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Posts from — July 2010

Should Rwanda rights concerns worry investors?

Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame: There is no clarity at all on who might follow him if he were to go

Rwandan President Paul Kagame might be able to clamp down on dissent ahead of elections without much immediate donor or economic impact, but it could bring longer term investment risks.

Kagame has been feted and courted by Western and multilateral donors, and credited with rebuilding the country after the 1994 genocide. He has also set out a roadmap to move the country of 10 million beyond its dependence on agriculture – primarily tea and coffee – and transform it into an IT hub.

“Investors who had assumed Kagame would remain comfortably in control are wondering more about the future.”

“There is no clarity at all on who might follow him if he were to go”

“Still, experts warn that erosion of the rule of law makes life more risky for foreign investors.”

“Investor interest in Rwanda is still rising, particularly in infrastructure and agriculture,” said Thomas Vis, a risk management officer at the World Bank. “Obviously if the political situation will seem to be deteriorating, that could have an impact on investment but there are no signs of it.”

But critics and rights groups say he has become increasingly authoritarian, and they are asking questions about the killing of an opposition politician, the shooting in South Africa of a dissident general, the killing of a journalist and the arrest of opposition figures. The government denies involvement.

Nevertheless, investors who had assumed Kagame would remain comfortably in control are wondering more about the future. Many – along with Western governments – would rather keep him. Most expect foreign observers to ultimately rate the elections fair although they may raise some concerns.

“There is no clarity at all on who might follow him if he were to go,” said Control Risks analyst Laura Morrison. “Kagame has played the public relations game very well – the donors have a lot invested in him. It’s almost impossible to imagine they would switch from him now.”

Rwanda is not the only African country praised by the West that looks to have drifted towards authoritarianism in recent years. Uganda and Ethiopia are often cited as similar examples by some analysts.

Certainly, investors have a tendency to prefer authority to chaos. Many say they prefer Russia as an investment destination under President and then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin than they did under the more anarchic rule of Boris Yeltsin.

Sri Lanka lost out on Western aid and preferential access to European textile markets on concerns over alleged human rights abuses in the closing stages of its civil war but investment flows particularly from Asia remain strong.

The rise of China means that losing Western support is much less damaging, providing a crutch to governments such as Sudan and Zimbabwe. A decline in the perceived moral and financial clout of the West – weakened by the financial crisis and Iraq conflict – is also undermining its influence.

Greater self-confidence

“You can’t lose sight of the fact that there have been remarkable strides forward in governance in Africa in the last 10 years and you have seen greater investor confidence with that,” said Thomas Cargill, head of the Africa programme at think tank Chatham House.

“What is happening is not so much that there is more authoritarianism but that it is less disguised. And there is much greater self-confidence in facing the West and saying ‘we’re doing things our way’.”

Still, experts warn that erosion of the rule of law makes life more risky for foreign investors. It feeds into credit assessments by specialist brokerages and premiums charged by political risk insurers to protect against expropriation.

“Authoritarian regimes may provide some comfort in the short term, but most long-term investors will be concerned about falling out of favour with a regime and suffering catastrophic losses as a result,” said Dan Riordan, president for specialty products for insurer Zurich. “Authoritarian regimes also suffer from high levels of corruption, also a significant negative for long-term investors.”

Rwanda itself has been praised for making strides against corruption and improving the investment environment. It was voted the most improved business performance globally by the World Bank.

“In Rwanda, there’s not a lot of democracy as we know it but there is a lot of accountability,” said one Western diplomat.

Foreign firms were generally untroubled unless they went head-to-head with investment and construction firms controlled by the military or ruling party, he said.

But some analysts and investors looking at Africa are no longer willing to talk on the record about Rwanda for fear of antagonising the government and jeopardising business there – usually a sign of a deteriorating environment.

Data favours democracy

That could sap enthusiasm for a fledgeling domestic bond market and the sale of stakes in telecoms and brewery firms. Several Kenyans firms are also looking to cross-list in Rwanda.

There was certainly little sign of caution in 2009. The Rwanda Development Board said registered investment – almost half of it classed as foreign — leapt 41 percent to $1.11bn, fuelled by interest in telecoms and a methane project.

Brookings Institute senior fellow Daniel Kaufmann – co-author of the closely watched worldwide governance indicators produced with the World Bank – says countries measured as having greater political openness attract up to three to four times more external investment than those with weaker institutions.

The exceptions to that rule were particularly resource-rich countries, which constituted a “special case”, he said, adding that evidence also suggested return on investment tended to be better in countries with better “voice” and openness.

“If Rwanda were to improve its voice and democratic accountability in the coming months and years then the country can expect to obtain much higher foreign direct investments than if it takes an increasingly autocratic route,” Kaufmann said.

