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Posts from — August 2010

General Kagame commissions a minerals-processing factory in Kigali

Kigali – General Paul Kagame, yesterday, called on investors to add value to what they produce prior to exporting, since it will not only improve on the quality of the country’s exports, but will bring in higher revenues for investors and the country.

General Kagame made the call while commissioning a factory which will be adding value to cassiterite, one of Rwanda’s leading minerals exports, before it is sold on the international market.

The factory, Bashyamba Processing Plant, which is located in Kigali Sector, Nyarugenge district, is part of a US$15 million consortium known as Roka Rwanda which specialises in mining, processing and exporting cassiterite, wolfram and coltan.

“First of all, this is inline with the country’s thinking and policy of trying to add as much value to what we produce. It has been a tradition for many years that minerals or other things are exported in raw form,”

“What that means is that it benefits others more than us who actually produce such things. The more value we can add the more benefits for the country and for others. I think this is a pacesetter,” Kagame said.

The President emphasised that the factory should set an example for many other investors, even outside the mining sector.

“I am sure many other Rwandans or investors will learn a thing or two from this kind of investment and the philosophy behind it. The country is set to benefit more,” he noted.

The factory has modern processing equipment which is expected to reduce on minerals wasted as a result of traditional methods of extraction.

Kagame commended the proprietors of the plant and said that it was in line with the wider government policy of promoting value addition, not only in mining, but other sectors as well. He added that value addition will be one of his areas of concentration in the next seven years.

“We have been promising people that we will do more than what we have done in the past, so this helps me to build on and say yes, after all, some of these things we say are possible,” Kagame said.

Kari Gahiga, the chairman of Roka Rwanda, which has three mining concessions and 24 mines around the country, said that the group was encouraged to invest in the factory as a result of the good investment climate the government has put in place.

“I am so impressed by the way things are done here. The Government is helping many investors in so many ways and so efficiently. That’s very impressive for investors,” Gahiga said.

According to Emery Rubagenga, the CEO of the firm, other than the mining concessions, Roka Rwanda will be buying minerals from individual miners and cooperatives.
“We believe Rwandans will be earning good revenues from what we will be buying,” Rubagenga said, adding that Rwanda’s cast cassiterite elite and coltan are of high quality and highly sought after on the international market.

The plant will be processing the minerals up to 60% purity before export. The plant has a capacity of producing 12 tons a day, but management says plans are underway to upgrade it to 24.

[New Times]

August 25, 2010   2 Comments

US says Rwandan genocide suspect Kabuga still in Kenya

Arusha – The US government has again affirmed that the most wanted Genocide fugitive, billionaire Felicien Kabuga, has not left Kenya – disputing claims that he has relocated to Belgium with all his money.

The United States Ambassador at Large for War Crime Issues, Stephen Rapp said Tuesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that he had received reports in 2010 suggesting Kabuga was still in Kenya.

“We have continued citing reports that come to us of his presence in Kenya in 2010,” Rapp said at the end of a two-day visit of the Tribunal, based in Arusha, Tanzania.

In March, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told reporters in Nairobi that the most wanted fugitive could not be in Kenya – citing the good relations between Kigali and Nairobi.
“Felicien Kabuga is the man who financed the genocide. We have no idea where he is. It has been said he has been living in Kenya but the administration has assured he is not around,” Mushikiwabo said.

Then in June, her Kenyan counterpart Moses Wetangula was in Kigali where he also made it clear than ever that Kabuga had relocated to Belgium after moving all his money.

Kenya’s top diplomat told reporters after meeting President Kagame there was no way Kabuga could be still living in Kenya without any money.

“Naturally a man lives where his money is,” said Wetangula.

But it seems the US government which has put a $5million bounty on Kabuga’s head is not convinced.

In Arusha on Tuesday, the US Ambassador for war crimes recalled that he had similar information in 2005 through 2007 but the arrest was not affected due to lack of collaboration between the ICTR Prosecutor and the Kenyan authorities.

Rapp said he believes the recent meeting between the ICTR and Kenya and establishment of the new constitution in Kenya would enhance the cooperation to effect the arrest and ultimately transfer of Kabuga to ICTR.

‘’It is not impossible that this information has not been followed up because of lack of collaboration between the prosecutor and Kenyan authorities,” he said.

The Ambassador clearly stated that the ICTR prosecutor did not have enough investigators, police or an army which would track down the culprit but depended on the members of United Nations like Kenya to collaborate in the arrest and transfer of the fugitives.

