Posts from — December 2012
President Paul Kagame and his Congo Brazaville counterpart, Denis-Sassou-N’guesso, on Saturday commended the decisions taken by the heads of state of the just concluded ICGLR summit in Kampala.
President Sassou-N’guesso is in Rwanda on a two-day working visit at the invitation of President Kagame during which the two heads of state discussed bilateral, regional and international issues, and expressed satisfaction with the strengthened political and cooperation ties between Rwanda and the Republic of Congo.
The heads of state discussed at length the ongoing crisis in Eastern DRC and welcomed the comprehensive resolutions of the ICGLR summit in Kampala.
They called upon the Government of the DRC and the M23 to commit to implementing the Kampala decisions as these represented an important opportunity to resolve the conflict. They also noted the importance of correctly assessing and understanding the real nature of the various armed groups in the DRC so that appropriate solutions are found for each.
President Sassou-N’guesso noted the value of the discussions and breakthrough held earlier this week between Presidents Kagame, Museveni and Kabila and said it represented an effective framework for buildingconfidence between the DRC and its immediate neighbours.
President Sassou-N’guesso thanked his Rwandan counterpart for the hospitality and meaningful discussions and said this visit to Rwanda was an important opportunity to further strengthen the relationship between Rwanda and Congo.
December 15, 2012 No Comments
When I started writing this piece, before deciding if I should use Paul Kagame or Rwanda in the title, I had several thoughts about how the Rwandan president was unrepresentative of his country. All these ventures in the Democratic Republic of Congo are for self-preservation.
For sometime, I have had many discussions with a varied number of people on how Paul Kagame was not Rwanda or either if he could objectively speak for Rwandans though he does at the moment, and has been for the last eighteen years.
But I settled for Paul Kagame, because when he makes unpopular decisions like attacking the Democratic Republic of Congo, since he does not ask prior advice from any national institutions.
It’s unfortunate that his actions end up being seen as originating from Rwanda as a legal entity, internationally considered as such among other nations, though Rwandans at any level don’t have any input in them.
We all know how he has imposed himself to Rwandans through blood, and continue to maintain himself in power through constant persecution, oppression, cases of disappearances of his citizens, assassinations and other practices that characterize dictatorships.
So he is back in Eastern Congo. That’s at least what Radio Okapi online news outlet is telling us.
“Soldiers of the Rwandan Defense Forces would’ve entered in DRC on Wednesday December 12th, 2012 via two bordering posts of Kasizi and Kanyanja, North of Goma, in the Nyiragongo territory. … According to local sources, Rwandans were initially seen on the morning of Tuesday December 11th, 2012. They arrived in ten trucks with ammunition and other war equipment…”.[translation]
The Kampala negotiations between the Kabila government and M23 are still ongoing. Rwandan forces returning to DRC would apparently have two main motives: one of being in a stronger political position to pressure the other party to the talks into accepting the rebels’ conditions, as did Museveni back in 1985 [Nairobi Agreement] or Kagame in 1993 [Arusha Accords]; two, preempting the arrival of the neutral forces in Goma which will consist of different SADC countries including Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
The Rwandan president by returning to Eastern Congo does not seem to care about any condemnation from the international community, namely the UN whose experts have shown, at several occasions, evidence of his continuous interference in the DRC’s affairs.
He seems ready to flex muscles with anyone who sees differently his determination to hold firmly a fraction of the DRC.
During this week’s hearing at the US Congress on the Congolese crisis, Mr Steve Hege, former member of the UN team of experts on the DRC rightly highlighted Paul Kagame’s resolve to have his hands on Eastern Kivu.
But the expert seemed to suggest that any solution of the ongoing crisis had to take into consideration that fortitude on the part of the Rwandan leader, and even tacitly accommodate it.
Of course, many of us who oppose global imperialism would not be supportive of a regional one whether or not it is coming from Rwanda or any other country of the Great Lakes region.
In my view, the Rwandan president has irremediably been inconsiderate of international laws regarding how neighbouring countries co-exist, that the time has come for him to get the sanctions that his regime deserves.
Source: Rising Continent
December 14, 2012 No Comments
President Paul Kagame has described the volatile Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) as a “dead body” of a state “killed” by the west.
The Rwanda President has been under fire for reportedly arming and recruiting combatants to back up the M23, a charge he denies.
Addressing government officials, media, diplomatic community and civil society during the 10th National Dialogue in Kigali on Thursday, Kagame reiterated his determination to fend off criticism that he is to blame for the humanitarian and security crisis in Kivu that has left thousands of Congolese in refugee camps.
“These so-called famous reports (UN Reports on Congo) are pre-written. The so-called experts are hired to go and confirm their bosses’ wrong perceptions. They have no facts,” charged Kagame.
The President was visibly angry.
“You should see the faces of those who want to rewrite our history. Don’t be afraid of them. You must rise up and fight for your dignity,” he added.
Speaking in Kinyarwanda, Kagame emphasized there was no “easier way of getting valuable things.”
Kagame raised eyebrows in the Parliament Building when he said some elements in the west were “laying traps to jeopardize our security.”
“Some people out there do want to see you self reliant. It’s not easy but we shall get there.”
He condemned African journalists’ behavior of authoring negative articles about Africa “to win prizes from the west,” arguing “we should not behave like those who look down upon us; we have to fight and refuse to accept this attitude.”
He added: “The west doesn’t want you to have a good profile. Why should we agree to be herded? We’re not cattle or sheep.”
In what appeared as a move to expose the hypocrisy of the west, Kagame spilled some secrets before his audience.
