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Index of African Governance: Rwanda ranks 31st out of 53 countries

A rum old mix: From happy islands to the swamps of misery

ONCE again Africa’s worthiest and perhaps happiest countries, according to Mo Ibrahim’s latest measure of all-round governance, scrutinising data gathered for last year, are offshore. Mauritius is the runaway winner, followed by the Seychelles in second place and Cape Verde fourth. On the African mainland, Botswana, with the advantages of ethnic homogeneity, a small population, diamonds and good leaders, does best, in third place, with South Africa, by far the weightiest country in Africa, fifth. At the other end of the scale, the most wretched land is Somalia, with Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe competing for Africa’s wooden spoon.

See the scores and rankings on the Mo Ibrahim Foundation website.

● In the East African Community, Tanzania is the best governed country, ranking 15th in the continent, followed by Uganda (24), Kenya (27), Rwanda (31) and Burundi (32).

Rwanda’s reaction:
The released 2010 Mo Ibrahim Index on Good Governance is “full of discrepancies and not indicative of what the real facts on the ground are“… “It is far from the truth, biased and misleading.” says a top government officer, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the Executive Secretary of the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council (RGAC). (http://www.newtimes.co.rw/index.php?issue=14407&article=34389.)

There are no big changes in the pecking order. The yardsticks applied by Mr Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born British telecoms magnate and philanthropist, judge countries on a mix of four main criteria:
– “safety and the rule of law” (looking at the murder rate and corruption, among other things);
– “participation and human rights” (that little matter of being able peacefully to chuck out a bad government);
– “sustainable economic opportunity” (including such things as fiscal management, free markets and inflation);
– and “human development” (in essence, education and health care).

Some countries do surprisingly well despite their lack of democracy. Tunisia, which is run by a dictator but gives its people a decent life in other respects, comes eighth; Libya, which has one of the nastiest human-rights records in Africa but gives its people loads of welfare, is a respectable 23rd. Others, despite wealth and civil vibrancy, do notably badly. Nigeria is down in 40th place and Angola, though it oozes oil, comes a dismal 43rd.
Two countries favoured by many development buffs, Rwanda and Ethiopia, do badly because of their deteriorating human-rights records: Rwanda is in 31st place and Ethiopia in 34th.

In regional and religious terms, it may be noted that Muslim and Maghreb countries do badly on the democracy and human-rights index. Green-minded advocates also think Mr Ibrahim should think of applying a new criterion for managing natural resources and tackling climate change. Urban planning and innovation could also usefully be measured. Particularly pleasing, for Mr Ibrahim and for Africa’s well-wishers at large, is that governments across the continent are taking the table seriously. There is nothing like a bit of naming, shaming and praising.

[The Economist]

October 8, 2010   2 Comments

Congo calls for Justice for the Victims of the Rwanda-led genocide in DR Congo

by Amb. Ileka Atoki, Democratic Republic of Congo Representative to the United Nations.

United Nations — Today [October 1] the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published a new report cataloging the atrocities committed in my country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, between 1993 and 2003. The report is detailed and credible, and we welcome its publication. It is also heartbreaking. The Congolese Government, and I personally, are appalled at the horrific nature and scope of crimes documented in this report that the people of the Congo have suffered.

Sadly, this information is not new to us. Millions of Congolese men, women and children have borne the brunt of the Congo’s conflicts over the past 15 years. Far too many have died. Like nearly all Congolese, I too lost loved ones in the war.

The victims deserve justice and they deserve that their voices are heard by my government and by the international community. Far too often, Congolese voices go unheeded. I truly hope that this time it is going to be different. Like all Congolese people, I want to see justice for these crimes and I want to help rebuild our country on the basis of the rule of law. I can assure that the Congolese Government is firmly committed to that endeavor.

