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Key political risks to watch in Rwanda

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who won a landslide election in August, continues to turn the screws on his rivals and dissenters, critics say.

One of Kagame’s leading political opponents, Victoire Ingabire, is back in detention after the central African nation said she had been implicated in an investigation into a former rebel commander facing terrorism charges.

Then Rwanda’s chief prosecutor said the courts would summon Paul Rusesabagina, who saved 1,200 people from genocide in events depicted in the Oscar-nominated film “Hotel Rwanda”, over allegations he helped fund a rebel force.

The reputation of Kagame, a favourite with foreign donors, has been damaged by reports of repression and charges his army committed war crimes in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda threatened to pull its troops from U.N. peacekeeping missions after a leaked U.N. report said its troops may have committed genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some diplomats see Kagame’s attempt to blackmail the United Nations as a serious concern, although he has since backed down ahead of official publication of the draft that says the crimes could constitute genocide if proven by a competent court.

Here are some of the risk factors:

RWANDA’S POLITICAL SPACE

Kagame’s overwhelming election win in August underlined his domination of the political arena.

He has been applauded for restoring stability after the 1994 genocide and engineering Rwanda’s rapid economic recovery and its bold vision to become a middle-income country by 2020.

But critics accuse him of being authoritarian and of trampling on media and political freedoms.

Donors praise Kagame’s strong leadership and push to attract investment. But nepotism remains an issue and there are concerns that resentment among the opposition, elements of the political elite and parts of the population could foster political instability and harm long-term investment prospects.

What to watch:

►– Trial of Ingabire. She was denied bail after a court said state security could be threatened if she were freed. No date has been set for her trial. Ingabire denies the charges and says her detention is politically motivated.

►– A court summons for American lawyer Peter Erlinder. Erlinder was arrested in May on charges of genocide denial after he flew in to represent Ingabire. He was released on bail a month later on health grounds.

Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga said he could summon Erlinder in early November. Erlinder’s case has caused friction between Rwanda and the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda where Erlinder is defending genocide suspects.

►– The arrest of Peter Rusesabagina. Hotel Rwanda was a blockbuster hit and his detention would likely generate more media interest than any crackdown on Kagame’s other critics.

►– Kagame’s overtures to donors. Some analysts say he must repair his image after cracking down on dissenters before the Aug. 9 poll and prove he is not just another African strongman with a slick international public relations machine.

They say he must convince investors he remains committed to his promise to democratise Rwanda. Investment doubled to $1.6 billion in 2009, a year after the country was named top global business reformer by the World Bank.

►– Outcome of French inquiry into shooting down of former President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane in 1994. Any repeat of the 2006 claim by a French judge that Kagame’s forces were to blame could harm diplomatic relations with France.

RIFTS

Diplomats and sources close to the government say rifts within the Tutsi elite, including those in exile, risk undermining the nation’s stability.

The Ministry of Defence said senior party and army officials in exile are not a threat. However, observers say there is a risk Kagame’s erstwhile allies, who are sounding increasingly belligerent, could coalesce into a serious opposition force, or form a rebellion of their own.

A group of exiled former allies warned Rwanda could descend into conflict unless Kagame shares more power with the majority ethnic Hutu.

Kagame’s war on graft, which has led to Rwanda being ranked the least corrupt nation in east Africa, has seen former political associates locked up.

Diplomatic sources say the arrest of Congolese Tutsi rebel Laurent Nkunda has also fuelled tensions within the ruling elite. A U.N. panel reported in 2008 that the RPF had supported Nkunda’s rebel war in eastern Congo.

What to watch:

►– Signs of deepening rifts within the military. General Faustin Nyamwasa, Kagame’s former chief-of-staff turned arch-critic, fled to South Africa in February where he was shot in the stomach in June.

Diplomatic fallout over the attack prompted South Africa to recall its envoy to Kigali.

►– The fate of Nkunda. Nkunda’s arrest heralded a new era in relations between Rwanda and Congo. For years the two accused each other of backing the other’s rebel factions.

But what happens to Nkunda could still influence relations. Congo wants him extradited for war crimes but analysts say Rwanda would be reluctant to let him go, fearful of what he might say about Kagame’s administration.

