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
Kigali — Regional security chiefs, representing the Economic Community of Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), have disclosed that Rwandan fugitives, Kayumba Nyamwasa and Patrick Karegeya, have formed a new armed group based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with the aim of destabilizing the region.
According to minutes of the just concluded CEPGL security meeting, the Kayumba-Karegeya armed group, based in Binza, North Kivu, is commanded by Col. Suki and Col. Gaheza. They are, so far, estimated to number about 200.
“The group is carrying out recruitment inside Rwanda and the region and infiltrating the recruits to DRC for future use in subversive activities against Rwanda,” said Col. Augustin Mumbiay Mamba, the DRC’s chief of border security.
It was also revealed in the meeting that the Kayumba-Karegyeya outfit had entered into an alliance with several existing militia in eastern DRC, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), remnants of the former Rwandan army (Ex-FAR) and Interahamwe militia responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Other armed groups named in the new alliance include FPLC, RUD-Urunana, Lafontaine, Mai Mai Yakatumba, Mai Mai Cheka and the so-called Nsengiyumva group.
“Estimated enemy strength operating in DRC is about 5,000,” revealed Col. Mamba.
“This alliance dictates the need to intensify joint operations to curtail and neutralize the activities of these armed groups”.
It is not the first time that Kayumba and Karegeya are linked to armed groups in the DRC.
A UN Security Council Group of Experts’ report, last year, revealed that both Kayumba and Karegyeya have strong links with the FDLR and were involved with armed groups in the DRC.
Col. Amri Bizimana, a top commander in the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) terrorist organization, corroborated the UN Security Council report.
“For almost a year now, Kayumba and Karegeya have had sustained contact and high level meetings with senior FDLR leaders and this has led to the merging of resources and efforts between the two sides,” Col. Bizimana told reporters recently at Mutobo reception centre, where he arrived after escaping from the FDLR camps in the Eastern DRC.
Bizimana further revealed that after the merger of the Kayumba-Karegeya group with the FDLR outfit, Gerald Gahima has emerged as the most active coordinator in Europe and North America, where he, and Theogene Rudasingwa, have linked up with Paul Rusesabagina and the remaining top FDLR officials after the arrest of Ignace Murwanashyaka, Straton Musoni and Callixte Mbarushimana.
Kayumba and Karegeya were sentenced to 24 and 20 years in prison, respectively, after they were found guilty of forming a terrorist group, threatening state security, undermining public order, promoting ethnic divisions and insulting the person of the President of the Republic.
CEPGL’s Sub Committee on Defense and Security comprises the Chiefs of Defense Forces, the Chiefs of Police, Chiefs of National Security, the Heads of Immigration services, the Heads of Military and Police intelligence from all CPGL Member States.
[The New Times]
January 26, 2011 13 Comments
The four men – Kayumba Nyamwasa, Karegeya, Gahima and Rudasingwa – were once members of the Rwandan president’s inner circle. Now they’ve fled the country and say they fear for their lives even in exile as he steps up efforts to silence their criticism.
A Rwandan court convicted them in absentia and sentenced them to at least 20 years in prison each if they return home. One also has survived what he believes is an assassination attempt near his home in South Africa, though Rwanda denies any involvement.
President Paul Kagame’s former attorney general, intelligence chief, army chief and chief of staff all were convicted earlier this month by a Rwandan military court of disturbing public order, threatening state security, sectarianism and criminal conspiracy.
The men once loyal to Kagame now accuse him of threatening both democracy in their homeland and stability across Africa.
In a recent speech to his parliament, Kagame called his four former allies “useless characters” and had a warning for nations that lend them support: “If you live in a grass-thatched house, you should avoid playing with fire because your own house may catch fire.”
Kagame is renowned for his role in helping to end the 1994 genocide during which extremist Hutus killed more than 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. But his democratic credentials have been questioned, as has his ability to heal his nation’s ethnic divide.
He was re-elected last year after opposition parties were banned from the vote and some Rwandans said they were forced to cast ballots for him. Freedom House noted a “severe crackdown on opposition politicians, journalists and civil society activists in the run-up to a deeply flawed August 2010 presidential election.”
This week Rwandan police said they had asked Interpol member states to arrest the four dissidents and send them home to serve prison sentences. Interpol said Thursday that Rwanda had issued the request on its own, not through the international agency’s secretariat.
