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Posts from — September 2011

New evidence that President Kagame of Rwanda is a Cheat

Kagame has nowhere to hide

The Rwandan emperor is totally naked. Kagame has nowhere to hide! Every corner of the world now knows him as a cheat and conman. He usually paints himself as Mr Zero Tolerant for corruption but Kagame is now exposed as the most corrupt leader on this planet.

On top of the World: Butcher Kagame and the First Lady pose for photos as they enter the Clinton Global Initiative’s reception. Sept 21, 2011. New York

But look at the world coverage of his $20,000.00 a night hotel room in New York City.

  • From New York, the New York Post originally exposed the butcher and Kamikazi/AD picked up the shocking story.
  • From Canada, the Ottawa Citizen has picked up the butcher’s criminal bills.
  • From San Fransciso, the Bayview has carried the story.
  • From London, the Telegraph and Daily Mail exposed the butcher!
  • In addition our own article is tracking very well and is on the front page of Google; item number 4 on the results, when you search for the story. Thank you all for broadcasting this article and keeping AD alive and relevant.
  • From India  Twocircles.net and  Deccan Chronicle are also reporting the story.

Here are some of these coverages! The butcher is cornered.

***

Look at this picture. The Kagames are having the greatest time of their lives. They are on top of the world.

But their lives is pure fantasy – The Kagames live in a different planet from most Rwandans who eke a living of less than a dollar a day.

Consider the just concluded visit to New York by the Kagames.

AfricanDictator can reveal that while the Rwandan Butcher stayed in Mandarin Oriental Hotel during the UN General Assembly, the President of the United States stayed at Waldorf Astoria and the British Prime Minister in Intercontinental Barclays.

Here is the shocking part.

The Mandarin Oriental in 5 Star Hotel, ranked 4th best hotel in New York City. With all taxes added to the base charges, the Kagame suite costs $20,665.50 a night. Rwandan president’s £12,000–a–night hotel

Remember Kagame has a huge entourage of security, protocol, cooks, valet and sycophants that advise him. A “simple” room at  The Mandarin Oriental is $1,000.00. A Kagame entourage of 10 would cost $10,000.00. The total daily Kagame bill would $30,000.00 excluding meals, drinks and his shopping spree.

Now compare with the President of the United States and British Prime Minister.

President Obama stays at the Woldorf Asteria, ranked 26th best hotel in New York City. This is a 4.5 star hotel. A suite costs his taxpayer $10,000.00 – half of Kagame’s room at the Mandarin Oriental. A simple room for Obama’s staff would cost $319.00.

British Prime Minister David Cameron stayed at the Intercontinental Barclays, a 4 star hotel ranked 100th among New York City hotels. A suite costs $3,000.00, while a simple room costs $144.00.

  • What are we Rwandans and friends of Rwanda to conclude from this?
  • What are the British and Americans that sustain the Rwandan butcher have to say about this?

Jon Swaine, writing in the Telegraph catches the feeling of many Rwandans when he writes: “The average Rwandan would need to work for 18 years just to be able to afford one night in the “luxurious two–bedroom suite”, which boasts ‘panoramic views of Central Park and the city skyline’.”

The biggest question though is: how are we Rwandans ever going to end Kagame’s misrule? As Kagame keep telling us his compatriots, we can keep making noises – we are just frogs. He, the elephant, does not care.

Sadly, we have indeed become a nation of frogs, where a tyrant runs amock unhindered.


Dear AD, the Rwandan Dictator indeed outspent everyone during the UN General Assembly.

Compare with other African Heads of State.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, the biggest economy on the continent stayed at the the Ritz Carlton, Central Park where a suite cost $6500 a night.

President Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire and Dictator Kabila  of DRC stayed the Waldorf – same hotel as President Obama. Less fancy suites at the Waldorf go for between $7,000 and $8000.

We have a sick head of state in Rwanda.

Source: Africandictator.org

September 27, 2011   6 Comments

Angry Judge Adjourns Ingabire Trial in Kigali amid Challenges over Court Competence and Jurisdiction

by Boniface Twagirimana, FDU-Inkingi.

ANGRY JUDGE ADJOURNS INGABIRE TAILSPIN TRIAL TO 04 OCTOBER 2011 AND CALLS THE DEFENSE “BARBARIAN” AMID CHALLENGES OVER THE COURT COMPETENCE AND JURISDICTION.

