2013 May — Rwandinfo_ENG
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Posts from — May 2013

Open letter of support to President Kikwete’s wise statement on Rwanda’s FDLR

Jakaya Kikwete

Jakaya Kikwete

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, urged the Governments in the Great Lakes region to work together and end the war which has been going on for nearly 20 years, President Kikwete stressed that the only way out of that situation the region is facing was to speak to the rebels. This has caused different versions and the war of words between Rwanda and Tanzania however The Rwandan Dream Youth welcomed the idea of Mr Kikwete contrarily to the Rwandan Government.

Enclosed is the letter to the secretary General Ban Ki Moon from the Rwandan dream youth in support of President Kikwete’s idea.

 

UN Secretary General

Ban Ki-moon

United Nations

New York, NY 10017 USA

212-963-5012 fax: 212-963-7055

Email: ecu@un.org

May 29, 2013

 

RE: OPEN LETTER OF SUPPORT TO PRESIDENT KIKWETE’S WISE STATEMENT ON RWANDA’S FDLR AT 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF AFRICAN UNITY, ADDIS ABABA

On May 26, at the AU summit in Addis Ababa, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete made a statement that will go down in history as the wisest ever. Speaking during the meeting for the parties concerned by the regional Peace Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Kikwete urged local Governments to address issues they have with armed opponents, including the Rwanda’s FDLR based in Congo.

We, The Rwandan Dream Youth Worldwide, wish to ask the UN to support Hon. Kikwete’s statement and call for negotiations between the Rwandan Government and the FDLR in order to put an end to the sufferance caused by two decades conflict.

Since it came to power in the wake of the 1994 genocide, Paul Kagame’s Government focused on wiping out the Hutu rebels who desperately took up arms after the massacre of hundreds of thousands of refugees by the Rwandan army in the forests of Congo. We have to make it clear that the settlement of the FDLR issue is an absolute prerequisite to secure stability in the East of Congo.

In order to achieve and sustain peaceful cohabitation between DRC and Rwanda, it is crucial to address once for all the issue of the Rwandan refugees who are still on Congo’s soil. The troubling fact is that the Rwandan Government is enthusiast to the cause of Kinyarwanda speaking Tutsi Congolese claiming to be excluded in their own country while the same government keeps ignoring the issue of Rwandan refugees who have spent decades in wretched conditions in DRC.

Thousands of Rwandan refugees are reluctant to return due to political intolerance prevailing in the country. Opposition politicians, human rights activists and journalists are permanently in danger of being murdered, put in jail or forced to exile.

In our opinion, it is not possible to address Congo’s M23 issue and ignore Rwanda’s FDLR issue. We are convinced that Hon. Kikwete’s statement could be a stepping-stone to a stronger commitment from all the stakeholders. Tanzania has always been part of all processes meant to bring peace, justice and democracy to Rwanda, that is why we urge the UN to consider talks between Rwandans hosted by Tanzania.

 

Faithfully.

The Rwandan Dream Youth

Cc

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

EAC Heads of States

The President of the United States of America

The African Union

East African Legislative Assembly (EALA)

All Embassies Accredited to Rwanda

The National Assembly of Tanzania

The Rwanda Civil Society Platform

Ibuka

Source: Inyenyeri News

May 30, 2013   No Comments

Extremist Tutsis ruling Rwanda should end the victim game in the Great Lakes region

Tanzanian President Jakawa Kikwete whose forces are part of the International Intervention Brigade

Tanzanian President Jakawa Kikwete whose forces are part of the International Intervention Brigade

They are doing this while they are depriving all humanity to other communities both in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The international community has to stop letting them carrying on their cynical tactics at the expense of millions of lives which are as valuable as theirs, though they don’t appear to take it that way.

They work closely with the President of Uganda Joweri Museveni because of their ethnical closeness. They helped him take power in Kampala in 1986 while they were in exile there since the 60s.

He paid them back by putting them in power in Rwanda in 1994 after them killing 3 Hutu presidents [2 from Burundi: Melchior Ndadaye on October 21st, 1993 and Cyprien Ntaryamira on April 6th, 1994, and 1 from Rwanda: Juvenal Habyarimana].

They orchestrated the Rwandan genocide and continued in DRC where so far more than 8 million people have been killed as a consequence of their wars to plunder resources of that country.

In between they killed as well Laurent Desire Kabila in 2001 because he was not ready to sell out his country to them. It is true they had helped him remove Mobutu. For that reason they expected him to let them do of DRC whatever they wanted.

It surprises a lot when a criminal plays the victim game.

While in 2011 the Rwandan government sent a killing squad to the UK with a mission to silence for good 2 vocal Rwandan dissidents, its embassy in London didn’t shy away from asking the Metropolitan Police to guaranty their total safety when they would be organising their Rwanda Day on May 18th 2013.

In the eyes of the British police, such attitude put them in a position where those who were applying for permission for a right to protest against Kagame look like thugs aimed at causing trouble.

The protesters of London in front of The Troxy on May 18th had almost to force the British police hand to get their permission to protest. It was only released 18 hours before the start of Rwanda Day at that location.

Tutsi extremists leading Rwanda today are at it again after the Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete suggested that Kigali and FDLR should hold talks to enable the region achieve durable peace.

Though it was expected that the Rwandan government would object categorically to such idea, what was not, was the fact that it would bring up its arsenal of tools in its denouncement.

The one highlighted here is an open letter that the Rwandan Diaspora living in the United States and supportive of the Kagame regime has written to President Barack Obama in relation to his upcoming visit to Tanzania and the suggested talks between Rwanda and its opposition represented by FDLR .

