Karegeya and Nyamwasa to the UN: “Kagame is one of the major (if not the principal) stumbling block to peace and stability in the Great Lakes region”
by Col. Patrick Karegeya.
Karegeya and Nyamwasa react on the “United Nations Security Council Expert Report on the DRC”
December 7, 2010.
United Nations Security Council
United States of America.
Re: United Nations Security Council Expert Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I write this letter on my own behalf and on behalf of Lt General Kayumba Nyamwasa.
In its 6th December 2010 edition, ‘The New Times’, a Rwanda daily newspaper owned and run by the National Security Service (the intelligence service of the Government of Rwanda) published an article entitled, ‘UN Report Pins Kayumba, Karegeya on FDLR.’ The newspaper article alleges, inter alia:
– that “independent sources” had linked me and Gen. Nyamwasa to the Rwandan armed group known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (the FDLR);
– that General Nyamwasa has facilitated contacts between the Forces Patriotique pour la Libération du Congo (the FPLC) and the Federal Republican Forces (the FRF) rebel groups;
– that “credible testimony” has suggested that former officers of the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (the CNDP) have been in contact with us;
– that the UN Group of Experts on the DRC had “directly witnessed” a conversation between me and the former officers of the CNDP;
– that Gen. Nyamwasa may have sent an emissary to meet FDRL, FPLC and Mai Mai Leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo in February 2010;
– that both of us are believed to be the masterminds of grenade attacks that took place in Kigali, Rwanda, in early 2010
– and that we have been charged with forming a terrorist group, fomenting ethnic divisionism, threatening national security, undermining state authority, and spreading harmful propaganda.
We have also had the opportunity to read the United Nations Security Council Experts’ Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (the Experts’ Report on the DRC), and note with both surprise and regret that the report states that ‘Several independent sources, including one in Kampala and one within FPLC, informed the Group that FRF had agreed to join the FPLC coalition, all alleging, without providing further details, that those contacts may have been facilitated by Kayumba Nyamwasa, the dissident former Rwandan general‘ (para. 73).
The Experts’ Report on the DRC further states: “In addition, according to credible testimony from various sources, former CNDP officers have been in contact with Rwandan political dissidents in South Africa, including Col. Karegeya, the former head of Rwandan intelligence, and Lieutenant General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, who survived an assassination attempt in June 2010 in Johannesburg. The Group directly witnessed a conversation between Karegeya and former CNDP FARDC officers in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in September. According to United Nations sources and combatants interviewed by the Group, Kayumba may have sent an emissary to meet with FDLR, FPLC and Mai Mai leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo in February” (para. 164).
While we have no reason to question the good faith of the authors of the Experts’ Report on the DRC, we would wish to put it on record that the extensive allegations contained in the Rwanda Government newspaper article referred to in the foregoing paragraph and the more limited allegations set out in the Experts’ Report on the DRC are all absolutely false and unfounded.
As we have done before, we would like to reiterate that we do not seek to destabilize Rwanda or any of her neighbors. We advocate for democratization in Rwanda through peaceful political change.
Together with our colleagues, Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa and Dr.Gerald Gahima. we articulated (in our widely circulated paper, ‘Rwanda Briefing‘) our political views on the situation in Rwanda and our thinking on a way out of the political impasse that Rwandan society finds itself, proposing political reforms in Rwanda as a peaceful alternative to the current dictatorship that can only lead to more conflict and bloodshed.
Our political stand on Rwanda’s grave state of affairs remains the same. We are not in any way whatsoever linked to the FDLR, or indeed any other rebel organisation operating on the territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo (the DRC) or elsewhere.
We have not had and we do not maintain any contact or relationship of any kind with the groups in question.
We have not been involved in the criminal activities (including the grenades attacks in Kigali) that the Government of Rwanda falsely attributes to us through its media propaganda or politically motivated criminal cases that have been instituted against us in the military justice system of Rwanda.