Former army chief Kayumba Nyamwasa and ex-chief of staff Theogene Rudasingwa were sentenced to 24 years each. Former attorney general Gerald Gahima and intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya were handed 20-year sentences.
“Everybody knows it’s a hoax,” Karegeya said, accusing Rwanda’s president of orchestrating the trial.
Two of the men are in exile in the United States; the other two are in South Africa. Clayson Monyela, spokesman for South Africa’s foreign affairs department, said Thursday his government would have no comment on whether the country would comply with Rwanda’s extradition request.
Relations between the two countries already have been tense as South Africa investigates a shooting that wounded one of the four ex-aides last year in Johannesburg. At one point, South Africa went so far as to recall its ambassador to Rwanda and it remains unclear whether the diplomat has returned.
South African prosecutors have refused to say whether they believe the Rwandan government was involved in the June attempt on Nyamwasa’s life. Rwandan officials vehemently deny any role, while his supporters hold Kagame’s government responsible.
The dissidents say they expect South Africa and the U.S. to continue granting them a haven. Their real fear, they say, is not extradition, but an attack by Kagame’s agents.
“It’s a very real risk,” Gahima said.
Authorities in South Africa say the plot against Nyamwasa involved 10 suspects from several African countries. Authorities believe it was masterminded by the one Rwandan citizen among the suspects.
And after the shooting failed to kill Nyamwasa, authorities allege the suspects then plotted to strangle Nyamwasa in his hospital bed. The trial is set to begin in July.
Nyamwasa has kept a low profile since being wounded in the attack. Several months later, Spain announced it was seeking his extradition on genocide charges that he denies.
Nyamwasa and other senior Tutsis are accused of waging an extermination campaign against Hutus in retaliation for the 1994 genocide, killing tens of thousands.
Under Spain’s broad human rights laws, a Spanish judge has charged Nyamwasa and 39 other members of the Rwandan military with the mass killings of civilians after they seized power in Rwanda following the genocide.
The dissidents deny their opposition to Kagame springs from personal ambition. And Kagame’s former chief of staff said it was fair to ask why Rwandans should now trust former Kagame allies.
“We come to them honestly and admitting honestly some of the things we didn’t do that we should have done,” Rudasingwa said. “In life, there’s always a second chance.”
Rudasingwa was Kagame’s envoy to the United States in the mid-1990s, where he denounced criticism of Rwanda by international human rights groups.
Even when he knew Rwanda had invaded Congo pursuing Rwandans accused in the genocide, “I used to go to the State Department and say fervently, I would even get angry, that we weren’t in the Congo.”
He said he began to become disillusioned with Kagame in the late 1990s, but feared arrest or worse. He went on to become Kagame’s chief of staff. Rudasingwa left Rwanda in 2004, returned briefly, then left for good in 2005.
Five years later, the four ex-Kagame aides in exile established the Rwanda National Congress, which they say is dedicated to pursuing peaceful political change. They accuse Kagame’s government of refusing to embrace democracy and respect human rights, and say that could lead to more violence.
Past Rwandan conflicts have spread throughout the Great Lakes region and sent refugees fleeing across Africa.
Gahima, Rwanda’s former attorney general, said the criminal convictions and attempts to extradite them had only strengthened the exiles’ resolve to bring about change in their homeland.
But “I don’t think we should be under the illusion that Kagame is going to easily give up power,” he said. “We have a long and hard road ahead of us.”
January 24, 2011 No Comments
Exiled Rwandan military officers Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa and Col. Patrick Karegeya have formed a political party, the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), Daily Monitor has learnt.
Other leaders of the new party include Jerome Nayigiziki, Gervais Condo, Dr. Gerald Gahima, Jonathan Musonera, Dr Theogene Rudasingwa, Joseph Ngarambe, Dr Emmanuel Hakizimana and Jean Paul Turayishimye.
Rwanda’s Information Ministry spokesperson Ignatius Kabagambe confirmed knowledge of these new developments. He, however, could not comment further on the matter. “It is true we have formed a new political party with the aim of resolving the explosive political impasse that prevails in Rwanda,” Gen. Nyamwasa told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview.
Gen. Nyamwasa said they would undertake widespread consultations with other political parties within Rwanda for appropriate interventions. “We now have a co-coordinating committee put in place to consult with other political parties in Rwanda to see how we can effectively end the political crisis in the country,” he said. “We encourage all Rwandans of good will to overcome fear and mistrust, and to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of the ideals, values, principles and goals that this proclamation embodies,” the party leadership said in a statement yesterday.