“Those people out there will come and tell you, ‘oh, there are no human rights in Rwanda.’ Then after sometime they will come back and say, ‘oh, even if human rights are abused we don’t mind as long as you do what we want,” said Kagame, sending the audience into rib-cracking laughter.
The President presented challenges faced by Africa, including acceptance of neo-colonial attitudes perpetrated by western imperialists.
“Africans, why do we accept to be treated in this manner? Some people give us wrong labels. Why should Rwanda accept this?” he charged.
He said “these bad people invent stories, spread lies before media and then come here to preach to us human rights and democracy, adding, “If decisionmakers are bad people, the situation becomes dangerous.”
He further said no country whatsoever “can accept this injustice meted on us every day,” emphasizing, “Rwandans must be angry at this kind of situation.”
The Rwandan leader said “we must be seen to have sufficient anger at this injustice; we must fight for self reliance.”
In a sarcastic tone, Kagame said he had his own problems and was not willing to shoulder other countries’ burdens.
“If you want me to solve my neighbours’ problems, then pay me,” he said.
Kagame noted the $1bn-a-year UN peacekeeping project by MONUSCO had failed to save Congo.
“You cannot spend a lot of money and after failing you come here and say solve this Congo problem.”
He pledged to “keep refusing these accusations.”
Kagame said Rwandans must not look like they are accepting allegations that their government is bankrolling M23 operations.
“You Rwandans, why allow these accusations (Congo)? Do you have a problem? Why allow this?
For how long shall we be accused of everything? What’s wrong with you? Why allow being pushed all over?”
The President added: “Somebody killed Congo and brought the corpse to our doorstep. They are now calling for our punishment. Later they come and say ‘we know you did not kill Congo but please do what we want.”
He said pushing for self reliance and dignity is good but comes with a cost.
“Some people want to push you down. Self reliance comes with dignity, something you have to fight for,” he concluded.
December 14, 2012 No Comments
Rwanda’s 10th National Dialogue, commonly known as ‘Umushyikirano,’ opened Thursday with President Paul Kagame calling for stepped up efforts to ensure the country’s economic self reliance.
Speaking to thousands of guests at the Parliament Building in Kigali, President Kagame said “pushing for self reliance and dignity is good but comes with a cost.”
“Some people want to push you down. But this is something you have to fight for,” said Kagame.
The President said dialogue should aim at uplifting the standards of living of Rwandans.
He further called for the extension of the national dialogue across borders to involve non-Rwandans for the development of Africa.
The National Dialogue brings together representatives of government institutions, private sector, civil society, diplomats and the Diaspora to discuss issues that affect Rwanda.
Observers say the dialogue does not only bridge the gap between government and locals but also mounts pressure on civil servants to deliver to the people’s expectations considering that they are publicly held accountable before the President.
During the function, Infrastructure Ministry officials were grilled by President Kagame after locals complained that the Germany construction company STRABAG had demolished their houses but was yet to compensate them.
Officials quickly accepted their mistake before promising to compensate the locals after verification of their particulars.
Kagame did not spare officials in the Education Ministry after it emerged that they had taken long to offer loans to a teachers’ SACCO.
“When did you receive money for teachers? What is the problem? Is it a problem of lack of money or management?” Kagame wondered.
It was later agreed that teachers get their loans as soon as possible.
The President further held to account the Energy Minister for charging a flat power connection rate, describing it as “cheating.”
“You can’t charge the same 500Rwf from the President and someone who can’t afford power. This is unfair. You must change this policy,” said Kagame, a statement that was greeted with applause from the audience.
Prime Minister Habumuremyi promised to study the matter with the view to “change the situation.”
All questions from Rwandans across the world sent through social media platforms Twitter and Facebook were read in Parliament and answered by concerned officials accordingly.
The audience was sent into rib-cracking laughter when some someone from the audience said all Rwandans must give ten percent of their monthly earnings as ‘tithe’ to the country’s embassies abroad to boost the self reliance fund.
Another excited man who claimed being a fashion designer hailed President Kagame for putting in place modern road infrastructure and maintaining the “cleanest city in the world.”
A one Rutayisire from France said his colleagues had donated two cows to ‘one cow for a family’ project.
A one Alphonse from Netherlands said he had constructed schools in Rwanda which he asked government to elevate to University status.
On his part, Local Government Minister James Musoni urged Rwandans to work hard and optimally use their resources.
“No one else will do it for us,” said Musoni, adding, “To be self-reliant, we need hard work and a high level of transparency.”
While he said Rwanda would not allow “anyone to come here and dictate,” Musoni pointed out that in a bid to consolidate the country’s gains, there was urgent need for stronger ties with “foreign countries to boost investments, trade and security.”
Musoni called for honesty and stepped up fight against corruption.
“We should aim at excellence,” said Musoni.
He said Rwanda had achieved a lot from Umuganda and Agaciro projects.
“One million people have been lifted from poverty. We must strive to fight corruption. Since 2005, Rwanda has been moving closer to Singapore’s rank in fighting corruption.”
He further stated the recent Gallup poll showed 92 percent of Rwandans feel so secure in their country, rubbishing reports that his countrymen live in fear of their government.
He emphasized political independence and food security were pivotal in the struggle for self reliance.
The Minister observed that self reliance mechanisms that involve cooperation with others must be based on “mutual respect.”
“Self reliance is the ability to depend on oneself to solve local problem without external support. Rwandans must first be angry with themselves to fight for self reliance,” he added.
Prime Minister Habumuremyi said the last 9th National Dialogue resolutions were implemented up to 90 percent.
He cited Kigali City Council and District Council revising their land renting prices, the launch of Agaciro Development Fund which has seen donations of 25bn Rwf, improving milk production and recovering money from bankruptMicrofinance institutions among others.
December 13, 2012 No Comments