The letter is published to inform i the readers about the tactics that RPF uses. It has used them so often since taking power that nobody should continue to be fooled while the criminal regime claims its innocence about the suffering of millions of Congolese and Rwandans and at the same time appears ready to carry it on.

Open Letter to H.E. Barack H. Obama, the President of the United States of America

May 27th, 2013

Subject: Remarks by H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania at the 21st African Union Summit on May 26th, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Your Excellency the President of the United States of America

We, the undersigned, being survivors of the genocide against Tutsi and Rwandans legally living in the United States of America are appalled by the statement made by H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania at the 21st African Union Summit on May 26th, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in which he called upon the Rwandan government to “negotiate” with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group predominantly composed of members of the Interahamwe militia and the Armed Forces of Rwanda that carried out the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and for the killings of millions of innocent people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We salute the United States of America’s leadership and commitment to fight the international terrorism, particularly your government’s collaboration with the regional and international players to find a solution to the crisis in the Great Lakes region. Not only you were among the first countries, alongside the United Nations, to name the FDLR, formerly known as the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR), as a terrorist group but also you have placed many five-million-dollar bounties on some Rwandan genocide perpetrators’ heads, including Sylivestre Mudacumura, the FDLR supreme commander who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, torture and attacking innocent civilians.

We believe President Kikwete is fully informed of these still ongoing heinous crimes committed by FDLR towards millions of innocent Congolese and many foreigners, including innocent Americans Rob Haubner and Susan Miller killed in Bwindi Forest in 1999, to name but a few who lost their lives at the hands of FDLR. In 1994, when more than one million innocent Tutsi were brutally murdered, President Kikwete, then the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Tanzania did not speak up.

Since then, he has seen his country burying hundreds of thousands of Rwandans whose bodies were damped into Akagera River, in Rwanda by the same genocidaires who formed FDLR with the intent to “finish the job “flooding all the way to Tanzania. Given that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is based in Tanzania, we have no doubt that President Kikwete has been following the court proceedings and should comprehend the threat posed by the FDLR to Rwanda’s and the region’s peace and security.

We appreciate the support you have provided to Rwanda since 1994. As you know, our country has worked tirelessly, despite many challenges, to successfully repatriate millions of Rwandan refugees since the genocide and have reintegrated many FDLR fighters in the Rwandan Defense Forces.

As the concerned citizens of Rwanda and legal residents of the United States of America, we acknowledge that Rwanda has paid too big a price for too long and feel obliged to openly and strongly question President Kikwete’s hidden intentions behind such dreadful remarks and hereby request your office to join us in our call to him to immediately withdraw this shocking statement made at the time when as Rwandans, we are still commemorating the 19th anniversary of the genocide and grieving the loss of our beloved ones. President Kikwete should openly apologize to us as survivors of the genocide in Rwanda and Rwandans in general, Congolese, Americans and many more people who have suffered from the FDLR terrorism.

Your Excellency, we trust that the United States of America cannot support this kind of political dealings that serve, if anything, as a setback to any progress led by Rwanda and many regional and international players to restore peace in the democratic Republic of Congo. Though we welcome your upcoming visit to our beloved continent, we recommend you cancel your trip to Tanzania unless President Kikwete openly apologizes and disavows any relationship he might have with the FDLR.

We look forward to our continued collaboration as we strive to fight impunity and international terrorism in order to ensure a peaceful and secure world for all.

Yours faithfully,

Alice Umutoni

Vice Coordinator of the organizing committee

The 19th Commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda in the U.S.A.

Source: The Rising Continent

May 30, 2013   No Comments

Rwanda: The Inside Story On Why The Cabinet Reshuffle Was Long Overdue

Fired: Ex-minister Tharcisse Karugarama and Protais Musoni

Fired: Ex-minister Tharcisse Karugarama and Protais Musoni

Kigali: On the evening of May 24, 2013, news emerged that President Paul Kagame had dropped two well-known cabinet members, and brought in new faces. The President, in consultation with the head of Government, the Prime Minister, brought in Justice Johnston Busingye to replace long-serving Tharcisse Karugarama, as Justice Minister and Attorney Genaral.

Justice Busingye, who has been a major player in the post-genocide reconstruction of Rwanda’s justice system, had been the Principal Judge of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) based in Arusha, Tanzania. The Cabinet Affairs portfolio was filled with Ms Stella Ford Mugabo, who has been in charge of the Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBC). Ms Mugabo displaced Engineer Protais Musoni.

Since the announcements were made, along with other changes, the local news media and social networks have been abuzz with speculation as to why Karugarama and Musoni were dropped. Some have suggested that Karugarama is victim of the comments which were attributed to him by a recent story in the Guardian newspaper. In the case of Musoni, the speculators – mainly journalists in and outside Rwanda, suggested he was in for big things.

Much of what has been said remains as speculation because no tangible facts were put forward. A further probing of the two former ministers, who are considered senior RPF members, reveals more disturbing facts about why the appointing authority decided; enough was enough.

Protais Musoni: a case of diminishing returns

Protais Musoni has been in cabinet since 2002, in addition to another long list of previous senior appointments. Prior to that, Musoni had served one of the RPF’s top cadres. But as one insider aware of the insider-goings of government put it, Musoni had been over the past few years turned into a liability to the effective performance of the administrative structure. His performance was more of “diminishing returns”, as very little was coming from him.

But why would the once star-performer turn into the opposite? Sources privy to the details of Musoni’s public engagement tell us that the ex-minister was acting much older than his actual age (60year). The aging element, says the source, was compounded by Musoni’s continuous degeneration into an alcoholic.