They said the RNC has been built on a democratic foundation that values stopping violent conflicts, including genocide and grave human rights violations, promote individual, community and national reconciliation and healing.
The leadership said it intends to eradicate human rights violations, create a conducive and progressive environment for inclusive social and economic development, establish, nurture and institutionalise democratic governance, particularly the rule of law.
December 14, 2010 6 Comments
Kigali — A United Nations Security Council experts report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has linked Rwandan fugitives, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa and Patrick Karegeya to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels.
The report, submitted last week by the Security Council Committee established to look into rebel activities in the DRC, concluded that “independent sources” have linked the two renegades to the terrorist outfit in Eastern DRC.
“Several independent sources, including one in Kampala and one within FPLC (Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo), informed the Group that FRF (Federal Republican Forces, a rebel group in DRC) had agreed to join the FPLC coalition, all alleging that those contacts may have been facilitated by Kayumba Nyamwasa, the dissident former Rwandan general,” excerpts from the report state.
“In addition, according to credible testimony from various sources, former CNDP officers have been in contact with Rwandan political dissidents in South Africa, including Patrick Karegeya, and Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa.”
The report further confirmed that the Group of Experts directly witnessed a conversation between Karegeya and former officers of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) reintegrated into the DRC national army (FARDC), suggesting that the former army officers are involved in divisive activities.
“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 the Congo in February,” the report adds.
Both Kayumba and Karegeya are believed to be the masterminds behind the grenade attacks that exploded in Kigali, early this year.
The fugitives have since been indicted and face various charges including forming a terrorist group, ethnic divisionism, threatening national security, undermining state authority, and spreading harmful propaganda.
“We are not surprised by the UN report. The information we have is that they are involved in criminal activities and they are busy forming alliances with criminal groups,” said Defence and military spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jill Rutaremara.
“Their alliances with criminals are different; some are Rwandan, others are not, but we know their leadership is based in the region. We know that these groups are bent on creating instability in the region.” Rutaremara told The New Times.
The same report revealed that the FDLR, which mainly comprises of Ex-FAR and Interahamwe genocidal forces, was in possession of a large stockpile of uranium, used to make nuclear weapons, which they have failed to sell for the last two years.
The FDLR rebels discovered a deposit six 70-kilogramme canisters of the mineral in Walikale territory of eastern DRC, after a tip-off by local chiefs.
The minerals were found in 2008 in a hidden underground vault.
[The New Times]
December 10, 2010 2 Comments
“Si vous m’aimez, soutenez la cause que j’ai défendue et que je défendrai de mon vivant”
Kigali – Sept.17 – Opposition politician Deogratias Mushayidi will spend the rest of his life behind bars after he was found guilty on three of the seven very serious charges, the High Court ruled Friday.
Mushayidi, who was arrested in Tanzania – handed to Burundi, which immediately extradited him to Rwanda, was found guilty on three counts including: causing state insecurity, using forged documents and inciting citizenry against established authority.
The defense led by Kigali lawyer Christophe Twagirayezu told reporters after the verdict that he was going to appeal in the Supreme Court.
In addition to the life sentence, Mushayidi was ordered to pay 73,150 Francs (Approx. US$130) as court charges.
The High Court however cleared the controversial ex-head of the Association of Rwandan Journalists (ARJ) of four charges.
They included: promoting Genocide revisionism, ideology and sowing seeds of divisionism; terrorism and collaboration with armed groups with intent to oust a legitimate government.
Prosecution had prayed to court on August 23 to slam Mushayidi with three separate sentences including two life sentences and 50 years in jail for all the charges against him.
Mushayidi – who has been in detention at the maximum security jail here in Kigali, was not in court to hear his verdict.
The outspoken politician was arrested and subsequently extradited to Rwanda on March 5 this year. The state produced several witnesses and documents showing how the head of Belgian-based PDP-Imanzi political group had been collaborating with the Rwandan FDLR rebels in DR Congo.
At some point, prosecution alleged Mushayidi was part of a “terror network” with exiled Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa and Col Patrick Karegeya – both on political asylum in South Africa. They are said to be operating in this region – but no specifics have been availed.
During the trial, prosecution brought a person described as a ‘high profile witness’ by the names of Samuel Nsengiyumva whom court heard was Mushayidi’s close partner. Prosecution said they had been working together on preparing armed rebellion from Tanzania.