[ARI-RNA]

August 25, 2010   No Comments

South Africa arrests 5 more suspects in the shooting of exiled Rwandan Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa

Pretoria – Five more people are in the custody of South African authorities in connection with the shooting of dissident Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa on June 19 in Johannesburg, SA police revealed Wednesday.

The new arrests were made in June and July but it was not necessary to publicize them, according to South Police Spokesman, Brig. Govindsamy Mariemuthoo.

On Wednesday, the five suspects appeared in court, and that is how they became known to the public. The new suspects bring to 10, the total number of people in custody for the shooting which has strained Rwanda-SA relations.

Originally, Police had 6 suspects but two saw charges against them dropped including Rwandan ex-army officer Francis Gakwerere. Then later it emerged that another Rwandan Pascal Kanyandekwe had been arrested for alleged links to the failed murder attempt.

Kanyandekwe charged along with Juma Huseni, Ahmed Ali, George Francis and Shafiri Bakari for the shooting on the General outside his home in Melrose north of Johannesburg on June 19. All these men were said to be foreigners and the authorities are yet to authenticate their papers.

Their court cases were scheduled to being on Wednesday last week but had to be moved due to the ongoing public sector strike across South Africa. Their case was moved to today August 25.

In court Wednesday, South African Police and Prosecutors presented the new five suspects.

Police spokesman Mariemuthoo told the media that the arrests were made quietly, with no public announcement.

Meanwhile, information from South African officials suggests Gen. Nyamwasa, whose extradition request from Rwanda is being considered, is under protection from the state at a secret location.

Rwanda wants him back to face the courts in connection to the grenade blasts which rocked Kigali earlier this year. He denies all the charges.

Related:
South Africa says no decision yet on return to Rwanda of recalled ambassador Gwadiso

[ARI-RNA]

August 25, 2010   No Comments

South Africa says no decision yet on return to Rwanda of recalled ambassador Gwadiso

Pretoria – The recalled South African ambassador to Rwanda has not returned to Kigali, the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said Monday – disputing media reports.

Media reports had suggested over the weekend that ambassador Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso had been cleared to return to Kigali. Pretoria recalled him for what was described then as consultations following a spat with Kigali over the shooting in Johannesburg of exiled Rwandan Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said in statement Monday that it had “noted with regret and dismay” about the reports of Ambassador Gwadiso’s departure for Kigali.

DIRCO never confirmed the departure of Ambassador Gwadiso

“The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has noted with regret and dismay of yesterday’s media report by City Press misrepresenting the department’s position with regard to the departure of Ambassador Gwadiso to Rwanda.
The department would like to categorically clarify that the Ambassador of South Africa to Rwanda is still in South Africa and we still have to finalise as to when he will return to Rwanda.”

For further information please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy Mr Saul K. Molobi on +27 82 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or email him at molobisk@dirco.gov.za.

In Kigali, President Kagame said after winning reelection on August 09 that relations with South Africa were excellent. The Rwandan envoy there is working without any changes.

August 24, 2010   1 Comment

Rwandan Prosecutor withdraws appeal against bail granted to opposition politicians from PS-Imberakuri and FDU-Inkingi

Bernard Ntaganda in court with his co-accused members of opposition party PS-Imberakuri

Bernard Ntaganda in court earlier this year with his co-accused members of opposition party PS-Imberakuri

Kigali – Seven opposition politicians from PS-Imberakuri and FDU-Inkingi appeared on Monday before the High Court.

Prosecution withdrew its appeal against the bail granted by a lower court to the seven including Theogene Muhayeyezu – UDF-Inkingi’s lawyer; Sylvere Mwizerwa – a member of PS Imberakuri; Theobald Mutarambirwa, Sylvain Sibomana, Martin Ntavuka and Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa.

Speaking to reporters, Maitre Gatera Gashabana, the lawyer defending opposition politician Bernard Ntaganda and his colleagues, welcomed the decision of the state to end its quest to have the seven accused behind bars.

The prosecution did not say exactly why it had chosen to respect the bail decision of the lower court.

The case starts next month as well.

August 24, 2010   No Comments

Prosecutor wants life sentence for Rwandan opposition figure Deo Mushayidi

Deo Mushayidi (Chair of PDP-Imanzi) in court

Deo Mushayidi (Chair of PDP-Imanzi) in court

Kigali – The embattled opposition politician Deogratias Mushayidi will wait for another month before he knows whether he goes free or stays in jail for the rest of his life as demanded by the state over seven serious charges.