REGIONAL STABILITY

Rwanda depends on its neighbours for the safe passage of its goods. Its petrol, diesel and heavy oil must be transported by truck from Kenya and Tanzania. U.N. sources say the alignment of various militias, including Nkunda’s CNDP and Hutu rebels, in eastern Congo is unlikely to pose any short-term threat.

What to watch:

►– Conflict in eastern Congo. Rights groups fear too hasty a withdrawal of U.N. peacekeepers would trigger more violence.

►– Any violence around Uganda’s elections in early 2011 could also isolate Rwanda by disrupting transport links.

►– Kenya endorsed a new draft constitution in an Aug. 4 referendum. East Africa’s largest economy will hold a presidential election in August 2012. While the peaceful referendum has boosted hopes the poll will also be calm, the stakes will be higher in two years time.

►– Analysts fear a new rebellion could be brewing in neighbouring Burundi. Renewed turmoil in the Great Lakes region could in turn risk threatening Rwanda.

HEALTHY ECONOMY

Rwanda’s economy expanded by 9.4 percent in the second quarter of 2010 compared to a year earlier, its fastest quarterly acceleration since the first three months of 2009, driven by 15 percent growth in services.

The government has focused on restructuring the tea and coffee industries and the financial system, while investing in energy, transport and telecommunications infrastructure.

The only listed equity on Rwanda’s over-the-counter market is Kenya Commercial Bank although the regulator (CMAC) said Kenya’s Nation Media Group would also cross-list on Nov. 2.

Securities listed on the capital market include three Treasury bonds issued this year and one corporate bond issued by Commercial Bank of Rwanda in 2008. The August 2-year issue for 2.5 billion Rwandan francs ($4.5 million) was comfortably oversubscribed.

What to watch:

►– More government bonds and new listings. The central bank expects to issue quarterly bonds to fund energy and infrastructure projects and ease dependence on donors, who fund about 40 percent of the budget. However, the regulator says this would not significantly boost liquidity as volumes are small.

►– CMAC expects more Kenyan companies — including Equity Bank, KenolKobil and TPS Serena – to cross-list in the coming months. This will boost capitalisation of a market where domestic options are limited.

►– The government plans to sell 30 percent of brewer BRALIRWA. This had been expected either side of the election.

►– The sale of the government’s 10 percent stake in telecoms firm MTN has been slated for 2011, CMAC says.

Published by Kezio-Musoke David in International Business Times:
http://in.ibtimes.com/articles/77614/20101102/key-political-risks-to-watch-in-rwanda.htm.

November 2, 2010   1 Comment

Responsibility of Bill Clinton in the Rwanda and DR Congo Genocides

By Aimable Mugara.

Bill Clinton, the Genocider Who Just Might Get Away

Bill Clinton, the Genocider Who Just Might Get Away

There are some who will claim that Bill Clinton was the first African president of the United States. Those people clearly do not know that Bill Clinton is the one who established the stranglehold that the murderous gang of General Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda have on the people of central Africa. Those people clearly do not know that as American military satellites showed evidence of the millions of civilians being butchered by General Kagame’s and Museveni’s forces, Bill Clinton doubled down on his financial, political and military investment in this gang of murderers. Unless of course these people mean that Bill Clinton has the same cold-heartedness that many African presidents have when they order their troops to kill innocent African civilians. The kind of cold-heartedness where your troops come to report that today they butchered an entire village of unarmed civilians because they do not support your dictatorship and you respond “Great job! Other villages now got a good lesson that you’re either behind me or you’re dead.”

In 1990, General Kagame who was the Chief of Military Intelligence of Uganda led a violent invasion of Rwanda from Uganda, with the approval and support (financial, military and political) of the United States government. This violent war changed the landscape of that region forever. By landscape, I also mean the number of mass graves that dot every of inch of that region now. The two final years of President Bush the father, during which his American government supported the murderous gang of General Kagame and Yoweri Museveni resulted in the deaths of many innocent Rwandan and Ugandan civilians. During those two years, there are thousands who lost their lives at the hands of General Kagame’s soldiers and Yoweri Museveni’s soldiers. But this was nothing compared to the more than 6 millions of civilians that would later die under Bill Clinton’s 8 year reign, with American money, American weapons and American political support.

