Posts from — January 2014
By Henry D Gombya
Dead Men Tell No Tales is a saying that has existed for a long time, and which American actor Clint Eastwood often used in many of his spaghetti westerns. But it wasn’t extremely popular until it became famous through the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, in which a pirate-ish skull and crossed bones on the wall utters this very phrase, among other things. Basically, what it means is that to keep something quiet, kill anyone who knows about it and, since that person is dead, it would be pretty much impossible for them to tell your secret.
But former Rwandan intelligence chief, Patrick Karegeya seems to have once and for all buried this myth and may now have relegated it to history by proving that, you know what, dead men after all, do actually tell tales these days. Having been mercilessly silenced allegedly by a group of assassins from Rwanda who enticed him to meet them at a Johannesburg upmarket Hotel on Christmas Eve and left after strangling him, the former Director General of Rwanda’s military intelligence seems to be speaking from the dead as his thoughts shortly before he died exposes one of the West’s most admired African leader as a cruel, murderous and calculating killer who has used the West’s failure to stop the Rwanda genocide in 1994 to his own advantage.
In a letter that he wrote to a friend in the United States, a copy of which The London Evening Post has obtained, Col Karegeya, a Makerere University law graduate who, together with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, joined a band of fighters that helped Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni come to power in 1986, is today laying bare the inner working of the Kagame regime in Rwanda and how the ‘darling of the West’ has used repression to stay in power.
Writing clearly with passion for his country which is tinged with Christian values, and verging on the need for reconciliation by all, and also showing a great command of the English language, Col Karegeya says: “The RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) government relies on a wide range of laws, administrative practises and terror to restrict citizens’ enjoyment of political freedoms.” He adds: “Institutions of the State continue to subject real and imagined critics of government to a wide range of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, detentions and involuntary disappearances and extrajudicial killings.”
Mad with power? Rwandan President Kagame who the late Col Karegeya accused of having become a terrifying killer
No Rwandan today can stand up to President Kagame and utter these words, Karegeya’s widow Leah yesterday told The London Evening Post that Rwandans are so scared of their leader that it took a while for those who knew before her that her husband had been killed, to have the courage to pass on the message to her for fear someone might hear them say what had happened. Turning on the very department he led for ten years from 1994, Col |Karegeya accuses the country’s security services, “all exclusively controlled by Tutsi military officers” of enjoying “absolute impunity for grave human rights abuses” and being responsible for keeping President Kagame in power. “Many members of opposition parties, civil society groups, independent media outlets and individuals suspected of being opponents of the regime, have been hunted down, arrested, tortured, imprisoned or killed by agents of the State,” he wrote.
The dead man then tells the tale of those he said had become “victims of state-sponsored terror” in the recent past. These included Andre Kagwa Rwisereka – Vice President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda who was found murdered and his body dumped in Butare on 13 July 2010; Jean Leonard Rugambagye – deputy Editor of Umuvugizi newspaper who was shot dead in front of his home in Kigali on 24 June, 2010 after writing an article criticizing President Kagame in his online newspaper and John Rutayisire, a relative of Col Karegeya. Another journalist that Col Karegeya doesn’t mention in his letter is Charles Ingabire who edited the Kinyarwanda newspaper Inyenyeri News as well as the Kigali-based newspaper Umuco. He fled Kigali in 2007 and was given asylum in neighbouring Uganda. An outspoken critic of the Kagame regime, on 30 November 2011 he was shot dead while having a drink at a pub in the Ugandan capital Kampala. No one has ever been arrested for his killing.
Others that have been allegedly killed for opposing President Kagame that Col Karegeya did not mention include Theogene Turatsinza, a Rwandan businessman who during his time as Managing Director of the Rwanda Development Bank (RDP) refused “orders from above” in Rwanda to declare RDP bankrupt. There had been rumours that senior members of the RPF had been helping themselves to the bank’s funds. He went missing on the 12th of October 2012 and three days later, his body was later found tied and floating in a river in Maputo, capital of Mozambique. Not knowing that within two days of writing the letter he would himself become yet another victim of the Rwanda terror group, Col Karegeya adds: “The Rwanda Government has deployed a very large number of intelligence operatives in countries across Africa, Europe and North America, to hunt down and kill opponents of the regime.” He couldn’t have been more prophetic.
What Col Karegeya says about the Rwandan leader resonates well with what others have said and written about President Kagame. Writing in the London Daily Telegraph of 22 July 2010, the newspaper’s Richard Grant wrote thus about President Kagame: “…the president of Rwanda is widely considered to be the most dynamic and effective leader in Africa today, and also ruthless, repressive and intolerant of criticism.” In his letter, Col Karegeya explains that what the outside world has seen about President Kagame is not what Rwandans living under his leadership have experienced.
He writes further: “President Kagame’s absolute control of the entire machinery of the state affords him protection from being held accountable for his many serious crimes, some of which have led to horrendous consequences for innocent civilians both inside and outside Rwanda.” The assassinated Rwandan dissident continues to tell his tale of a dead man by disclosing the source of President Kagame’s wealth. He revealed: “The business conglomerate – Crystal Ventures formerly Tri-Star Investments, and the military-led Horizon Group – owned by his political party, which for all practical purposes is his personal property, has extensive corrupt business relations with the state. RPF business entities have priority when government is issuing licenses for the most lucrative sectors of the country’s resources. Business entities owned by the RPF and close family and friends of the President receive the bulk of the government’s procurement contracts. Domestic and foreign investors seeking business opportunities in Rwanda are often compelled to go into partnership with the RPF as a condition for being allowed to do business in Rwanda.”