The source tells us Musoni had lost moral authority after he was linked to land grabbing in the Eastern Province. The ex-minister himself was a major culprit in a particular case involving 400 acres. In a rare stance, Musoni apologized to his superiors for otherwise galloping appetite for property.

Stella Ford Mugabo

Stella Ford Mugabo

New Lady on the block: Ms Stella Ford Mugabo may not be known to many, but the appointing authority has huge hopes in her to coordinate the entire cabinet owing to her experience managing the often troublesome and complex private sector

Actually, according to our source, allowing Musoni to relinquish such a demanding cabinet role was ‘long overdue’. The ex-bureaucrat was having hard times keeping up to the demands of his office. Case in point, in late 2011, several journalists had been invited to his office. One of the journalists who attended the session tells us that Musoni would speak and at times go off topic or forget what he was explaining midway.

Such situations happened several times, during when his advisor at the time Kim Kamasa would intervene. The minister also kept removing his spectacles, and wiping his forehead and eyes, a sign the once-vibrant minister, was becoming weaker.

We decided to grant anonymity to our sources, to allow them speak freely. As some of the social media posts suggest, Musoni, like anybody should not be seen as indispensable. As a country that has to move faster than it should, to get to its ambitious agenda, the appointing authority needs a constant supply of fresh blood with new vigour. Ms Stella Ford Mugabo, who has been managing a complex capacity building office, comes in as one of the best on offer.

Karugarama: a “non-state actor”

The ex-justice minister, many will agree, took over the helm of the stewardship of Rwanda’s justice sector in August 2006 as a star entrant. Contrary to how some political appointments are made, Karugarama was considered as one of the sector’s godfathers. Many of the judicial changes have been attributed to him.

But like the old saying goes; it gets to a time when new ideas are actually not new. Karugarama has been “continuously declining in performance”, said one of our sources. The appointing authority needed to “reinvigorate” the sector, added the source.

Busingye Johnstone

Busingye Johnstone

One of the judicial officials at local level, who have to implement many of the legal reforms, from the central government, tells us it was becoming impossible for them to keep track of the many changes. As another judicial official put it, Karugarama ‘created insecurity in the laws’. The most affected section of the judiciary was the judges.

Officials with knowledge of the inner functioning of the justice ministry say the judges have repeatedly complained about the constant review of laws – mainly the penal code. The changes were contributing to a pilling up of unsolved case files. As a result, according to the same sources, corruption in the judiciary was becoming a big challenge to the fight against graft.

Karugarama was the minister of justice and attorney, essentially the country’s top law enforcement official, but has been behaving like a ‘non-state actor’, said another of our sources. Karugarama acts and speaks like an NGO with no role in what is being formulated by the very institution he manages, added the source.

The technocrat? Justice Johnston Busingye (standing) brings into the justice portfolio a background of somebody who has had to live with the “insecurity in the laws” created by his predecessor Karugarama

“Influence peddling”

Officials at the ministry have told us that Karugarama displayed a major lack of ownership of many of the tasks he was given. Case in point; in parliament on June 18, 2012, when the Gacaca courts were being closed, Karugarama embarrassingly looked unprepared, had no speech and did not look like an official in charge.

With more than six years at the same department, the ex-justice minister had created what some employees described as “Karugarama’s network”. Many of the senior positions at the ministry had been filled by personally selected officials. Our sources cite most the senior state attorneys and senior directors, as having been pushed up the ladder to serve his interests.

In a particular case, the office of the Permanent Secretary; this serves as the ministry’s accounting authority, was no longer in charge of crucial dossiers at the institution. The current PS was virtually none existent as all his duties were performed by others who reporting directly to minister Karugarama.

Our sources have put to us that it was through these networks that Karugarama was “influence peddling” in all departments to satisfy his ends.

New faces? Not entirely…

But even with these weaknesses, the bottom-line remains that the ministry needed a new direction. Karugama, like Musoni, could have been a force for good, but had become a liability too expensive to maintain. Rwanda is moving too fast, any institution or individual who blocks the progress in any form should not be allowed to keep serving. Karugama, like Musoni, was not unchangeable.

Even as Justice Busingye and Ms Mugabo are elevated to new portfolios, they must be having weaknesses which the appointing authority may need to look into. Even as the President and PM may believe they have made the ultimate choices, it will not be long that we will begin to see if they can really make a difference.

The justice and cabinet affairs portfolios are some of the government’s key administrative centres which need highly skilled and motivated individuals. We can only hope, Busingye and Ms Mugabo meet the expectation.

Based on RPF’s principles, as has been suggested on social media, sometimes those dropped are accommodated. It can only be speculated that Karugarama and Musoni will eat from the same pot.

Source: Rwanda News Agency

May 30, 2013   No Comments

How much was Agnes Ntamabyariro, Rwandese ex- Minister of Justice, sold from Zambia?

Agnes Ntamabyariro

Agnes Ntamabyariro

Somewhere in a dark corner of a Copperbelt tavern, it was not a common sight to see two fellows in Zambian immigration uniforms, do order pints one after another in the midst of the collapsing of the giants mining company that hit the Zambia Copperbelt area in the mid 90’s after the Brentwood institutions advised the then Zambia regime to privatise (if not auctioning ) all state controlled companies ; and , a by-passer who tried to find out was quickly answered: “natubomba bakamba!” (i.e. Big Man we have worked today).

The day of May 27th, could be treated like any other day since it is not attached to any international commemoration event or a birthday of a living African president neither any anniversary of an African explorer ; but, to the Rwandese compelled to leave their native lands in order to seek safety as “asylum seekers” later on to graduated into refugees that deserve “international protection”, that day is still fresh in their memories as it was one hour ago.