Victoire Ingabire in court

Victoire Ingabire In Court

Kigali, 26 September 2011 – While the Rwandan opposition is still traumatised by the gun attack against one member, Eric Nshimyumuremyi, who survived police chest bullet on 15 September 2011, the first three weeks of the politically motivated case against the opposition leader Madame Victoire Ingabire left the trial in a tailspin. Today, Justice Alice Rulisa, lost her cool and furiously decided to postpone the hearings until 04 October 2011, in order to allow the prosecutor to prepare his response to defence submissions on the principle of non-retroactivity of criminal law, and on the territorial jurisdiction of the high court.

What appeared to the regime as a straightforward life sentence for a key opposition figure is becoming fraught with rancour, contradictions and threats. The presiding judge is siding too closely with the prosecutor and could no longer be considered even handed. She said the defence motion is ‚”choking and presented in a barbarian manner“. She refused the defence the right to respond to her angry comments.

In the interest of a fair trial, Justice Alice Rulisa needs to recuse herself. She betrayed her feelings, making the unfairness of this show trial very obvious. According to the defence submissions, over 75% of the evidence presented by the national public prosecution authority has no legal basis.

The High Court does not have jurisdiction to try the Accused for any act or omission which the Prosecutor suggests amounts to genocide ideology done prior to the publication of Law No 18/2008 of 23 July 2008 in the Official Gazette on 15 October 2008.

The High Court does not have jurisdiction to try the Accused for any act or omission which the Prosecutor suggests amounts to complicity in terrorist acts done prior to the publication of Law No 45/2008 of 9 September 2008 in the Official Gazette on 6 April 2009.

The High Court does not have jurisdiction to try the Accused for any act or omission which the Prosecutor suggests amounts to discrimination or sectarianism done outside the territory of Rwanda. Therefore, the Accused cannot be held criminally responsible for any such act or omission done prior to 16 January 2010.

The High Court does not have jurisdiction to try the Accused for any act or omission which the Prosecutor suggests amounts to willingly disseminating rumours aimed at inciting the public against the existing leadership etc. done outside the territory of Rwanda. Therefore, the Accused cannot be held criminally responsible for any such act or omission done prior to 16 January 2010.

The High Court does not have jurisdiction to try the Accused for any act or omission which the Prosecutor suggests amounts to recruitment etc. into an armed force done outside the territory of Rwanda. Therefore, the Accused cannot be held criminally responsible for any such act or omission done prior to 16 January 2010.

From the 05 to 23 September 2011, Madame Ingabire in maximum security since 14 October 2010 was not yet given an opportunity to make a statement. The prosecutor’s key witnesses muddled their visibly rehearsed guilt pleas and begged for mercy. Serious contradictions on the modus operandi were discussed in court until the prosecutor warned his backups to stick only on their written police statements. All the witnesses confused locations’ names, meeting dates, travel information, hotels, logistics and operational details or agents. The role of Ingabire in their criminal activities has not been established.

Threats to the defence counsel were noticed. They have been thoroughly searched and the confidentiality of their documents sometimes violated. They were denied to bring in the courtroom their own drinking water. The lawyer Mr. Gatera was verbally abused and kept 30 minutes outside the premises. The prosecutor surprised the public when he asserted that defence counsels are defending criminals and should not be trusted. This was a serious reminder because two lawyers of Ingabire were incarcerated last year: US Professor Peter Erlinder and Mr. Theogene Muhayeyezu.

Supporters of Madame Ingabire are intimidated too. Security personnel have been busy taking photographs and tailing on a daily basis most of the opposition members following the court debates. There is no doubt that this trial is flawed.

We call upon the international community to remind the government of Paul Kagame to respect its international obligations towards fair justice, civil and political rights.

FDU-Inkingi Boniface Twagirimana Interim Vice President F: (+250) 728636000 E: Fdu.inkingi.rwa@gmail.com

September 26, 2011   1 Comment

Recommendations of Rwanda National Congress and FDU-Inkingi to the Government of the United States

par FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress.

(from joint open letter of FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress to members of the US Congress – 14th September 2011)

Recommendations to the Government of the United States:

The Rwanda National Congress and FDU-Inkingi once again warmly welcome President Obama’s recent pronouncements in a speech at State Department, May 19, 2011:

……there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

Still, invoking the the Presidential Directive on Mass Atrocities, Presidential Study Directive-10 (PSD-10 ), the White House on August 4, 2011, quoted President Obama:

“66 years since the Holocaust and 17 years after Rwanda, the United States still lacks a comprehensive policy framework and a corresponding interagency mechanism for preventing and responding to mass atrocities and genocide.” The President orders the creation of an interagency Atrocity Prevention Board within 120 days from today so as to coordinate a whole-of-government approach to engaging “early, proactively, and decisively.”