He accuses President Kagame and the RPF of promoting “social inequality” and undermining “national stability” by controlling businesses that benefit only a small group of people. He says: “The involvement of the RPF compromises the integrity of very many of its members, including President Kagame, because of the conflict of interest that they are involved in day to day in making official decisions affecting the party’s business interests.” Having died as the longest serving Rwandan director of intelligence, Col Karegeya surely knew quite well the inner workings of Kagame and the RPF.
As a lawyer, Col Karegeya does not mince his words when he accuses Kagame of bearing the responsibility for some “extremely serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, that have been committed against innocent civilians in both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo”. He says: “President Kagame will not shrink from committing any crime in order to stay in power. He does not have respect for the sanctity of human life and that is why he is always prepared to resort to murder of political opponents (and Heads of State) [Col Karegeya’s brackets] to deal with peaceful challenges to his rule. President Kagame bears responsibility for Rwanda’s failed transition to democracy and the political impasse that his attempts to cling to unaccountable power has given rise to.”
While Rwanda remains 22nd in the 30 poorest countries of the world (only two countries on the list are non-African), its leader, according to the man who knew him so well, yes; Col Karegeya, its leader travels in style. While most leaders in the West travel by public transport with the exception of the President of the United States, a country that is far richer and bigger than Rwanda which perhaps justifies its insistence, among other security details, that the leader of the so-called developed world must always travel exclusively on aircraft or cars made and provided by the USA, like many other African dictators whose countries are among the 30 poorest nations on earth, Col Karegeya tells us that President Kagame has the exclusive use of two private jets that transport him anywhere in the world or for any of his private businesses or official duties. “One example that demonstrates the depravity of Kagame’s corruption is the case of luxury jets that [he] uses for his personal and official trips. The planes, Global Expresses made by Canadian Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, cost more than US 60 million dollars each.” He also stays only at the most exclusive hotels of the world. According to a Washington DC insider, last year Kagame spent over $10,000 a night on hotel accommodation for himself alone when he attended the UN General Assembly.
While Rwanda is perceived by many as being peaceful, Col Karegeya warns that the human rights situation in the country remains of grave concern and that one cannot rule out the recurrence of yet another very violent conflict like the one the world witnessed in 1994. “Can Rwanda continue to be peaceful while the government continues to be repressive and the majority of the people consider the government illegitimate? How do we balance individual freedoms and the requirement for a stable community?” he asks.
The world has gone out of its way to try and apologise for failing to stop the 1994 genocide. The assassinated Rwanda dissident was of the view just a week ago that this failure by the West has been exploited by the Rwandan ruler who has used it “to silence critics of his opposition to democratic change and the human rights practices of his security services”. This intolerance, Karegeya charges, “continues to fuel impunity and is an obstacle to lasting peace and sustainable development in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo”. “Western indifference to President Kagame’s human rights record and stand on popular political participation, is incomprehensible to the majority of Rwandans and it alienates them,” he said.
January 10, 2014 1 Comment
Rwanda President Paul Kagame is not dead as alleged on social media platforms, a senior government official said Friday morning.
Yolande Makolo, the President’s publicist, described the rumours as “utter rubbish.”
“For some, twitter rumour train is a full time job,” she charged.
Hundreds of residents of Goma, DRC, today stormed the streets in a wild celebration of Kagame’s death rumours.
Some were photographed carrying a coffin on the streets.
The DRC government recently accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebellion, a charge Kigali vehemently denies.
Makolo’s remarks came against the backdrop of finely tuned rumours on Twitter about sensitive developments in the Great Lakes region.
Early this week, a journalist alleged that suspects in the murder of Patrick Karegeya in South Africa had been detained in Mozambique.
South Africa Police would later describe the reports as a “big lie.”
A few days later, another journalist claimed that Rwanda’s head of intelligence services, Karenzi Karake, had been put under house arrest over alleged links with Karegeya.
The journalist later retracted the story with an apology to Karake.
Officials told Chimpreports that the Twitter rumours are aimed at creating a climate of tension in the Great Lakes region.
It also emerged that Kagame was on Friday meeting a delegation of 31 students from Wharton School of the University, U.S at his Village Urugwiro office in Kigali.
Source: Chimpreports.com-Uganda News.
January 10, 2014 No Comments
Benedict Llewellyn-Jones who has been serving as the United Kingdom’s High Commissioner to Rwanda for the last three year’s today called on President Kagame on Tuesday to bid him farewell after his tour of duty came to an end.
January 8, 2014 No Comments
January 5, 2014
LAGOS, Nigeria — The killing of Rwanda’s former spy chief in South Africa has critics revisiting serious allegations against Western-backed President Paul Kagame that go back to the Central African nation’s 1994 genocide.
Former Col. Patrick Karegeya, a wartime ally from Kagame’s days as a rebel leader, was found dead last week in a bed in Johannesburg’s prestigious Michelangelo Towers hotel. Police said he was possibly strangled.
Karegeya’s friends and fellow dissidents accused Kagame of ordering the assassination, pointing to a pattern of alleged killings of his opponents at home and abroad. Karegeya fled to South Africa in 2007.
Officials in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, have not responded to requests for comment. But the Rwandan high commissioner in South Africa, Vincent Karega, told local broadcaster eNCA that talk of assassination is an “emotional reaction and opportunistic way of playing politics.”
South African police say they are investigating the case but no arrests have been made.
The killing comes five months after Karegeya claimed to have incriminating evidence that would prove Kagame, who is lauded by Western leaders for ending Rwanda’s genocide, actually provided the catalyst for the mass killings.
