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Sham and miscarriage of democracy in Rwanda

By Robert Mukombozi.

President Kagame, wife Janet, son Cyomoro and daughter Ange present themselves to the population during July electoral campaign.

President Kagame, wife Janet, son Cyomoro and daughter Ange present themselves to the population during July electoral campaign.

When President Paul Kagame opened the window for a democratic ballot system, which led to his landslide victory in 2003, the spirit and hopes of Rwandans flung up. It was a dawn of hope-with pretty much anticipation the political terrain would gradually shift from authoritarian, turning Rwanda into a hotbed of democracy. That hope has died. Rwandans have lost hope and they now resort to silence.

It would be healthy if the masses had a public platform to decide on the fate of their destiny. Unfortunately, fear has clouded the once genocide plagued state because you will never know who you are talking to.

“Rwandans have lost hope and they now resort to silence.”

“The hearts of Rwandans are bleeding as a result of extreme oppression.”

“The elections will definitely be a sham and a miscarriage of democracy in Rwanda. It is only unfortunate that there is no option; Rwandans will have to vote RPF back in office under the gun.”

“Previous leaders have torn the pride of Rwanda. And they have all gone without a trail legacy.”

R. Mukombozi.

Andre Kagwa Rwisereka is the recent victim of Kagame’s military hand, the latest politico to be slain in a wave of politically motivated killings. Before his murder, the former Green Party first Vice-President reported he was being threatened by unknown people claiming they frustrated his business, the New Somborero Club because of his political affiliation.

His killing came in the footsteps of journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage.
Other independent journalists who have dared Kagame’s tyranny among others Jean Bosco Gasasira, Charles Kabonero, Didas Gasana, Furaha Mugisha have been exiled.

The future for politicians such as Deo Mushayidi, PS Imberakuri’s Bernard Ntaganda, FDU-Inkingi’s Victoire Ingabire and Green party’s Frank Habineza is very uncertain.
On October 30, 2009 the Green party supporters were publicly humiliated during a congress held in Kigali at St Paul.
The party members were beaten by the RPF’s notorious youth wing, which forced its way into the conference hall and beat up the members.

Their colleagues managed to race into exile previously when they had the chance but for this column of politicos battling a chain of cases, there is little or no chance of escaping persecution.

Kagame had attempted to play his political maneuvers brilliantly. But, the way he used the forum of political parties to disorganise PS Imberakuri, an opposition party and the blocking of the FDU-Inkingi and the Green party from contesting in the August presidential elections have sold him nothing more than a ticket of guilt in the face of political analysts.

The elections will definitely be a sham and a miscarriage of democracy in Rwanda. It is only unfortunate that there is no option; Rwandans will have to vote RPF back in office under the gun.

‘Crack in the army’

The Rwanda Defence Forces is deeply divided. Col. Patrick Karegeya, the former chief of external security and the charismatic soldier Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, the former chief of staff are in exile. Lt. Gen. Charles Muhire, the former chief of the Air force and Maj. Gen. Karenzi Karake are in detention.

Military prosecution has tactically failed to proceed with Muhire’s fabricated charges of corruption and abuse of office. To deepen the crack within the army, Kagame has ordered the military tribunal, according to military sources; to press charges against Gen. Karake linking him to an affair with the wife of colleague Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, the Force Commander of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

As the RDF senior command ponders on the next move to be taken in the sensitive case of Generals Muhire and Karake, a new set of soldiers has also been placed on the firing line. About 1,900 RDF troops have been forcefully discharged. They add to two other senior commanders, Col. Kamili Karege (commandant of the Rwanda Military Academy in Gako), and Col. John Bosco Mulisa (Brigade Commander of RDF’s 402 Brigade), who were suspended together with a senior presidential adviser on Defence and Security, Brig. Gen John Bosco Kazura.

All these senior military officers are actually being cracked down in a conspiracy by a section of military intelligence and National Security Service personnel blackmailing them in an alleged coup d’état against Kagame.

Brig. Gen. Jack Nziza (Defence Permanent Secretary), Lt Col. Emmanuel Ndahiro (National Security Service), and Lt. Col. Joseph Nzabamwita (External Security Organisation) have been widely implicated in this manhunt of politicians and soldiers.