16 years ago, meaning May 27th, 1997: the “Forces Armées du Zaire” (FAZ), Armed Forces of Zaire that have failed to stop the war that broke out from the East (commonly known as North and South Kivu where found the towns of Goma and Bukavu respectively) of the once flamboyant Zaire under Mobutu reign towards the the end of the October 1996 and the FAZ could not defend the Lubumbashi. Laurent Kabila could not make it if it was not by the help of Rwandese Patriotic boys of Kagame coupled with the Ugandans National Army of Museveni when they find a way to enter the Zaire of Mobutu under pretext to “prevent “any attack from “Rwanda genocidaires” that Mobutu has given a sanctuary if it was not a way to create an opportunity of looting the wealth of Zaire?

The month of May 1997 arrived in the aftermath of the humiliation of Rwandese refugees by the government of Tanzania at the time it decide to push them back to the boarder , these asylum seekers, by then, were squatting in the Ngara District (Tanzania West ) in refugees camps called: Benaco, Musuhula, Lumasi, Kybalisa, etc… and the other side of then Zaire General Paul Kagame covered by Mr. Kabila was finishing them with his machetes as was revealed by the “UN maping report” and if this was not enough the Zambia of the late Dr. Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba went ahead to signed an Extradition Treaty with the Rwanda regime.

The towns of Goma and Bukavu hosted some Rwandese fleeing the hostilities that triggered by the late Rwandese Habyalimana plane clash down on April 6th, 1994 in the midst of the implementation of the “Arusha Peace Protocol” that was brokered by the International Community in order to find a lasting solution of the “fiftyniners Rwandese refugees” who started a guerrilla on October 1st, 1990 form the north east of Rwanda with a military logistic backing of Uganda army. The inkotany RPF managed to defeat the once pride of Rwandese people army “Forces Armées Rwandese” (FAR) (Rwandese Armed Forces) early July 1994. Even if some Rwandese managed to cross by the east of Rwanda in order to find a refugee in the region of Ngala District, East Tanzania and another portion in the north of Burundi, the majority escaped via volcanic Region of Zaire east.

Whereas the majority of Rwandese opted to remain in the East of the then Zaire, others with finance means went to the East African countries like Kenya other in the West African French speaking countries. Others thought to move south ward to the country that Nelson Mandela has liberated from apartheid. However, in due course some Rwandese asylum seekers by making a stopover in Lusaka they could change their mind due to one or another reason; one of them was Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro , a former Minister of justice, a former General Secretary of Liberal Party (one of the main opposition party) , the author of a ”Rwandese People do stand to accuse” (Le people Rwandais Accuse) book published in August 1994 at Bukavu. This book was the first ever attempt to reveal the unchecked atrocities committed by the Rwanda Patriotic Front under Kagame leadership.

Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro could have left Bukavu early 1995 with her husband, Dr. Rutagwera and her children. The family had to locate in Mufulira where Dr. Rutagwera was given a job as a medical practitioner. On the fateful day, the “immigration officers” paid a visit to her home in Mufulira around 09:30 hours. To the person like Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro a graduated of National University of Rwanda in its Law Faculty and once she was heading a court called “Court des Comptes” (i.e Audit Court) an judiciary institution that tried mainly the government officials accused of “public funds misappropriation” ; the late Rwandese President Juvenal Habyalimana went ahead of not pardoning whoever was found guilty in exercising his “power of mercy” that became a tradition whenever there was any national event commemoration as: Independence Day (July 1st), the Day of Peace and Unity (the July 5th, the day on which the late Juvenal Habyalimana seized power through a coup military) , etc….. Mme Ntamabyariro could have thought that was a routine exercise. Did she know that she will be found in the one of “worst hell on earth” of this world: the famous Kigali Central Prison nicknamed “1930” the year in which Belgian colonialist decided to erect it.

Later on Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro was taken to court, being a learnt “man of the law”; she challenged vainly her presence in Rwanda jail and this could not help to stop the anticipated ruling : “ life imprisonment for her part in the 1994 genocide”. Ironically the Liberal Party ex President Hon. Justin Mugenzi was acquitted by the Arusha based International Court Tribunal for Rwanda.

Once, this author tried to raise an issue of security of people living under “refugee status” in Zambia during a “live program” on one of the Zambia private owned Radio known as Radio Phoenix , that could have been sponsored by the United High Commission of Refugees in conjunction with High Commissioner for Refugees; one of the panelist , the then Refugees legal adviser Douglas Tambulukani; commented about the issue of the Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro presence in Rwanda; counselor Douglas Tambulukani opted to describe it as an “isolated case”; later on, during the launch the Great lakes Women Refugees in Zambia (GWRAZ) an NGO that will be dealing with Human Rights among others, the author wished to know if GWRAZ could persuade the Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro case, the then GWRAZ chairman , Ms Esperance Kunda, was not given a chance to comment since an UNHCR official delegated to officiate was quick to refer that case in other fora. One could ask himself how possible the presence of Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro in “1930” could be treated in such a way when the Magazine Ichengelo observed during the aftermath of the disappearance of Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro a panic among the refugees population in its editorial of November 1997:

“Hundreds of refugees are on the run again. To where? God alone knows. They can no longer trust anyone. Once again they have been betrayed. Students can hardly study; some of them have disappeared, while others are shivering for fear in their homes, waiting for a fatal knock on the door by Immigration or Rwandan agents for “justice”.

Some people could have a tip of the move that made Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro to be removed from the soil of Zambia, the then Zambian President Chiluba is no more, the then Minister of Home Affairs Hon Peter Machungwa and the acting Refugees Commissioner Eric Tukombe could live in order to tell the posterity of what happened on May 27th , 1997; this could be an answer to the points raised by editorial team of the Bemba Magazine “Ichengelo” about the Christianity and peace loving of a nation that wanted to be called a Christian nation;” this is a gross violation of basic human rights as well as a crime against justice, we champion of Christianity in a Christian country.