In a July interview with Radio France International, Karegeya charged that Kagame ordered the downing of a jet that killed the Hutu presidents of Rwanda and neighboring Burundi, the event that triggered the genocide in which some 800,000 Tutsis and some moderate Hutus were killed over three months.
Karegeya said on RFI that he was willing to hand his evidence to a court in France that is investigating because the plane’s pilots were French.
A long-suppressed U.N. report published in 2010 noted that Kagame in 1994 refused to have peace talks as thousands of mainly Tutsi Rwandans were being killed, buying the time that allowed his forces to reach Kigali and take control.
It accused Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front of then going on to massacre Hutus in Rwanda, including at Kibeho refugee camp in April 1995 before the eyes of Australian and Zambian U.N. peacekeepers, an attack allegedly led by Karegeya.
The same report, which carried a lengthy denial from Kagame’s government, accused the Rwandan-led forces of “a possible genocide” of Rwandan and Congolese Hutus in eastern Congo in the mid-1990s.
Rwandan experts have said the U.N. failure to publish an earlier 1994 report on RPF massacres gave Kagame a blank check to continue the killings.
Defense lawyers at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the court for perpetrators of the genocide based in Tanzania, long have contended that the court has provided “victor’s justice” by ignoring massacres by Kagame’s forces.
Kagame is feted by current and former U.S. and British leaders who point to how he has transformed an impoverished and war-ravaged nation into an efficient technology hub with some of the highest rates for literacy and health in Africa. That has come at the cost of a dictatorship that ruthlessly suppresses opposition and routinely jails, disappears and kills opponents, according to critics.
Analysts say the West panders to Kagame because of its great guilt over not ending the Rwandan genocide. And Kagame, who blames French troops that allowed perpetrators of the genocide to escape into Congo, played to British and American interests in diluting French influence in Central Africa when he changed Rwanda’s official language from French to English. That put Tutsi exiles who grew up in English-speaking Tanzania and Uganda at a great advantage over French-speaking Hutus. Rwanda’s other official language is Kinyarwanda.
Initial opposition to Kagame came, predictably, from members of the Hutu tribe, but in recent years it has come increasingly from former Tutsi allies like Karegeya and others who fear the brutal suppression of Rwanda’s majority people, the Hutu, might lead to another genocide.
About 85 percent of Rwandans are Hutu who were held in serfdom by Tutsi royalty in the 18th century. After World War I Rwanda fell to Belgian colonizers who entrenched divisions by ruling through the Tutsi monarch and educating only Tutsi males. Hutus who revolted had limbs amputated by Tutsis, on the order of the Belgians.
When independence and free elections came in 1961, they were won by Hutus. The first Tutsi attempt to regain power came a year later, with an invasion from Burundi. The Hutu government responded with brutal reprisals against Tutsi civilians.
Under Kagame, Hutu politicians have been killed or jailed in Rwanda. Journalists and judges also have been killed and imprisoned with the most fatal year being 2010, when Kagame was re-elected in polls that human rights activists called greatly flawed.
Kagame, who says many of his enemies deny the genocide, recently has taken to demanding that the children of Hutus apologize for the genocide that occurred before they were born.
“Kagame is actually blowing the country in the path of another genocide,” said former Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa. He was Kagame’s army chief of staff until 2010 and has survived two assassination attempts that are the subject of a South African court case and that left him with a bullet lodged in the base of his spine.
Source: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 7, 2014 No Comments
Mr. Douglas E. Coe
Washington Avenue San Leandro,CA 94577
28th December, 2013
Dear Mr. Coe,
Re: Ending the Crisis in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region through Dialogue On behalf of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC)
I am writing to inform you that the current situation in Rwanda is one of those that ought to be of the greatest and urgent concern to those in the international community who have genuine concern about international peace and security in general and in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa in particular. The majority of the people of Rwanda, we believe, share a common perception that policies of the international community have not reflected principled support for the development of democratic and inclusive institutions, respect for the fundamental rights of citizens and accountability of public officials for gross violations of human rights.
I write this letter to share our views on the political situation in Rwanda and on the role that you can play in advancing freedom and promoting long term stability and peace in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region.
The status of governance in Rwanda
The people of Rwanda have for a very long time been exposed to repressive government, leading to recurrent violent conflict. This violence reached its peak with the genocide of 1994. I have no doubt that you are well aware of the deprivation and immense suffering that recurrent conflict has occasioned to millions of Rwandans. I also acknowledge that the Government of Rwanda has, with the assistance of the international community, made significant progress in restoring public order, re-establishing effective state institutions, and rebuilding the country’s economy during the period since 1994. Unfortunately, the reconstruction efforts that Rwanda has undertaken since the genocide are not rooted in democratic values, respect for human rights and broad inclusion. As stated in the Rwanda Briefing document that four former colleagues of Rwandan President Kagame ( including myself) published in August 2010, “there is more to Rwanda and Paul Kagame than new buildings, clean streets, and efficient government than President Kagame’s famous friends in high places in Europe and America care to admit.
Rwanda is essentially a hard-line, one-party, secretive police state with a façade of democracy …” The ruling party, the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), has closed space for political participation. The RPF does not tolerate political opposition or open competition for power. President Kagame does not allow opposition parties to be registered, let alone operate freely. Media outlets that are critical of the government are either shut down by the government or forced to close operations as a result of attacks against their journalists.
The Government of Rwanda has now closed down all the independent media outlets the country once had. Civil society organizations independent of the government operate under draconian restrictions that make the exercise of their role as watchdogs over government impossible. The people of Rwanda have no liberty to discuss, nor decide, how they should be governed. The Rwanda Government is controlled by a small group of Tutsi military officers and civilians from behind the scenes.
