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Africa advocates to Obama: Don’t recognize Kagame’s election

Support real freedom and democracy in Africa

by the Africa Faith and Justice Network, Friends of the Congo, Hotel Rwanda/Rusesabagina Foundation, International Humanitarian Law Institute of Minnesota, Institute for Policy Studies, Mobilization for Justice and Peace in Congo.

Kagame Bloody Hands

In mid-July in Spain, Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez Zapatero refused to meet with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who was visiting for a U.N. conference, after human rights defenders urged him not to and protesters took to the streets chanting “Kagame! War Criminal!”

President Obama said, in his 2009 speech in Accra, Ghana, that America should support strong institutions and not strong men. However, in the case of Rwanda, this has been no more than rhetoric. Rwandans, like most Africans, cheered Obama’s election, hoping that it might signal a new, more peaceful and cooperative relationship between the U.S. and Africa, but Obama has expanded AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, and now he remains silent as Rwanda’s strongman, President Paul Kagame, prepares a sham presidential election to retain his brutal grip on power.

On Aug. 3, in Washington D.C., we, a coalition of Africa advocates, will gather at the National Press Club to call on President Obama and the U.S. State Department not to recognize the legitimacy of Rwanda’s upcoming Aug. 9 election results and to stop militarizing Africa and supporting repressive regimes.

“The U.S. policy has been to support strongmen,” says Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of the Congo. “And at the head of the class is Paul Kagame, who has received military support, weapons, training and intelligence and as a result has been able to invade Rwanda’s neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and sustain proxy militia fighting there to rob the Congolese people of their natural resources. He has contributed to the death of over 6 million people in Congo and to the destabilization of Africa’s whole Great Lakes region.”

Kagame with Obama

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greeted representatives of U.N. member countries at the Metropolitan Museum in New York on Sept. 23, 2009. Here, Rwandan President Paul Kagame stands between them. – Photo:

Assassinations, arrests, disappearances, imprisonment and torture of both politicians and press critical of Kagame have led up to Rwanda’s Aug. 9 presidential polls, and now the question is not “Will Rwanda’s August 2010 election be free and fair?” but “How much more violence will the population suffer from Rwandan police, military and security operatives?”

And how much longer will President Obama continue to support the brutal Kagame regime in the heart of Africa, even though 40 of Kagame’s top officers and officials have been indicted in both Spanish and French courts for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide? Kagame himself has not been indicted by these courts but only because he is a sitting head of state and indictment would therefore be a declaration of war.

Anti-Kagame Protest In Spain - July 2010

Spanish protesters in mid-July want Kagame held accountable for genocide. Still applauded by the mainstream press only a few months ago, Kagame's record is now being questioned and condemned by some of the most influential media in the world.

“Kagame is doing everything he can think of, including killing journalists, jailing and torturing political opponents and denying political opponents their constitutional right to register their parties to exclude them from the election. Because as soon as he loses the presidency, he is likely to be tried for all the mass killings he ordered,” says Rwandan exile, writer and activist Aimable Mugara, who now lives in Toronto.

All the viable opposition has been kept out of the election, but four Kagame allies have agreed to stand so as to make it appear that Rwanda is having a real election.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Chair FDU.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Rwanda's leading challenger to Kagame, is under house arrest and banned from the Aug. 9 ballot.

Leading presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who was arrested and indicted on trumped up charges to prevent her from registering to run against Kagame, has said that she will not vote and has urged other Rwandans not to vote either. “We know that the military and police will use violence against the population,” Ingabire said, “but we have to fight for our rights. There is no reason to vote if you don’t have a choice.”

In May, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson announced that the U.S. government plans to send a dozen teams of election observers to Rwanda before the Aug. 9 polls, but many Rwandans now say they will only be wasting U.S. taxpayers’ money.
“There is no reason to vote if you don’t have a choice.” – Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

“Why do people seriously think of going there to observe elections?” asked Charles Kambanda, an American of Rwandan origin, former member of Kagame’s RPF Party and former professor at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. “Which elections are they going to observe? There is nothing to be observed, because what we have is a one-man show. What we have is a situation where the government has created the so-called opposition.

Great Lakes Region

Great Lakes Region. In this pre-1997 map, Congo is shown as Zaire.

“The RPF has kicked out all the real opposition leaders. They are either under house arrest, like Victoire Ingabire, or in prison or they are already dead or they are in exile.”

“Foreign election observers planning to go to Rwanda to observe the ‘election’ this August are wasting time and money,” said Aimable Mugara. “I would recommend that they stay in their countries and write their reports based on all the insane actions Gen. Kagame’s ruling party has taken since the beginning of this year, actions that make this so-called election null and void.”

The United States government has provided not only election observers but also over $1,034,000,000 in United States taxpayer-funded foreign assistance to Rwanda since 2000. An additional $240,200,000 is proposed in the president’s fiscal year 2011 budget.

For more information, call Friends of the Congo at (202) 584-6512 or email

[First published on SfbayView]

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1 akech { 07.28.10 at 6:38 pm }

Readers of this blog should understand that what is happening in Africa is an overt racism. African lives are of no value. Like many other governments of the world, the head ruling elites are selected in advance by corporate elites whose interests they serve. Against that backdrop, it is not difficult to figure out what President Obama can/cannot do. Knowing that the people surrounding/advising him have had deep rooted business interests in Rwanda and the Congo Basin well before he (Obama) ascended to the presidency should be one clue. These business elites are well organized and are willing to spill the blood of million and million Africans or anyone else who may be tempted to interfere with their interest in Africa’s vast mineral and other natural resources. These corporate elites do not have friends; they only have interests!

AFRICOM is now being staffed by young African men who, due to corruption, ineptitude and stupidity by the ruling African dictators, have to find the means to feed themselves and their immediate family. The outer gates of most mining companies in Africa are guarded by such African young men while the corrupt ruling elites are protected by elite foreign security forces. Most poor Africans wrongly believe that AFRICOM is there to fight radical Muslim terrorists. However, since when has the killing maiming, raping and displacement of poor unarmed Africans morphed in fighting terrorists, unless mineral discoveries in local villages have made them automatic enemies! Why are African elites like Kagame participating in the genocide no one want to talk about ?The atrocities in both Rwanda and Congo or anywhere else in Africa are known to all heads of the western governments.

The problem is that they dare not challenge alpha males who put them in power, the corporate elites! These are the same corporate elites who designed and backed what Paul Kagame and RPF since the decision to move into Rwanda from Uganda was made! They know what they are doing!

2 Cass Flower { 07.29.10 at 2:20 am }

We have opened this up for discussion at htpp:// internet forum in the hopes of generating discussion and knowledge of the problems surrounding the upcoming Rwandan elections. Comments and discussion there is warmly invited.

3 bubanagorere { 01.27.11 at 3:10 am }

thankx for this moment i really think that we are running behind something we will not be able to change know.

i like Obama who said let us talk great institutions more than great man so never judge kagame kz you also should be judged noane is perfect judge the economics of rwanda ,judge the developement ,peace and future life …

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