Before fleeing Rwanda in 2000, Mushayidi headed the local journalists’ grouping – from which he is alleged to have disappeared all its finances which had been provided by UNESCO.
A former combatant of the RPF rebels, he would turn out to be a fierce critic of President Kagame from the safety of Europe – where he joined up with various opposition groups.
September 17, 2010 No Comments
“I should not be over-praised!”
President elect, Paul Kagame, on Tuesday evening, appeared on Contact FM’s radio talk show- Rwanda Decides, hosted by, Andrew Mwenda. He spoke on a wide range of issues including: RPF’s huge victory, democracy, succession, the need for public debate, Rwanda-South Africa relations. Below are excerpts:
You have won the election by 93 % and that is an unprecedented figure Mr. President. People who have been following elections, your critics will say look, such percentage can only be achieved in countries like Egypt or Iraq. That Kagame can arrange election and win by that percentage means that it was stage-managed and not genuine.
It happens here and to me it has to do with our context. One has to look at where we are coming from. Sixteen years ago, nothing existed and there were no institutions to talk about. There was nothing absolutely. We had to build everything from scratch. Not only building from the scratch but also to ensure that people have security, peace. People were in despair. We have brought value to the people and they identify with us.
But there has been a serious concern within the International Media, especially ahead of election. The media says, Kagame created an atmosphere of fear in the country. A leading politician was killed, a journalist murdered and some opposition leaders were blocked from registration and those allowed to compete were your allies.
It‘s not easy to do that and still get huge support. These are stories people create-that there is no democracy in Rwanda. For example, the killers of the journalist admitted to the crime, their gun was found. Police arrested the suspects; the killers even give reasons why they killed the journalist. It was revenge.
The story is out there but reporters, mainly those with issues with Kagame [and] Rwanda, they ignore the fact that police arrested the suspects. They only want to create the stories they want.
Let us come to the politician who was killed. The Green Party politician. The International media has said this was a powerful politician. First the government refused to register his party because you feared him.
I didn’t know this man until he was killed. He was not known at all. He was not even known in his home town of Butare. But the media will always want to say what they want, that this was a powerful politician and obviously Kagame feared him.
Have you arrested the killers of this politician?
Yes, police have arrested some suspects
Why did you refuse to register Green Party?
There is a process to register parties. You need 200 supporters who form a General Assembly, then present their documents to the notary office. And after this, you go to the Ministry of Local Government, [and the minister] brings the matter to the Cabinet. After this, then registration follows.
The Green party didn’t do this. They kept fighting themselves. At one point, they went to Kampala and while there, one [of their members] talked bad things about Rwanda. Later, some members didn’t agree with him because of what he said in Kampala. It’s not true that we refused to register Green Party; actually, the Ministry of Local Government tried to help.
So you don’t fear Green Party?
They would not challenge anybody at all. None at all.
I followed the campaigns and I was amazed to see the huge turn up of the supporters everywhere you went. Let me ask you Mr President, were these people attending willingly or they were coerced to attend your rallies?
I have no doubt absolutely that these people attended willingly. Our people are honest, genuine and I want to say that those who think otherwise are mistaken.
Mr. President, would you say that in 2010, things have changed, that people have forgotten about the past, that people no longer look at themselves in terms of ethnicity. And that Kagame is a good leader and we identify with him and love him.
One would be making a serious mistake to ignore the amount of political maturity now. You know political leadership is very important. Leaders killed our people in the past and caused the genocide.
And the leadership that values people creates a new nation of Rwanda. We stopped the genocide. People will support you. You cannot bring people at gun point to attend your rally and go back singing, wake up early in the morning and attend to their work
Do you consider yourself as an achiever?
I should not be over-praised because I would not have achieved these things without the massive support of Rwandans. You cannot do things alone; you need people to be behind your back. You can be a good General but when you don’t have supporters of soldiers, you cannot do much. We have been able to achieve a lot because of the support of Rwandans.
Mr President, one of the many questions that keep coming up is about when the teachers will have salary increment. When will this be?
We want everybody to access education and we want quality education. In order to achieve this, we need to invest in education. And to get good results, you need good teachers to provide quality education. You need to train them and after this, obviously, we shall remunerate them well. The thing is that if they are not remunerated well, they cannot do well and this is one of the many things we are going to do.