The political system marginalizes the majority of the population from political participation.The Government of Rwanda relies on severe repression to stay in power. The RPF government relies on a wide range of laws, administrative practices and terror to restrict citizens’ enjoyment of political freedoms. Institutions of the state continue to subject real and imagined critics of the government to a wide range of human rights violations including arbitrary arrests and detentions and involuntary disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
The security services, all exclusively controlled by Tutsi military officers, that are responsible for keeping President Kagame in power enjoy absolute impunity for grave human rights abuses. Many members of opposition parties, civil society groups, independent media outlets and individuals suspected of being opponents of the regime have been hunted down, arrested, tortured, imprisoned or killed by agents of the state. Victims of state sponsored terror who have lost their lives over the recent past include Andre Kagwa Rwisereka (Vice-President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda), Jean Leonard Rugambagye (Deputy Editor of Umuvugizi Newspaper) and John Rutayisire.
The Rwanda Government has deployed a very large number of intelligence operatives in countries across Africa, Europe and North America to hunt down and kill opponents of the regime. Many members and leaders of opposition parties including ; Bernard Ntaganda, President of the Social Imberakuli Party; Victoire Ingabire President of the FDU-Inkingi Party ( recently sentenced to 15 years in jail; and, Deo Mushayindi of PPD Imanzi Party, remain in detention and so do some innocent relatives of opposition leaders. The Rwanda Government continues its relentless persecution of government critics. The most recent victims of this persecution include independents journalists and opposition leaders, all of whom have been sentenced to long prison terms, some after trials in absentia that did not meet international standards of fair trial.
The climate of repression that prevails in Rwanda has forced many government officials including two former Prime Ministers, two former Speakers of Parliament, and a host of former Ministers, former Judges, senior government officials, Military officers, journalists and Human rights activists to join hundreds of thousands of their compatriots in exile. As a result of the repression that security services helping President Kagame are responsible for, Rwanda is a country engulfed by fear.
Not since the days of Idi Amin have the security services of a state terrorized a nation to the extent to which Rwanda’s security services have visited fear and terror upon the country’s citizens. The climate of fear and terror that prevails in Rwanda does not permit Rwandan society to freely discuss the very grave problems facing the country and to find solutions to those problems.
President Paul Kagame’s leadership
The grave political crisis that Rwanda is facing is largely a result of President Kagame’s relentless pursuit of absolute power. Rwanda’s first post-genocide government included a range of other political groups that had campaigned for democratic reform during the early 1990s. Rwanda’s experience with broad-based multi-party government came to an end after only a year. Then Vice President Kagame drove the opposition leaders who were part of that government from office on account of their criticism of human rights abuses by members of the Rwandese Patriotic Army. From then on, President Kagame embarked on a mission to emasculate all party and state institutions and to craft a state controlled in every aspect by a single person who wields absolute and unaccountable power. Rwanda is not only a one party state; it is also a state governed by one man. President Paul Kagame exerts absolute control over both the ruling party (RPF) and the government.
All institutions of the state are controlled by the President. The country’s political system lacks checks and balances. The judiciary and the legislature do not have any independence. State institutions, especially law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and security services, serve to protect President Paul Kagame’s political monopoly instead of protecting the fundamental human rights of citizens and executing their constitutional mandates. President Kagame’s absolute control of the entire machinery of the state affords him protection from being held accountable for his many serious crimes, some of which have led to horrendous consequences for innocent civilians both inside and outside Rwanda.
President Kagame is one of Africa’s most ruthless dictators. He is a corrupt leader who lives a lavish lifestyle that is out of step with the abject poverty of the majority of the people of Rwanda. President Kagame has used his time in office to amass personal wealth of unprecedented proportions in the Eastern and Southern African region. The business conglomerate (Crystal Ventures formerly Tri-Star Investments, and the military-led Horizon Group) owned by his political party, which for all practical purposes is his personal property, has extensive corrupt business relations with the state. RPF business entities have priority when government is issuing licenses for the most lucrative sectors of the country’s resources. Business entities owned by the RPF and close family and friends of the President receive the bulk of the government’s procurement contracts. Domestic and foreign investors seeking business opportunities in Rwanda are often compelled to go into partnership with the RPF as a condition for being allowed to do business in Rwanda. The RPF finances its various businesses with preferential financial backing from state-owned banks, insurances companies, and the national social security fund. Because they benefit only a small group of people, the business activities of the RPF promote social inequality and undermine national stability. The involvement of the RPF compromises the integrity of very many of its members, including President Kagame, because of the conflict of interest that they are involved in day to day in making official decisions affecting the party’s business interests.
The RPF’s business arm already controls a big part of the country’s economy, about 80% by some credible estimates. One example that demonstrates the depravity of Kagame’s corruption is the case of luxury jets that President Kagame uses for his personal and official trips. The planes, Global Expresses made by Canadian Aircraft manufacturer Bombadier, cost more than US 60 million dollars each.
President Kagame also bears personal responsibility for some extremely serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, that have been committed against innocent civilians in both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. President Kagame will not shrink from committing any crime in order to stay in power. He does not have respect for the sanctity of human life and that is why he is always prepared to resort to murder of political opponents ( and Heads of State ) to deal with peaceful challenges to his rule.
President Kagame bears responsibility for Rwanda’s failed transition to democracy and the political impasse that his attempts to cling to unaccountable power has given rise to. President Kagame’s manipulation and abuse of institutions of state to harass political opponents and stifle dissenting opinions continues to be condemned by virtually every reputable international human rights organisation, and many major media outlets and prominent scholars and journalists, including some who have previously been supportive of President Kagame.