It is ironical that President Kagame, who has a long track record of working with elements from the highest echelons of the leadership of FDLR when it suits his ambitions to acquire and keep power at any cost, should seek to de-legitimize other political leaders with false allegations of contacts with the same organisation.
President Kagame’s uncompromising intransigence on political reform and respect of fundamental liberties destabilizes Rwanda more than any other factor.
Paradoxically, it is President Kagame himself whose policies and actions perpetually destabilize the Great Lakes region.
The United Nations Security Council Experts should have taken cognizance of the historical perspectives of Rwanda’s involvement in the DRC conflict since 1996.
President Kagame bears very heavy personal responsibility for the human suffering and physical destruction that conflict has caused in the DRC.
President Kagame has twice ordered invasion of the DRC, against the advice of many of his colleagues, and in violations of Rwanda’s laws (that require parliamentary approval of declaration of war) as well as international law.
The policy of the Government of Rwanda on the DRC (dictated by President Kagame, as Rwanda lacks a system of government with appropriate checks and balances) is to keep the DRC perpetually weak and vulnerable to his manipulation, blackmail and exploitation.
President Kagame has historically sought to weaken and destabilize Congo by forming, training, arming and militarily intervening in support of rebel groups used to wage aggressive war against the legitimate governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
President Kagame has personally been responsible for the establishment of several of the rebel groups that have been involved in the conflict in the DRC, including some whose activities are discussed in the instant report.
President Kagame was responsible for the creation of the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Liberation du Congo- Zaire (the AFDL) under late President Désiré Laurent Kabila. While the Government of Rwanda was involved in AFDL’s formation and operations from the beginning to the end, it repeatedly denied its involvement in the first (1996 – 1 997) DRC war.
However, then Rwandan Vice-President and Defence Minister Paul Kagame subsequently granted an interview to the Washington Post on 9 July 1997, in which he not only admitted the role that his troops had played a key role in the ADFL campaign, but proudly claimed credit for removing President Mobutu from power.
By Kagame’s own admission, Rwanda’s campaign strategy during the first Congo war comprised three elements, namely:
– to destroy the refugee camps,
– to destroy ex-FAR and Interahamwe structures based in and around the camps
– and to overthrow the Mobutu regime.
The Government of Rwanda had planned the AFDL rebellion in advance, recruiting Congolese combatants, providing the recruits with training in facilities in Rwanda, supplying the Congolese rebels with arms and munitions.
According to Kagame, operations – in particular key operations – were directed by Rwandan mid-level commanders. Contrary to his denials and deceptions, Kagame in fact personally managed the campaign.
President Kagame is a micro-manager who is always intervening at all levels in the chain of command, and was directly involved in key operational decisions of the AFDL rebellion.
In 1998, President Laurent Kabila fell out with Paul Kagame (largely due to Kagame’s arrogant, over-bearing and irrational behavior) and President Laurent Kabila expelled Rwandan forces from the DRC. President Kagame retaliated by forming another rebel group, the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (the RCD) that he used to try and overthrow President Kabila’s government.
President Kagame again at first denied the presence of Rwanda’s troops in the DRC. When the RCD negotiated a political settlement with the DRC Government, President Kagame retained part of the RCD and formed the CNDP to continue destabilizing and controlling Eastern DRC.
After President Paul Kagame fell out with General Laurent Nkunda (the leader of the CNDP) in 2009, Kagame replaced General Nkunda with General Bosco Ntaganda.
We have no doubt that even today, the Government of Rwanda is talking to splinter groups of CNDP namely, the FPLC and the FRF, as indicated in the Experts’ report on the DRC.
President Kagame’s claim to being a stabilizing influence in the Great Lakes region is ridiculous. The President is in fact the single greatest source of instability, violence and bloodshed in both Rwanda and the DRC.