You can only do what you can basing on the resources you have. So, we shall look at our capacity, because we try to avoid a situation where you promise yet you don’t have enough resources, otherwise, other people will rise other issues, you know doctors will say we also save lives of people.
We appreciate so much the work of teachers, there is no doubt about this. We have been able to put money in the banks and teachers can now get loans. Here teachers will come, get loans and be able to do some investments.
South Africa recently recalled its ambassador. What have you done to them now and are you not worried that you are losing a very strategic partner?
We have had excellent relationship with South Africa and we want to keep it. The issue causing this problem is about the two dissidents Kayumba Nyamwasa and Patrick Karegeya. I am told they are seeking refugee status there.
We have raised the issue with South Africa that we want to try these people. And our country wants to hold them accountable. We have given SA all information about their cases here. Even the information of what they have been involved in after they left. But to them the issue is about the shooting of General Nyamwasa in SA recently. But for us we think the issue is much bigger.
When the President of SA went to Uganda, a journalist asked him the possibility of the dissidents’ extradition and the President said SA will respect International laws or obligation.
Even after they left Rwanda, they have been involved in activities aimed at creating security problems here. They should not continue to use this status to attack us. They were linked with groups throwing grenades. We have evidence against them. If they want to give them refugee status, they should not use this to attack us.
What would you consider as the role of the media in this political dispensation. Do you for example agree with the liberal view that the media should act as a market place, where ideas are debated Or you consider the media basically to be an institution just to promote government programs and ideas with limited questions?
I think I take the liberal view where the media is allowed to operate freely. And do what they can do freely but also be mindful about what they are doing and not to harm the society. They should not be harmed by those who are not happy with what they are doing. They should be allowed to criticize but the criticism should be constructive for our development and not harm any member of the society.
The contentious one is about succession. The constitution allows you only two terms and this is your last term. In Africa, we have known presidents that when the last term is about to end, their minds start changing. Even if you don’t want, what if RPF says we want you to stay. Are we going to see you amending the constitution?
Personally, I don’t want to get involved in the change of the Constitution and stay into power. I don’t intend to do that. When we took power in 1994, they wanted me to become the president and I was almost the automatic candidate but I refused and somebody else become President for six years. They had no quarrel with that.
I am saying this clearly and for me, one of the things I am looking at is that a debate should come up about this so that I can state my position. It does not mean that it has to be initiated by RPF, it can come from other people. I cannot amend the Constitution for the support of staying into power. For me to stay into power for two terms and fail to raise somebody who can take over, may be I can share that blame.
August 13, 2010 No Comments
Kirehe (Rwanda) – Incumbent President Paul Kagame warned Wednesday on the latest campaign leg that he would stop at nothing to combat foreign support for what he described as so-called “illegitimate” opposition leaders.
In clear reference to FDU-Inkingi party leader Victoire Ingabire, Kagame said foreigners and even Rwandans should not be supporting her.
“Some foreigners say there is a woman who is fighting for Hutu rights and they want us to listen to that woman because she represents the majority, but which majority is that?” he said to the crowd in Kirehe district, in Eastern Rwanda.
“Which majority are they talking about because the majority is you people and Rwanda doesn’t belong to Hutu, Tutsi or Twa – it belongs to Rwandans.”
While this message has been delivered at various rallies throughout the week, none was more forceful than Kirehe’s. The crowd gathered at Kirehe was met by a stern-looking Kagame, pointing his finger and shaking his fist with more vigour than usual.
President Kagame came under criticism this week from exiled ex-spy chief Col Patrick Karegeya – now living in South Africa, who gave an interview to the Ugandan paper The Observer. In the story, he referred to Kagame as a dictator who would not leave power unless he was forced out by war.
“We owe nobody nothing!” Kagame said in the opening minutes of his speech, the only English phrase he used.
Juxtaposed with the condemnation of support for unrecognized opposition leaders was Kagame’s defense of Rwanda’s democracy. Rwandans are ready to fight for their rights and people should recognize this, he said.
“What the majority of Rwandans choose, you have to respect that, and if you don’t respect it then that’s disrespectful and undermining,” said Kagame.
Players such as Ingabire and other unrecognized opposition leaders are a threat to that democracy, he said, but Rwandans won’t succumb to such threats.
“Rwandans have won big fights in the past, and we will also win fights that some people want to impose on us,” he said.