Source: World Finance

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July 29, 2010   3 Comments

Sham and miscarriage of democracy in Rwanda

By Robert Mukombozi.

President Kagame, wife Janet, son Cyomoro and daughter Ange present themselves to the population during July electoral campaign.

President Kagame, wife Janet, son Cyomoro and daughter Ange present themselves to the population during July electoral campaign.

When President Paul Kagame opened the window for a democratic ballot system, which led to his landslide victory in 2003, the spirit and hopes of Rwandans flung up. It was a dawn of hope-with pretty much anticipation the political terrain would gradually shift from authoritarian, turning Rwanda into a hotbed of democracy. That hope has died. Rwandans have lost hope and they now resort to silence.

It would be healthy if the masses had a public platform to decide on the fate of their destiny. Unfortunately, fear has clouded the once genocide plagued state because you will never know who you are talking to.

“Rwandans have lost hope and they now resort to silence.”

“The hearts of Rwandans are bleeding as a result of extreme oppression.”

“The elections will definitely be a sham and a miscarriage of democracy in Rwanda. It is only unfortunate that there is no option; Rwandans will have to vote RPF back in office under the gun.”

“Previous leaders have torn the pride of Rwanda. And they have all gone without a trail legacy.”

R. Mukombozi.

Andre Kagwa Rwisereka is the recent victim of Kagame’s military hand, the latest politico to be slain in a wave of politically motivated killings. Before his murder, the former Green Party first Vice-President reported he was being threatened by unknown people claiming they frustrated his business, the New Somborero Club because of his political affiliation.

His killing came in the footsteps of journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage.
Other independent journalists who have dared Kagame’s tyranny among others Jean Bosco Gasasira, Charles Kabonero, Didas Gasana, Furaha Mugisha have been exiled.

The future for politicians such as Deo Mushayidi, PS Imberakuri’s Bernard Ntaganda, FDU-Inkingi’s Victoire Ingabire and Green party’s Frank Habineza is very uncertain.
On October 30, 2009 the Green party supporters were publicly humiliated during a congress held in Kigali at St Paul.
The party members were beaten by the RPF’s notorious youth wing, which forced its way into the conference hall and beat up the members.

Their colleagues managed to race into exile previously when they had the chance but for this column of politicos battling a chain of cases, there is little or no chance of escaping persecution.

Kagame had attempted to play his political maneuvers brilliantly. But, the way he used the forum of political parties to disorganise PS Imberakuri, an opposition party and the blocking of the FDU-Inkingi and the Green party from contesting in the August presidential elections have sold him nothing more than a ticket of guilt in the face of political analysts.

The elections will definitely be a sham and a miscarriage of democracy in Rwanda. It is only unfortunate that there is no option; Rwandans will have to vote RPF back in office under the gun.

‘Crack in the army’

The Rwanda Defence Forces is deeply divided. Col. Patrick Karegeya, the former chief of external security and the charismatic soldier Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, the former chief of staff are in exile. Lt. Gen. Charles Muhire, the former chief of the Air force and Maj. Gen. Karenzi Karake are in detention.

Military prosecution has tactically failed to proceed with Muhire’s fabricated charges of corruption and abuse of office. To deepen the crack within the army, Kagame has ordered the military tribunal, according to military sources; to press charges against Gen. Karake linking him to an affair with the wife of colleague Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, the Force Commander of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

As the RDF senior command ponders on the next move to be taken in the sensitive case of Generals Muhire and Karake, a new set of soldiers has also been placed on the firing line. About 1,900 RDF troops have been forcefully discharged. They add to two other senior commanders, Col. Kamili Karege (commandant of the Rwanda Military Academy in Gako), and Col. John Bosco Mulisa (Brigade Commander of RDF’s 402 Brigade), who were suspended together with a senior presidential adviser on Defence and Security, Brig. Gen John Bosco Kazura.

All these senior military officers are actually being cracked down in a conspiracy by a section of military intelligence and National Security Service personnel blackmailing them in an alleged coup d’état against Kagame.

Brig. Gen. Jack Nziza (Defence Permanent Secretary), Lt Col. Emmanuel Ndahiro (National Security Service), and Lt. Col. Joseph Nzabamwita (External Security Organisation) have been widely implicated in this manhunt of politicians and soldiers.

It is alleged that the coup plot is being masterminded by the popular Washington DC based His Royal Highness King Kigeli V, which has increased suspicion within the army and caused much discomfort to Kagame who now suffers the pressure of ‘an enemy within.’

The presidency has become synonymous with corruption. Kagame has failed to account, before parliament, for owning two $100 million XR Executive Jets which he hires to himself and makes at least two trips to America-visiting his son at West Point military academy.

