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Rwanda rated top business reformer in World Bank Doing Business in EAC 2013 Report

Two men at work

Two men at work

During the launch of the World Bank’s “Doing Business in the East African Community (EAC) 2013” report today in Kigali, Rwanda was named the top EAC economy to introduce regulatory reforms that have improved the business environment between 2005 and 2012. Globally, Rwanda is rated 52nd.

The World Bank report also highlights Rwanda’s success in cutting red tape and encouraging private sector led growth. “Rwanda’s commitment to private sector development has facilitated growth in exports, domestic investment and foreign direct investment inflows—and the implementation of effective fiscal policies supported by structural and institutional reforms.”

Rwanda was also ranked the second economy globally to advance in closing the gap to the frontier. The frontier is the highest performance observed on each indicator in the report. The better an economy is doing, the closer it is to 100. Rwanda has gone from 38 in 2006 to 64.5 in 2013.

This was facilitated by the implementation of 23 regulatory reforms since 2005 to facilitate a competitive and easy business process.

In her remarks during the report launch, Minister Monique Mukaluriza called on EAC member states to harmonise policies and laws. “Policies and protocols to improve the business environment for our entrepreneurs should be fast tracked.”

The report says that over the last year, improvements were observed in all five EAC economies. The report also highlights that e-government initiatives in the region provide an opportunity for easy access to information as well as increasing transparency.

The report ranked EAC as a regional bloc higher, on average, than COMESA, SADC and ECOWAS.

Source: Republic of Rwanda (www.gov.rw)

May 3, 2013   No Comments

David Nduwimana to launch new album in Rwanda

David Ndumwami

David Ndumwami

Kigali’s long-awaited gospel crusade starts on Wednesday, May 8-10 at Foundation church Remera beginning at 4 p.m. The crusade will also feature the launch of the album for Burundi’s famous gospel artiste, David Nduwimana.

The Yesu ni Inyishu album comprises 1o singles -Yesu wewe nizigira, Yesu Vyirato yyanje, Yesu ni Inyishu, Ico nifuza, Mwami ndaje, Naratoranijwe, Yesu n’inyishu nizindi, among others. Gospel rhythms will highlight the day, as artistes worship and praise the Lord through famous gospel songs. Headlined to perform include Patience Bizimana and Aime Uwimana as well as Burundian famed gospel singer Apollinaire Habonimana.

Nduwimana is known for his great music which made him popular as gospel musician. His music is combined with messages. Organisers said everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy the gospel music and heart-warming stories designed to encourage and inspire people.

The concert is free. CDs, DVDs and hand-crafted Bible musical instruments will be available for sale. According Women Foundation Ministries, the organisers of the gigs, the event is aimed at cementing good faith among young Rwandans to divert from the earthly distractions and focus the attention to God.

David Nduwimana’s career:

The 29-year-old, Nduwimana grew up in the hands of God in the Emmanuel church in Burundi, where since his childhood he exercised his talent at the Sunday school.

At 12 years, he finished his primary studies and enrolled for high school studies at Lycee municipal de Kinama. At school he led a praise and worship team in the Biblical group.

It was during the same year that he became deeply interested in his favourite instrument, the guitar.

Nduwimana’s role model is Apollinaire Habonimana and his dream was fulfilled in 2001, when he met him after Sunday Service at “Palais des Arts et de la Culture” (the Palace of Arts and the Culture) in Bujumbura.

Then, his talent and artistic spirit began to emerge. In June 2005, he met the Mauritian and Kenyan pastors, who encouraged him to move the gospel to Nairobi.

Source: The New Times

May 3, 2013   No Comments

Congo’s M23 rebels threaten new UN brigade

M23 rebels withdraw from the eastern Congo town of Goma

M23 rebels withdraw from the eastern Congo town of Goma

GOMA, Congo — Rebels in eastern Congo said Tuesday they are getting ready to fight a new United Nations brigade that will be allowed for the first time to pursue armed groups.

The U.N. peacekeepers are set to arrive in the coming months, with a mandate that goes beyond merely protecting civilians.

The rebels’ threat comes as peace talks appear to have reached a dead end between the Congolese government and the M23 rebels who seized the provincial capital of Goma late last year and held it for two weeks.

“We are waiting for the brigade; we are ready. Our men are on maximum alert,” said Stanislas Baleke, an official with the M23’s political branch.

