2013 June — Rwandinfo_ENG
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Posts from — June 2013

Open letter 6 to his Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda

RE: Social Security Fund

Your Excellency, while we await to learn the whereabouts of our social security monies, I just discovered another shocking factor in this weird saga.

You – President Paul Kagame – quite literally run the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB). Why do I say that and what is my evidence?

Your Excellency, begin by revisiting Law No 45 of 2010, of 14/12/2010 establishing RSSB. It turns out Sir, this law was crafted to give you all the powers for single-handedly determining the decision-making process of RSSB.

First, you determine who is a member of the decision-making organ, the board of directors. Here is what the Law says: “A Presidential Order shall appoint members of the Board of Directors including the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.”

Mr President, you are the one who even determines the sitting allowance of the Board of Directors. Again here is actual wording of Law No 45/2010: “the Board of Directors shall be entitled to sitting allowances determined by a Presidential Order.”
http://www.csr.gov.rw/sites/default/files/law_governing_rssb-1.pdf

Second, and most amazingly, you, furthermore determine RSSB’s management. Law 45/2010 states the following: “Members of the General Directorate shall be appointed by a Presidential Order.”

When we look at our neighbor to the north, Uganda, members of the board directors are appointed by a mere minister! According to that country’s National Social Security Fund Act, “the chairman and other members of the board…shall be appointed by the minister”.
http://www.nssfug.org/19/Resources/NSSF_Act

Mr President, the Rwandan set-up is insane! What special interest do you have in RSSB to such an extent that you scoop so low to micro-manage even its general directorate?

President Paul Kagame, what is emerging here quite honestly stinks, especially when you consider the following:

1) You are directly running RSSB – you appoint both its directors and managers;

2) You influence their decisions – otherwise why accumulate so much power over them;

3) Rwandan social security fund monies are invested in your own Crystal Ventures businesses;

Guess what Sir, my sense is that if the actual data of RSSB investment portfolio ever gets published – as opposed to the sanitised version for protecting you – Rwanda will emerge as the most corrupt nation on planet earth.

We await the truth Sir; it will come out sooner than later.

Your Obedient Servant,

Karoli Mutarambirwa

Sourcec: Rwanda National Congress Africa Region

June 24, 2013   1 Comment

Beyond the big sticks, cheque book and gunboats: An open memo to President Barack Obama on the eve of his second visit to Africa

Theogene Rudasingwa

Theogene Rudasingwa

Your Excellency,

Shortly, you and your family will board Air Force One and head to Africa, on a journey that will take you to Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa. During your first term in the White House you visited Ghana, where you made the famous ‘Africa does not need strong men, it needs strong institutions’ speech, and Egypt, before it became engulfed in the Arab spring revolutionary fervor.

In a sense, you return to the same huge land mass (30.22 sq. km) comprising of 54 countries and a combined diverse population of 1.033 billion. It is the same Africa considered by many as the cradle of humankind, and one that has lured fortune hunters, be they slave traders, colonialists, vicious spies during the Cold War, or modern day states and corporate types in search of business and natural resources.

Being a good student of history, you are familiar with Africa’s contending narratives. Our continent falls perfectly within the ‘glass half-full or half-empty’ analogy. Of late, many among Africa’s ruling elite and the international community have amplified their voices; selling the idea that Africa is on the ascendancy, destined to become a powerhouse within the next few decades. To them, the glass is half-full. On the other hand, there are those who point to Africa’s sore spots and open wounds: poverty, HIV/AIDS, illiteracy, poor infrastructure, poor governance, human rights abuses, violent
conflicts and terrorism, failed or failing states, and environmental degradation. To these folks, Africa is your typical half-empty glass.

Between these two extremes of optimism and pessimism lies the true condition of the African people, which you are invited to seek to learn about, first and foremost. This is the world that, on behalf of the most powerful nation on planet earth, you can help overcome human suffering and shape the hopeful place of peace and prosperity that Africa desires
to become. History will, unfortunately, remind you that Africa is not particularly a place to secure a permanent positive legacy among great American Presidents.

Yet, for you, Mr. President, the stakes could not be higher, simply because of the initial high expectations that greeted your Presidency. Africans then expected, and remain hopeful, albeit with reduced expectation, that the first African-American U.S. President with a very recent African ancestry will do much more than his predecessors.