Efforts to get the view of the Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro was answered by a message written by one of her sons that could be identified by his fist name of Olivier who wrote on his facebook wall using his phone: “27th May, I keep the faith”.

May be somehow, somewhere, somebody manages to order more pints of beers than usual or managed to put “ka” something on his undeveloped plot; but , could he live with a clear conscience after tarnish his hands with stains of innocent bloods? This is 16 years ago!

According to an eye witness who chose not to be named she was worried by the health status of Mme Agnes Ntamabyariro when she managed to spot her in the corridors of Kigali Central Hospital.

Source: Zambian Eye

May 29, 2013   1 Comment

Rwanda: Recalled Ambassador to Burundi reported missing

Augustin Habimana

Augustin Habimana

KIGALI, RWANDA: Augustin-Habimana who was recalled by President Kagame as Rwanda’s ambassador to Burundi on Friday, 24th May is reported to have disappeared from Kigali since he reported back. Information available says that Habimana was last seen in Kigali on Friday and his whereabouts are said to be a big concern in government circles.

According to reliable sources, Habimana was recalled partly because of disagreements with embassy staff in Bujumbura who continued to report back to Kigali that he was, possibly, involved in activities not in line with his diplomatic posting. This included unconfirmed reports that he was in contact with political groups opposed to the Kigali government.

GLV sources also say that the ambassador is alleged have faced a number of cases at Rwanda’s police for failing to pay child support for children he allegedly fathered with several women. With these allegations, his conduct was regarded not to be appropriate with diplomatic status.

Habimana was the Director of Internal Intelligence at the National Intelligence and Security Services [NISS] before he was sent to Bujumbura as ambassador in November 2011. Sources say that even Habimana’s departure from NISS was a result of serious problems even though they were kept secret, and the diplomatic posting was seen as a solution.

Other diplomats recalled were Venantia Sebudandi and Solina Nyirahabimana from Sweden and Switzerland though for other reasons unrelated to the case of Habimana. If it is confirmed that Ambassador Habimana has freed to exile, he will not be the first diplomat to do so.

Source: Great Lakes Voices

May 29, 2013   No Comments

Is third term push behind Paul Kagame’s decision to sack Karugarama?

By By Mugabe Robert

Tharcisse Karugarama

Sacked: Tharcisse Karugarama

Rwandans on Saturday 25th May woke up to the news that President Paul Kagame had replaced two senior ruling party Rwandan Patriotic Front [RPF] officials in the cabinet. Protais Musoni and Tharcisse Karugarama were replaced by Mugabo Ford and Justice Johnstone Busingye respectively as Cabinet affairs and Justice Ministers in the mid night reshuffle that also saw several ambassadors recalled.

While there is nothing unusual about the President changing cabinet members, the particular sacking of Justice Minister and Attorney General Karugarama came a few days after the UK Guardian newspaper published a long article in which the President Kagame and Karugarama seemed to be at loggerheads over the transition in 2017 when President Kagame’s final elected term expires. The Guardian journalist wrote:

“… Others, including Kagame’s own justice minister, believe it is essential for Kagame to step down in 2017 in order to maintain the primacy of the rule of law.

Kagame has been equivocal in the past, but greets the news of his justice minister’s views with belligerence. “Why don’t you tell him to step down himself? All those years he’s been there, he’s not the only one who can be the justice minister,” he says. “In the end we should come to a view that serves us all. But in the first place I wonder why it becomes the subject of heated debate.”

It is almost unheard of for a public disagreement on any issue between President Kagame and any person who works for him. Actually there are reports that in internal RPF meetings, Karugarama has made it clear that the Constitution should be respected as it is so as to set a national precedent. This was well in line with President Kagame’s own stated position in the many interviews with the media following with his re-election in 2010.

However, the absence of any moves towards anointing a successor and the clear ambivalence in recent interviews has convinced many that President Kagame is set to seek another mandate in 2017.

Since President Kagame called an extraordinary meeting of the RPF politiburo and assigned members to come up with a transition formula that guaranteed both change and continuity, and later appointed a panel to look into the who transition issue, a tendency in support of a continued Kagame presidency well beyond 2017 is emerging dominant with reports that the necessary machinery is being assembled to make it possible.

The big question is how the Rwandan Patriotic Front [RPF] will handle itself in the crucial period towards 2017 whether there is a transition to another president or Kagame seeks a third term. The likelihood that members may disagree and some loudly so remains possible, but analysts expect Kagame’s wish to prevail in whichever case given his grip over the state, party and crucially military and security apparatus. The reshuffle could be a message to those who have views contrary to the boss’ to keep to themselves and tow the party line when it emerges.

While social media is filled with speculation that the transition issue is reason for Karugarama’s sacking since he was regarded as competent and was many times one of the government’s spokespeople, his legal brain was significant in Rwanda jurisprudence.

For the case of Protais Musoni, he is said to have long asked to retire from demanding government jobs though it’s not yet clear if his removal from cabinet at this particular time is in fulfillment of this or he was sacked.

However, the recalling of several ambassadors may be to provide space for the former ministers to serve as ambassadors. It has happened before for President Kagame to send sacked ministers to diplomatic postings.

With the death of Aloisea Inyumba last year and now Musoni and Karugarama out of cabinet, President Kagame is the only person involved in the founding of the RPF who is surviving in the cabinet, and of course because he picks it.