In its closing arguments Monday, state prosecutor Bonaventure Ruberwa prayed to the High Court in Kigali to slam a maximum sentence on the controversial politician extradited from Burundi in March. The state also wants Mushayidi to pay a fine of 300,000 Francs, in addition to court costs.

Mushayidi was arrested in Tanzania, which handed him to Burundi that immediately transferred him to Rwanda on March 5. The state has filed seven charges against the head of the yet-to-be-registered exile-based PDP Imanzi party. In July, the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court refused to grant bail to Mushayidi. He had to stay in the maximum security prison ‘1930’ for the rest of the trial.

Among the charges include Genocide negationism, falsification of official documents and links to the DR Congo based FDRL rebels. Prosecution tabled hundreds of documents including email contacts between Mushayidi and the group, branded a terrorist entity.

Filing his closing defense, Mushayidi handled charge after another – accusing government of using politically motivated charges to keep him behind bars.

On Genocide ideology, Mushayidi said the charge is tantamount to mocking him because as he explained, he also lost members of his family during the 1994 Genocide.

As for the charge of collaborating with the terrorist group FDLR, Mushayidi prayed to court to summon the former members of the FDLR who have surrendered to Rwanda. He wants them to testify whether they know him as having been one of their members.

Among the high-profile ex-combatants are current deputy head of the demobilization commission Maj Gen Paul Rwarakabije, and top army Gen. Jerome Ngendahimana. Both surrendered in 2003. Hundreds of other senior officials have since put down their arms.

Responding to the charge of using forged documents, Mushayidi admitted that he was using false documents saying that he was carrying a Burundian passport because he never wanted to be detected. He however, maintained the document was official.

Mushayidi also denied the charge of trying to undermine state authority in many of his publications and speeches.

Court said it will rule on the case on September 17.

August 24, 2010   No Comments

Who made a mess of modern Rwanda?

by Barrie Collins.

paul-kagame-toughESSAY: Western leaders and human rights groups are now slating Paul Kagame’s authoritarianism. Yet they nurtured and facilitated it for years.

Paul Kagame’s return to office after winning Rwanda’s presidential elections on 9 August has been met with unprecedented criticism in the mainstream Western media.

There’s certainly much to criticise him for. For a start, any presidential candidate who referred to ethnicity during the elections was automatically disqualified, on the grounds that they were promoting ‘divisionism’. An all-embracing law prohibiting ‘genocide ideology’ was used to knock prominent opposition figure Victoire Ingabire out of the race.

In June, former army chief Faustin Nyamwasa was shot and wounded in South Africa. Five days later, Jean-Leonard Rugambage, a newspaper journalist in Kigali, was shot dead after publishing an online article linking Rwandan intelligence to the SA attack. In July, the partly decapitated body of Andre Rwisereka, vice-president of the Democratic Green Party, was found in a wetland. Soon after, Jwani Mwaikusa, a Tanzanian lawyer who defended a prominent Hutu at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, was murdered.

To no one’s surprise, Kagame came out with 93 per cent of the votes cast. And considering that the three so-called opposition parties were in fact drawn from the ruling coalition, and received five per cent, one per cent and 0.4 per cent of the votes cast, this was clearly not a meaningful democratic mandate for Kagame.

But there’s nothing new in this. In the presidential elections of 2003, Kagame took 95 per cent of votes cast. In last September’s parliamentary elections, his party won 92 per cent. According to Human Rights Watch, ‘evidence collected by the European Union and Rwandan monitors suggested that the government actually inflated the percentage of opposition votes so as to avoid the appearance of an embarrassing Soviet-style acclamation’.

What is new is the degree of criticism of Kagame in the Western media and by Western human rights groups. What this criticism reveals is that the Western mythology about Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which he led to war and power in Rwanda in the 1990s, has finally had its day and is now unravelling. And many of Kagame’s erstwhile cheerleaders are now cynically repositioning themselves as his critics.

Myths of Rwanda

The mythology has it that the RPF was driven to war in the early 1990s in order to put an end to oppressive rule in Rwanda that victimised the Tutsi ethnic group. Kagame is said to have made possible the return from exile of Tutsi refugees and to have established an honest government that has worked hard to overcome ethnic division. For his part, the incumbent president, Juvénal Habyarimana (1937-1994), is portrayed as a sinister, Machiavellian figure who implemented reforms only to please Western donors while operating a covert Mafia-style organisation dubbed the Akazu, which was the power behind the throne, fixing corrupt deals and organising death squads. Some claim Habyarimana was subordinate to the Akazu and manipulated by them. Either way, the established Western line is that the Habyarimana government was the Devil, while Kagame and the RPF had Right on their side.