I am convinced beyond doubt that you have pondered this matter over and over again. How will you be remembered by Africans? How can this Africa visit create value for Africans and the American people?

Here is some open advice, assuming it gets past the gatekeepers at the White House and State Department to get to you:

First, be aware that the United States carries historical and current negative baggage in Africa in terms of its allies in Africa. Even as the Cold War recedes in the minds of the older generation, there is a discrepancy between what successive U.S administrations claim to be a values-driven foreign policy (freedom, democracy, human rights) and guilt by association with some of Africa’s most notorious dictators, as long as they serve ‘U.S. interests’. Without being
contrite, you may need to assure African people that the U.S will do no harm, and slowly disengage from the company of corrupt big men who usurp institutions and abuse people’s fundamental rights.

Second, the U.S should engage pro-democracy and modernizing voices among the political forces, civil society, women and youth organizations, academic institutions and communities. Out of these will emerge the new leaders and managers of Africa, just as an enabling environment allowed you to emerge as the U.S. President in 2008. The U.S. embassies in Africa should take the lead in this engagement. Historically, when these embassies are not compromised by the local ruling elite, or too involved on behalf of narrow U.S. security and economic interests, are often irrelevant because they are far removed from the ordinary lives of Africans. Instead of being a beachhead from which to deploy the whole of U.S. government and international power to make sustainable impact on the lives of Africans, and hence win their hearts and
minds, the embassy can become a theater for pitched battles among various departments and agencies. New and innovative marching orders to U.S embassies in Africa are long overdue, in terms who they serve and to what ends.

Third, be aware of revolutionary pressures that are building up within Africa’s youth bulge, the hundreds of millions of unemployed, unemployable, and often uneducated young men and women. Extremist ideologies and religious fanatics
find fertile ground among the marginalized. Of late, if your embassies and intelligence analysts are telling you (or know) the truth, there is a growing anti-American, anti-West, sentiment that is both concealed and open. The much publicized economic growth in Africa in recent years, largely from natural resources, hardly reaches the poor. The international community, United States included, does not significantly help willing countries to invest in higher education or
small and medium enterprises to create jobs and a motive to hope for the future among the jobless youth. You may wish to announce two bold and inter-related initiatives for higher education (especially in science, technology, innovation
and entrepreneurship) and, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and mobilize the whole international community (UN, World Bank, EU, AU, Regional Trading Blocs, Bilateral organizations and Philanthropy) towards this goal. The resources could be pooled together regionally to motivate cross-border co-operation.

Fourth, invest in holistic women and children health at the community level, with HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria integrated at this level, with a bias towards prevention. This year alone, over four million under-fives will die in Africa due to preventable conditions. It is estimated that in the same period more than a quarter of a million mothers in Africa will die during delivery. Africa’s future is bleak without putting women and children at the centre of the development and foreign policy agenda. Mrs. Michelle Obama and your daughters will be disheartened to learn about this unacceptable high death toll among Africa’s women and children.

Fifth, to help end and prevent conflicts in Africa, encourage, champion and support negotiations, accommodation and consensus-building, In particular, in the Great Lakes region of Africa, support Tanzania and the SADC initiative which calls on Rwanda, DRC and Uganda to hold talks with their armed and political opposition. Fortunately, your visit takes place a time when the United States is poised to talk to the Taliban. One makes peace with enemies. As the world holds its
breath during the recovery of Nelson Mandela, a legendary icon with a large African heart, bring it to the attention of Africa’s big men in the Great Lakes region that Africa is much better off when Africans talk to their fellow Africans, in the interest of African people.

Sixth, reign on your national security team. The hawks among them will insist that there is a red threat (China) looming over Africa, which must be contained or neutralized. Furthermore, these hawks argue, it is U.S. security and economic
interests that should take precedence over anything else, even if this means baby-sitting some of Africa’s most dangerous big men. The idealists in your team would love to re-invent Africa in a U.S. image. Both pathways are not only
undesirable but also unachievable and dangerous. Africa needs China, the United States and the rest of the world for mutual advantage. U.S, China and the rest of the world need Africa for the same reasons. The premium is on healthy
competition and co-operation.