According to high profile sources, the minimum cost for each trip is close to $1 million. The two aircraft were bought by government money and registered in the names of a pseudo company. It is also alleged that Kagame owns the embassy building in London but he has deliberately decided to remain guarded over the matter.

Rwanda has a number of political parties; the RPF, Democratic Republican Movement (Mouvement démocratique républicain), Christian Democratic Party (Parti démocratique chrêtien), Islamic Democratic Party (Parti démocratique islamique), Rwandan Socialist Party (Parti socialiste rwandais), Democratic Union of the Rwandan People (Union démocratique du People rwandais), Social Democratic Party (Parti social démocrate), Liberal Party (Parti libéral) and Party for Progress and Concord (Parti pour le Progrès et la Concorde) among others.

Out of these, a few have managed to fight against the tide. Parties like the Democratic Republican Movement, Christian Democratic Party, Islamic Democratic Party, Rwandan Socialist Party and the Democratic Union of the Rwandan People only exist in the archives. These issues have been swept under the carpet.

Previous leaders have torn the pride of Rwanda. And they have all gone without a trail legacy.

Kagame is definitely going to win the election capitalising on a shaken and intimidated electorate but deep within, the hearts of Rwandans are bleeding as a result of extreme oppression. The only question now is; Whether he still has time to continue suppressing the spirit of a people.

Robert Mukombozi is an Investigative Rwandan journalist exiled in Australia. He is a Masters of Journalism and Mass Communication student at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.
Contact: RMukombozi@gmail.com

[First published in The African Executive under title: “Rwanda Presidential Elections: A Trigger Democracy?”].

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July 28, 2010   2 Comments

Africa advocates to Obama: Don’t recognize Kagame’s election

Support real freedom and democracy in Africa

by the Africa Faith and Justice Network, Friends of the Congo, Hotel Rwanda/Rusesabagina Foundation, International Humanitarian Law Institute of Minnesota, Institute for Policy Studies, Mobilization for Justice and Peace in Congo.

Kagame Bloody Hands

In mid-July in Spain, Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez Zapatero refused to meet with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who was visiting for a U.N. conference, after human rights defenders urged him not to and protesters took to the streets chanting “Kagame! War Criminal!”

President Obama said, in his 2009 speech in Accra, Ghana, that America should support strong institutions and not strong men. However, in the case of Rwanda, this has been no more than rhetoric. Rwandans, like most Africans, cheered Obama’s election, hoping that it might signal a new, more peaceful and cooperative relationship between the U.S. and Africa, but Obama has expanded AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, and now he remains silent as Rwanda’s strongman, President Paul Kagame, prepares a sham presidential election to retain his brutal grip on power.

On Aug. 3, in Washington D.C., we, a coalition of Africa advocates, will gather at the National Press Club to call on President Obama and the U.S. State Department not to recognize the legitimacy of Rwanda’s upcoming Aug. 9 election results and to stop militarizing Africa and supporting repressive regimes.

“The U.S. policy has been to support strongmen,” says Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of the Congo. “And at the head of the class is Paul Kagame, who has received military support, weapons, training and intelligence and as a result has been able to invade Rwanda’s neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and sustain proxy militia fighting there to rob the Congolese people of their natural resources. He has contributed to the death of over 6 million people in Congo and to the destabilization of Africa’s whole Great Lakes region.”

Kagame with Obama

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greeted representatives of U.N. member countries at the Metropolitan Museum in New York on Sept. 23, 2009. Here, Rwandan President Paul Kagame stands between them. – Photo: irwanda1.com

Assassinations, arrests, disappearances, imprisonment and torture of both politicians and press critical of Kagame have led up to Rwanda’s Aug. 9 presidential polls, and now the question is not “Will Rwanda’s August 2010 election be free and fair?” but “How much more violence will the population suffer from Rwandan police, military and security operatives?”

And how much longer will President Obama continue to support the brutal Kagame regime in the heart of Africa, even though 40 of Kagame’s top officers and officials have been indicted in both Spanish and French courts for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide? Kagame himself has not been indicted by these courts but only because he is a sitting head of state and indictment would therefore be a declaration of war.

Anti-Kagame Protest In Spain - July 2010

Spanish protesters in mid-July want Kagame held accountable for genocide. Still applauded by the mainstream press only a few months ago, Kagame's record is now being questioned and condemned by some of the most influential media in the world.

“Kagame is doing everything he can think of, including killing journalists, jailing and torturing political opponents and denying political opponents their constitutional right to register their parties to exclude them from the election. Because as soon as he loses the presidency, he is likely to be tried for all the mass killings he ordered,” says Rwandan exile, writer and activist Aimable Mugara, who now lives in Toronto.