Both Karugarama and Musoni played important roles in the creation and running of the Rwandese Alliance for National Unity [RANU] that became the RPF Inkotanyi in 1987. Karugarama was among the seven people present at his brother, Anthony Karugahe’s house at Lenana School in Nairobi in June 1979 at the founding of RANU. He was thereafter sent to Uganda to set up a branch of RANU that recruited some of the most influential people in the RPF liberation war.

Musoni became RANU Secretary General in 1983 and remained in that post until December 1987 when RANU transformed RPF in Kampala and was general coordinator during the RPF war. Musoni has long been a leading RPF ideologue alongside the likes of Tito Rutaremara. Protais Musoni is currently serving in RPF as a commissioner for discipline.

The RPF is expected to hold an electing congress in December 2013 and it is expected that long serving powerful Secretary General François Ngarambe and Vice Chairman Bazivamo Christopher will be replaced. While several names are being touted around, it is for certain that the transition politics will inform who will become Secretary General and others who will occupy positions on the Executive committee.

Political observers in Kigali say that the September parliamentary elections will also produce Deputies that are more likely to back Constitutional amendments enabling the third term.

Source: Great Lakes Voice

May 28, 2013   No Comments

Jakaya Kikwete suggests talks between Kigali and FDLR

Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania

Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania

At the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity celebrated this past weekend in Addis Abeba, a private meeting between the parties concerned by the Addis Abeba Peace Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo signed in February of this year was held.

During that meeting the Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete highlighted to the participants who included the Rwandan and Ugandan presidents Paul Kagame and Joweri Museveni that the brigade of intervention would be able to help very temporarily, but for a durable peace, a global dialogue was necessary.

He recommended that Paul Kagame needed to have direct talks with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda [FDLR], the Rwandan armed rebel movement operating from the Congolese provinces of Kivus. He suggested as well to the Ugandan president to hold similar talks with the rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces/National Army for the Liberation of Uganda [ADF-NALU] opposed to his government.

Source: Rising Continent

May 28, 2013   No Comments

Carrots and sticks: From appeasement to coercive diplomacy to end violent conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa

President Paul Kagame with Ban Ki-Moon and Jim Yong Kim

President Paul Kagame with Ban Ki-Moon and Jim Yong Kim

In their shuttle diplomacy in the Great Lakes region, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, have spoken on the need for Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to commit to peace in exchange for $ 1 billion in aid. In Kigali, Rwanda, the world’s top diplomats lamented the 1994 genocide, expressed guilt for international failure, and, as usual, praised President Kagame and called upon him to contribute to peace in the region.

Last year, due to pressure from the international community, President Paul Kagame reluctantly agreed to have his creation and proxy, M23, to withdraw from Goma. As a result of this international pressure, President Kabila was influenced, also reluctantly, to talk to M23, to listen to its “grievances”. Admittedly, the problems of eastern DRC are largely a Congolese problem of internal weaknesses. However, since 1994, Rwanda has exported its own internal political and human rights crisis to DRC. Although the current problem in the eastern DRC has a Congolese component, the M23 saga is Rwanda’s deliberate creation. You cannot solve, once and for all, the “M23 problem”without dealing with Rwanda’s own political crisis, and re-evaluating the West’s hitherto unquestioning support to President Kagame. Short of new and innovative ways in the thinking process, policy, and action to underpin diplomatic, political and aid-related initiatives, current peace initiatives will be a temporary and futile measure.

The Great Lakes region is amidst a period of high risk and escalation in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region. Political space in Rwanda has become completely closed, with democratic voices dead, in jail or in exile. The regime has become ever more illegitimate, intransigent, and aggressive. Power is vested in the hands of President Kagame and his wife, and a few Tutsi military officers who run both the formal and informal government. President Kagame and his top military officers have ceaselessly turned to DRC for personal economic gain, the latest venture being the M23, itself with high potential to escalate into a full civil war that could easily turn regional and ugly. Rwanda’s top military officers have been cited by the U.N. Group of Experts as the organizers of M23 rebellion. The same officers are the masterminds of the horrendous crimes which were described in the UN Mapping Report of 2010 and other previous reports. Many people in Rwanda, DRC, Great Lakes region, Africa and the International Community are asking about the endgame in the current crisis in DRC.

Without a robust international engagement with a well calibrated mix of rewards and punishment to regional spoilers, more money and hastily arranged and exclusive peace deals will not achieve much. Even the deployment of the 3,000-strong international brigade, in addition to the 20,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force with U.S. $ 1.5 billion annual budget, sooner than later the costly, redundant and scandal-prone UN peacekeepers in DRC will cut down their losses and close down what has become an embarrassingly ineffectual operation.The international community, especially the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, United Nations, and the World Bank face a mountain of credibility gaps in the Great Lakes region that are both historical and current. African people in the Great Lakes region do not trust that these players are honest and impartial brokers. Nor do they trust their own governments, whose governing elite are largely the source of the cyclical crises in Rwanda and DRC.

Here are some ideas for an all-inclusive, society-wide, regional, Africa-led, approach for responding to the immediate humanitarian crisis. In the medium and long term such an approach should help in de-escalating the violent conflict, stopping the impunity that underlies mass atrocity and other gross human rights abuses, promoting inclusive political and economic arrangements, building strong institutions that enhance the rule of law, co-operating for national and regional security, and building resilient communities for shared peace, and sustainable prosperity.

First, immediately initiate a coordinated two-track peace process for Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The two-track peace process should be co-facilitated by South Africa and Tanzania, under the auspices of the African Union. The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France and China), and the European Union should be engaged observers to the peace processes. If President Kabila talks to M23 created by Rwanda, why can’t President Kagame, who presides over a minority regime, talk to the Rwanda’s legitimate political opposition and armed groups like FDLR?