Seventh, be aware of the rising tide of two world religions, Islam and Christianity, on the African continent. From the north to the south, east to the west, the ordinary people in every African country have generally lived together peacefully for centuries, as your 2009 speech in Cairo articulated. Both Islam and Christianity have largely been forces for good, and together they make Africa what it is and stronger. Everything must be done to prevent anything that would
put Muslims and Christians on a collision path, re-enacting the jihads and inquisitions of the past. Engagement and accommodation, rather than prejudice and isolation, should be the American way of navigating the ultra-sensitive
terrain of faith, in order to harness the most synergies for U.S. and Africa’s interests.

To summarize, Mr. President, as you travel around Africa, use your big stick, cheque book and the threat of America’s gunboats as arrows in your quiver, to be used wisely. If you have to promise a cheque, let it be to support Africa’s youth in education, small and medium enterprises, and women and children health. Disengage the U.S. from the cozy relationship with Africa’s big men, and engage to help create conditions for authentic pro-democracy African leaders to emerge. Tame the ambition and temptation for the U.S. to over-promise and over-reach, in search for enemies to contain or destroy, or in the hope of creating an Africa that is a replica of the United States. Promote negotiated and peaceful settlements, and reach out to the Mosques and Churches to promote inter-faith dialogue and co-operation.

Ultimately, it is out of the challenges and opportunities of today that Africans themselves must curve out the peaceful and prosperous Africa of tomorrow.

I wish you, your family, and the U.S. delegation a safe trip as you rediscover the magic of Africa.

Highest considerations,
Your Excellency.

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
Washington D.C.
E-mail: ngombwa@gmail.com

6/20/2013

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa is a former Ambassador of Rwanda to the United States, and the author of Healing A Nation: A Testimony: Waging and Winning A Peaceful Revolution to Unite and Heal A Broken Rwanda

June 21, 2013   No Comments

The DRC government deploys hundreds of soldiers and tanks along its frontier

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila

The M23 Spokesperson Rene Abandi told the press on Thursday that the DR Congo Army has stationed their forces on several fronts in Mabenga and Butembo and opened more fronts in Tongo and Giseguro in the North Kivu province which is a clear sign that they want to attack the M23 positition.

The reports comes hours after the DR Congo army spokesman Colonel Olivier Amuli told Radio France where he said that the government Army, Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) has already finalized plans and strategies to fight the M23 rebels.

“We are only waiting for an order from President Joseph Kabila to flush out these rebels out and stabilize the region”Col Amuli told Radio France International on Tuesday.

Colonel Amuli recently said that President Kabila is more inclined to the Military option than seeking a political solution to the crisis in the Eastern part of the country that has led to thousands of people to live in refugee camps in Uganda and Rwanda while others are languishing in internal refugee camps near Goma city.

On Monday June 17th South Africa deployed troops in Goma city to reinforce the Tanzanian contingent that will form the United Nations Intervention Brigade (UNIB) expected to combat M23 rebels.

However the M23 rebels have said that they are well prepared for any attack on their positions and will not be threatened in any way.

Sources close to the M23 military command near Goma confided to New Vision that the rebel movement has in the recent months intensified military training of their men including new recruitment of fighters and intelligence gathering.

In May, several youth from the districts of Kiruhura, Masaka, Ssembabule and Mayuge were arrested by Uganda authorities after they were suspected to be recruits destined to join the M23 ranks in Goma.

The M23 chairman Bertrand Bisiimwa has in the past threatened that his rebel outfit will not hesitate to recapture the strategic provincial town of Goma like they did in November 2012 should the Kinshasa government forces continue with plans to attack their positions.

Source: The New Vision

June 21, 2013   No Comments

Uganda protects Rwandan students who fled Rwanda for shelter

Map of Uganda

Map of Uganda

Kampala – A Ugandan government official says 16 Rwandan students who fled to Uganda over alleged recruitment for Congolese rebels are being considered for refugee status despite Rwanda’s protestation.

David Kazungu, Uganda’s commissioner for refugees, said the students are now under police protection.

The students’ account is disputed by Rwanda’s government, which wants them deported.

Frank Mugambage, Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda, told reporters this week that the students’ case was academic and had nothing to do with politics or security. Rwanda’s education ministry has listed the fleeing students among more than 500 whose results were officially confiscated for alleged malpractices.

The students say they fled Rwanda on June 3 after suffering persistent harassment by Rwandan officials who wanted them to join the Congolese rebel group M23.