Most Rwandans now see a gulf between words and practice with regard to U.S policy on Rwanda, and a sense of betrayal that probably the U.S and the rest of the international community are yet to sufficiently learn the right lessons from the seemingly endless cycles of violence in Rwanda. We call upon all of you, Honorable Members of the United States Congress ( House and Senate) to use your leverage to bring the matter of US policy on Rwanda for urgent Congressional review, with the objective of changing it because it is not only unsustainable, but also because in the medium to long term, it may contribute to yet another blood bath in Rwanda. We also strongly urge the U.S. Congress to recommend to the U.S. Government, due to its strong links with the government of Rwanda, to engage “early, proactively and decisively” to prevent and respond to mass atrocities and genocide in Rwanda.

We recommend the following measures as necessary to convey an unequivocal message to the Government of Rwanda that it must carry out reforms to ensure respect of the legitimate demands of the citizens of Rwanda for freedom:

(a) Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners;

(b) Demanding an end to persecution (including arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, involuntary disappearances and extra-judicial killings) of government opponents and critics and their relatives;

(c) An end to the practice of channeling the development assistance that the United States provides to Rwanda through budget support;

(d) Conditioning the development assistance that the United States provides to the Rwanda government on political reforms, including opening up political space;

(e) Using regional and united Nations human rights mechanisms to ensure that President Kagame and his security officials are held accountable for gross human rights violations that are committed against innocent citizens in and outside Rwanda;

(f) Encouraging the government of Rwanda to agree to a comprehensive and unconditional dialogue with all the opposition on ways for resolving the political impasse engulfing Rwanda; and,

(g) Calling upon the international community, especially the UNHCR and United Nations member states, to reject the Government of Rwanda’s manipulation to apply the refugee cessation clause (due to be applied at the end of 2011) until performance from (a) to (f) above has created an enabling environment conducive to the return of refugees.


Authors:

Dr. Nkiko Nsengimana,
Coordinator
Coordination Committee
FDU-Inkingi

and

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa,
Coordinator
Interim Committee
Rwanda National Congress

Contact :

RNC : E-mail: ngombwa@gmail.com
FDU-Inkingi : E-mail : sixchris@netti.fi

“We envision a new Rwanda that will be a united, democratic, and prosperous nation inhabited by free citizens with harmonious and safe communities who will live together in peace, dignity and mutual respect, regardless of class, ethnicity, language, region, origin or other differences, within a democracy governed according to universal principles of human rights and the rule of law”- RNC Vision Statement

“We have a vision of a new Rwandan society underpinned by the rule of law, democracy, good governance and equal opportunity. Our core values are human rights, accountability, rule of Law, democracy, equal opportunity and social justice, sanctity of human life, political participation and duty of memory” – FDU-Inkingi Vision Statement


September 25, 2011   2 Comments

The Expected Role of the United States and the International Community in Supporting Democratic Change and Building Sustainable Peace in Rwanda

par FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress.

(from joint open letter of FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress to members of the US Congress – 14th September 2011)

The role of the United States and the international community in supporting democratic change and building sustainable peace in Rwanda

President Kagame has exploited the failure of the West to stop or prevent the 1994 genocide to silence critics of his opposition to democratic change and the human rights practices of his security services. The tolerance that the U.S and the rest of the international community have exhibited towards Paul Kagame’s excesses continues to fuel impunity and is an obstacle to lasting peace and sustainable development in Rwanda. U.S. and Western indifference to President Kagame’s human rights record and stand on popular political participation is incomprehensible to the majority of Rwandans, and it alienates them. As most Americans know, stability and development do not substitute for liberty and freedom.

In view of the grave consequences that a return to violent conflict in Rwanda would entail, the RNC and FDU-Inkingi hold the view that peace and security in Rwanda should be a matter of international concern. The people of Rwanda count on Rwanda’s neighbours and development partners, especially the the United States and United Kingdom(the two countries that are widely perceived as being Rwanda’s principal allies in the West) to support the promotion of respect for human rights and advancement of democracy. We believe that Rwanda’s development partners, especially those who have close relations with the current government have a unique role, if not responsibility, to advance the cause of peaceful change in Rwanda by engaging President Kagame on the need for progress in guaranteeing fundamental human rights and for national dialogue to resolve the country’s crisis. The international community ought to support the seeking of democratic change, inclusive government and respect for human rights in Rwanda on account of several reasons, including the following:

(a) Empowering the people of Rwanda to realize the full range of their human rights: The people of Rwanda continue to be deprived of the opportunity to enjoy some of the most fundamental human rights, including rights relating to integrity of the person, freedom of expression and political participation. The Kagame regime relies on repression to maintain this status quo. The people of Rwanda are much entitled to be relieved of this tyranny as citizens of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya whom the international community is supporting to make the realization of their human rights a reality.