All the viable opposition has been kept out of the election, but four Kagame allies have agreed to stand so as to make it appear that Rwanda is having a real election.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Chair FDU.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Rwanda's leading challenger to Kagame, is under house arrest and banned from the Aug. 9 ballot.

Leading presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who was arrested and indicted on trumped up charges to prevent her from registering to run against Kagame, has said that she will not vote and has urged other Rwandans not to vote either. “We know that the military and police will use violence against the population,” Ingabire said, “but we have to fight for our rights. There is no reason to vote if you don’t have a choice.”

In May, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson announced that the U.S. government plans to send a dozen teams of election observers to Rwanda before the Aug. 9 polls, but many Rwandans now say they will only be wasting U.S. taxpayers’ money.
“There is no reason to vote if you don’t have a choice.” – Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

“Why do people seriously think of going there to observe elections?” asked Charles Kambanda, an American of Rwandan origin, former member of Kagame’s RPF Party and former professor at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. “Which elections are they going to observe? There is nothing to be observed, because what we have is a one-man show. What we have is a situation where the government has created the so-called opposition.

Great Lakes Region

Great Lakes Region. In this pre-1997 map, Congo is shown as Zaire.

“The RPF has kicked out all the real opposition leaders. They are either under house arrest, like Victoire Ingabire, or in prison or they are already dead or they are in exile.”

“Foreign election observers planning to go to Rwanda to observe the ‘election’ this August are wasting time and money,” said Aimable Mugara. “I would recommend that they stay in their countries and write their reports based on all the insane actions Gen. Kagame’s ruling party has taken since the beginning of this year, actions that make this so-called election null and void.”

The United States government has provided not only election observers but also over $1,034,000,000 in United States taxpayer-funded foreign assistance to Rwanda since 2000. An additional $240,200,000 is proposed in the president’s fiscal year 2011 budget.

For more information, call Friends of the Congo at (202) 584-6512 or email rwandaelections@gmail.com.

[First published on SfbayView]

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July 28, 2010   3 Comments

Rwanda opposition party cries out to Obama and Cameron

by John V Karuranga

I write to you as a leader of a democratic party in Rwanda, the RPP-Imvura.

Our party has been denied registration for participation in presidential elections scheduled for August 9, 2010. Rwanda, as you well know, is undergoing a serious political and social-economic crisis. Rwanda has gone through a series of genocides in its history, the worst of which occurred in 1994 when more than 1 million innocent people were massacred.

“Kagame is a liability to Rwanda and Rwandans are paying a heavy price for this.”

“Kagame has sponsored candidates to stand against him, to lend some veneer of credibility to these bogus elections.”

John V. Karuranga.

Since 1994, the Rwanda Patriotic Front, led by Paul Kagame has been in power. This is a party that has shown very little or no interest at all in democratic principles and practice. Kagame demonstrated his undemocratic nature very early in his rule when he sabotaged all genuine efforts in Rwanda to engender national reconciliation.

Indeed, the genocide has been his excuse for establishing and maintaining a military dictatorship in Rwanda. He uses the genocide as a means to emotionally blackmail Rwandans as well as the international community. I say this with sadness, but the US administration under George Bush Jr and the UK administration under Tony Blair became the strongest supporters of Kagame.

Renaissance

President Bush described leaders like Kagame as the “new breed” of Africans who would lead some sort of renaissance in the continent.

Your Excellencies,

I submit that this was false optimism and the so-called “new breed” has turned out to be bad and toxic. Mr Kagame has ruled Rwanda for many years without bothering about democratic elections and has no fresh ideas to face the new challenges confronting the country. He is a liability to Rwanda and Rwandans are paying a heavy price for this.

We are concerned that your governments have continued to support the Kagame regime even as the list of his crimes grows. We are hurt that Mr Blair is now an advisor to President Kagame.

What is he advising him on? His role goes against British values of fairness and it is very difficult for us to understand how he can continue to play such a role.

President Kagame is now organising elections that many believe have been rigged in advance. All genuine opposition parties have been denied registration. Instead, President Kagame has sponsored candidates to stand against him, to lend some veneer of credibility to these bogus elections. We question why there should be any election observers from the US and the Commonwealth in Rwanda.

Harassment

What will they observe? A charade? Instead of supporting this bogus observation, the international community should boycott it and call for fresh elections where all interested parties will be allowed to register and to campaign openly.

We ask you to note Rwanda Government’s harassment of opposition politicians inside and outside the country. This policy has lately also targeted lawyers, human rights organisations, NGOs, foreign journalists and others involved in Rwandan civil society. Members of our own party in the UK and elsewhere are harassed and trailed on a daily basis and subjected to threats of violence and murder.