In truth, Habyarimana was, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, making moves towards ethnic reconciliation and democratic reform. The RPF’s invasion of Rwanda from Uganda in October 1990 was timed to scuttle preparations already underway to accommodate returning Tutsi refugees. The RPF was determined that refugee return would be conducted on its terms and under its control. Despite the rapidly deteriorating security situation brought about by the RPF’s war, Habyarimana pressed ahead with reforms that resulted in a free press and a democratic constitution written into law in June 1992. The constitution specifically outlawed discrimination on ethnic grounds.

One might imagine that Western governments – in particular the US, which was loudly trumpeting its promotion of human rights and democracy at the time – would have applauded Habyarimana’s moves and exposed the RPF for what it was: an army backed by Uganda bent on seizing power in Rwanda. As an almost exclusively Tutsi organisation driving the Hutu majority of Rwanda off their land and into internal displacement camps, the RPF was generating fear and hatred across the ethnic divide – which led eventually to the calamity of 1994 in which Hutus killed thousands and thousands of Tutsis.

In fact, Kagame was able to wage his war and violate the peace negotiations underway at Arusha with impunity precisely as a result of discrete Western backing, primarily from the US, Belgium and Britain. Legitimacy was also provided by human rights organisations, who set about demonising Habyarimana with the zeal of modern-day crusaders.

Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch (HRW) now says that, ‘ironically, it is the genocide that provided the [Kagame] government with a cover for repression’. But an even greater irony is that Roth’s own organisation’s opportunism with regard to the use of the word genocide helped Kagame to justify his war in the first place, and to construct a mythology about Rwanda that has enabled his Western backers to find ways of excusing his authoritarianism.

Providing Kagame with moral ammunition

Under the direction of the late Alison Des Forges, HRW was the key contributor to the 1993 report of the International Commission of Inquiry (ICI) into Human Rights Violations in Rwanda. This blatantly one-sided tract accused the Habyarimana government of conducting systematic massacres of Tutsis and made no attempt to investigate numerous allegations of atrocities committed by Kagame’s RPF. The report was suspiciously well-timed to distract attention from the misery caused by the RPF’s offensive of February 1993, which resulted in a large number of civilian casualties.

The report came close to accusing Habyarimana’s government of committing genocide, but it held back. However, the spindoctors for the report used the word genocide in their press release, giving rise to an international storm about Habyarimana’s allegedly evil government and thereby providing Kagame with some much-needed cover and moral ammunition. Not surprisingly, Kagame returned unrepentant from the battlefield to the resumed Arusha talks where he fulminated about the ‘genocide’ being committed in Kigali, winning the sympathy of British diplomatic observers in the process (1).

The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights had the opportunity to conduct a more balanced report on civilian killings in Rwanda on his fact-finding mission a few months later in 1993. But he decided instead to adopt the ICI report, and went one step further by officially declaring that the violations against Tutsi civilians satisfied the conditions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (2).

Secure in the knowledge of backing from Western powers, and endowed with the moral support of key Western human rights agents and much of the Western media, Kagame had the confidence to press on with his military ambitions when faced with his greatest obstacle: the threat of the ballot box. While his RPF had emerged as the ‘winner’ of the peace agreement known as the Arusha Accords, which placed it in a position of dominance in the unified army of Rwanda, it was faced with the certain prospect of being exposed as a minority party in the elections due to take place in Rwanda after Arusha.

For Kagame, the elections had to be avoided at all costs. A tried and tested means of doing so already presented itself: incite ethnic killings that Western observers would attribute to Hutu extremists, then use the evidence of killings to justify resuming the war in the name of defending civilian victims against the extremists, and against genocide.

The RPF’s Western-backed war

The RPF embarked on a programme of renewed military preparations and caused endless delays in the formation of the Arusha-agreed Broad-Based Transitional Government. The political isolation of Habyarimana that had resulted from the Arusha Accords, the factional behaviour of the coalition government of the day, economic collapse and escalating ethnic tensions all resulted in the collapse of the government’s authority and state institutions becoming dysfunctional shells.

Paradoxically, the beleaguered Habyarimana saw his popularity rise amongst ordinary Hutus during this period, mainly because of his show of support for those enduring the hellish conditions of the displacement camps. Observers had no doubt who would win the expected elections: Habyarimana, not the RPF. And the grave security threat posed by the anarchy into which Rwanda was sliding at a time of unprecedented ethnic polarisation was obvious to all, including American intelligence. At the end of January 1994, a CIA study concluded that if conflict were to resume in Rwanda, up to half a million lives would be lost (3).