Source: Inyenyeri News

June 21, 2013   No Comments

The Untold Stories of Kagame: A Man of Two Faces

Idd Amin

Idi Amin

Will Kagame be the next Idi Amin that led the collapse of the East African Community in the 1970s?

President Kagame has not only mastered the language of the West of divide and rule but has further gone another step of lying in all his political life.  Kagame has turned everything in Rwanda to be seen through the prism of the genocide, a hundred apocalyptic days that wiped out 800,000 men, women, children and babies and left no family unscarred. As a guerrilla commander  who led  his former RPA to the capital, Kigali,  Kagame without even mentioning his comrades, he boasts  of having single -handedly stopped the nightmare and, he calls all his former comrades  worthless(Ibigarasha). It is in this regard that many people, who don’t know his true colors say, he tilted the scales more towards reconciliation than revenge. “I’m not sure Rwanda would exist if not for him right now,” one Kagame’s admirer said.

Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame

When the Rwandan Head of State attended the military graduation ceremony in Nyakinama Military Academy he categorically stated that those who think that he can talk to his enemies are day dreamers. The Rwandan leader described the calls of his Tanzanian counterpart to negotiate with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) as “utter nonsense.”

This is not only a deliberate distortion of facts but also deliberate demonization of the Tanzanian Head of State. It is on record that President Kagame has been and is still in bed with people who did not only commit genocide but also those with genocide ideology.   Kagame is a man who does not need to be told the truth because he does not tell the truth.   President Kikwete was honest with Kagame and his advice was in good faith, but why Kagame does not want to negotiate with his political opponents?

The answer is not hard to find, Kagame has politicized the Rwandan tragedy that cost almost one million people, and he can bargain cheaply with labeling people genociders and give them little or nothing. If Rucagu was to be bargained  with negotiations he would have been  very expensive  or Gen. Rwarakabije, therefore  a post will be enough and  amnesty  to bring these guys from the jungles of Congo if Kagame uses threats and intimidation that  they all committed genocide.

Although this might be a good argument for a short term, it is a miscalculation of the principles of a lasting peace for a country that has been marred by ethnic instability for the last 5 decades since its independence from Belgium. As I have mentioned above the collapse of the East African Community in 1977 was largely on the cold blood that existed between President Id Amin of Uganda and the former Tanzanian Leader Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.

The new Community now has an expanded five Partner States from the original three that founded the original Community in 1967 and which collapsed in 1977, a lot has been said on the reasons for  the collapse of the East African Community but the Community  with a bigger economic area with a Common Market, moving towards a Monetary Union and ultimately a Political Federation, the  challenges are numerous compared to those that existed in 1970s when the block was  managed by only 3 States and a low population. It could be assumed that in the course of this progress, the EAC has drawn lessons from successful regional economic communities elsewhere, but apparently, inadvertently or otherwise, there seems to have been no effort made to draw lessons from itself: What does the old EAC teach the revived EAC?

As I have mentioned above many political commentators have advanced various reasons for the collapse of the old EAC. These have ranged from political differences especially between Uganda and Tanzania (though the actual quarrel and eventual war peaked in 1978-79, long after the EAC had collapsed). It could be argued that President Idi Amin behaved in the same way like the President Kagame when President Nyerere told him to negotiate with his political opponents who were in Tanzania at the time. President Idi Amin instead called him a woman that he could even marry. In the same way President Kagame has called his counterpart that he suffers from the genocide ideology. “Rwanda to hold talks with the FDLR is utter nonsense and comes from a point of ignorance. He added that if the comment was an ideological problem then it should stay with FDLR sympathizers.”

But if President Kagame cannot talk to the FDLR, because according to him they have been the part of the genocide movement, why can’t he talk to his political opponents who include even his former comrades who have fallen apart with him? Is he waiting for them to take arms so that he can talk to them? This is what President Kikwete was talking about, but because the Rwandan President wants to draw sympathy from both domestic and international community as usual his excuse is the genocide ideology, how long will the president keep fooling Rwandans and the international community?