Latest victims of these machinations include Lt General Kayumba Nyamwasa, who was shot and wounded in an assassination attempt in South Africa, journalist Jean-Leonard Rugambage, who was murdered in front of his own house in Kigali, and the deputy leader of the Green Party, Mr Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, who was beheaded as a chilling warning to all Rwandans to toe the line.

We are also concerned about the fate of the Rwandan refugees living in camps in Uganda and elsewhere. Many have been returned to Rwanda against their will and despite the objections of the UNHCR, which complained that such actions are illegal and a violation of international law, particularly Article 33(1) of the UN Convention of 1951 Relating to the Status of Refugees

Opportunity

The RPP – IMVURA, wishes to take this opportunity to ask your Excellencies to use your influence to call upon the Rwandan Government to initiate direct peace talks with all opposition parties to resolve our political, economic and social problems once and for all, and to facilitate the peaceful return of the more than 2.5 million Rwandan refugees living in exile.

Equally, we draw your Excellencies’ attention to recent examples in Africa where there have been peaceful changes of power, especially in Ghana and South Africa.

We do not want President Kagame to be overthrown in a military coup or Rwanda to return to civil war. We do not believe coups and civil wars are solutions to Africa’s problem.

(John V Karuranga is the President of Rwanda People’s Party- IMVURA; rppimvura@yahoo.org; www.rwandapeopleparty.org)

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July 27, 2010   3 Comments

Trial of Rwandan opposition figure Deo Mushayidi begins in High Court

Deo Mushayidi in court

Deo Mushayidi in court

Kigali – Deo Mushayidi yesterday appeared in the High Court to answer charges that include, causing state insecurity, working with a terrorist organization, FDLR, and using false documents.

The FDLR is a group largely made up of remnants of the Ex-FAR and Interahamwe militia responsible for the 1994 Genocide.

Prosecution, represented by Bonaventure Ruberwa, also accused Mushayidi of promoting Genocide revisionism and ideology and sowing seeds of divisionism.

Mushayidi was arrested in Burundi and immediately extradited to Rwanda on March 5, 2010. Prosecution tabled several documents including email contacts between Mushayidi and the terrorist group.

Mushayidi’s former cook, Samuel Nsengiyumva, who lived with him in Karagwe, Tanzania, had earlier testified against the accused. He revealed that the latter was working with armed groups which were preparing to attack Rwanda at some point in the future.

In his defence, the accused told court that he worked with the FDLR, arguing that the idea was not to overthrow the current government military but come into power peacefully.

But he admitted that he was using false documents saying that he was carrying a Burundian passport because he never wanted to be detected. The hearing continues.

[New Times]

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July 27, 2010   No Comments

Police raid Victoire Ingabire’s residence at night

by Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

Victoire Ingabire - challenges Gen. Paul Kagame and RPF

Victoire Ingabire - challenges Gen. Paul Kagame and RPF

Police Brutal night-time raid in my temporary residence

The police brutality in my residence last night is politically motivated. On 24th July 2010, from 20:10 to 20:50 a police flying squad drifted in my temporary residence, knocked off and assaulted 2 guests and a house watchman in front of the door. The victims are Mr. Martin NTAVUKA – FDU INKINGI leader in Nyarugenge district and Mr. Anastase HAGABIMANA – FDU INKINGI leader in Kicukiro district. They were handcuffed, beaten and taken to REMERA police detention facility. The watchman was left with face injuries including one eye swollen shut. Eye witnesses confirm death threats and ethnic hate abuses hurled on-spot by the officer KAREKEZI, a CID staff. Today, the governmental radio station, quoting police sources, informed that last night two were arrested for planning illegal protest next week and that “inflammatory print” T-shirts were confiscated. Our print t-shirts display normally our colours (green and red) and the text on either the front or the back says “WE NEED DEMOCRACY AND FAIR JUSTICE” or “TURASHAKA DEMOKARASI N’UBUTABERA BUSESUYE”. What is inflammatory in this?

From the 26th July 2010, a Kigali High Court opens the bail appeal hearings of many opposition leaders on demonstration charges while the incumbent is promising heaven to sorry Rwandans in rural areas.

Only this month of July, I was pressurized twice by landlords to vacate the rented houses or to face police eviction due to death threats from the ruling party. The current landlord turned up unexpectedly only two days after occupancy and prompted a speedy lease annulment process. A 20-day notice to vacate and a total refund of 5 months prepaid rent is in force since. A few months ago, Kigali hotels aborted at the last minutes our conference room reservations because of threats from the secret police. It looks like the regime will leave no stone unturned until the opposition is totally crushed.

We call upon the government of General Paul KAGAME to release them and to adequately address the issue of police brutality, beatings, torture, death threats, excessive force and the use of hate language, profanity and defamatory remarks.