This scenario turned into grim reality shortly afterwards. President Habyarimana’s plane was blown out of the sky in a ground-to-air missile attack on 6 April 1994. The news of his death proved the final provocation that pushed Rwanda over the edge. Hutu thugs went door-to-door after their scapegoated targets: hapless Tutsi civilians. The now leaderless presidential guards went after political figures associated with the RPF. For its part, the RPF ordered its units to move from its base in Mulindi immediately upon receiving confirmation of the president’s death. In Kigali, RPF forces killed prominent government figures. Claiming that a genocide was underway, the RPF resumed the war.

Kagame’s Western backers broadcast the RPF line that the president’s plane was brought down by Hutu extremists as a signal to start implementing their well-prepared conspiracy to annihilate Rwanda’s Tutsi population. While there is no doubt that Tutsi civilians were specifically targeted and killed in vast numbers in 1994, finding evidence for such a conspiracy, and for the idea that the killings were organised, directed and controlled by figures in authority, has proved to be problematic to say the least. In subsequent years, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has failed to demonstrate that there was ever such an organised conspiracy. Théoniste Bagosora, whom everyone seemed to know was the chief architect of the conspiracy, was found not guilty on this specific count due to lack of evidence.

Much other ‘proof’ of the organised and premeditated character of the killings, mostly provided by HRW’s Des Forges, in a book she authored and in her numerous appearances as an expert witness for the ICTR prosecution, has been discredited. These include the story of machete imports; the so-called genocide fax which purported to show a plan for a thousand Tutsis to be killed every 20 minutes; Bagasora’s notebook entry, which supposedly identified all Tutsis as the enemy, and so on.

Furthermore, it is now well-known that when the UN’s own investigators found evidence pointing to the RPF as the shooters-down of Habyarimana’s plane, not Hutu extremists, there was immediate intervention to ensure that the investigation was terminated. The subject was declared off limits at the ICTR, in violation of its mandate, and chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte was relieved of her position after stating her intention to turn the spotlight on to the RPF. Instead of establishing the truth behind the war and the massacres of 1994, the tribunal has granted impunity to Kagame and the RPF.

Glossing over RPF massacres

Kagame launched the deadliest phase of his war in order to prevent elections from taking place and to seize power. While he and the RPF were of course not responsible for the actions of the Hutu militia in 1994, they are primarily responsible for creating the conditions that made mass slaughter possible. By seizing power, the RPF put an end to the militias’ killings of Tutsis, but they did not put an end to their own killings.

On 15 April 1995, the Rwandan military, now under Kagame, encircled the internal displacement camp at Kibeho, which was made up of Hutu refugees. Advisers warned the US embassy that the military was on the verge of committing a large-scale massacre. According to Tom Odom, the embassy’s military attaché, ‘no one, including us in the embassy, could offer any possible solution other than what was about to unfold’ (4). What unfolded was the worst single massacre Rwanda has endured to date. As the displaced population stood, or fled, in pouring rain, they were fired upon for 48 hours. The death toll was in the thousands. Odom records this conversation with US ambassador David Rawson, who expressed his shock at what he had witnessed by uttering:

‘[T]hey’re killers! They have driven those people to desperation’, he exclaimed before I cut him off. ‘No they didn’t, David! Those people were desperate people when they went into that camp. Many of them were hip-deep in the genocide. This was inevitable. We just have to sort out the results.’ (5)

When it became clear that the US was willing to ‘sort out the results’ of an atrocity on this scale, Kagame had no qualms about meting out the same treatment to remaining refugees in Zaire. Large-scale massacres, notably at Mugunga and Tingi-Tingi camps, followed. Kagame went on to play a key role in two wars in what became the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The death toll under his command has far exceeded that of Tutsi civilians at the hands of the Hutu militia.

What’s more, virtually every able-bodied Hutu male who survived the war and the massacres in the refugee camps, and who then returned to Rwanda, was thrown into prison as a genocide suspect. Carina Tertsakian, who has covered events in Rwanda extensively for Amnesty International and is presently HRW’s representative in Rwanda, has written an extraordinary book about Rwanda’s prison life. Prisoners are forced to stand for hours on end in overcrowded and filthy enclosures. Many have had their feet amputated as a result of gangrene. Prisoners too weak or sick to move have died where they lay. Tertsakian has revealed that between September 1994 and May 1995, 13 per cent of the prison population had died as a result of overcrowding, a situation ‘unparalleled in any part of the world’ (6).