(b) Promoting international peace and security: In the absence of democratic reforms, the policies of the present government of Rwanda are likely to lead to a return to violence in the country. A system of government that deprives citizens of fundamental human rights, especially the right to political participation and the integrity of the person, cannot last indefinitely. Change in Rwanda is inevitable; the issue is whether change will be negotiated and peaceful, or violent and imposed, again, by the victors of a bloody armed conflict. Political change is necessary to avert violent conflict that the repressive government in Rwanda has made almost inevitable. A return to violent conflict in Rwanda would further destabilize the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.

(c) Humanitarian considerations: Rwanda is on the precipice of a very serious political and humanitarian crisis. A return to violent conflict in Rwanda is likely to take an ethnic dimension. As was demonstrated after 1994, violent conflict in Rwanda has capacity to lead to massive loss of human life, as well as immense suffering for millions, both inside Rwanda and in other countries in the region. The international community needs to act today in order to prevent the suffering and horrendous loss of life that is likely to result from the outbreak of new violence in Rwanda.

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Recommendations of Rwanda National Congress and FDU-Inkingi to the Government of the United States

September 25, 2011   1 Comment

The U.S. Assistance to Rwanda Enables Ruling Party RPF To Destroy Legitimate Political Opposition

par FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress.

(from joint open letter of FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress to members of the US Congress – 14th September 2011)

The United States’ development assistance to Rwanda

The United States has provided generous humanitarian and development assistance to Rwanda. The Rwanda National Congress and the FDU-Inkingi would wish to express their appreciation for the humanitarian and development assistance that has been extended to Rwanda by successive governments of the United States since 1994. Undoubtedly, the assistance that the United States has provided to Rwanda was extended at the time of need and in good faith to meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Rwanda and kick start growth and development after the traumatic genocide of 1994. We have no doubt that the assistance that the United States had provided to Rwanda was given in the belief that the assistance would lead to development, stability and sustainable peace rooted in popular legitimacy, respect of fundamental human rights, especially the integrity of the person and the right to political participation.

Undoubtedly, the assistance that the United States has provided to Rwanda has not led to the achievement of these objectives. The majority of the Rwandan people, over 80% of them peasants, still live on less than a dollar per day. While President Kagame enriches himself, buys luxury executive jets to the tune of 150 million US $, and now plans to build a second, and unnecessary airport that will cost well over 600 million U.S. $, Rwanda remains with pressing needs in health, education and livelihoods for the majority of the Rwandan people.

Contrary to opinion in some international development circles, the development assistance that the United States and others ( notably UK) provide to Rwanda enables the government to devote an increasing proportion of the resources of the government and the ruling party to supporting activities to destroy legitimate political opposition. Furthermore, President Kagame misuses U.S and other taxpayers aid money for personal use, on wasteful and unnecessary projects. and on entrenching his absolute and violent rule. Above all, the unconditional U.S economic and diplomatic support to the strong man, the absolute ruler, President Kagame, has made him evermore intransigent and unresponsive to legitimate aspirations of the citizens of Rwanda.

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The Expected Role of the United States and the International Community in Supporting Democratic Change and Building Sustainable Peace in Rwanda

September 25, 2011   No Comments

Potential Consequences of the Policies of the Rwanda Government: “A Violent Conflict Is Virtually Certain”

by FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress.

(from joint open letter of FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress to members of the US Congress – 14th September 2011)

Potential consequences of the policies of the Rwanda Government

Rwanda, as demonstrated, still faces many difficult challenges in its experience of nation- building in the aftermath of, and continuing, violent conflict. It is generally acknowledged that Rwandan society remains deeply divided along ethnic lines. The country’s transition to democracy has been unsuccessful. The human rights situation in the country remains a matter of grave concern. Citizens lack access to fundamental human rights. State security agencies commit grave human rights abuses with impunity. The country on the surface look peaceful, but many observers are of the view that recurrence of very violent conflict may be inevitable, at least in the medium to long term. President Kagame claims to have made progress in developing Rwanda, and argues that human rights, including rights relating to political participation, are not a priority for the development process.