Done at Kigali, 25th July 2010

Ms. Victoire INGABIRE UMUHOZA
FDU INKINGI
Chair.

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July 26, 2010   2 Comments

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) Condemns Human Rights Abuses in Rwanda

“The actions of President Paul Kagame over the last six months have in fact shown the government to be committed to ensuring their own political survival and suppressing all political opposition to the RPF.”
CHRI

London – The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) condemns the recent wave of killings and suppression of press freedoms in the run up to the Presidential election on the 9 August 2010.

In the last two months Jean-Léonard Rugambage, a journalist working for the banned newspaper Umuvugizi, and Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, the vice president of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, have been brutally murdered.
There are allegations of RPF and security service involvement in a number of different incidents.
Mr Frank Habineza, Green Party candidate for President, has complained that he has been subject to harassment and surveillance.

Lieutenant–General Nyamwasa, the former army chief of staff who is currently living in exile in Johannesburg, was the subject of an assassination attempt on 19 June 2010. The involvement of Rwandan security agents is strongly suspected and two of the individuals originally arrested by the South African police have now been released.

Dominique Makeli, a former Rwandan journalist currently living in exile in Kampala, was the subject of an attempted abduction on the 28 June 2010 allegedly by Rwandan agents.

Two newspapers Umuseso and Umuvugizi have been banned by the Media High Council after allegations that they had published stories that insulted President Kagame incited the army, caused police insubordination and frightened the public, contrary to Article 83 of Rwanda’s media law.

Bernard Ntaganda, the PS Imberakuri candidate for president and currently the only independent registered candidate for President, has been charged with terrorism offences after participating in a peaceful demonstration against the National Electoral Commission.

Victoire Ingabire, the leader of the UDF, has been unable to register for the election and members of her party have been imprisoned and subject to abuse.

Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in November 2009 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Port Spain. A few months prior to this CHRI released a report on Rwanda’s human rights record, authored by the leading constitutional expert Professor Yash Ghai. The report cast doubt on Rwanda’s human rights record and its democratic stability and highlighted the increasingly hegemonic nature of the RPF in Rwandan politics and concluded that due its poor human rights record Rwanda should not be admitted to the Commonwealth at the 2009 CHOGM.

The rapid increase in violence and the constriction of political space and human rights in Rwanda following their Commonwealth membership has unfortunately proven the report’s predictions correct.
Many supporters of Rwanda’s application for membership argued that Commonwealth membership would provide an incentive for the government to improve its human rights record.

The actions of President Paul Kagame over the last six months have in fact shown the government to be committed to ensuring their own political survival and suppressing all political opposition to the RPF. The Commonwealth’s silence on recent developments in Rwanda cast grave doubts on the organisation’s commitments to the values that it recently re-affirmed at the 2009 CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago.

CHRI echoes the condemnation voiced by the UN Secretary General and the European Union over political killings in Rwanda and urges immediate independent international enquiry into these incidents and supports the Commonwealth Green Parliamentarians’ call for Commonwealth representatives to be sent to Rwanda to immediately.

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
ICS
Senate House
Mallet Street
London
Tel: 02078628857

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July 24, 2010   No Comments

Victoire Ingabire asked to leave her house by owner

Victoire Ingabire - challenges Gen. Paul Kagame and RPF

Victoire Ingabire - challenges Gen. Paul Kagame and RPF

Kigali: The Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire under house arrest has been refunded all the money she paid to rent her house in Kigali and asked to leave immediately.

Listen to [wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20100724-victoire-yirukanywe-mu-nzu.mp3″ text=”Victoire Ingabire explaining how she was ejected from house for the second time” dl=”0″]
in Kinyarwanda.

The unnamed owner apparently refunded on Friday all the five-month rent to Ingabire, and all he did was request that the FDU-Inkingi chief and her staff find another place to live.

A member of her team said they had started searching for another house – at which point they will vacate the place they have called home since January 16, when Ingabire arrived in the country.

The owner reportedly told Ingabire that he was under pressure and had decided to stay out of trouble.

Commenting on this, an observer of the Rwandan situation writes:
It is very sad indeed that Ingabire is being asked to leave her rental residence. It reminds me of back in 2003 when Twagiramungu could not find any place to rent and had to stay in a hotel during the “election” period. The RPF machine is worse than any dictatorship even known to humanity because on one hand they are more evil than Lucifer himself but on the other hand they have a PR machine to convince fools around the world that they are decent human beings.

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July 24, 2010   8 Comments

British PM urged to act on Rwanda situation

by Rwandan Community in UK.

London Manifestation 23 July 2010: Stop Kagame's Impunity!

London Manifestation 23 July 2010: Stop Kagame's Impunity!