Potential consequences of the policies of the Rwanda Government Rwanda, as demonstrated, still face many difficult challenges in its experience of nation building in the aftermath of violent conflict. It is generally acknowledged that Rwandan society remains deeply divided along ethnic lines. The country’s transition to democracy has been unsuccessful.
The human rights situation in the country remains a matter of grave concern. Citizens lack access to fundamental human rights. State security agencies commit grave human rights abuses with impunity. The country is peaceful, but many observers are of the view that recurrence of very violent conflict may be inevitable, at least in the medium to long term. President Kagame claims to have made progress in developing Rwanda, and argues that human rights, including rights relating to political participation, are not a priority for the development process. Nevertheless, concerns over the country’s progress in engendering reconciliation and creating a democratic system of government raise questions about the sustainability of Rwanda’s social and economic advances and the potential for renewed conflict.
The situation that prevails raises serious questions about the country’s future. Are the country’s development achievements sustainable? Can Rwanda continue to be peaceful while the government continues to be repressive and the majority of the people consider the government illegitimate? How do we balance individual freedoms and the requirement for a stable community? How should citizens respond when rulers mistake the state to be their personal estate and deprive their subjects of their inalienable rights?
We firmly believe that the violent conflicts that Rwanda has experienced over the past half century are rooted in issues revolving around governance.
The RPF government, we assert, has failed to effectively address the root causes of conflict in Rwandan society. As a result, Rwanda is in a situation of serious crisis. The only path to sustainable peace and development in Rwanda is a system of government that has popular legitimacy, includes all communities of Rwanda and is committed to the respect of fundamental human rights, especially the integrity of the person and the right to political participation. Economic development in post conflict societies that is not rooted in democratic values, respect for human rights, and broad inclusion is not sustainable.
We are convinced that violent conflict is virtually certain to return to Rwanda if the present government does not heed calls for dialogue and agree to a process of peaceful political reform leading to democracy. The results of the substantial development assistance that the international community has extended to Rwanda since the end of the genocide could be very swiftly undone in the event of such conflict, with grave implications for the whole Great Lakes region and international peace and security.
The role of the international community in supporting democratic change and building sustainable peace in Rwanda
President Kagame has exploited the failure of the West to stop or prevent the 1994 genocide to silence critics of his opposition to democratic change and the human rights practices of his security services. The tolerance that the international community has exhibited towards Paul Kagame’s excesses continues to fuel impunity and is an obstacle to lasting peace and sustainable development in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Western indifference to President Kagame’s human rights record and stand on popular political participation is incomprehensible to the majority of Rwandans, and it alienates them. Stability and development do not substitute for liberty and freedom.
In view of the grave consequences that a return to violent conflict in Rwanda would entail, the RNC and its partners hold the view that peace and security in Rwanda should be a matter of international concern.
The people of Rwanda count on Rwanda’s neighbors, and development partners, to support the promotion of respect for human rights and advancement of democracy. We believe, that Rwanda’s development partners, especially those who have close relations with the current government (the United States and the United Kingdom) have a unique role, if not responsibility, to advance the cause of peaceful change in Rwanda by engaging President Kagame on the need for progress in guaranteeing fundamental human rights and for national dialogue to resolve the country’s crisis.
The international community ought to support the seeking of democratic change, inclusive government and respect for human right in Rwanda on account of several reasons, including the following:
a) Empowering the people of Rwanda to realize the full range of their human rights: The people of Rwanda continue to be deprived of the opportunity to enjoy some of the most fundamental human rights, including rights relating to integrity of the person, freedom of expression and political participation. The Kagame regime relies on repression to maintain this status quo. The people of Rwanda are much entitled to be relieved of this tyranny as citizens of Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya whom the international community is supporting to make the realization of their human rights a reality.
b) Promoting international peace and security: In the absence of democratic reforms, the policies of the present government of Rwanda are likely to lead to a return to violence in the country. A system of government that deprives citizens of fundamental human rights, especially the right to political participation and the integrity of the person, cannot last indefinitely. Change in Rwanda is inevitable; the issue is whether change will be negotiated and peaceful, or violent and imposed, again, by the victors of a bloody armed conflict. Political change is necessary to avert violent conflict that repressive government in Rwanda has made almost inevitable. A return to violent conflict in Rwanda would further destabilize the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.
c) Humanitarian considerations: Rwanda is on the precipice of a very serious political and humanitarian crisis. A return to violent conflict in Rwanda is likely to take an ethnic dimension. As was demonstrated after 1994, violent conflict in Rwanda has capacity to lead to massive loss of human life, as well as immense suffering for millions, both inside Rwanda and in other countries in the region. The international community needs to act today in order to prevent the suffering and horrendous loss of life that is likely to result from the outbreak of new violence in Rwanda.
What you can do to help all Rwandans
There are even more important reasons why we, as Christians, are invited to radical inclusion, in truth, that leads to freedom, peace and reconciliation. I have read with a lot of interest the vision and mission of The Fellowship that is inspired from the scriptures: “Once you were not a people, but now are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. “- I Peter 2:10 For a society like ours that has witnessed past and ongoing trauma, with all communities becoming victims and perpetrators, the question of forgiveness and mercy cannot be overemphasized. As brothers and sisters who are otherwise united by one nation and one language, we have sinned against each other.
The alienation from God and from each other has consequently inflicted untold suffering on our society as a whole, and to our neighbors in the region. We can face the future with hope if we talk to each other truthfully and learn to forgive each other. In the words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.” – Matthew 18:15-17.