It is alleged that the coup plot is being masterminded by the popular Washington DC based His Royal Highness King Kigeli V, which has increased suspicion within the army and caused much discomfort to Kagame who now suffers the pressure of ‘an enemy within.’

The presidency has become synonymous with corruption. Kagame has failed to account, before parliament, for owning two $100 million XR Executive Jets which he hires to himself and makes at least two trips to America-visiting his son at West Point military academy.

According to high profile sources, the minimum cost for each trip is close to $1 million. The two aircraft were bought by government money and registered in the names of a pseudo company. It is also alleged that Kagame owns the embassy building in London but he has deliberately decided to remain guarded over the matter.

Rwanda has a number of political parties; the RPF, Democratic Republican Movement (Mouvement démocratique républicain), Christian Democratic Party (Parti démocratique chrêtien), Islamic Democratic Party (Parti démocratique islamique), Rwandan Socialist Party (Parti socialiste rwandais), Democratic Union of the Rwandan People (Union démocratique du People rwandais), Social Democratic Party (Parti social démocrate), Liberal Party (Parti libéral) and Party for Progress and Concord (Parti pour le Progrès et la Concorde) among others.

Out of these, a few have managed to fight against the tide. Parties like the Democratic Republican Movement, Christian Democratic Party, Islamic Democratic Party, Rwandan Socialist Party and the Democratic Union of the Rwandan People only exist in the archives. These issues have been swept under the carpet.

Previous leaders have torn the pride of Rwanda. And they have all gone without a trail legacy.

Kagame is definitely going to win the election capitalising on a shaken and intimidated electorate but deep within, the hearts of Rwandans are bleeding as a result of extreme oppression. The only question now is; Whether he still has time to continue suppressing the spirit of a people.

Robert Mukombozi is an Investigative Rwandan journalist exiled in Australia. He is a Masters of Journalism and Mass Communication student at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.
Contact: RMukombozi@gmail.com

[First published in The African Executive under title: “Rwanda Presidential Elections: A Trigger Democracy?”].

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2 comments

1 george { 08.24.10 at 5:30 am }

hi think you have lost your mind,! if you want to play politics you should go back in rwanda not here, Kagame,Kagame dont you have something else to talk about if he is there is coz god want him to, Australia is not place for your bull***shit just shut up ,or go back in Rwanda. you rwandan people should stay in rwanda not in our country,>>f***k off

2 Koma { 03.21.11 at 4:46 am }

TERRORIST GIANTS OF EAST AFRICAN GREAT LAKES REGION, PATRICK KAREGEYA, JOSEPH KONY, KAYUMBA NYAMWASA AND FDLR

PATRIC KAREGEYA JOSEPH KONY
After receiving a US$4million contract to train “mercenaries” for the embattled Somalia government, Patrick Karegeya is busy preparing his rebel military instructors in eastern DR Congo in areas of Binza who will travel to Somalia as part of a team of training experts.

KAYUMBA NYAMWASA FDLR REBEL GROUP
1. The arguments brought by Kayumba in this recent interview simply went further to re-affirm that Kayumba did not merit his rank and appointment in the first place. It went further to expose Kayumba’s character and what he actually set out to fight for during the Rwanda’s liberation war. It simply demonstrates that Kayumba was fighting for pips on his shoulders.
2. Having been the head of intelligence during the liberation war, and later the army Chief of Staff, Kayumba presided over a number of cases where various Rwanda Patriotic Army, later Rwanda Defence Force officers, were stripped of their ranks by the military courts for various crimes. These officers who were stripped of their ranks had risked their lives more and had less severe crimes than Kayumba. He never at any one time defended these officers to say that “those who risked their lives to get the ranks should never be stripped of their ranks by the military courts, whatever crimes they commit”. Kayumba, even as the Army Chief of Staff, never even proposed the amendment of the criminal law relating to the stripping of ranks of officers who commit certain crimes after “risking their lives for the country”.
Kayumba should also be aware that even the soldiers who are recognized with the “Order of Bravery” Medals are reminded in the citation that the honour will be stripped off if they commit crimes that embarrass RDF and the country. This is the honour you acquire for putting your life at the highest risk, but all the same you lose it after committing a crime.
3. This means, according to Kayumba, we should have had two laws applying to one crime; one meant for those who risked their lives for the country and another for those who never risked their lives for the country. Here Kayumba’s myopic outlook of the military limits him to view the military personnel’s sacrifice for their country to only the liberation of the country which he thinks ends with the capture of state power. To Kayumba, those who fought insurgency when he had abandoned the army to go to UK never risked their lives for the country. What about those who fought the Congo wars to protect the country from being taken over by the genocidal forces? What about all the soldiers who are still sacrificing their lives to protect the sovereignty and integrity of the nation? What about all the soldiers sacrificing their lives to keep and preserve the regional and international peace and stability in Sudan, Liberia, Chad, Haiti and elsewhere?