Open letter to PM David Cameron demanding action on the repressive situation prevailing in Rwanda

Stop Supporting Kagame

Stop Supporting Kagame

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 0AA

London, 23/7/10

Dear Prime Minister,

We, the undersigned, are concerned members of the Rwandan community and other nationalities from the Central and East African region living in the UK. Today we held an authorized public protest in front of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Our concern is based on the events leading up to August 9, the day scheduled for the Rwandan presidential elections.

We are writing this letter to demand tangible actions concerning the increasing social and political tension in Rwanda that has been witnessed since the start of this year, and appears to take a tragic path for the Rwandan society, as Election Day approaches.

We know your government is aware of numerous reports made by various human rights organizations about incidents of intimidation against members of Rwandan opposition parties. We have been informed on the strong support Rwanda receives from the British government to promote political and media freedom. You engage regularly, both bilaterally and with your EU partners, to ensure that the Rwandan government respects these issues.

The Department for International Development Minister Stephen O’ Brien traveled to Rwanda on June 16th and 17th. He met President Kagame and other Rwandan government ministers. Apparently he raised the issues faced by opposition parties, and highlighted the importance that the UK, as a major bilateral donor and fellow member of the Commonwealth, attaches to core democratic values, such as freedom of speech and constructive opposition.

Surprisingly, it was on June 19th that an assassination attempt in South Africa was done against General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. On June 24th, Jean-Léonard Rugambage, a journalist working for the banned newspaper Umuvugizi, was murdered. The same day there was a general crackdown on opposition parties which peacefully demonstrated against their exclusion from participating in electoral campaign. Those detained suffered severe torture and harassment from security forces. Bernard Ntaganda, the leader of PS IMBERAKURI has been in prison since then. On July 8th, Agnès Nkusi Uwimana, Saidati Mukakibibi, and Patrick Kambare, journalists of the independent newspaper Umurabyo were arrested. On July 14th, André Kagwa Rwisereka, Vice-Chair of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, was murdered, found almost beheaded. Despite an absence of independent reporting focusing on issues faced by the population in general under Paul Kagame government, these sad occurrences filtered and came into the open.

Dear Prime Minister,

Considering the described context, we find it reasonable to admit on the part of the British government that the approach of regular engagement with the Rwandan government to address issues of human rights and democratic values hasn’t worked in the past, neither does it today.

The UK government and its EU partners have a leverage position to correct the mistreatment Paul Kagame institutions are inflicting to Rwandans. More than 50% of the Rwandan government budget comes from external contributions. Being a major donor, the UK can change the persistent pattern of social and economic injustices by taking the following measures;

1. Not recognizing the results from the presidential elections of August 9th as long as opposition parties not affiliated to the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front of Paul Kagame are not allowed to participate

2. Addressing policies of systematic torture of detainees by actively supporting the creation of an independent inquiry into torture and harassment of political prisoners who were detained in Kigali on June 24th following the police crackdown on peaceful demonstrators

3. Supporting actively the setting up of an inter-Rwandan dialogue mechanism to solve existing ethnic tensions, bring about lasting reconciliation, peace, and sustainable development in the Great Lakes and end of recurrent conflicts in Eastern Congo

Not reviewing and changing completely current approach of UK government towards recurrent abuses of human rights and freedom of speech by the Rwandan government would look as a sign of deplorable indifference for the thousands of Rwandan victims.

Yours sincerely,

Signed
London, 23/7/10

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July 24, 2010   No Comments

The degrading political and social situation in Rwanda

By Maurice M, Germany.

I was really happy indeed when I found the press release from Ökumenisches Netz Zentralafrika [1], they are changing really the cap regarding the dictatorship regime of Kagame and Co. in Rwanda. The situation in Rwanda is increased in the worse way day after day.

After that on 1st October 1990 the RPR Inkotanyi [2] rebels attacked Rwanda and lead the country in massacres and genocide after they shot down the presidential plane on 6th April 1994 [3].; from 4th July 1994 the Rwanda is lead by the band of war criminals [4] 16 year now of terror and injustice still growing and many people are still pushed into exile [5]. The Rwandans who live inside or outside of the country are living in fear due to death or imprisonment threats on their heads. Deported refugees are arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned.
On 14th October Mr Innocent Irankunda [6] has been deported from Germany to Rwanda and has been arrested, tortured, charged of treason, genocide ideology and using false official papers. He is now sentenced to 4 years in Rwanda jail. What was his crime? He fled his country Rwanda and asked asylum in Germany?