The list of the people who were murdered  by IdI Amin include the Archbishop Janani Luwum of the Church of Uganda  in the same way Kagame ordered the brutal murder of the  Rwandan Bishops  who had sought  sanctuary in  Kabgayi  during the war in 1994, they have not been  given a decent burial they deserve. Murdered along with the archbishop was Internal Affairs Minister, Charles Oboth Ofumbi and Lands Minister, Lt. Col Erinayo Oryema. These were just a few of the prominent ones.  The list of  the murders and disappearances of many Rwandans  on the orders of Kagame is  endless, friends, comrades and  political opponents have been  killed  yet the international community is silent  and instead they talk about good  roads and clean City, these so called developments should  not be traded with Rwandan blood, Human Rights and Dignity. The Rwandan Military Intelligence (DMI) commands the right to life and death in the same way Amin’s State Research Bureau commanded the right to life and death. Kagame should listen to other people’s views lest he will fall in the same pit like his predecessors.

Source: Inyenyeri News

June 19, 2013   No Comments

President Kagame Attends 5th Israel Presidential Conference in Jerusalem

President Paul Kagame accompanied by Mrs Jeannette Kagame Monday arrived in Jerusalem, Israel to attend the fifth Israel Presidential Conference

President Paul Kagame accompanied by Mrs Jeannette Kagame Monday arrived in Jerusalem, Israel to attend the fifth Israel Presidential

Themed “The Human Factor in Shaping Tomorrow”, this year’s Presidential Conference will also mark the 90th birthday of Israel’s President, Shimon Peres.

Shortly after arrival, President Kagame and Mrs Kagame attended a reception hosted by President Peres alongside former US President William J. Clinton.

During the three-day visit to Israel, President Kagame will visit the Kibbutz Shfayim where he will meet thirty Rwandan students currently in an agriculture training program that is part of a partnership between the Rwandan and Israeli agriculture ministries.

The program which focuses on horticulture and irrigation is set grow to over 100 students as part of efforts to strengthen cooperation in one of Rwanda’s priority sectors.

President Kagame is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with both President Peres as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Kagame participated in the first Presidential Conference in 2008.

This year’s conference will discuss the future in relation to key issues including geopolitics, economics, society, environment, culture, identity, education and new media.

Source: Igihe

June 18, 2013   No Comments

UAP Conference: International Conference on Rwanda

United Actions for Peace logo

United Actions for Peace logo

The conference, organised by United Action for Peace, is on-going in the Seattle Hotel in Brighton, UK. It was opened by Aloys Manzi, the head of UAP, where he welcomed the delegates and participants prior to commencing the conference. Mr Ali, also a member of UAP, outlined the ground rules of the meeting and the demographics of UAP. He explained that UAP is an independent organisation, which aims to make the Rwandans come together with Politicians as well as civil rights groups meet and discuss on the solution for the challenges faced in their country. He highlighted that UAP is not a political party but pushing for the action of peace that is in the best interest of every one, not only Rwanda, but also in other parts of the world where peace is desperately needed.

Among the Delegates is the head of Ishema Political Party, Padiri Thomas Nahimana, Gervais Condo from the Rwanda National Congress, Rene Mugenzi, head of the Global Campaign for Human Rights, Ambrose Nzeyimana Human Right activist, Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa RNC who followed on video link and many other participants from different organisations as well as Rwandan community in the UK. Members of the press were also in attendance.

UAP having dinner

UAP having dinner

In this conference, even though there were many politicians from different political parties they all appeared to agree on the way forward for their country. The topics discussed included development and its challenges, of which it appeared that they all agreed that there are visible signs of development in Rwanda but it is also evident that this development is only benefiting only a few elite members of the nation thus callings its sustainability into question. This topic of development was due to be presented by the Rwanda Patriotic Front delegate, only to announce at the last minute that it was not possible for them to attend. However it was arranged by UAP that the Rwanda government website which indicates the achievements of Rwanda be viewed on the big screen by the participants. Also among the participants some managed to explain the interesting achievements of the Rwandan government; however they all agreed that the current government has failed to lift the majority from poverty and deep rooted corruption still exists in Rwanda in favour of employment and cohesion to those who do not support the ruling party.

Also discussed was the topic of Democracy and good governance which also was a mixture of exchanging constructive ideas. Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa took time explaining the negatives and positives of the overall challenges of the above topic. Gen Nyamwasa also gave examples of democracy and good governance in Africa.