So why was Kagame revered for so long by Western leaders? Tony Blair described him as a ‘visionary leader’. Bill Clinton handed him a global citizenship award just last year for ‘freeing people’s minds’. Barack Obama’s deputy ambassador to Rwanda stated that ‘Rwandans are lucky to have a visionary leader in President Paul Kagame, whose ideas are simply admirable’.

Washington’s ‘African new order’ unravels

To begin with, the US supported the RPF in order to consolidate President Yoweri Museveni’s rule in Uganda, where RPF members had played a key rule in his military takeover. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Washington was replacing its former Cold War clients in Africa with those that it termed ‘Africa’s New Generation Leaders’. Kagame joined the club following the coming to power of Museveni in Uganda and Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia. All three leaders shot their way to power with US support and benefited from biased human rights coverage that helped to legitimise their rule. And having harnessed the human rights discourse to install these regimes, Washington subsequently deprioritised human rights, saying little about the authoritarianism of these new leaders.

In a speech to the African Union in Addis Ababa in 1997, then US secretary of state Madeleine Albright praised Africa’s ‘New Generation Leaders’. They ‘sometimes resorted to tactics of which Americans might disapprove, but their circumstances left them little choice’, she said. According to her biographer Thomas Lippman, Albright had concluded that the new leaders ‘were not interested in hearing lectures from Washington about human rights’. She made ‘an effort to treat them as equals, tolerating if not approving of certain counterinsurgency and crowd-control tactics that would have outraged human rights purists, and avoiding putting pressure on leaders such as Museveni and Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi to hold elections and ensure political openness’ (7).

Moreover, Washington’s willingness to promote Kagame’s offensives in Rwanda as a means of ‘ending the genocide in Kigali’ found a resonance within an intellectual current across the Western world – a current which rapidly took on a life of its own. The debasement of genocide as a tool for legitimising newly anointed leaders may have served Washington and its Western allies well in forging a new order in Central Africa that appeared ‘ethical’ in contrast to the ways in which the West had supported African dictators during the Cold War – but it has also become a trap. The official version of Rwanda’s genocide has acquired the status of a sacred text and, thanks to the efforts of the ICTR, has also acquired the authority of international law. But as Kagame’s authoritarianism alienates more and more of his own circle, turning them into dissidents, and as critical voices within an increasingly disloyal US administration grow louder, so the finer details of the ways in which the story of the Rwandan genocide was constructed will continue to leak into the public domain.

The undoing of the moral parable of the Rwandan genocide could well prove disastrous for US foreign policy. The Obama administration may have calculated that it will have to continue suppressing inconvenient truths about Rwanda while at the same time lecturing Kagame about democracy. The US did not congratulate him on his victory on 9 August. It’s National Security Council representative stated that ‘We have expressed our concerns to the government of Rwanda, and we hope the leadership will take steps towards more democratic governance, increased respect for minority and opposition views, and continued peace’. On the other hand, the human rights agencies which also did a great deal to legitimise Kagame’s warmongering and anti-democratic authoritarianism may have less difficulty than Washington in dropping their baggage and changing tack in this tragic African arena.

Whatever happens next, it is clear that the official version of the Rwandan genocide is unravelling. The Clintons, Blair and the rest of Kagame’s Western cheerleaders will have some explaining to do.

Barrie Collins is a writer on African affairs and author of Obedience in Rwanda: A Critical Question published by Sheffield Hallam University Press. He argued that the truth about the role of Western intervention in the Rwandan genocide had been obscured. He also reported from the waiting room of the Rwandan genocide tribunal.

(1) UK Foreign Office: From Westbrook, FM Dar es Salaam to London FO, 22 February 1993. (OF 091034Z. Freedom of Information Act request 878-05 Barrie Collins)

(2) ‘Report by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on his mission to Rwanda, 8-17 April 1993, including as annex II the statement of 7 April 1993 of the Government of Rwanda concerning the final report of the independent International Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations in Rwanda since 1 October 1990.’ E/CN.4/1994/7/Add.1, 11 August 1993. Document 20, United Nations (1996) 202-217

(3)‘Rwanda: genocide and continuing cycle of violence’, Senate Committee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives. 105th Congress, second session. A Des Forges, 5 May 1998

(4) pp224-225, Journey Into Darkness: Genocide in Rwanda, TP Odom, Texas A&M University Press, 2005