In a September 30, 2010 New York Times article titled Dispute Over U.N. Report Evokes Rwandan Déjà Vu, it is mentioned how in the fall of 1994, a United Nations investigation discovered that General Kagame’s forces had killed tens of thousand of innocent civilians that year. That under pressure from Bill Clinton’s government, the United Nations was forced not to publish that report. In that New York Times article, they talk about how the 1994 UN report describes General Kagame’s soldiers “rounding up civilians and methodically killing unarmed men, women and children.”

But that was 1994, a year that is famous for extremist Hutus who went on a rampage and butchered hundreds of thousands of innocent Tutsi and Hutu civilians. The fact that extremist Tutsis under General Kagame went on a rampage in 1994 killing innocent Hutu and Tutsi civilians was totally blacked out due to pressure from Bill Clinton’s government. The existence of that 1994 UN report was denied by some American officials and was only revealed recently.

One would think that after that, Bill Clinton’s government would have kept a tighter leash on its African stooges General Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. Far from that, the two stooges used American money, American weapons and with American political support attacked neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, where their forces butchered so many millions of civilians that it is in fact surprising that there is anybody alive left in that country today. As American military satellites recorded evidence of millions of civilians being butchered by this gang of murderers, Bill Clinton smiled away as his government gave more money and more weapons and more political support to these two stooges so they can use this support to keep doing what they do best: kill a multitude of unarmed civilians. They just kept killing and killing and Bubba kept making sure they had the money and weapons necessary to continue the killings and provided political cover whenever anyone asked questions.

Fast-forward to 2010. On October 1st, 2010 the United Nations released a report on the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003. Regarding General Kagame’s extremist Tutsi forces behavior during the 10 year period, especially 1996 to 1998, the report says that “The extensive use of edged weapons (primarily hammers) and the apparently systematic nature of the massacres of survivors after the camps had been taken suggests that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of war or seen as equating to collateral damage. The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who were often undernourished and posed no threat to the attacking forces. Numerous serious attacks on the physical or mental integrity of members of the group were also committed, with a very high number of Hutus shot, raped, burnt or beaten. If proven, the incidents’ revelation of what appears to be the systematic, methodological and premeditated nature of the attacks listed against the Hutus is also marked: these attacks took place in each location where refugees had allegedly been screened by the AFDL/APR over a vast area of the country. The pursuit lasted for months, and on occasion, the humanitarian assistance intended for them was allegedly deliberately blocked, particularly in the Orientale province, thus depriving them of resources essential to their survival. Thus the apparent systematic and widespread attacks described in this report reveal a number of inculpatory elements that, if proven before a competent court, could be characterized as crimes of genocide.”

How did Bubba react to this latest report? The report was published on October 1st, 2010 however its contents had been leaked earlier and published in the media a month before. So, on September 23, 2010 the Daily Beast site asked Bill Clinton about this report. Bill Clinton said this about his buddy General Kagame “Right now I’m not going to pre-judge him because there’s this huge debate about what happened in the Congo and why, and I don’t know.” To which human rights researcher Carina Tertsakian responded to the Daily Beast that “It is not a matter of pre-judging. … The facts are well-established. … There is no doubt that Rwandan troops, together with their Congolese allies, committed large-scale massacres and other grave human-rights violations against Rwandan and Congolese civilians. The evidence is there for all to see. What more does Clinton need?”

But then again, when you are Bill Clinton whose government provided the money, the weapons and the political cover for General Kagame’s forces to commit that genocide, I don’t know what else you can say. There is a high chance that the long arm of justice will catch up with General Kagame and his commanders in our lifetime. As for Bill Clinton, the enabler, whose government’s financial support, military support and political support were crucial in perpetrating this genocide against Africans and covering it up afterwards; I am afraid he will retire peacefully at some mansion. But for those of us Africans who lost many of our loved ones to Bill Clinton’s African gang of murderers General Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, we will always remember. We will always remember that Bill Clinton smiled away and gave more support to those butchers as they murdered more and more of us.

Take action — click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:

Investigate American government role in the genocide committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers

Aimable Mugara.
www.rwandahumanrights.org

[OpEdNews]

November 2, 2010   4 Comments