The meeting continued into the evening hours with all the participants getting along well on most topics discussed. More topics such as Justice and Fundamental Human Rights, Unity and Reconciliation will be discussed in day two the meeting which will be held June 14, 2013.

Source: Inyenyeri News

June 17, 2013   No Comments

Rwanda: Kagame explains why Musoni and Karugarama were replaced

Kagame briefs journalists

Kagame briefs journalists

A press briefing was held Saturday where President Paul Kagame met with a dozen editors and senior reporters of only local media. But by the end of the session, no question had arisen about a recent cabinet reshuffle that saw two ministers losing their jobs. The president brought the issue up by himself and spent several minutes spilling the beans.

Cabinet Affairs Minister Protais Musoni and Justice counterpart Tharcisse Karugarama were sent packing last month – provoking speculation that they had been targeted because of their opposition to President Kagame at different forums. ‘That is totally untrue and baseless,’ said Kagame after he himself reminded the editors that they should have asked about it.

‘There is nothing that happens for no reason, so are cabinet reshuffles’ added Kagame, and then went into the specifics about each minister. For the case of Karugarama, before his demise considered untouchable, President Kagame said the ex-Justice minister could have lost his job back around 2010 or 2011.

Kagame told the journalists that he made his displeasure known to Karugarama during a cabinet meeting but decided not to sack him ‘because of our culture of giving more chances’. However, the president declined to give details of what exactly Karugarama had done. ‘Cabinet deliberations are supposed to be secret, so I will not say anything now,’ said Kagame.

As to speculation that Karugarama’s comments in the Guardian newspaper about the third term led to his departure, President Kagame hinted at it was part of the reasons he was replaced. But he insisted that was only the spark, adding that there was no need for Karugarama to go public with his assertions that responded to something that did not exist.

As for Protais Musoni, who had been in cabinet for more than 10 years, President Kagame said a lot was behind his sacking and also promised to go public at some point in future. At that moment, the first such press encounter, had to end as Kagame was to attend the Meet-The-President session with more than 37,000 students.

Kikwete’s FDLR comments

Earlier, the president addressed a range of issues ranging from local, regional and international. On controversial comments by Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete that Rwanda government should negotiate with Rwandan FDLR rebels, Kagame again made his displeasure very clear.

President Kagame said up to this point there was no indication suggesting Kikwete’s comments were part of a wider international conspiracy. Rwanda considers the declaration was made by the person of President Kikwete without external influence, said Kagame. The President however explained that it was strange to see President Kikwete raising the FDLR issue a few days after a Tanzanian politician Christopher Mtikila had attacked the Rwanda government – including even using racial language.

‘For the moment I will reserve my position about this [Kikwete] issue. We will have time to talk about it, and in the right forum,” said Kagame, adding that he is waiting to face President Kikwete and explain his feelings.

Twgiramungu: Has right to return, but…     

Thursday next week, self exiled ex-PM Faustin Twagiramungu is returning to Kigali after leaving the country in 2003 when he garnered 3.62 percent of the vote in the first presidential poll. Ahead of his return, Twagiramungu said he was tired of ‘remote control’ politics and wanted to face President Kagame head-on.

Today, without naming or making any direct reference to him, President Kagame said the ex-PM, like every other Rwandans was free to return to Rwanda at any time they so wish. ‘But that right comes with responsibilities,’ said Kagame. ‘Nobody will ever take Rwanda back to 20 years ago. There are laws and institutions that have been established to deal with anybody who wants to take us back.’

Kagame’s encounter with journalists was not live on state TV and radio as it has been the norm. Instead, the session was pre-recorded and is planned to be aired on the public broadcaster.

Rwandan troops for Mali

Last week, it was announced that Rwanda’s Bri Gen Jean Bosco Kazura would head the UN mission to Mali – where a bitter internal conflict has almost torn the country apart. External forces led by the French had to be brought in to stabilize the country.

President Kagame was asked whether work would not be complicated for Gen Kazura since there were no Rwanda soldiers on the mission to display the kind of discipline known for Rwandan troops in other missions. President Kagame, for the first time, announced that Rwanda was seriously considering sending troops to Mali.

Rwanda has been asked to provide support, said Kagame, and will gladly respond to that call. The President said government was still working out the details of its possible engagement but would soon announce its contribution.