The M23 already has issued threats to South Africa and Tanzania, both contributing troops to the U.N. intervention brigade, warning them that the M23 will not hesitate to fight back if the brigade attacks them.

The U.N. Security Council recently renewed the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo known as MONUSCO for one year but also allowed for the creation of a special unit now expected to arrive on the ground before July.

The new brigade’s mandate will allow it to carry out targeted offensive operations against armed groups in Congo’s troubled east, unlike previous peacekeeping missions that only allowed the U.N. forces to protect civilians.

During a visit to Goma on Tuesday, U.N. special envoy Mary Robinson said efforts must also continue to resolve the political impasse.

“The intervention brigade must play a role of deterrent rather than a military solution. The real focus is on the framework agreement for a political solution,” said Robinson, the former president of Ireland and U.N. human rights chief who has been appointed to oversee implementation of a peace deal in Congo.

Congo’s mineral-rich eastern region has been unstable, and often engulfed in fighting, since the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda. More than two dozen different armed groups are currently operating in the area. The gravest threat, though, has been posed by the formation of the M23 rebel group one year ago.

M23 is led by fighters from a now-defunct rebel group who agreed to put down their arms on March 23, 2009, in return for being allowed to join the Congolese army. The rebellion began last April, when hundreds of soldiers defected from the military, saying the accord had not been respected.

In November, the peacekeepers stood by as the M23 rebels seized the provincial capital of Goma. The rebels eventually withdrew from the city two weeks later. But the fall of Goma shocked the international community, opening the path for the creation of the brigade.

The new U.N. brigade’s mandate is a strong departure from the usually cautious U.N. approach to peacekeeping. But with more than 25 armed groups in the Kivu region alone, the brigade of about 3,000 risks being spread thin, say experts.

Jason Stearns, a researcher at the Rift Valley Institute, said he was skeptical that the additional soldiers “will be good against some of the most battle-hardened militia” such as the M23 and another rebel group known as the FDLR.

MONUSCO officials acknowledge that the brigade will have to target specific armed groups to be efficient, though they stop short of saying that the M23 will be the priority for the special unit.

Following the U.N. resolution in March, the Congolese government asked the rebels to dismantle their movement or they will be the target of the U.N. brigade.

“There are many armed groups in the east. If the brigade focuses on the M23, it means that the international community has taken sides in the conflict and wants to stir it,” says Baleke, the M23 political cadre.

The brigade’s mandate to attack also raises some questions about U.N. neutrality. U.N. and MONUSCO staff are concerned about their safety, fearing that the rebels confuse the brigade’s troops with the entire U.N. contingent in Congo.

The showdown between the M23 and the MONUSCO already intensified earlier this month when the rebels blocked a dozen U.N. vehicles transporting material in Bunagana. In Rutshuru, another town in rebel territory, the M23 has tried to mobilize the population against the intervention brigade.

“The rebels want to force us to demonstrate against the new U.N. force, but we refused because the force is coming to liberate us,” says Charly, a 20-year-old student from Rutshuru, who gave only his first name fearing reprisals from the rebels.

Residents of Rutshuru accuse M23 rebels of carrying out several targeted killings and arrests of people suspected to be against the movement.

Talks between the rebels and the government that were underway in Uganda have stalled, and both delegations pulled out most of their representatives last week.

“We received the government’s proposal for a peace deal, but it did not take into account our suggestions. We have decided to come back to Bunagana to discuss our answer, but we have left a few representatives in Kampala (where the talks are taking place),” said Baleke. “We are still open to negotiations.”

Source: Bradenton.com

May 2, 2013   No Comments

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT – HON JAMES MUSONI, ON THE WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY, 3 MAY 2013

As we commemorate the 2013 World Press Freedom Day, Rwanda continues to promote safeguards for freedom and independence of the press and delivering on its pledge to promote accountability and foster public participation and engagement.

James Musoni, Minister of Local Government, also responsible for media environment said today:

“The recently promulgated media related laws particularly the Media law and Access to Information law, are a testimony of Rwanda’s resolve to promote independence of the media and access to information as essential components of good governance and preconditions for durable economic, social and political development”.

Key elements of the new media law include the recognition of self regulation whereby article 4 now provides that the Media Self Regulatory body will regulate the conduct of journalists and establish professional standards. Article 15 empowers the same entity to deal with violation of journalists’ rights.