Nevertheless, concerns over the country’s progress in engendering reconciliation and creating a democratic system of government raise questions about the sustainability of Rwanda’s social and economic advances and the potential for renewed conflict. The situation that prevails raises serious questions about the country’s future. Are the country’s development achievements broad-based and sustainable? Can Rwanda continue to be peaceful while the government continues to be repressive and the majority of the people consider the government illegitimate? How do we balance individual freedoms and the requirement for a stable community? How should citizens respond when rulers mistake the state to be their personal estate and deprive their subjects of their inalienable rights?’

We firmly believe that the violent conflicts that Rwanda has experienced over the past half century are rooted in issues revolving around governance. The RPF government, we assert, has failed to effectively address the root causes of conflict in Rwandan society. As a result, Rwanda is in a situation of serious crisis.

The only path to sustainable peace and development in Rwanda is a system of government that has popular legitimacy, includes all communities of Rwanda and is committed to the respect of fundamental human rights, especially the integrity of the person and the right to political participation. This, we believe, well reflects the stated approach of the United States government itself to supporting societies in political transition. Economic development in post conflict societies that is not rooted in democratic values, respect for human rights, and broad inclusion is not sustainable. We are convinced that violent conflict is virtually certain to return to Rwanda if the present government does not heed calls for dialogue and agree to a process of peaceful political reform leading to democracy. The results of the substantial development assistance that your government and others have extended to Rwanda since the end of the genocide could be very swiftly undone in the event of such conflict, with grave implications for the whole Great Lakes region and for international peace and security.

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The U.S. Assistance to Rwanda Enables Ruling Party RPF To Destroy Legitimate Political Opposition

September 25, 2011   1 Comment

Paul Kagame’s Leadership: Relentless Pursuit of Absolute Power

by FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress.

(from joint open letter of FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress to members of the US Congress – 14th September 2011)

President Paul Kagame’s Leadership

The grave political crisis that Rwanda is facing is largely a result of President Kagame’s relentless pursuit of absolute power. Rwanda’s first post-genocide government included a range of other political groups that had campaigned for democratic reform during the early 1990s. Rwanda’s experience with broad-based multi-party government swiftly came to an end after only a year. Then Vice-President Kagame drove the opposition leaders, who were part of that government, from office on account of their criticism of human rights abuses by members of the Rwandese Patriotic Army. From then on, President Kagame embarked on a mission to emasculate all party and state institutions and to craft a state controlled in every aspect by a single person who wields absolute and unaccountable power.

Rwanda is not only a one-party state; it is also a state governed by one man. President Paul Kagame exerts absolute control over both the ruling party and the government. All institutions of the state are controlled by the President. The country’s political system lacks checks and balances. The judiciary and the legislature, whose members are mostly handpicked and run personally by President Kagame and his RPF party, do not have any independence or accountability to the people. State institutions, especially law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and security services, serve to protect President Paul Kagame’s political monopoly instead of protecting the fundamental human rights of citizens and executing their constitutional mandates. President Kagame’s absolute control of the entire machinery of the state affords him protection from being held accountable for his many serious crimes, some of which have led to horrendous consequences for innocent civilians both inside and outside Rwanda.

President Kagame is one of Africa’s most ruthless dictators. He is a corrupt leader who lives a lavish lifestyle that is out of step with the abject poverty of the majority of the people of Rwanda. President Kagame has used his time in office to amass personal wealth of unprecedented proportions in the Eastern and Southern African region. The business conglomerate, owned by his political party, which for all practical purposes is his personal property, has extensive corrupt business relations with the state. RPF business entities have priority when government is issuing licenses for the most lucrative sectors of the country’s resources. Business entities owned by the RPF and close family and friends of the President receive the bulk of the government’s procurement contracts. Domestic and foreign investors seeking business opportunities in Rwanda are often compelled to go into partnership with the RPF as a condition for being allowed to do business in Rwanda. The RPF finances its various businesses with preferential financial financing from state-owned banks, insurance companies, and the national social security fund. Because they benefit only a small group of people, the business activities of the RPF promote social inequality and undermine national stability. The involvement of the RPF in business compromises the integrity of very many of its members, including President Kagame, because of the conflict of interest that they are involved in day-to-day in making official decisions affecting the party’s business interests. The RPF’s business arm already controls a big part of the country’s economy.