(5) p226, Journey Into Darkness: Genocide in Rwanda, TP Odom, Texas A&M University Press, 2005

(6) This account is taken from pp19-38, Le Chateau: The Lives of Prisoners in Rwanda, C Tertsakian, Arves, 2008

(7) pp114-115, Madeleine Albright and the New American Diplomacy, TW Lippman, Boulder, Co Westview Press, 2000

[Spiked]

August 23, 2010   6 Comments

Rwandan Defense Ministry says arrested Lt Col Rugigana Ngabo is in safe hands

Kigali: The wife of detained Lieutenant Colonel Rugigana Ngabo or anybody else cannot see him at the moment as it is too early, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

Defense Spokesman Lt. Col Jill Rutaremara said Rugigana – a brother to dissident Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, will only have the possibility of seeing his family when the right time comes.

Lt. Col Rugigana was arrested on Friday on charges of terrorism. The Defense Ministry said the detention had nothing to do with the blood relations that the officer has with Gen Kayumba, now exiled in South Africa.

“At the moment, it is not possible for [Peace Rugigana] or anybody else to meet him,” said the Army spokesman on state radio, on Monday.

“It is still too early. Time will come when he will be presented in court – at which point he will even be able to seek legal representation.”

On Sunday, Peace Rugigana suggested her husband may have disappeared because he was not only of the lists detainees at two military facilities.

Lt. Col Rutaremara dismissed claims wondering how the army which revealed his arrest would again make him disappear.

The army says Rugigana is safe and being held somewhere in a military prison in Kigali while investigations are going on.

[ARI-RNA]

August 23, 2010   3 Comments

Answer to Minister Joseph Habineza’s article “People should not worry about General Kagame’s Legacy”

Dear Honourable Minister Joseph Habineza,

Related:
People should not worry about General Kagame’s Legacy
by Joseph Habineza, Kagame’s Minister of Sports and Culture.

Thank you for writing on this website which some people call Ingabire supporter because it publishes articles critical of the Rwandan government. Please encourage other Ministers to do so.

I do not have to speculate on your intentions of writing your article as you would speculate on why I am writing mine. We need to respect other people’s views however they may seem unreasonable to one or the other. Even if it were to defend your government it is quite legitimate and your duty as a cabinet minister to do so.
However I would like to comment on some of the issues you raise in your article.

Rating of opposition candidates
You suggest that the candidate are either, adventurers, disconnected from the people, not charismatic, lacking leadership skills, using terrorist threats, their political programmes not known by the general public and not by intellectuals. You also suggest that presenting themselves as presidential candidates is presumptuous and you quote the Kinyarwanda proverb to problem their problem: nta nkumi yigaya “Everybody thinks He/she is capable.”

I would like to point out that self-confidence is a good personal quality than something to ridicule. I am sure that you accepted to take the post of Minister because you were confident that you could do it. I stand to be corrected if you passed any test. I remember that the Vice Chancellor advising us on the graduation ceremony that “having a dream is not a problem; the problem is not having a dream”.

In terms of being disconnected from the people, you mention Ingabire and Habineza. While you do not specify how Habineza is disconnected you mention that Ingabire was out of the country for 16 years. If that is the criteria, I would like to know what credentials many of the present RPF leadership, including Paul Kagame who was out of the country for 30 years, would have to claim being very connected to Rwandans after so many years.

With regard to the political programme, you know as well as I do that political parties other than RPF are not allowed to take their political programme to the grassroots. The official media is not allowed to inform the people about these alternative programmes, foreign media that try to do so e.g. BBC are suspended. Who is wrong? Who fears who?

You accuse Ingabire of advancing the politics of the 60’s of divisionism and to be linked to a terrorist organisation FDLR using a UN report as evidence.
As far as I can recall, she was accused of divisionism because she called for equal justice for all Rwandans and asked that members of the RPF who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity be tried as well as those who committed the heinous crime of genocide against Tutsi. If calling for justice for all sections of the Rwandan community including Hutu is divisionism what is divisionism then? I would be grateful to be advised on this?

With regard to your confidence in UN reports, you might recall that the UN report on the plundering of Congo resources mention Rwanda connection and President is specifically mentioned. Another UN report points out Rwanda arms rebels in the DRC. Another UN reports mentions massacres of thousands of Hutu refugees by the RPF army. I hope your credibility in UN reports will not stop at the report that mentions Paul Kagame and the RPA.
Furthermore you are also aware that the RPF government has been in contact with FDLR and in the process recruited and repatriated some of it commanders who now hold high positions in the army. I would wonder why any other Rwandan cannot speak to those Rwandans who think that the way to go back to their country is through armed force. Why not meet them and convince them of the contrary?