The new law also recognizes the legal right of journalists to collect information; respect for the confidentiality of journalistic sources; to call on any resourceful person to provide information while lifting some restrictions such as prohibitions on the use of unlawful methods to obtain or to disseminate information; neglecting essential information; and distorting ideas contained in an information or a text. To protect the rights of individuals, the law also recognizes the rights of reply, rectification and correction.

There is now no requirement for journalists to hold particular academic qualifications, paving the way for a broader definition of who is a journalist and allowing freelancers to enjoy the same rights as employed journalists. The system of sanctions for the media has been liberalized, including the repeal of “suspension” and “closure of a publication” as penalties.

Minister Musoni emphasized the government’s commitment to supporting the development of a free, dynamic and responsible press:

“We are determined to make use of advances in modern communication technology to reach out to every citizen for engagement and to ensure that Rwandans are connected to each other and the world. Our intention is to support the development of a media environment that is sensitive to our past, responsive to the present and that keeps us accountable as we work to deliver a better future for all Rwandans.”

Source: Republic of Rwanda (www.gov.rw)

May 2, 2013   No Comments

Burera, Rwanda: District development plan to emphasize agriculture

Burera district council vice-president, Vincent Uwimana

Burera district council vice-president, Vincent Uwimana

The vice-president of Burera district council has revealed that agriculture will be focused on in 5 years District Development Plan (DDP) because of the favorable conditions for agriculture.

Vincent Uwimana says that Burera district council is making possible ways to make residents benefit from agriculture in 5 year development plan.

Uwimana explains “We want residents to develop in agricultural sector so that they get enough food for consumption and market.”

He adds that Burera district is rural areas and has no town, which means development is based on agriculture.

Burera district is favourable for Irish potatoes, maize, beans and wheat.

Uwimana asserts that in addition to developing agriculture, infrastructures such as health centres and schools will be availed to improve the residents’ standards of living.

All is expected to be achieved through the partnership with district funders and residents.

Source: Rwanda News

May 2, 2013   No Comments

The Diaspora, a valuable resource to Rwanda’s development

Ndera hospital’s patient file system got digitized thanks to MiDA

Ndera hospital’s patient file system got digitized thanks to MiDA

When you visit the Kigali university teaching hos­pital (CHUK), you find all the documents being pro­cessed, data entered, and many of the response provided through ICT tools and online methods. That is courte­sy of the Migration for Development (MiDA) program, which brings in Rwandan (and regional) experts from the Diaspora community in order to transfer their skills to compatriots in the mother country.

The objectives of the project in CHUK’s case, as ex­plained by Dr Martin Nyundo who heads the MiDA fo­cal point at the hospital, were a need to provide quality service to patients, and promote the quality of data and research. Capacity building was offered to the admistra­tive and nursing staff at CHUK, Muhima and Kibagaba hospitals, and in the field of medical computer applica­tions to improve management, research and networking between the hospitals.

The hospital acquired equipment and systems for managing data (20 PCs), and the staff attended training and research in medical information technology; basic computer skills, collection, centralization and analysis; management of internal and external communication; and workshops on medical ICT. A number of 348 em­ployees were trained.

An IT employee at the hospital who didn’t want to be named for professional reasons told The Rwanda Focus that when he started working at the hospital, they were still using paper patients’ files. “It was challenging be­cause it could take a long time to find someone’s file,” she said.

Since mid last year, that has become history – all the files have now been transferred to an electronic database.

According to Eugene Kandekwe, MiDA’s national coordinator, experts from the Rwandan Diaspora have helped in other programs including Ndera mental health hospital, Gihundwe district hospital, the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, the Institute of Ag­riculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE-Busogo), Tubi­teho program which consisted of daycare for mentally and sensory disabled children and the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE).

At KIST, they organized a training workshops and postgraduate program on instrumentation for environ­mental and biochemical analysis. The program, which saw more than 40 employees trained, aimed at helping the department of chemistry to design and initiate a re­gional postgraduate training program in environmental and biochemical fields, training members of staff and students in applied chemistry department on the use, operation and maintenance of equipments; and ensur­ing reproducibility following internationally accepted protocols as well as good laboratory practices.

In Gihundwe Hospital in Rusizi, the experts strength­ened the hospital’s management system. “This aimed at improving the capacity of resource management (hu­man, material and financial resources) and improving the patient management capacity (patient identifica­tion, tracking and invoicing),” Kandekwe explained. At Ndera too, patient files were digitized.