His Excellency President Joseph Kabila Kabange has repeatedly demonstrated through words and actions that he seeks truth and justice for the horrible crimes perpetrated against the Congolese population. In 2003, President Kabila addressed the UN General Assembly and requested that the UN establish an international criminal tribunal for the Congo to prosecute those responsible for the crimes. Our proposal was ignored. We repeatedly sought justice at the International Court of Justice, but that too had limited results since not all the countries whose armies fought on our soil accept its jurisdiction.

In 2000, the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed up to the International Criminal Court, and, in 2004 requested that the ICC’s prosecutor begin investigations in our country because we were determined that justice must be done. The investigations continue but the ICC can only look at crimes committed since July 2002 and so many atrocities were perpetrated before that date, as the UN mapping report documents.

In May 2007, President Kabila approved the UN’s mapping exercise when the then High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, and the head of MONUC, Ambassador William Lacy Swing, presented the proposal. In July 2008, a UN team arrived in the Congo to begin its work. The Congolese Government allowed the work to progress independently, without any interference, hoping this time it might lead to results.

The outcome of that exercise is the report published today, but the critical question is what happens next? We are determined that the Congolese Government will do what it can to bring justice for the crimes and some degree of reparations for the victims. Only a week ago 220 Congolese civil society groups requested us to act and those appeals have not fallen on deaf ears.

The UN mapping report sets out a number of options for judicial and non-judicial mechanisms that could be established. The mapping report favors the creation of a possible “mixed chamber” in our justice system with national and international judges and other experts. In the Congo, we do plan to carefully study this option amongst others. We are rebuilding our justice system following years of war, but we recognize that this will not be done overnight and that the victims of the horrific crimes deserve justice as soon as possible. In my personal view, a meeting should be convened in Kinshasa, our Capital, with legal experts and international donors to further discuss the options set out by the mapping report and to recommend a way forward.

Justice and peace should work together. In addition to seeking justice for the victims of the terrible crimes, we also seek to improve diplomatic and brotherly relations with all our neighboring countries for a lasting peace. This is a crucial pillar of my country’s foreign policy.

As noted in the UN’s report, bringing justice for the crimes committed in Congo is not something the Congolese government can act on alone. The perpetrators of these crimes are both Congolese and non-Congolese nationals, including those, African or not, who have profited from our mineral resources and helped to drive the war. We call on the international donors, including those who helped to fund the mapping report, to work closely with us to establish mechanisms that will take strong action against the perpetrators of this violence no matter where they reside and to help end impunity. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is ready to play its part. I sincerely hope that the international community is ready to play theirs.

[Published in The Huffington Post on October 1, 2010.]

October 8, 2010   1 Comment

Governing a poor country like Rwanda is the most difficult job – says Kagame

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20101007_kagame_speech_swearing_in_ministers.mp3″ text=”Kagame speech 6th Oct. 2010″ dl=”0″]

Kigali – President Kagame says his job is the most difficult compared to any other presidency because he has to keep begging and pleading with foreign donors who do not want to even listen to him – at some point directly attacking Belgium.

“Being a leader is difficult, being President is difficult as well, but being President of Rwanda is exceptional,” said Kagame after swearing-in his cabinet, adding: “Because Rwanda is poor”.

Kagame said he finds himself “everyday” explaining to donors who accuse his government of stifling political rights. Imitating how he conducts himself with politeness, the President said “I have to keeping answering ‘YES SIR, YES MADAM’…,” as the whole audience erupted in loud applause.

“Even those from countries that have failed to form governments for a long time come here demanding good governance,” said Kagame in seeming reference to Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation, Charles Michel, who was in the country last week and made strong comments about the political situation in the country.

“Imagine being taught good governance by a person who has failed to form a government in his own country,” said Kagame amid more applause, adding that he finds more trouble explaining to his donors because they do not want to listen to his side of the story.

“Because I keep explaining to people who do not understand and do not even want to listen, is the reason I say governing Rwanda is too difficult.”