President Kagame also bears personal responsibility for some extremely serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, that have been committed against innocent civilians in both Rwanda and the Congo. The United Nations Mapping Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (1993-2003) cites war crimes, crimes against humanity and even possible acts of genocide. President Kagame will not shrink from committing any crime in order to stay in power. He does not have respect for the sanctity of human life and that is why he is always prepared to resort to the murder of political opponents to deal with peaceful challenges to his rule. President Kagame bears responsibility for Rwanda’s failed transition to democracy and the political impasse that his attempts to cling to unaccountable power has given rise to.

President Kagame’s manipulation and abuse of institutions of state to harass political opponents and stifle dissenting opinions continues to be condemned by virtually every reputable international human rights organisation, and many major media outlets and prominent scholars and journalists, including some who have previously been supportive of President Kagame.

Freedom House country report, 2011 states:

In the lead-up to the August 2010 presidential election, the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) tightened its control over civic and political life. The government seriously increased restrictions on press freedom and party activity, while extralegal violence had a chilling effect on dissent. Journalists were threatened and assassinated, and some 30 newspapers, journals, and radio stations were suspended. All serious challengers for the presidency were prevented from running, leading to incumbent Paul Kagame’s reelection.

Human Rights Watch expressed concerns ahead of 2010 Presidential elections:

Over the last six months, Human Rights Watch has documented a worrying pattern of intimidation, harassment and other abuses – ranging from killings and arrests to restrictive administrative measures – against opposition parties, journalists, members of civil society and other critics.

Reporters Without Borders, the global press freedom watchdog, ranks Rwanda 157th out of 175 countries, and lists President Kagame as one of the predators of press freedom. Amnesty International says “Rwanda’s laws banning “genocide ideology” and “sectarianism” are vague and sweeping, and have been used to silence legitimate dissent.”

Recently, a report published by the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and commissioned by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), highlighted Rwanda’s key stress points:

The Rwanda Government’s inability to manage political competition within a democratic framework may ultimately radicalize opponents who have no legitimate means to challenge the regime. Mutual suspicion and fear along ethnic lines-the product of more than a century of state manipulation-abide. But new coalitions that are united in opposition to the current ruling party may also emerge.

The Government’s strategy to “development without politics” on which it has staked its domestic and international legitimacy, has important limitations, leaving the cornerstone of the country’s fragile social compact vulnerable to economic shocks, possible setbacks, and growing economic inequality.

Rwanda’s continued economic interests and involvement in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo could have destabilizing effects both in that country and within Rwanda.

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Potential Consequences of the Policies of the Rwanda Government: “A Violent Conflict Is Virtually Certain”

September 25, 2011   No Comments

The State of Governance in Rwanda

by FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress.

(from joint open letter of FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress to members of the US Congress – 14th September 2011)

The status of governance in Rwanda

The people of Rwanda have for a very long time been exposed to repressive government, leading to recurrent violent conflict. This violence reached its peak with the genocide of 1994, with grave consequences for Rwanda and the whole region till today. We have no doubt that members of US Congress, your party and the U.S. government in general are well aware of the deprivation and immense suffering that recurrent conflict has occasioned to millions of Rwandans till today. We also acknowledge that the Government of Rwanda has, with the assistance of the international community, made some progress in restoring public order, re-establishing functioning, yet repressive, state institutions, and rebuilding the country’s economy during the period since 1994.

Unfortunately, the reconstruction efforts that Rwanda has undertaken since the genocide are not rooted in democratic values, respect for human rights and broad inclusion. As stated in the “Rwanda Briefing’ document that several former colleagues of Rwandan President Kagame published in August 2010, ” there is more to Rwanda and Paul Kagame than new buildings, clean streets, and efficient government than President Kagame’s famous friends in high places in Europe and America care to admit. Rwanda is essentially a hard-line, one-party, secretive police state with a façade of democracy’. The ruling party, the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), has closed space for political participation. The RPF does not tolerate political opposition or open competition for power. President Kagame does not allow opposition parties to be registered, let alone operate freely. Media outlets that are critical of the government are either shut down by the government or forced to close operations as a result of attacks against their journalists. President Kagame has now closed down all the independent media outlets the country once had.

Civil society organizations independent of the government operate under draconian restrictions that make the exercise of their role as watchdogs over government impossible. The people of Rwanda have no liberty to discuss, nor decide, how they should be governed. The Rwanda Government is controlled by a small group of Tutsi military officers and a few civilians from behind the scenes. The political system marginalizes the majority of the population from political participation.