As for the International Criminal Court (ICC), an issue President Kagame has been particularly outspoken, the President repeated his usual stance – branding the court as ‘politicized’.

‘We have never been against international justice,’ said Kagame, ‘We are against institutions that are politicized to fulfill agendas of some people.’

He added: ‘Kenya is a great nation… They did not need the ICC or [Koffi] Annan or anybody else to come with an unnecessary stick to force them to bring their country to order.’

The 3rd Term issue!

As expected, journalists were eager to push President Kagame on the post 2017 period amid growing speculation that the ruling RPF party is engineering a project to amend the constitution to allow Kagame to run at that time. The president spent a greater part of the press briefing discussing the 3rd term issue.

‘I have respected the current constitution to the letter, and will abide by the constitution that will be around after 2017 as decided by the Rwandan people’ said Kagame. He said the confusion about his intentions was being created by foreigners who deliberately ignore the history and context of the country.

He added; ‘If you say democracy is what is in the interest of the people, then their interests should be respected. I am not inclined to any views; I am only supposed to do the job I am mandated to until 2017. I will respect the law and the people who put the law in place.’

The President repeated the formula he has put forward as guiding principle to decide Rwanda’s post 2017 era; change, maintain the good progress, stability.

In other issues, the president also spoke about the level of soccer in Rwanda, saying the sector was lacking in all aspects. ‘I am fed up,’ he said, also speaking about his favorite European soccer team Arsenal.

The President also addressed the recent $400million international bond. ‘Though we are driven by ambition, we chewed what we would manage to swallow,’ said Kagame referring to fact that Rwanda’s bond received a total of $3.5billion in bids from excited buyers.

On achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), President Kagame said: ‘We will achieve most of the MDGs …. We still have low capacities, but we have made significant progress in the last decade’.

Source: News of Rwanda

June 17, 2013   No Comments

Rwanda: The Secretary General of FDU-INKINGI appears before Gasabo High Court

Sylvain Sibomana - Secretary General FDU-Inkingi

Sylvain Sibomana – Secretary General FDU-Inkingi

Mr Sylvain Sibomana and his co accused Dominique finally appeared before Gasabo High Court on the 13th of June 2013 after several postponements for various reasons.

After reading the charges by the Prosecution which focused on alleged illegal demonstration and defamation of security services, the defendants raised an issue regarding a flaw in procedure and asked the court to examine the legality of their detention.

The defendants pointed out to the court that the prosecution had claimed that they were arrested red handed. They told the court that the relevant Law on the matter stipulates that in such circumstances the suspects had to be brought before a court within 48 hours following the arrest. They drew the attention of the court that there was no need to look for evidence to try a suspect in a case where the suspect has been caught red handed. The defendants therefore accused the Prosecution of having ignored the law asking the court 30 days to get evidence to charge them. According to the defendants the Prosecution is keeping them in pre-trial detention because it has no evidence allowing them to try them and to keep them in detention.

The judge said that he understands their concerns but ruled that the court hearing would continue and he would deal with the issues of procedure and substance of the case at the same time.

On its charge sheet, the prosecution accuses Sylvain Sibomana of having defamed the security services by stating that they behave as if they were agents of the Party in power. Mr Sibomana denied having made such comments before telling the following words to the judge: « if for any reason, there were policemen who engage themselves in hunting down any person who is not member of RPF and ignoring their role to protect each Rwandan without discrimination, would that be considered a crime, deserving ten year prison sentence, to denounce such a behaviour as the prosecution proposes”?

The Prosecution bases its allegations on the sole fact of having a badge with the photo of Victoire Ingabire on it and wearing a T-shirt with a word democracy on it. The Prosecution also mentions that that there were many people at the hearing. The defendants wondered how wearing a badge and a T-shirt with the mention democracy could be construed to be a demonstration. The fact that the trial of Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza attracts many people should not be considered to be a demonstration, especially that the hearings are public.

The Prosecution has asked the court to sentence Sylvain Sibomana to 10 years in prison and 5 months of Dominique Shyirambere and one million Rwandan francs. The defence asked the judge to declare the case a non-suit as the Prosecution had failed to provide evidence to substantiate its allegations.

After hearing the submissions of the Prosecution and the Defence, the judge declared that the verdict will be made on the 12th of July 2013.