4. According to Kayumba, fighting for and the liberation of the country end with the taking over of state power. This is a reflection of the gross deficiency in the understanding of liberation philosophy. The capture of state power by any well- intentioned and visionary liberation movement simply marks the first phase in the long journey of the liberation struggle and not the end as Kayumba and his cohorts take it to be. The state power only offers the platform to implement what you set out to fight for in the first place, which include, mainly; good governance, peace and security and socio-economic prosperity of the people. This is what marks the difference between Kayumba with his cohorts and the rest of the Rwandans who fought for the genuine cause. The real liberators believe the struggle for the emancipation of Rwandans is still an ongoing process. The concept of nation-building does not exist in Kayumba’s mind; it’s only the pips on his shoulders and other personal material gains that matter at what he calls the end of the liberation war. It explains why Kayumba has allied with the genocidal forces that are bent on completing their original mission of Genocide.
5. Nullification of what was offered to you to enable you practice the profession is not limited to the military profession alone, but is rather applicable to other noble professions; including medicine and law among others. In the medical profession, if a specialized doctor, say a surgeon or gynecologist who has achieved his papers through over 20 years of hard work, is found embarrassing to the profession at one time in his practice, he/she will be stripped of his rights to practice as a doctor throughout his life. The same applies to the law profession. The military profession being the most noble and unique profession, penalties are always much higher. This is because the implication of the failure of the profession spells the collapse of the nation. Every nation constantly strives to ensure that its military never fails in its profession. Kayumba should therefore not cry foul for the court sentence of 24 years and dismissal from the army with disgrace leaving him with bare shoulders. This is the verdict that befalls military servicemen who maneuver to the top while serving their personal interests. The government which gives you the rank when you are serving national interests reserves the right to strip you of the same when you go against the national interests. Kayumba should know that military ranks are not a personal property but rather institutional property controlled by the government.
6. The argument that the court was presided over by a Brigadier General in rank, simply reaffirms the utmost ignorance of the existing Rwanda Defence Force’s laws by someone once called a General and Chief of Staff at that. This has been brought out in various responses to the same interview or other utterances by the like-minded criminals of Kayumba including Gahima, Karegeya and Rudasingwa. In accordance with the law, any officer within the class of a General rank can preside over the judgment of any General in the same rank bracket.
7. Kayumba should come to terms with the verdict and understand that he is no longer a General. Anyone who deals with him should also know that he/she is dealing with a wanted criminal and not a General. Any professional soldier anywhere in the world that recognizes or treats Kayumba with the traditional military respect should know that he/she is indeed disgracing his own army. This should only be left to his own recruited militia which he is busy building up. The officers and his guards in the host country should not discredit their own army by giving military respect to someone dismissed from the army with disgrace. It’s only the non-military circles which can be forgiven for the continued referral of Kayumba as a General but not definitely the noble military profession.
8. In conclusion, Kayumba presided over many officers who were stripped of their military ranks by the court when he was the army chief of staff with no mention of its illegality. Kayumba as an army officer committed crimes that earned him the verdict that any respectable military officer would never dream of meeting in his/her life time. His argument that he will not accept the court ruling that stripped him of his rank is a demonstration of Kayumba’s myopic outlook, gross deficiency in military issues and simply goes further to re-affirm that he did not merit the rank and the appointment in the first place.

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