President Kagame relies on severe repression to stay in power. The RPF government relies on a wide range of laws, administrative practices and terror to restrict citizens’ enjoyment of political freedoms. Institutions of the state continue to subject real and imagined critics of the government to a wide range of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and detentions and involuntary disappearances and extrajudicial killings. The security services that are responsible for keeping President Kagame in power enjoy absolute impunity for grave human rights abuses. Many members of opposition parties, civil society groups, independent media outlets and individuals suspected of being opponents of the regime have been hunted down, arrested, tortured, imprisoned or killed by agents of the state.

Victims of state sponsored terror who have lost their lives over the recent past include Andre Kagwa Rwisereka (Vice-President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda), Jean Leonard Rugambage (Deputy Editor of Umuvugizi Newspaper) and John Rutayisire. The Rwanda Government has deployed a very large number of intelligence operatives in countries across Africa, Europe (including the United Kingdom) and North America to hunt down and kill opponents of the regime.

Many members and leaders of opposition parties, including Hon. Charles Ntakirutinka of Ubuyanja Party; Bernard Ntaganda, President of the Social Imberakuri Party; Victoire Ingabire, President of the FDU-Inkingi Party; and, Deo Mushayindi of PPD Imanzi Party, remain in detention and so do some innocent relatives of opposition leaders. The Rwanda Government continues its relentless persecution of government critics.

The most recent victims of this persecution include independent journalists and opposition leaders, all of whom have been sentenced to long prison terms, some after trials in absentia that did not meet international standards of fair trial. The climate of repression that prevails in Rwanda has forced many government officials, including two former Prime Ministers, two former Speakers of Parliament, and a host of former Ministers, former Judges, senior government officials, Military officers, Journalists and Human rights activists to join hundreds of thousands of their compatriots in exile, who include Paul Rusesabagina, the hero of the movie, Hotel Rwanda.

As a result of the repression that security services helping President Kagame are responsible for, Rwanda is a country engulfed by fear. Not since the days of Idi Amin of Uganda have the security services of a state terrorized a nation to the extent to which Rwanda’s security services have visited fear and terror upon the country’s citizens. The climate of fear and terror that prevails in Rwanda does not permit Rwandan society to freely discuss the very grave problems facing the country and to find solutions to those problems.

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Paul Kagame’s Leadership: Relentless Pursuit of Absolute Power

September 25, 2011   No Comments

The Political Situation in Rwanda and the Role of the United States of America

by FDU-Inkingi and Rwanda National Congress.

This is a joint open letter sent to all the members of the U.S. Congress on 14th September 2011 by the two Rwandan opposition parties: Rwanda National Congress and FDU-Inkingi.
Topic: The State of Governance in Rwanda and the U.S. Policy on Rwanda

Introduction

Many Africans who live in states that are still ruled by dictators were heartened by the speech that U.S. President Barack Obama gave before the Ghanaian Parliament on July 11, 20O9. In the speech, he declared:

….In the 21st century, capable, reliable, and transparent institutions are the key to success — strong parliaments; honest police forces; independent judges; an independent press; a vibrant private sector; a civil society. Those are the things that give life to democracy, because that is what matters in people’s everyday lives.

…..Now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these brave Africans, not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions

Tens of millions worldwide were equally heartened by the President’s words in a speech he gave at the State Department, on May 19, 2011, in which he declared :

Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

Addressing African leaders at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 13, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton amplified President Obama’s message:

…..But, even as we celebrate this progress, we do know that too many people in Africa still live under longstanding rulers, men who care too much about the longevity of their reign, and too little about the legacy that should be built for their country’s future. Some even claim to believe in democracy – democracy defined as one election, one time.

Now, this approach to governing is being rejected by countries on this continent and beyond. Consider the changes that have recently swept through North Africa and the Middle East. After years of living under dictatorships, people have demanded new leadership; in places where their voices have long been silenced, they are exercising their right to speak, often at the top of their lungs. In places where jobs are scarce and a tiny elite prospers while most of the population struggles, people – especially young people – are channeling their frustration into social, economic, and political change.

Their message is clear to us all: The status quo is broken; the old ways of governing are no longer acceptable; it is time for leaders to lead with accountability, treat their people with dignity, respect their rights, and deliver economic opportunity. And if they will not, then it is time for them to go….