Equally inspired by these words of wisdom from the One we serve, our organization is planning to organize an international conference on Rwanda this coming year, around March, 2014. The idea is to invite stakeholders in Rwandan society (Government, Church, Civil Society and Opposition organizations, including those that are armed, etc..) to talk candidly about the state of affairs in our beloved country and how we can build the future together. Understandably, this is a very difficult proposition, given the fact that such a culture of dialogue, give and take is evidently lacking in our society. Yet, we can only imagine the dangerous alternatives to the dialogue and peace. We have informed the United States Government, and the Governments of France, Belgium, Tanzania and South Africa about this idea. While they all note how difficult this will be, they appreciate how timely, important and urgent it is.
Could you help us in this important endeavor to get Rwandans talk to each other? As we look forward to the coming year, we are reminded of the prophetic words of the Prophet Isaiah, echoed many centuries later by our Lord and King, Jesus Christ: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD.” -Luke :18-19.
The hands of the millions of Rwandans who enter 2014 afflicted, brokenhearted, captive in fear, and prisoners beckon all of us to action. It is an invitation we cannot ignore.
I wish you and your family a Happy New Year.
In Christ, Colonel Patrick Karegeya
Co-founder and Member of the Executive Rwanda National Congress (RNC)
Encl: Founding Declaration of the Rwanda National Congress
Edited and formatted by Jennifer Fierberg
January 7, 2014 No Comments
Patrick Karegeya has died. Even before an investigation, many are already convicting the government of Rwanda generally and president Kagame personally.
January 6, 2014 No Comments
Rwanda’s late former spy chief Patrick Karegeya was last seen with a Rwandan businessman who befriended the victim in jail, says a Rwandan ex-general.
A Rwandan ex-general who has survived two assassination attempts says the man who was last seen with the ex-spymaster killed in a South African hotel was a Rwandan businessperson who befriended the victim in a Rwandan jail.
Police say former Colonel Patrick Karegeya’s body, apparently strangled, was found on Wednesday in Sandton’s Michelangelo Hotel along with a bloodied towel and rope.
Former Lieutenant General Kayumba Nyamwasa said on Saturday that Karegeya was last seen by a family member at the hotel with Apollo Ismael Kisiriri.
Nyamwasa said he had twice met Karegeya with Kisiriri and that “he [Karegeya] trusted him absolutely … but now one is dead.”
Exiled opponents accuse Rwandan President Paul Kagame of ordering Karegeya’s assassination and 2010 attempts on Nyamwasa’s life in the South African city of Johannesburg.
‘Exploring all avenues’
Meanwhile, Gauteng police and the Hawks on Friday said the hunt for the killer of Karegeya continued.
“We are exploring all avenues,” Hawks spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko said.
Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said she could not immediately comment on developments in the investigation. She would neither confirm nor deny reports that security camera footage from the hotel formed part of the investigation.
“It is police procedure, where a crime was committed and CCTV footage of the scene exists, [for it] to be viewed by investigators.”
Mogale said on Thursday that when Karegeya’s body was found, his neck was swollen.
“There is a possibility that he might have been strangled,” she said.
Suspect ‘Apollo Kiririsi’
On Friday, the New Age reported that Kiririsi was allegedly being sought in connection with the murder.
Karegeya’s nephew David Batenga reportedly told the newspaper that he and his uncle had picked Kiririsi up from a Gautrain station and taken him to the Michelangelo Hotel.
Batenga left the men after a few hours, and tried to call Karegeya on his cellphone on Tuesday evening but received no response. The police were alerted when Karegeya’s phone was still switched off the following morning, the newspaper reported.
January 5, 2014 No Comments
by Jacques Pauw.
It seems the Kagame regime will stop at nothing to stamp out dissidents and detractors, even if it means hunting them abroad, Jacques Pauwreports.
How ironic that a maestro of assassination could fall prey to the same plots and ploys he had once used.
The same regime that former Rwandan external military intelligence chief Colonel Patrick Karegeya defended with blood ostensibly turned on him this week and left him lifeless in a swanky hotel room.
Dissident compatriots of the 54-year-old Karegeya were dumbfounded that the former Rwandan spymaster could so easily be lured into a death trap set for him at Sandton’s Michelangelo Hotel.
A top police unit is now searching for a Rwandan palm oil trader by the name of Apollo Kiririsi, who had a meeting with Karegeya at lunchtime on the last day of 2013.
By the time Karegeya’s body was discovered almost 20 hours later, Kiririsi had vanished. There is no record of him at the hotel as the room was booked under Karegeya’s name.
The Hawks’ Crimes Against the State unit is probing the probability that Kiririsi is a Rwandan agent who had befriended Karegeya over the past year to set him up for murder.
Karegeya had picked Kiririsi up on December 29 at the Sandton Gautrain station and took him to the Michelangelo Hotel.
Kiririsi said he had just flown in from Abu Dhabi. At around 2pm on Tuesday, Karegeya went to the hotel for his fatal meeting.
The slightly chubby Karegeya, a law graduate from Uganda’s Makerere University, fought back. He is said to have been trained by the Mossad and is a veteran of two of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars.
Karegeya was strangled and had no wounds, but there was blood in the room. At least one of his assailants left the hotel wounded.
Another political assassination?
Critics of Rwanda President Paul Kagame say the murder carries the hallmark of yet another assassination carried out by the bespectacled strongman’s intelligence forces.