Second, call a spade a spade. The contact group, comprising of the co-facilitators and the observers, should be brutally honest to all the regional players involved in the problem. The international community should halt the policy of appeasement born out of the failures of 1994. The contact group collectively has substantive leverage and wisdom to bring to the table. The members of the contact group should seek to understand the current power dynamics in Rwanda and DRC, appreciate the consequences of maintaining the status quo and inaction, and consider the threats and opportunities with respect to international peace and security.

Third, adopt a people-centered approach. The contact group should directly engage Rwandans and Congolese struggling for fundamental freedoms and justice. A timid international community that won’t care for African people, and will only look at the each country and the region through the eyes of rulers is a recipe for cyclical conflict and disaster. The thousands of civil, community and political groups that are calling for change in these countries are, like their own societies, imperfect, but still they are indispensable stakeholders. The international community must support efforts that promote genuine dialogue, reconciliation and healing within Rwanda and DRC. It is no good value for money when billions are spent in development projects when many in Rwanda and DRC feel they are marginalized within and outside their countries.

Fourth, seek and promote accountability to end impunity, with an end goal of promoting restoration rather than retribution. However, Africans and the rest of the international community must make sure that those who have committed, and continue to commit, horrendous human rights abuses, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are held accountable. Economic efficiency, though desirable, is not the only factor in human development as founding and policy documents of the United Nations and the World Bank testify. Without basic rights and human dignity, the so called economic development is both sham and unsustainable.

Fifth, the contact group should urgently convene a Great Lakes Peoples Conference(GLPC) to consider a “Great Lakes Peoples Compact” to motivate the tens of millions of the unemployed, youth, and women who are both victims and tools of predatory state and non-state actors. The conference should invite governments, community and civic groups, business, academics, political opposition, multilateral and bilateral organizations to promote buy-in in the peace process.

Throwing money and hastily organized peace deals among the principal spoilers in a protracted and complex problem, without redressing its root causes, is a recipe for another failure and disaster The challenge to resist repression and war, and build viable communities and institutions, is primarily an African affair. However, the international community should have an interest in supporting Africa’s efforts before it is too late. A window of opportunity does exist, but it is closing fast. We must think and act innovatively, and together, now, to stop the slaughter of innocent Africans and prevent what may escalate to an unprecedented bloodbath in the Great Lakes region. As Albert Einstein once said, you can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa

Washington DC

5/25/2013

E-mail: ngombwa@gmail.com

The writer was President Paul Kagame’s Chief of Staff, Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United States, and Secretary General of Rwanda’s ruling party, RPF. He is currently the Coordinator of Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the author of Healing A Nation: A Testimony: Waging and Winning A Peaceful Revolution to Unite and Heal A Broken Rwanda ( CreateSpace, April, 2013)

Source: Inyenyeri News

May 28, 2013   No Comments

Lion of Africa? Paul Kagame’s dangerous delusions of grandeur

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal of May 19, 2013, written for him probably by his spin doctor, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Paul Kagame states:

This has been our approach in Rwanda. We have decentralized the state, reformed our business sector and strengthened our institutions. But we have also invested in health care, agriculture and education. As a result, the World Bank this year ranked Rwanda as the eighth easiest place in the world to start a business. A recent index in Foreign Policy magazine named the country the fifth best investment destination world-wide.

There are several flaws in President Kagame’s argument but let me cite three most important ones.

First, Rwanda has gone through repeated cycles of death and destruction despite economic gains that previous regimes and the current one were able to achieve. Governance is the fundamental problem in Rwanda, long polarized on ethnic and regional lines. Kagame’s record on governance is the worst in Africa. In Rwanda, political parties are banned; opposition leaders, human rights activists and journalists jailed, killed or forced into exile

According to the U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2012, “the most important human rights problems in Rwanda were lack of respect for the integrity of the person, particularly illegal detention, torture, and disappearance of persons detained by State Security Forces; unwarranted restrictions on the freedoms of speech and press, particularly harassment, violence, and arrest of journalists, political dissidents, and human rights advocates….Other major human rights problems included allegations of attempted assassinations of government opponents, both within the country and abroad.”

On a visit to Rwanda in 2011, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, a well-known defender of President Kagame, remarked that “the political culture in Rwanda remains comparatively closed. Press restrictions persist. Civil society activists, journalists, and political opponents of the government often fear organizing peacefully and speaking out. Some have been harassed. Some have been intimidated by late-night callers. Some have simply disappeared.”

Amnesty International Rwanda Report, 2012, documented “severe restrictions on freedom of expression and association, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and enforced disappearances”. Human Rights Watch World Report, 2012, cites that in Rwanda “freedom of expression and political space are still severely restricted. Members of opposition parties, journalists, and other perceived critics of the government were arrested, detained, and tried, some solely for expressing their views.” The United Nations Human Rights Commission Mapping Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010, documented war crimes, crimes against humanity and apparent systematic and widespread attacks against Hutu in the Democratic Republic of Congo that could be characterized as “crimes of genocide”. The European Parliament on May 23, 2013, passed a resolution calling upon Rwanda to end political persecution and torture, guarantee fundamental freedoms and independence of the judiciary.

President Paul Kagame’s catalogue of gross human rights abuses in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo clearly show a pattern of impunity without accountability.