While addressing the Rwandan Diaspora Convention in the USA in September 2006, President Paul Kagame remarked that “the Rwandan Diaspora is clearly a re­source that can make valuable contributions to our quest for a better future for our country. What needs to be done urgently is to devise means of utilizing this re­source.”

Parfait Gahamanyi, the director general of the Rwandan Community Abroad at the ministry of foreign affairs and coop­eration, reiterated that the Diaspora plays a vital role in their motherland’s de­velopment. “The Diaspora includes a big number of experts in various fields whose skills are needed by different staff and services here,” Gahamanyi said.

And they come cheap, because the MiDA ex­perts are doing the work for free. “In collaboration with MiDA, which is it­self sponsored by the Bel­gian government, we used to give the experts only airline tickets and accom­modation,” Gahamanyi stressed. “There are no salaries, but they came in a big number, and many more are still willing to do so.”

Source: Rwanda Focus

April 30, 2013   No Comments

Elderly Rwandan Genocide survivors: a complex problem

Asteria Nyirabashi (L) and Rosaria Mukamusoni are both elder survivors who lost all their family relatives and now have to fend for themselves

Asteria Nyirabashi (L) and Rosaria Mukamusoni are both elder survivors who lost all their family relatives and now have to fend for themselves

Rosaria Mukamusoni, 81, lost her entire family during the Genocide, and for her, it is not history, but a lasting wound. She now stays alone in Gasharu cell in Gasabo where she has to cope on her own. “I used to struggle and feed myself, but I’m no longer able to do anything,” she points out. “When I am lucky, I get something from a do­nor.”

After the 1994 Genocide, the gov­ernment established the assistance fund for genocide survivors (FARG) to provide all needy survivors with basic necessities. This includes a project program where they are as­sisted to run income-generating ac­tivities, but Mukamusoni can’t really do any activity. “They recently intro­duced a mushroom project, but I’m no longer strong. Only young people can do that,” she says.

What remains for the elder wid­ow is to stay inside the house she got from FARG some years back, yet there she falls prey to strong emo­tions such as bereavement, loneli­ness, restlessness, insomnia, and generally, poor mental, emotional, and physical well-being as there is no one around to help.

The sad life that Mukamusoni ex­periences is common among many older genocide widows who lost all of their relatives during the geno­cide, and who live in solitude for the rest of their lives.

Chantal Kabasinga, the president of the Genocide survivors associa­tion Avega Agahozo, decries it as “a new, very complex issue” and said that they identified 1462 people over 70 whose family members were all massacred, and who have no one to take care of them.

Southern Province tops the list with 547; Western Province follows with 304 while Eastern Province has 390. Northern Province and Kigali city have 114 and 107 respectively.

“Most of them don’t only need food, but also are unable to wash themselves or their clothes. It’s a very complex issue rising rapidly,” Kabasinga points out, adding that Avega has so far identified 248 wom­en who are in the worst situation to start taking care of during the 100 days of mourning.

Direct support

Odette Kayirere, the executive sec­retary of Avega, observes that last year they gathered information about such elderly widows and they now have a book in which they keep pic­tures and the state of each of them. Among them, 804 have been identi­fied in the worst situation. And the numbers keep increasing as years go by.

Kayirere explains that they are in consultation with all concerned en­tities to see how they can help such women. In the meantime, the asso­ciation will carry out comprehen­sive research to understand the issue and identify solutions. “We need re­search-based facts, rather than emo­tions,” Kayirere points out.

The results are expected by the end of May.

Jean de Dieu Udahemuka, FARG’s communications officer, for his part says that they provide the elderly with direct support. The basic unit is Frw 7,500 per individual, but Udahe­muka says this can be increased de­pending on the specific situation of a person.

The official says that they work hand in hand with Avega which has representatives up to cell level to know those who are in need. He also mentioned that they work with grassroots entities to facilitate access to their support. Nonetheless, it can be useless for an elder aged over 70 since she can’t do anything unless there is someone to help.

“We recognize that it’s a very com­plex issue. It’s an issue that has to be owned and examined by a wide range of institutions to see what can be done or how the community can be involved,” Udahemuka explains.

Nursing homes

Suggestions among officials are varied. One is to find nursing homes where they can be gathered and tak­en care of, but here again, Rwanda’s philosophy has been to build a fam­ily-based community.