Supporters of the regime, however, point to Kagame’s accomplishments in bringing stability and limited prosperity to his troubled nation.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have for years documented the complicity of Kagame’s security forces in the killing of his opponents across the continent.
The UN has accused Kagame of fomenting rebellion in the eastern Congo and recently found that his forces might have committed acts of genocide in the region.
In the country itself, opposition politicians are either in prison or dead, journalists have been jailed and political parties have been banned.
Kigali has, predictably, denied that it targets political dissidents and claims that Rwanda is a budding democracy in which there is increasing space for political opposition.
Why Karegeya came
Karegeya sneaked into South Africa in February 2008, claimed refugee status and settled in Joburg.
His arrival followed a fallout with Kagame, just three years his senior. He was arrested and jailed for “indiscipline” and stripped of his rank in 2006.
Kagame and Karegeya fought side by side in the Ugandan rebel movement that brought Yoweri Museveni to power in 1986 in Uganda.
Museveni then allowed them to form their own Tutsi rebel movement, the Rwandan Patriotic Front.
It came to power in 1994 when it ended the genocide in Rwanda in which some 800 000 Rwandans died.
Karegeya wielded enormous power as Rwanda’s external military chief and was once in Kagame’s inner circle.
He was also credited with hunting down the enemies of the post-genocide regime across the region.
Fingers have pointed at him for, among other things, the assassination of former Rwandan interior minister Seth Sendashonga in 1998.
Sendashonga was appointed as a minister after the genocide, but then found evidence of the new regime’s complicity in post-genocide massacres and abuses.
He sent his findings to Kagame – and in doing so effectively signed his own death warrant.
Sendashonga fled to Kenya and then Tanzania, where he continued compiling his incriminating dossier against Kagame. He was gunned down in 1998, days before he was due to testify before the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
The Rwandan ambassador in Kenya and Karegeya were accused of being the masterminds behind the killing.
The ambassador was recalled to Rwanda, where he was inexplicably murdered.
Karegeya said in an interview after his arrival in South Africa that he would “tell all” when the time was right.
It would have been a confession that Kagame could ill afford.
The gang of four
In March 2010, Karegeya became one of the so-called Gang of Four when three more former Kagame confidants fled Rwanda.
Kagame’s former chief of staff, Dr Theogene Rudasingwa, and Rwanda’s former attorney-general, Gerard Gahima, settled in the US while former army chief General Kayumba Nyamwasa chose South Africa.
The Gang of Four became instrumental in establishing the Rwandan National Congress (RNC), a multi-ethnic political movement that wants Kagame voted out of power.
The Rwandan government has outlawed the movement and a farcical military tribunal sentenced the Gang of Four to long-term imprisonment.
Nyamwasa survived two assassination attempts in Joburg in June 2010. In one of the attempts, he was shot and wounded in the stomach.
A Rwandan intelligence agent and his accomplices are now on trial in Joburg and evidence has been presented that the very top of Rwandan intelligence ordered the shooting.
The court was told about tape recordings in which the head of Rwandan military intelligence discussed the assassination of Nyamwasa and Karegeya with intelligence recruits in South Africa.
Following the failed attempt on Nyamwasa, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Rwanda for more than a year.
Both Nyamwasa and Karegeya were placed in a defence intelligence protection programme, but in September 2011, City Press unearthed another plot to kill Nyamwasa when Rwandan intelligence hired a private security firm to find out where the general was being housed.
They also recruited Rwandan refugees as assassins to shoot him.
Defence intelligence hastily moved Nyamwasa to another location. Although he is still under protection, in 2011 Karegeya left the programme, saying he had to earn a living and needed to move around.
Karegeya lived alone in the upmarket and highly secure Featherbrooke estate near Krugersdorp, on Gauteng’s West Rand.
His wife and two sons lived in the US and his daughter in Canada.
When the Americans killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the Rwandan government mouthpiece, the New Times, warned Nyamwasa and Karegeya: “You can run. You can hide. But you won’t escape.”
A nephew’s concern
Rwandan refugee David Batenga repeatedly warned his uncle not to trust the businessman that claimed to be a sympathiser of the RNC.
“Kiririsi said Kagame is a dictator and should go,” said Batenga. “My uncle fell for him and started trusting him.”
Karegeya knew that he was living in the shadow of Kagame’s henchmen. In 2012, the chairperson of the RNC in Africa, Frank Ntwali, was attacked and stabbed 12 times. He survived.
In the same year, the sister-in-law of the African secretary-general of the RNC, Pretoria attorney Kennedy Gihana, confessed that she was recruited by Rwandan intelligence to set him up for murder.
The State Security Agency (SSA) warned the leadership of the RNC in the same year that they face imminent danger.
The Rwandan government cancelled their and their families’ passports.
In the past two years, Rwandan exiles in the UK were warned by local security agents of a Kigali plot to kill them.
Sweden and Belgium deported Rwandan diplomats for spying on Rwandan refugees.
Batenga warned Karegeya on Tuesday: “I don’t think it is safe for you to go alone to this meeting.”
Batenga sent Karegeya a phone message at 7.47pm to make sure he was okay.
He received a message back not to be worried.
We don’t know if Karegeya wrote the message or when the killers pounced, but last time the card key for the room in the posh hotel was used was just after 8pm.
Batenga called Karegeya at midnight to wish him a happy new year.
He did not answer any of his three cell phones.
Batenga identified Karegeya’s swollen and badly-bruised body the next afternoon.
“How could Karegeya have walked into this trap?” Batenga asked. “It shows you the regime will stop at nothing to get us.”
A race to arms
Some of the RNC’s office bearers don’t sleep in their own beds and those who qualify for gun licences have armed themselves.