Second, President Kagame’s belligerent policies in the Democratic Republic of Congo have a regional destabilizing and humanitarian effect, by undermining efforts towards peace, security, and economic development. President Kagame’s regime is isolated in the region. Tanzania and South Africa, key African players in the regional dynamics, are increasingly unhappy about President Kagame’s aggressive policies and actions in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Third, his latest venture into Congo through M23 proxies left most of the funding to Rwanda’s so-called economic miracle delayed or cut off. The U.N. Group of Experts Report, 2012, documented Rwanda’s support to the M23 rebel group, leading to unanimous international outcry and condemnation, even from his long term allies, the United States and the United Kingdom. Late last year President Obama called President Kagame to cease and desist from his actions in Congo. Now, on his upcoming visit to Africa next month, President Obama has excluded Rwanda from his itinerary. President Kagame, too used to a cozy relationship with President Clinton and President Bush, will not be amused by this dramatic reversal of fortunes.

Isolated from his own people, Africans and, increasingly, his own allies, it is mere wishful thinking and an empty dream that small and impoverished Rwanda will ever become the lion of Africa. Violent coercion, flattery and appeasement by some in the West do not place Rwanda on a sustainable trajectory for peace and prosperity. There is no short-cut to accountable government, genuine regional co-operation as a more durable anchor for peace and security, and international support that places people, not repressive dictators, as the center-piece of human development.

Rwanda’s history repeatedly shows that stakes are extremely high for Rwanda, the Great Lakes region and the international community. It is time for Rwandans, Rwanda’s neighbors and the international community to work together to avert the next bloodbath that will inevitably follow President Kagame’s policies and actions if they are not stopped and reversed as soon as possible.

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa

Washington DC

5/25/2013

E-mail: ngombwa@gmail.com

The writer was President Paul Kagame’s Chief of Staff, Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United States, and Secretary General of Rwanda’s ruling party, RPF. He is currently the Coordinator of Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the author of Healing A Nation: A Testimony: Waging and Winning A Peaceful Revolution to Unite and Heal A Broken Rwanda .

Source: Inyenyeri News

 

May 27, 2013   No Comments

Congo warlord says M23 will not back down from UN brigade

The M23 rebels

The M23 rebels

* Makenga says M23 will not take Goma, but will not retreat

* Warlord says Kampala talks only way to bring peace to Congo

* M23 will respond if attacked by new U.N. brigade

By Jonny Hogg

MUTAHO, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 27 (Reuters) – E astern Congo’s most powerful warlord stands on a hillside, surrounded by heavily armed fighters, and gazes down on the sprawling lakeside city of Goma spread invitingly below him in the distance.

Exactly what General Sultani Makenga is contemplating for his M23 rebels is a matter of some urgency, both for a government that has struggled to contain the revolt and for a new U.N. force tasked with disarming Congo’s insurgent groups.

Six months ago, Makenga’s fighters routed the ill-disciplined army and swept past U.N. peacekeepers to briefly seize the city of one million, provoking international outcry.

After months of calm, fresh fighting last week raised fears Makenga’s M23 fighters might once again have their sights set on Goma, on the shores of Lake Kivu, ahead of the deployment of the U.N. Intervention Brigade made up of 3,000 African troops.

“We’re not going to take Goma but we’re not going to give up our positions here,” Makenga says of the strategic village of Mutaho, from where refugee camps and army positions are clearly visible in the sun.

Dressed in combat fatigues and wielding a traditional cattle-herder’s stick, Makenga says the only hope of an end to the region’s troubles is to revive stalled peace talks between the government and M23 in neighbouring Uganda.

“The government can’t beat us. They have no choice but to negotiate,” says the lean, 39-year-old veteran of several revolts in mineral-rich eastern Congo. “We’re waiting for the negotiations in Kampala.”

M23 launched its rebellion in Congo’s beautiful but war-torn eastern borderlands more than a year ago. Hundreds of former rebels who had been integrated into the army – veterans, like Makenga, of a previous Tutsi uprising – abandoned their posts saying the government had failed to honour a 2009 peace deal.

Their discipline and military prowess won them large swathes of territory, forcing Kinshasa to the negotiating table.

But the fall of Goma prompted the international community into action. A February deal signed by 11 neighbouring countries sanctioned the deployment of the U.N. force with a mandate to neutralise armed groups like M23 in the eastern border region.

M23 WILL DEFEND ITSELF

As an incentive to peace, the World Bank last week announced $1 billion in development funding provided countries honour February’s agreement not to support rebels in Congo.

U.N. experts have accused Rwanda of sending troops and weapons to M23, which Kigali strongly denies.

Analysts say the latest fighting may have been prompted by the Brigade’s imminent arrival, as M23 jostles to improve its military position before any potential operations against them.

But Makenga insists the government attacked first.

He seems untroubled by the prospect of facing foreign troops if they bring the fight to the rebels. The 3,000-strong Brigade is to be made up of South Africans, Tanzanians and Malawians.

“We can’t attack the U.N. peacekeepers but if they attack us, what choice will we have? We’ll have to defend ourselves.”

The rebels have been weakened after months of infighting between rival factions and a steady stream of defections by those tired of the endless cycle of violence which characterizes eastern Congo’s jungle war.

But morale appears high amongst the remaining fighters, who tote heavy machine guns and rocket launchers as they swig from bottles of juice.

At least 22 people have been killed since fighting resumed a week ago, including three civilians who died when shells landed on aid camps and residential areas in Goma’s outskirts.

No one has publicly admitted hitting civilian targets but NGO workers say it is clear that M23 was responsible. Makenga warned that further collateral damage may be inevitable if the government launched further attacks.

Even here, in M23’s advance headquarters, evidence of the fighting is clear, with houses flattened by government shells.

Makenga, brandishing his walking stick more as a prop than a support, denies reports he was injured in the bombardment.

“They say that I am between life and death. But they’ve killed me many times and I’m still alive,” he says with a smile.

Source: Reuters

May 27, 2013   No Comments