For the last fourteen years, President Kagame has visited mayhem on communities across the DRC. Given this historical perspective, and the chronology of President Kagame’s reckless and ruthless strategy to keep DRC’s Kivu region as a de facto extension of Rwanda through proxy forces, it should be obvious to Rwanda’s neighbors and the wider international community that it is President Kagame, not his opponents like ourselves, who has the motives (weakening the DRC state and getting access to its resources), opportunity (proximity to the DRC) and the means (the final resources of both the Government of Rwanda and the RPF) to form and sustain groups that are detrimental to peace, stability and development in the DRC.
In public, President Kagame adopts the language of friendliness towards the DRC and other neighboring countries. In private and through his actions, President is an unrepentant belligerent who seeks to weaken and destabilize other fragile neighboring states struggling to emerge out of conflict.
President Kagame’s military commanders and security operatives (and not ourselves) are responsible for the formation and sustenance of the rebel groups that the Rwanda Government accuses us of fraternizing with.
I was in prison in 2005 when the CNDP was established. I spent almost three years in illegal detention in solitary confinement and under house arrest before escaping from Rwanda.
Gen. Nyamwasa was serving as Rwanda’s Ambassador to India until March 2010. Neither of us have had any motive or opportunity to have any relations with the rebel groups in question.
The allegation that ‘Kayumba may have sent an emissary to meet with FDLR, FPLC and Mai Mai leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo in February is totally unfounded. Gen. Nyamwasa did not, prior to the publication of the Experts Report on the DRC, have any knowledge of the existence of the FPLC and FPLC rebel groups. Consequently, it could not have been possible for him to facilitate the contacts between the two groups.
I escaped from Rwanda in 2007. The groups that the report discusses were formed when I was no longer in government service and I cannot possibly know any of the individuals who are part of these groups.
Gen. Nyamwasa did not send an emissary to FDLR and Mai Mai as alleged in the report, as he does not agree with the two groups ideologically.
Since 1998, Gen. Nyamwasa was always concerned about the political, social and strategic implications of the formation of anti-government Congolese rebel groups. He unsuccessfully opposed the formation of such groups during the time that we both worked for the Government of Rwanda.
Disagreements over Rwanda’s nurturing and patronage of such groups partly accounts for the political differences that eventually arose between General Nyamwasa and President Kagame. General Nyamwasa was still serving as Rwanda’s Ambassador to India in February 2010. He did not have any prior plans to visit Rwanda in February 2010. Gen Nyamwasa’s unplanned visit to Rwanda in February 2010 was only compelled by the death of one of his parents. It is very distressing that this sad episode is being cynically used by the Government of Rwanda to frame and victimize him. We are inclined to believe that the authors of the report met Rwandan intelligence operatives in Uganda, where many of these operatives are deployed to hunt down and kill President Kagame’s opponents throughout the region.
We are completely mystified by the significance that the Experts Report on the DRC attaches to a conversation that is alleged to have taken place between me and former officers of the CNDP who have been integrated into the DRC National Army (the FARDC) that the Group of Experts is reported to have witnessed. The report does not indicate how the committee verified that the person that the alleged CNDP officers claimed to speak to was actually me. Neither does the report indicate how the content of the conversation constituted a crime or conspiracy against either of the two states.
I do not recall ever having the conversation referred to in the Experts’ Report on the DRC. I definitely did not initiate any calls to any known member of the CNDP. Neither have I had any discussions with real or presumed members of the CNDP (or indeed any other person) regarding a conspiracy to destabilize Rwanda or the DRC.
It is unfair for the committee to assume, without verification, that the person that the alleged CNPD officer claimed to talk to was indeed me. Our suspicion is that the UN Security Council experts on the DRC must have been duped by Rwandan intelligence operatives who remain embedded in FARDC, of whom there is to our knowledge a very large number. The truth about the alleged conversation could not be established without giving me an opportunity to explain its circumstances. Unfortunately, the team of experts did not provide me with an opportunity to rebut the erroneous impression that the agents who must have duped them created.
The Government of Rwanda keeps a tight grip on the population of Eastern Congo through the former CNDP fighters. At the behest of the Government of Rwanda, during the peace agreement between the CNDP and the government of the Democratic of Congo, it was agreed that unlike all other government forces, CNDP fighters would never be transferred from Eastern Congo. It is most probable that the United Nations Security Council experts interviewed stage-managed witnesses or proxies of the Government of Rwanda.