This time, everybody who opposes the Rwanda regime is arbitrarily accused to be a genocide denier, promoting division among the population or exposing the country security. The political opposition leaders, lawyers, and journalists are arbitrarily arrested and killed, the editor of UMURABYO Mme. Agnes Nkusi Uwimana is in police custody and other two journalists. Mr Patrick Kambale and Mme Saidati Mukakibibi have been arrested on 12th July 2010 over defaming President Kagame and negating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.“The genocide ideology is the new invented arm of Rwanda regime for harassment and repression of opposition opponents.” Agnes Uwimana and her colleagues could be up to spend more than three decades behind bars if convicted.

The peaceful opposition demonstration in Rwanda is repressed in violence. The planned opposition demonstration on 24th June 2010 was sabotaged by the Government when Maitre Bernard NTAGANDA, founding president of PS Imberakuri was violently
grabbed from his home by agents of the National Police. Since then he has been day and night in handcuffs in different police cells. The Party Secretary General, Théobald MUTARAMBIRWA and several PS-Imberakuri members were arbitrarily arrested and tortured. [7]

The same day, several members of FDU Inkingi were arrested. They have been submitted to severe tortures and denied medical attention while in Police custody. “How can the incumbent President Paul KAGAME, his regime and police explain the arbitrary arrests, torture, inhuman and cruel treatment of the opposition leaders?”

We call upon the Rwandan Government to immediately release these political prisoners without any further delay and investigate the reported cases of torture and barbaric martyrdom”, said opposition leader Ms.Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.[8]

Who killed the Umuvugizi editor Mr Leonard Rugamabage [9] while investigating who shot and injured the General Kayumba Nyamwasa [10] in South Africa? Who killed and decapitated Mr Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, the Vice-President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda[11]? Rwisereka’s body was found dumped by a river in the south of the country after he had been missing for a day. Who shot dead on July 14th 2010 the ICTR[12] Lawyer Professor Jwani Mwaikusa, who was the first defence counsel in ICRT to successfully lead the rejection of the Prosecutors motion to transfer the case of his client to be tried in Rwanda?

“The Rwanda regime has been locked up for speaking out with non-violent means against the dictatorship. The schism between the government and the population is pushing the country to a brink of chaos: jail, torture, summary executions and a set of
repressive laws are common for those branded as enemies opposed to the diktat of the ruling party. Rwandans have only one choice: follow or suffer”
Rwanda Opposition Icon Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

Who will be safe in Rwanda while opposing to the Kagame regime? Who can resist to the harassment from the Rwanda security agents and officials? An American lawyer helping defend a Rwandan presidential hopeful against charges that include promoting a genocide ideology was arrested and charged with genocide denial. “Rwandan Police have arrested Peter Erlinder[13], the American lawyer who travelled to Rwanda, on 23rd May; he was trying to join the defence team of Rwandan presidential candidate. She was released after being summoned to a Rwandan police station, much to the relief of her supporters, but her lawyer Erlinder had to be arrested and charged with “genocide ideology,” a speech crime unique to Rwanda which Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even the U.S. State Department have denounced as a tool of political repression. Erlinder, is a prominent critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s regime. He has been released on bail one month later on medical grounds[14]. The American authorities and the international pressure were behind his release.

But who is behind the political assassinations of journalists and opposition members in Rwanda? Who is behind the unjustified arrests and illegal detention of political opposition members in Rwanda? Who is causing chaos and insecurity in Rwanda[15]? I guess whom: The Kagame and his war criminal Government! The current Rwanda authorities are leading Rwanda to hell and this is likely to continue until the international community gets interested and submits Kagame[16] and his band to justice.


[1] Ökumenisches Netz Zentralafrika beklagt Repressionen gegen politische Opposition und Zivilgesellschaft in Ruanda

[2] RPF Inkotanyi:Rwanda Patriotic Front. Attacked the Rwanda from Uganda on 1st Octomber 1990.

[3] 6th April 1994: French Judge accused Kagame and his group of shooting the Presidential Plane

[4] Spanish judge charges RPF military

[5] More than 1300 fled Rwanda to Uganda.

[6] Irankunda

[7] Opposition members released but what about the torture inquiry?

[8] Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Leader of Opposition party FDU-UDF Inkingi

[9] Rugambage Leonard Umuvugizi editor shot dead

[10] General Kayumba Nyamwasa accused Kagame of corruption, favouritism and leading the country as dictator

[11] André Kagwa Rwisereka the First Vice President of The Rwanda Green Party found dead.

[12] ICTR: Internation Criminal Court of Rwanda situated in Arusha.

[13] Professor Peter Erlinder: Rwanda arrests Ingabire’s American lawyer Erlinder in Kigali

[14] Lawyer Peter Erlinder released due to the medical ground.

[15] Grenade blasts in Kigali, deepening political crisis in Rwanda

[16] Oklahoma Lawsuit Alleges Rwandan President Paul Kagame Triggered Rwanda Genocide

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July 24, 2010   1 Comment