Although the U.S. President and his Secretary of State were responding to current developments in North Africa and the Middle East, notably Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya, it clearly has resonance for many people from across the world for whom political freedom is still only a dream. The speeches are particularly relevant to Rwanda. First because Rwanda is precisely a country where the status quo is broken, a strong and absolute ruler reigns at the barrel of the gun, against the aspirations of the people. Second, because of the close diplomatic relationship between Rwanda and the United States, the substantial development assistance that the United States provides to Rwanda and the status of democratic governance in Rwanda.

Rwanda is, in the view of the Rwanda National Congress and FDU-Inkingi, one of the situations that ought to be of the greatest concern to those in the international community who have genuine concern about international peace and security in general, and in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa in particular. The majority of the people of Rwanda, we believe, share a common perception that policies of successive governments of the United States have not reflected principled support for the development of democratic and inclusive institutions, respect for the fundamental rights of citizens and accountability of public officials for gross violations of human rights.

We write this letter to share our views on the political situation in Rwanda and on the role that the United States can play in advancing freedom and promoting long term stability, security, and peace in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region.

Next:
The State of Governance in Rwanda

September 25, 2011   No Comments

Future Policy Award 2011 – Factsheet of Winning Policies: Rwanda, Gambia and U.S.A.

Future Policy Award 2011 – Factsheet of Winning Policies

Rwanda: National Forest Policy, initiated in 2004

Rwanda’s environment suffered tremendous pressure after the genocide and breakdown of law and order in 1994 due to sky-rocketing demand for wood to reconstruct the country. But despite continuing population and land pressures, Rwanda is one of only three countries in Central and Western Africa to achieve a major reversal in the trend of declining forest cover. A new National Forest Policy, aiming to make forestry one of the bedrocks of the economy and of the national ecological balance, was initiated in 2004 and Law N° 57/2008 introduced a ban on plastic bags. Massive reforestation and planting activities that promoted indigenous species and involved the local population were undertaken, and new measures such as agro-forestry and education about forest management were implemented with a variety of ecological, social and economic benefits. As a result Rwanda is on course to reach its goal of increasing forest cover to 30% of total land area by 2020.

The Gambia: Community Forest Policy, initiated in 1995

The Gambian model of community forest management is an innovative success. It aims to achieve sustainable forest management and poverty alleviation by handing control of forests to the communities that use them. Despite being one of the world’s poorest countries with a rapidly growing population, Gambia has managed to buck a strong deforestation trend in the Western and Central African region by showing a net increase in forest cover of 8.5 percent over the last two decades. Using a phased approach, the policy includes a far reaching tenure transition of forest land from state ownership to permanent ownership by communities (which currently stands at 12 percent of forest lands). The policy has also achieved a reduction in illegal logging and the incidence of forest fires in community forest areas as well as contributing to the development of new markets for branch wood and other forest products which benefit women and rural populations economically.

USA: The Lacey Act with its amendment of 2008

Illegal logging and the international trade in illegal timber has been recognised as a major global problem causing environmental damage, costing producer countries billions of dollars in lost revenue, promoting corruption, undermining the rule of law and good governance and funding armed conflict. The United States have become the first country in the world to place an outright, criminally enforceable ban on the import of illegally harvested timber. The issue is addressed both nationally and internationally from the demand side by requiring that importers of wood products and subsequent handlers in the supply chain exercise due care to ensure that wood in their possession is of legal origin. The Lacey Act amendments have forced importers to take responsibility for their wood products and have already produced positive results in increasing due diligence assessments and demand for certified wood products. The Act also has the potential to significantly reduce illegal logging by withdrawing the huge rewards received by illegal loggers from the international market.

Background information on the Future Policy Award

20 forest policies from 16 countries were nominated for the Future Policy Award. International organisations, including the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) members such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as well as others including the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) submitted the nominations.
The jury is composed of experts on sustainability and forests from all five continents and includes

  • Jan McAlpine, Director, United Nations Forum on Forests,
  • Professor Marie Claire Cordonier Segger, Director, Center for International Sustainable Development Law,
  • Jakob von Uexkull, Chair, World Future Council and Right Livelihood Award,
  • Tewolde Berhan Egziabher, Director General, Environmental Protection Authority, Ethiopia,
  • Simone Lovera, Executive Director, Global Forest Coalition
  • and

  • Pauline Tangiora, Maori elder from the Rongomaiwahine tribe.

In the International Year on Biodiversity the Future Policy Award 2010 went to Costa Rica’s Biodiversity Law of 1998.

[http://worldfuturecouncil.org/]

September 22, 2011   No Comments