We believe that the so-called ‘independent sources’ that are alleged to have linked us to the rebel groups in the DRC are likely to be compromised elements of the CNDP, which was created, is maintained and still remains under the influence of the Government of Rwanda.
The claim that we were the masterminds behind the grenade attacks that exploded in Kigali early this year is absurd.
The Government of Rwanda has time and again conveniently changed the narrative about the grenade attacks, depending on whom the Government seeks to victimize at a particular time.
Initially, Rwanda’s Minister of Security reported that the grenade attacks were the work of the FDLR.
Responsibility for the attacks was later shifted to opposition leader Mme. Victoire Ingabire, who has now been incarcerated on trumped-up charges.
When Gen. Nyamwasa escaped from Rwanda on account of a planned attempt on his life at end of February, the grenade attacks were blamed on him.
The same grenade attacks were said to have been perpetuated by another imprisoned opposition leader, Deo Mushayidi.
The government’s continuing allegations that we are responsible for the grenade attacks are driven by the vindictive nature of President Paul Kagame, who, having failed in the course of several attempts to assassinate Gen. Nyamwasa and me in South Africa, ordered the arrest and incarceration of Gen.Nyamwasa’s brother, Lt Col. Rugigana, forced many of his family members to exile, and ordered the murder of John Rutayisire, a relative of mine.
In the aftermath of the publication of the DRC Mapping Report by the United Nations Commission for Human Rights, President Kagame is desperately searching for anything on the horizon to deflect attention from his crimes by creating scapegoats for the suffering and mayhem that he has visited on millions of Rwandans and citizens of the DRC.
The allegations that the government of Rwanda is leveling against us (as well as other Rwandans who are demanding an end to dictatorship) are also intended to deflect the attention of the people of Rwanda and the international community from Rwanda’s internal crisis, to disguise President Kagame’s continuing role in destabilizing neighboring states and to salvage his tarnished image in the aftermath of the publication of the DRC Mapping Report.
Those types of allegations are characteristic of a regime engulfed by crisis. Trumped-up charges of corruption, terrorism, connections with the FDLR, divisionism, genocide ideology, and even moral impurity are some of the tools that President Kagame always uses against real or perceived opponents.
We challenge the Government of Rwanda to release the dossiers in respect of the criminal cases that have been filed against us (and our colleagues, Dr. Rudasingwa and Dr. Gahima) to the public so that the people of Rwanda and the international community can see for themselves how the sham criminal cases that are being prosecuted against us are nothing but a blatant abuse of the judicial system for purposes of persecution of political opponents.
As we have indicated in our paper (Rwanda Briefing) and other declarations, Rwanda is in serious crisis. Peace and stability in several of the neighboring states remains tenuous. By virtue of his unapologetic attempt to destabilize sister states through the use of proxy rebel groups, President Kagame is one of the major (if not the principal) stumbling block to peace and stability in this fragile region. The conflicts waged by the various armed groups that the Government of Rwanda has formed, supported and used to destabilize states in the region have caused immense horrendous suffering. President Kagame bears personal responsibility for the gross human rights violations that are a result of the wars that he has waged and continues to foment in the DRC.
We firmly believe that time is long overdue for the international community to hold President Kagame accountable for the crimes that he has committed, and continues to commit, directly or through proxy rebel groups, to the peoples of the region.
We, on our part, reiterate our commitment to seeking a peaceful transition to democracy in Rwanda and our support for peace and stability in the Great Lakes region, especially in the DRC.
We affirm our desire to meet the team of experts on the DRC both to clear the aspersions that have been made against us.
Accept, your Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.
Col. Patrick Karegeya.
– Members of the Security Council
– The Secretary General, United Nations
– Members of the UN Security Council Committee of Experts on the Democratic, Republic of Congo
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
Telephone: +1-510 717 8479.