“We are scared and we don’t know what’s coming next,” Gihana admits.
He was recently in hospital after a car accident and his family had to keep its name a secret.
Gihana wants to meet authorities and demand protection for RNC members. He also wants to know how it is possible for foreign agents to operate so freely in South Africa.
The assassination of Karegeya poses a massive foreign policy dilemma for government.
When Nyamwasa was shot in 2010, it almost led to a breakdown of diplomatic relations.
Should the Hawks find evidence that Rwanda had a hand in the killing, South Africa will be compelled to act against the man once described as the West’s “darling dictator”.
For now, a group of Rwandan refugees who under the UN’s convention are entitled to protection from South Africa will continue to look over their shoulders and ask the question on everyone’s lips: who is next?
What government will do about it
International relations department spokesperson Clayson Monyela says government will not comment on the murder of Colonel Patrick Karegeya because a police investigation is under way.
He said the situation was not expected to cause diplomatic tensions between Rwanda and South Africa as there was no evidence linking the Rwandan government to Karegeya’s killing.
But another senior government official with high-level diplomatic ties suggested the case would cause diplomatic tensions, and that there should be consequences if a link to the Rwandan government can be established.
The killing of Karegeya on our soil was a diplomatic issue that government should have responded to, the official said.
“Sincerely, from a diplomatic point of view, something like this is not acceptable. It undermines diplomatic relations which are based on mutual respect.
“It also undermines the agenda of the African continent which is moving away from getting rid of people like this.
“Africans are just tired of this,” said the official.
The official said Pretoria’s decision to shelter people who are at odds with their governments had caused tension with Zimbabwe, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, but said their governments had come to accept that South Africa was bound by its human rights laws and international conventions.
“It has not been easy for South Africa to keep people who are in a bad space with their own governments.
“It is not easy because we have relationships with those countries. But you can’t just bundle them and take them back to their countries.”
The Rwandans have not contacted South Africa following Karegeya’s killing, but the official said the South Africans will have to go through diplomatic channels if they wanted to raise concerns.
“We are fully engaging all our institutions that are supposed to deal with this matter. We don’t want our country to be one of those where people just come and kill other people.
“We also don’t want this thing of people settling scores by killing people. We don’t want it to take root. We’ve got a reputation to protect.” – Sabelo Ndlangisa
Source: citypress.co.za/ 5 January 2014.
January 5, 2014 No Comments
Police, Hawks hunt for Rwandan ex-spy chief’s killer
Johannesburg 3 January 2014 -The hunt for the killer of former Rwandan spy chief Patrick Karegeya is continuing, say Gauteng police and the Hawks.
“We are exploring all avenues,” Hawks spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko said today.
Karegeya’s body was found in a hotel room at the Michelangelo Towers Hotel in Sandton, at about 5.30pm on Wednesday.
Lt-Col Katlego Mogale said she could not immediately comment on developments in the investigation.
She would neither confirm nor deny reports that security camera footage from the hotel is forming part of the investigation.
“It is police procedure, where a crime was committed and CCTV footage of the scene exists [for it] to be viewed by investigators.”
Mogale said yesterday that when Karegeya’s body was found, his neck was swollen.
A bloodied towel and rope were found in the hotel room safe.
“There is a possibility that he might have been strangled,” she said.
Karegeya (53) booked into the hotel on Sunday. He was the former head of Rwanda’s external intelligence service and had been living in exile in South Africa for several years.
Today, The New Age reported that a man identified as Apollo Kiririsi was allegedly being sought in connection with the murder.
Karegeya’s nephew David Batenga reportedly told the newspaper that he and his uncle had picked Kiririsi up from a Gautrain station and taken him to the hotel.
Batenga left the men after a few hours. He tried to call Karegeya on his cellphone on Tuesday evening but received no response. The police were alerted when Karegeya’s phone was still switched off the next morning, the newspaper reported.
January 5, 2014 No Comments
PEOPLE PLAYING POLITICS WITH KAREGEYA DEATH SAYS RWANDAN AMBASSADOR
In the wake of the death of 53 year old Patrick Karegeya (PK) the exiled former spy chief of Rwanda, the country’s High Commissioner to South Africa has reacted to allegations that this was a hit organised by the Rwandan government.
“I heard the sad news that PK passed on yesterday afternoon. It is sad that he can be killed, we don’t know who did it. It is just bad news,” said Ambassador Vincent Karega in an interview with local TV station ENCA.
Karegeya was found dead on New Years Day at the Michelangelo Towers, an upmarket hotel in the Johannesburg suburb of Sandton in South Africa. Reports indicate he had gone to attend a meeting at the hotel when he was ‘murdered’. The circumstances leading to his death remain unknown. The South African police are conducting investigations although the Rwandan opposition party, the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) said in a statement to AFP that “He was strangled by agents of (Rwandan President Paul) Kagame”.
In an interview with The African Professional (Expatriate) last year, Ambassador Karega indicated that SA has granted political asylum to a number of Rwandans living in South Africa. He stated that the death of any dissident is unfairly blamed on the government.
“That is an emotional reaction and opportunistic way of playing politics. South Africa is an organised country with police and the hotel is in a posh area with security features. PK has been living here for a number of years so you have to wonder why he would be killed now and why in a hotel when he has a home. It is unfortunate that any problem is put on government. There are a number of Rwandans living here who do not belong to any political organisation. Some have been killed by robbers or accidents and it is accepted as normal. But if a so called dissident is killed, then they play it politically,” Karega told ENCA.
January 4, 2014 No Comments