Mr Sylvain Sibomana and Dominique Shyirambere were arrested within the premises of the Supreme Court on the 25th of March 2013 as they were poised to attend the court hearing of Victoire Ingabire at the appeal case. On the 10 of April 2013, Gasabo High court had ordered a pre-trial arrest of 30 days which the defendants had appealed against. The court never responded to their appeal until they received their summons on the 10th of June calling them to appear in court on the 13th of June 2013, long after the legal pre-trial detention had expired. .

FDU-Inkingi

TWAGIRAYEZU Fabien

Intérim Spokesperson

Source: FDU-Inkingi

June 17, 2013   No Comments

Declaration of the International Conference on Sustainable Peace and Development in Rwanda

UAP after the conference

UAP after the conference

An international conference on Rwanda took place in Brighton, United Kingdom on June 13-14th 2013 under the auspices of the United Action for Peace with the Theme “Challenges of Sustainable Peace and Development”.

The chair man of UAP Aloys Manzi standing second left on the image above stated that the conference brought together participants from diverse horizons and backgrounds: representatives of civil society, political parties, experts, NGOs, writers and journalists.  The conference recognized that successive conflicts that took place in Rwanda in the past decades occurred as people pursued both liberty and security, both private property and distributive justice. So far, the use of violence (an attempt to do justice or undo injustice) to pursue the human needs and rights of one group has gravely harmed and obstructed the rights of others and levels of violence fell along a continuum of structural violence. So, time is overdue to increase the number of non-violent options that could help Rwandans choose and use the least violent options.

The conference is of the view that peace in Rwanda will be built when people take great care in their decision-making to plan for the long term, anticipating potential problems, engaging in ongoing analysis of the conflicts that have affected the Rwandan society and the subregion in past decades even centuries, and coordinating different actors and activities at all stages and at all levels of society. Therefore, it is important to support the development of relationships at all levels of society: between individuals and within families; communities; organizations; businesses; governments; and cultural, religious, economic, and political institutions and movements.

The conference reaffirmed that Rwandans, as other humans, have material needs and rights that include food, shelter, water, healthcare, land and resources to meet physical needs. This requires the protection of economic rights through distributive justice or a fair distribution of wealth, education, and employment opportunities for all people.

The conference reaffirmed that Rwandans, as other humans, have social needs and rights that include a sense of human dignity, belonging and predictability in relationships, security from attack, participation and influence in decision-making that affect their life, and the ability to earn respect and recognition from others. They require society to protect social, civil, and political rights through procedural justice. This includes democratic structure, the enforcement of the rule of law, and social justice programs of empowerment and education that foster national reconciliation.

The conference reaffirmed that Rwandans are interdependent; the unmet human needs or rights of any individual or group ripple outward and affect the whole country. When Rwandans will be aware of and value interdependence with all the components of the society, they will coordinate efforts to meet human needs and rights so that they don’t harm others. So far, a dominated-or-be-dominated worldview has always been the foundation of violence in Rwanda. Hence, there is a need to offer the value of partnership as an alternative to domination. Because when relationships are egalitarian and based on the values of partnership rather than domination, people cooperate with and empower each other to meet their needs and rights.

The conference underscored the necessity of making a clear distinction between need and greed. The latter being the desire to accumulate excessive amounts of material resources, decision-making power, and respect.

The conference commended the steps realized by the current government of Rwanda as well as the previous ones in achieving peace and development. But it also recognized that the achievements are still fragile, as long as they are not supported by solid pillars. The pillars  of a strategic peacebuilding in Rwanda are: Good governance, national reconciliation, democracy and human rights, justice, security, trauma healing, economic, social and political development, social action and humanitarian assistance, education, research, diplomacy and good neighborhood policy.

In order to mobilize the Rwandan community and the international community for the imperative of consolidating the pillars of strategic peacebuilding in Rwanda, the conference recommended a certain number of actions including but not limited to: participants committing to further pursue this initiative,  conduct researches and organize public debates on the roots causes of successive conflicts  and violence in Rwandan as  well as their ramification in the subregion of African Great Lakes, run a radio station on peace, unity and national reconciliation in Rwanda, use all kind of forums and media to vehicle the pillars of strategic peacebuilding in Rwanda.

On behalf of Participants,

Aloys Manzi

Chairman UAP.

Source: Inyenyeri News

June 17, 2013   No Comments