With regards to credential to rule, from what I have read in the biography of Ingabire, she has nothing to envy your leadership in terms of education, experience in administration, knowledge and love of her country, courage and determination. What she might lack is the experience in the use of the means of violence (army, security services). However in a democratic country that should not be a problem, as long as these services are answering to the civil authority.

You mention that “elections are like any other competition, there are rules and guidelines”.
You are absolutely right. However the fundamental question is: who sets them? What is clear is that the RPF has set rules that ensure that it clings to power.

You are comparing your hero Paul Kagame to Mandela, Martin Luther King and Indira Gandhi. While you have your own reasons which I respect for making Kagame your hero, I would like to inform you that what made those people heroes might not apply to yours. Martin Luther King and Indira Gandhi preached non violence whereas your hero uses violence to get what he wants and even threatens to use a hammer against a mosquito that tries to threaten his power
It is common knowledge that, however you may justify it; he came to power through violent means. Nelson Mandela distinguished himself by preaching forgiveness against those who committed atrocities against his people. He served only one 4 year term because he had confidence in his people, your hero wants to serve 23 years ( 1994-2017).
You have heard your hero questioning the meaning of forgiveness and you may recall in his speech in Murambi on the occasion of the commemoration of genocide that his sole regret is “he let millions escape” to Congo in 1994.
Mandela invited the prison warden who was in charge of him to the state Banquet. You may want to ask General Kayumba Nyamwasa, who says saved Kagame twice on the battlefield, his personal experience.

You are right to say that “Mr. Kagame will one day leave power but his legacy will remain” and you are quite right that “It’s an insult to Rwandans to say that after Paul Kagame, Rwanda will no longer exist”. The sooner that day comes the better for Rwandans and for him. There are definitely some positive things he would have done but also a legacy of bad memories: we will have the debt to pay for plundering Congo resources, enemies created on our borders and in particular Congo where our invasions are partly responsible for the death of around 6 million Congolese, economic disparities in the country and entrenched ethnic divisions.

You are also completely right in asserting that: “People should know that resilience is characteristic of Rwandans”, that “We are a people with passion and determination”. Those qualities will make that day come true and I sincerely pray every day that it comes through the means used by my heroes Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

I am worried by your final statement that “(Paul Kagame) will never hand over the leadership of Rwanda to people who have no vision for their country, who want to use violence as a shortcut to power, who are not connected to Rwandans.”
This conclusion confirms what is said all along that we are dealing with a dictatorship: it will be Kagame and not people to decide who succeeds him. And this reminds me of the following Rwandan anecdotal. When young men asked a young lady “why are you always rude young lady?”, she answered: “how I am rude you bloody fools?”Bati wa mukobwa we ko ushira isoni? Ati nshira isoni nte mwa buhungu mwe?

I join you Honourable Minister to say: Long live Rwanda, her people and her friends.

Innocent Nsengiyumva

August 23, 2010   7 Comments

Rwanda’s new envoy to Vietnam, Francois Xavier Ngarambe, presents his credentials

Ambassador-ngarambe-vietnam-sm

Rwanda’s new envoy to Vietnam, Francois Xavier Ngarambe, presenting his credentials to Vietnamese President, Nguyen Minh Triet.

Vietnam – Rwanda’s Ambassador-designate to Vietnam, Francois Xavier Ngarambe, presented his Credentials to the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, on August 19.

In a colourful ceremony organized at the Presidential Palace, President, Nguyen Minh Triet, welcomed the Rwandan envoy.

During the audience granted by the Vietnamese President, the Ambassador conveyed the greetings of the President of the Republic of Rwanda and his appreciation for the existing excellent relationship between the two countries.

The Vietnamese President noted with satisfaction the progress of bilateral relations, in line with the cooperation framework for which the two leaders pledged full support at the occasion of a State visit to Hanoi by President Kagame in 2008. The Vietnamese President hailed Rwanda’s role in international affairs as well as her achievements in political, social and economic development.

The Ambassador committed to contribute to the development of Vietnam-Rwanda relations through fast tracking the implementation of the existing cooperation framework. In addition to the scope of this framework, promotion of trade and investment, cultural exchange and tourism, were discussed and identified as areas of further in-depth exploration for possible implementation of concrete projects.

At the same occasion, the Vietnamese President conveyed a message of congratulations to President Kagame for his re-election for a new presidential term.

August 23, 2010   No Comments