage reported that telephone calls were made between Rwandan intelligence chief Emmanuel Ndahiro and the Rwandan citizens who were arrested in South Africa after the shooting attack on Gen. Nyamwasa. In a story about the shooting in Le Monde on 22 June, headlined “Rwandan stray bullets,” French journalist Jean-Philippe Rémy wrote: “It is not easy to say what distinguishes Rwanda from a full-blown dictatorship.

Rugambage had experienced several run-ins with the authorities. Accused of murder during the genocide and then sentenced to a year in prison for contempt of court, he was detained for 11 months in 2005 and 2006 before finally being acquitted. He edited Umuco for a long time before joining Umuvugizi.

He was also the Rwanda correspondent of the regional press freedom organisation Journalists in Danger (JED). “He told things as he felt them,” said a journalist who participated with him in a workshop in Brazzaville in 2007 for JED’s regional correspondents. “He was a very committed guy who paid with his life for his courage as a reporter. He did not beat about the bush, unlike some of his Rwandan colleagues.”

Rwanda was ranked 157th out of 179 countries in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. This was the fourth lowest ranking in Africa, above only Eritrea, Somali and Equatorial Guinea. President Kagame has for years been on the Reporters Without Borders list of Predators of Press Freedom.

[Reporters Without Borders]

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June 26, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda: Newspaper editor skips media council summon, given last chance

Kigali: A troubled female publisher of the Kinyarwanda tabloid UMURABYO Agnes Uwimana on Friday refused to attend a scheduled hearing of her case by the Media High Council which has threatened to close the paper.

The media council summoned her Friday to renew the demand that she apologises to the country and all those she has allegedly offended in her part.

The Council had ruled on May 27, after summoning Uwimana that she makes corrections to several stories which negate the Tutsi Genocide, undermine government programs and threaten national security.

The content in Issues 21 and 23 reportedly defame President Kagame and several other government officials. In Issue 21, the paper describes the President as somebody who does not listen to any advice from anybody, according to Council documents.

The paper is also accused of running content which promotes the double Genocide theory. The Media Council says in Issue 23, UMURABYO apparently writes that: “All Rwandans slaughtered each other during the Genocide.”

Though Uwimana did not attend the Friday media council summon, she admitted to journalists in attendance after the May summon that her paper had serious errors which would be corrected. But more copies have been published every Monday, and there have been no retractions.

The Council said Friday that the paper has a last chance to publish the apologies or the law will take its course – including a lengthy suspension. The paper also faces possible complete ban from the streets, says the council.

Uwimana was jailed about two years ago and the paper suspended for articles in the same paper deemed to have been promoting ethnic divisionism.

It returned to the streets early this year, but rose to fame with the ongoing suspension of the two controversial tabloids UMUSESO and UMUVUGIZI.

[ARI-RNA]

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June 26, 2010   1 Comment

Exiled editor of the recently banned newspaper Umuvugizi Says Rwandan Security killed his successor

Jean Bosco Gasasira says acting editor Rugambage was killed because his paper was investigating the shooting of a Rwandan general

The exiled editor of the Umuvugizi newspaper in Rwanda said his acting editor was shot and killed late Thursday night in the Rwanda capital, Kigali.

Jean Bosco Gasasira said deputy editor Jean Leonard Rugambage was shot outside his home and died later at a hospital.

Gasasira said Rwandan security killed acting editor Rugambage because the paper was investigating the shooting of Rwandan General Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa.

“I’m 100 percent sure it was the office of the national security services which shot him dead. This happened after publishing a story on the Umuvugizi website which cited Rwanda’s chief spy of being involved in the shooting of General Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa,” he said.

Police spokesman Eric Kayiranga told VOA that police do not know who was behind the attack or what the motive was. He said police were investigating.

Gasasira said the article on the Umuvugizi website quoted information which showed that there was communication between Rwanda’s chief spy and his driver.

He said the chief spy ordered the driver to finish up the general (Kayumba Nyamwasa) at the hospital with a promise that Rwandan President Paul Kagame would reward the driver.

“One security operative revealed to my editor that he knows that it is their officers who carried out that suicide mission. But they apparently revealed to my editor thinking that he was a hotel worker,” Gasasira said.

Gasasira said the Rwandan security began watching acting editor Rugambage after they realized he was a journalist and not a hotel worker.

Gasasira said he told acting editor Rugambage to leave Rwanda and cross into Uganda. But he said his offer came too late.

“He called me before using another line, informing me about the constant surveillance. Then I told him if he feels things getting worse, I told him to cross and flee Rwanda into Uganda to see how we can handle the issue. But unfortunately they killed him before,” he said

Rwanda’s Media High Council this year suspended Umuvugizi and Umuseso for six months on the grounds the two weekly newspapers violated Rwanda’s media laws and incited public order.

Gasasira said the killing of acting editor Rugambage fits the pattern of the Rwandan government’s campaign against the independent media.

“We are under tense surveillance. My journalist was also beaten up by the spokesman on Thursday when he was in an office of an opposition leader where he had gone to investigate some story. The same goes to me. Since Sunday, I’m not allowed to get out of my house. Security sources where I am say there are lots of spies they have sent to finish me,” Gasasira said.

Source: VOA.

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June 26, 2010   No Comments