On the other hand, it has been suggested to find a sustainable way for local communities to take care of these elders. However, even that might have adverse effects. “When I got a house from FARG, I could hear some of my neighbors murmuring that ‘they gave her a house while there are healthy people around,’” says Asteria Nyirabashi, 81, staying in Kinyinya in Gasabo.

In addition, there have been re­ports of threats against genocide survivors, or actual violence such as the killing of their cows and even murder. This obviously creates fear among them.

The elder widows met in Kinyin­ya tell this paper that it’s even rare that one of their neighbors comes to pay them a visit. “Rwandans used to love each other, but I can see that things have changed,” Mukamuso­ni sighs. “No one can spend his time taking care of you, everyone looks after himself.”

Source: Rwanda Focus

April 30, 2013   No Comments

South Sudan President Lauds Rwanda Police

Rwanda and South Sudan media addressing the media

Rwanda and South Sudan media addressing the media

The president of South Sudan Salva Kiir has lauded the Rwanda Police force for their support in capacity building of the Sudanese police services.

President Kiir made the remarks last week at State House in capital Juba, while meeting Rwanda’s Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana.

Gasana was in South Sudan on a working visit to strengthen ties between the two forces following the signing of the cooperation agreement in May last year.

Kiir pledged full support to the partnership for the good of communities in the two sister countries.

The signed agreement binds the two forces in combating cross-border crimes and capacity building.

The agreement focuses mainly on road safety, basic and advanced investigation, basic intelligence, IT and communication skills, public order management, junior supervisory course and training of trainers.

Lt. Gen Salva Mathok, South Sudan Deputy Minister of Interior, also stressed that the cooperation is paramount in professionalizing their force, which is mainly composed of former soldiers and militia groups.

South Sudan Police chief, Gen. Pieng Deng Kuol, said the cooperation between the two police forces has done much in building the capacity of their force.

According to Rwanda Police, more than 20 police officers from the South Sudan have so far have attended various police courses in Rwanda.

Rwanda Police has also selected a team of 18 police officers to be stationed in South Sudan for one year to train their police force in investigation, intelligence, traffic management and Information Technology (IT) among others.

He said Rwanda’s success story in areas of reconciliation, poverty eradication and peacekeeping is a good lesson that other countries and forces should learn from.

IGP Gasana, who observed that the two countries have had bad history, applauded the level of development in South Sudan and pledged the RNP support and exchange of best practices to build a professional force.

Source: News of Rwanda

April 30, 2013   No Comments

DRC And Rwandan Rebel Group M23 Quit Peace Talks As War Drums Beat

Sultan Makenga

Sultan Makenga
Both the DRC government and M23 representatives to the peace talks in Kampala have returned to their bases, leaving no room for a political solution to the conflict that has left hundreds dead and thousands in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

The DRC government delegation quit their hotel rooms at Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo on Thursday before being flown out of the country.

The M23’s representatives followed suit on Friday afternoon, returning to Bunagana.

Military sources have told Chimpreports the two camps had met only twice in a period of 3 weeks.

The rebel group accused Kinshasha of a “negative attitude” towards the talks and “having too much faith” in the UN Intervention Brigade.

The Brigade will be composed of troops from Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa.

Some of the South African combatants have already arrived in Goma. It also emerged that at least 30 French military personnel had arrived in Goma to finalize plans of combating M23 fighters.

M23 officials on Monday afternoon told Chimpreports: “Kabila thinks that South Africa and Tanzania mercenaries will defeat M23. He is dreaming because we can’t be beaten by scouts.”

In preparation for an attack, sources say, M23 has intensified a massive recruitment and training of new combatants in guerilla warfare to engage UN Brigade.

Knowledgeable sources say the Brigade should prepare for a storm, considering that majority of M23 fighters have lived and fought several wars in their territory which is alien to the invading force.

The mountainous terrain and wintry weather is also dangerous for war planes, which could work against the UN Brigade should it choose to use the air force against the rebels.

It is also important to note that M23 is very popular in its territory, owing to victories secured against DRC troops in several encounters in 2012.

A source told Chimpreports that the UN force also faces the challenge of language and could face hostility from locals who dread FARDC forces for raping women, killing and maiming innocent civilians.

UN last week said at least 126 women had been raped in the eastern town of Minova in November 2012 by DRC soldiers.

What is also likely to compound The UN Brigade’s troubles in DRC is identification of rebels, considering they do not have a specific uniform.