He added: “After this one leaves in the morning, another arrives later saying ‘I heard you have this Genocide law…we do not trust you. You want to use it to squeeze people politically’…”

He repeated his signature complaint in most speeches that foreign critics exert double standards on how democracy is practiced. They have power sharing in their countries but when “PSD and PL” choose to form a coalition, that is wrong, said Kagame.

He said the west has become the “judge” for Africa on everything. “Isn’t it a funny world we live in?,” said Kagame, adding that he has “failed” to live in the two existing worlds including that of “righteous people who have commands and lessons for everybody”, and another world of “people who are perpetually students who never graduate”.

“Injangwe n’imbeba”

The President moved his attacks onto his critics not mentioning any names but it was supposedly the exiled Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa and the other three former top officials who published a 60-page dossier in which they claimed President Kagame had amassed excessive wealth.

Calling the dossier “nonsense”, President Kagame said these officials consider themselves Rwandans by names but do not know what that entails.

In the document which has circulated widely online, the four ex-top officials name individuals they consider as great leaders such as former Tanzanian leader Mwalimu Julius Nyerere whom they say left office without anything to his name.

“…that where a car is needed, you could walk on foot – as if that is how leaders or Rwandans have to live. That is not the case,” said Kagame, adding with emphasis amid applause, “Being rich is not a crime, it is an obligation instead”.

“The problem is enriching yourself with what you have stolen … getting rich with what you have worked for is what we wish…”

The President caused lengthy laugher in the parliamentary buildings when he brought the story of a “pussy cat and rat” (Injangwe n’imbeba) – famously said to have been used by ex-PM Faustin Twagiramungu to refer to how politicians in Rwanda behaved. Twagiramungu is said to have meant that politicians in Rwanda are scared about each other. President says he neither “Injangwe” nor “Imbeba” as he will tell off any foreigners who attack him.

In response to this, President Kagame said his primary responsibility is to “create value and wealth for the people of this country”.

President Kagame spent most of his 47 minute speech rallying his new cabinet to work hard to change the lives of “those who spoke recently” – in apparent reference to his reelection on August 09 with a 93.08 percent. He said being minister is not just sitting and counting the number of vehicles the ministry has, but to deliver sustainable development.

On the controversial UN report alleging that Rwanda troops massacred “Hutu” refugees in DR Congo over a 10 year period, President Kagame made it the last item he addressed but stopped abruptly when it had sounded like he was going to continue.

“…that Rwandans committed Genocide?,” he wondered as he leaned on his podium.
“There are things people must understand. Our rights cannot and should not be subordinated to other peoples’ rights…NO…we cannot accept that.”

“Rwanda in the news all the time”

The President moved to western media complaining that has failed to understand why Rwanda keeps attracting negative publicity “all the time”. He said Rwanda attracts what he described as “unnecessary attention”.

“Even stories must be created so that Rwanda keeps in the news. The other day Rwandans spoke…now the issue became that too many had spoken…and that is an issue we must explain,” said Kagame, calling the challenges awaiting government as “complex context”.

“…that there is no political space … what do you mean? The political space is well and fully occupied by the people of this country. And if the people of this country has spoken in such numbers and freely, who are you to question anything they have said? Where do you come from? from mars?” He added: “You must respect these Rwandans.”

Among the 25 cabinet ministers, some were not available to take their Oath including Finance minister John Rwangombwa, presumably in Washington for the IMF-World Bank meeting, Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama and ICT minister Dr. Igance Gatare.

Environment and Forestry Minister Christophe Bazivamo was the first to take the Oath and Energy State Minister Eng. Coletha Ruhamya was last.

The Minister in the President’s office Nyirahabimana Solina had to repeat the Oath after she missed some words. Internal Security Minister Sheihk Musa Fazil Harelimana – along with flamboyant Sports and Culture minister, Joseph ‘Joe’ Habineza attracted the loudest applause before and after they too their Oaths.

[ARI-RNA]

October 8, 2010   No Comments