While some put on the DRC uniform imported from China, others wear civilian clothes.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

On Monday morning, rumours spread that M23 military leader Brig Sultani Makenga had been shot in an ambush. However, sources described the story as “war propaganda” by Kinshasha intelligence aimed at demoralizing M23 combatants.

Impeccable military sources told this website that Makenga has already resolved that should his men be attacked, he will advance, strike and seize Goma with the view of marching to Kinshasha to topple President Joseph Kabila.

Speaking last Thursday at his base in Bunagana, Makenga warned: “We shall not surrender nor accept to be denied rights to exist on our ancestral land. We fight for our rights; we have to defend our lives, unless if the world believes that we must accept arbitrary arrests, and extermination of our families from the face of the Congo.”

He added: “We shall not surrender nor accept to be denied rights to exist on our own. The UN is set to unleash war in North and South Kivu and Maniema Provinces.”

M23 says South African forces have taken positions which are less than 15 kilometres away from M23 positions in Munigi on the outskirts of Goma.

The Tanzanian forces have also arrived in Uvira, South Kivu Province and the Tanzanian commander of the troops is in Goma town.

M23’s demands

M23 revolted in 2012, accusing Kabila of rigging the 2011 Presidential elections, human rights abuses, discrimination and corruption in the army and planned massacre of CNDP soldiers who had been integrated in FARDC.

Since the opening of the peace talks in Kampala, The rebels have been calling for the release of political prisoners affiliated to the rebel group, declaring Kivu a disaster area and formally recognizing the ranks of the military and police on the basis of M23 OB (Order of Battle) presented by the movement.

The rebels also want Kabila to organize, “without delay, provincial, urban and municipal elections and local throughout the territory of the Republic, in accordance with section 1 of Law No. 06/006 09 March 2006 on the organization of elections in the DRC.”

The demands are contained in M23’s proposed draft peace agreement presented to Dr Crispus Kiyonga, the mediator of peace talks in Kampala.

M23 want the DRC Government to show commitment to creating a special structure for national reconciliation and should “enjoy financial and administrative autonomy and placed under the authority of the President and supported by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Great Lakes Region.”

The rebels further ask Kabila to apply the provisions of Article 175 of the Constitution relating to the withholding of 40 percent of revenues from the public treasury, and within 45 days to enact a law establishing the classification of tax revenues and their allocation.

The Movement says government must apply the provisions of Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution establishing 25 provinces plus the city of Kinshasa and enact an organic law on the composition, organization and functioning of the decentralized territorial entities and their relations with the State and the Provinces.

Because of recurring wars that led to the destruction of infrastructure, socio-economic fabric, fracture social cohesion and the absence of any prospect of development due to deficiency of a lasting peace and security in recent decades in the east of the Republic, the M23 wants government to undertake to declare the eastern part of the DRC (North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Haut-Ouele, Maniema and Tanganyika) as a “disaster area.”

The rebels say the declared “disaster area” should enjoy a special administrative status; unique special development plan; broad fiscal and financial autonomy and specified operational concept for its security.

It further says DRC must facilitate the integration of policy frameworks of M23 and those considered as such and government should involve leaders of the movement in the management of national institutions through government centers, diplomacy/ Chancelleries, public enterprises, provinces and general Staff.

AMNESTY

Regarding national reconciliation, Kinshasha is required to enact amnesty provision for acts of war and insurrection covering the period from May 7 2009 until the end of the implementation of Agreement and in accordance with international law.

“In order to strengthen the democratic debate and to participate in national politics, the M23 is committed to become a political party. However, it reserves the right to change its name,” the proposed draft agreement reads in part.

Should these conditions be fulfilled, M23 says it is committed to conduct joint operations with government to participate in peacekeeping operations and stabilization of the eastern part.

To pacify sustainably eastern part of the Republic and effectively participate in the stabilization of the Great Lakes Region, M23 argues, these operations should be conducted over a period of five years, renewable and will aim to the final eradication of all foreign negative forces (LRA, ADF-NALU, FNL, FDLR) operating from the Congolese territory.

It further stresses the rebels should be repatriated to their countries of origin of all prisoners captured during those operations.

“Therefore, there will be the composition and articulation of joint forces (FARDC-ARC) to carry out such operations and reach, within a reasonable time to the expected results.”

The group further contends that to “end impunity in the national army the DRC government should set up a joint commission of independent investigation to shed light on selective assassinations in the national army, soldiers in Kamina, in Dungu, in Rutshuru, Shabunda in South Kivu and elsewhere, so that the sponsors of these acts will be brought before the competent courts.”

M23 further pledges to participate in the development of local communities to national parks and given the fact that they all suffered from the consequences of repeated wars, both parties should undertake initiatives to promote the tourism industry and to assign 100 percent of tourism revenue development of these populations.

“This base will be managed jointly by the permanent local conciliation committees and development structure to be agreed by both parties.”

M23 contends that given the principle of the continuity of the State, the Government of the DRC should recognize all the political and administrative acts within entities under administration M23.

Source: Chimp Reports

April 29, 2013   No Comments

Rwanda on the spot once again on claims of poor human-rights record

Rwanda’s human-rights record is once again in the spotlight after a new report by the US Department of State accused government security agents of engaging in torture, arbitrary or unlawful killings and detention of citizens without trial.

The Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2012 accuses Rwanda’s military intelligence services and police of torturing civilians using electric shocks, beatings and starving of suspects, among other abuses.

Specifically, the military intelligence department is accused of detaining civilians in safe houses without being charged or tried for several months.

The report, which the authors said offers an assessment of Rwanda’s human-rights record last year, notes that, while the government has occasionally made efforts to investigate these abuses, it did not punish any perpetrators.

“The most important human-rights problems in the country remained the government’s targeting of journalists, political opponents and human-rights advocates for harassment, arrest, and abuse; disregard for the rule of law among security forces and the judiciary; restrictions on civil liberties; and support of rebel groups in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo,” said the US report.

“The government generally took steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses, whether in the security services or elsewhere, but impunity involving civilian officials and State Security Forces was a problem.”

Rwanda has repeatedly denied allegations that the country is backing the M23 rebels operating in eastern Congo.

The accusations saw some key donors, mainly Germany, UK, the Netherlands and the US suspend or withdraw aid to Rwanda late last year.

In December last year, it was reported that US President Barack Obama had called Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and warned him about supporting the rebels.

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The latest report further damages the image of Rwanda, which at the beginning of the year took up its position as a member of the United Nations Security Council.

Rwanda, analysts said, was hoping to use its newly acquired membership to the UNSC to defuse tensions over its alleged role in the conflict in eastern DRC.

Only last year, yet another report by Amnesty International documented 18 allegations of torture and other cruel or degrading treatment or punishment perpetrated by the military intelligence and other agencies to secure information or force confessions at Kami military intelligence camp, Ministry of Defence headquarters, Mukamira military camp and safe houses.

Positive steps

However, local and international human-rights organisations acknowledged that the army’s leadership had taken positive steps during the year to reform military interrogation methods and detention standards, resulting in fewer reports of torture and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment at Kami and other military detention facilities.

According to the report, there were fewer reports of disappearances and politically motivated abductions or kidnappings than in previous years, but local human-rights organisations ceased investigating disappearances during the year after reporting pressure from government officials, including threats and allegations of treason.

Amnesty International, Liprodhor and other observers alleged that the Military Intelligence Directorate, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) as well as the Department of Intelligence orchestrated the disappearances.

Reacting to the report, the leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Frank Habineza, said: “The National Human Rights Commission and the office of Ombudsman should carry out independent investigations into the matter and inform the general public about the alleged human-rights abuses.”

On his part, the executive secretary for the League for the Defence of Human Rights in the Great Lakes Region, Epimack Kwokwo, asks Members of Parliament to come up with a law that gives an independent body powers to investigative the alleged crimes and bring the culprits to book

He noted that the police and military could not investigate themselves. While prison and detention centre conditions were harsh, the report notes, the government made numerous improvements during the year.

The US report also criticises the government over failed attempts to stem rampant corruption, citing several cases. In a controversial March report, an ad hoc parliamentary committee charged the then Minister for Finance and Economic Planning John Rwangomba and eight other senior government officials with mismanaging the Rukara hydropower dam project.

Investigations by parliament

The parliamentary investigation followed the publication of an article in the New Times, which claimed that in 2011 Minister of Local Government James Musoni had illegally awarded public tenders to the local company Digitech Solutions (now known as Ngali Holdings).

Mr Rwangomba and the other officials protested the report’s findings as inaccurate and poorly researched, and in August the parliamentary committee of public accounts cleared the nine officials of any wrongdoing.

Source: Inyenyeri News

April 29, 2013   No Comments