“If you are foreigners or Rwandans, if you want to fight us we will fight back and we will win because it seems you don’t know Rwandans and the RPF, and you must know us, we are strong, we will fight back and we will win.”
Kagame campaigned in Kirehe on Wednesday and later moved to Ngoma – both in the east bordering Tanzania. He came with his wife Jeanette Kagame.
The Ngoma rally speech neither had the same forcefulness as Kirehe’s nor the same subject matter. Instead, Kagame spoke about the successes of the RPF in Rwanda and then proceeded to dance close to the chanting crowd with his wife.
A dusty haze filled the air as the Kagames danced and clapped their hands above their heads. Singing and cheering flowed from the thousands of supporters in attendance, and while the mood was high, the Kagame entourage exited through the middle of the crowd.
August 5, 2010 3 Comments
Kigali – From telling western critics they can hang, incumbent President Kagame now says for those planning war, they had better take a second chance to think over their plans. This is after an exiled ex-spy chief said President Kagame like other ‘dictators’ don’t step down, they are ‘brought down’.
“We will fight whoever starts a war against us,” said Kagame in Bugesera district on the latest leg of his campaigns. “Rwandans must be allowed to make their choice…whoever is not happy can die of envy.”
Without singling out any specific individuals or groups, the RPF candidate said nobody will scare Rwandans with threats of war.
Ex-spy chief Col Patrick Karegeya, who is in South Africa with wounded Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, said in an interview with a Ugandan tri-weekly The Observer that only armed rebellion would remove President Kagame.
“A dictator can never step down, they are brought down. It’s only Rwandans who can stand up now and fight for their freedom. Kagame will have his breaking point and I think it will be very soon,” Karegeya said.
In a firry speech – a tactic he has employed since Friday last week, President Kagame told Bugesera that critics are wrong to suggest that since everybody supports RPF, then there is no democracy in Rwanda.
“Some falsely claim that Rwanda has no democracy because everybody supports RPF,” said Kagame.
“Who told them this is not democracy. If they want the truth then let them inquire from Rwandans, and residents of Bugesera in particular.”
He added: “Democracy and development are twins not enemies. Each requires the other.”
August 4, 2010 3 Comments
Jailed twice over alleged indiscipline, desertion and insubordination, PATRICK KAREGEYA was stripped of his rank of Colonel. The former Rwandan intelligence chief later fled to exile in 2007. He spoke to ROBERT MUKOMBOZI late last month about his fallout with President Kagame, escape, and life in South Africa.
Before delving into Rwandan issues, could you explain your role in the NRA rebellion?
Col. Patrick Karegeya:
I was born in Mbarara, Uganda, to a refugee family. I can’t remember how many primary schools I went through in Uganda. I finally earned my Bachelor of Law degree at Makerere University. It was a period of political upheaval; so, after university I started recruiting youth for NRA, but I was later arrested in June 1982 and charged with treason. I spent three years in Luzira Prison. Later, I managed to join [President] Museveni in Luweero until we finally liberated Uganda.
You were in the NRA, so how did you start planning the Rwanda liberation struggle?
Col. Patrick Karegeya:
It is true at the time of planning the Rwanda liberation struggle, I was an active officer in the NRA [now Uganda People’s Defence Forces]. Meetings were held at my private residence in Muyenga, Kampala. President Paul Kagame and the late Fred Rwigyema were part of those meetings, including others who are now senior leaders and army officers in the Rwandan government.
At that time I was a lieutenant in military intelligence (serving as an assistant Director-Counter Intelligence in the Directorate of Military Intelligence).
I was co-ordinating intelligence over a very wide area before any decision to invade Rwanda could be made. My spy network was widespread across Africa and overseas. My colleague (Paul Kagame) went to the United States for further studies and he was later informed that we had already invaded Rwanda. Museveni was very instrumental in the planning and subsequent invasion of Rwanda. He supported us and did not hamper any of our missions and agenda; he only asked for our cooperation and we were very cooperative.
What was most challenging in your career as a spy chief, especially in the struggle to liberate Rwanda?
Col. Patrick Karegeya:
Coordinating intelligence during war is very intricate, particularly in a scenario where you are dealing with insurgents, the perpetrators of genocide.
The government did not have structures and that means it didn’t have an intelligence structure as well. We went ahead and coordinated the return of thousands of Rwandans who had been displaced by the 1994 genocide but among them were ex-FAR and Interahamwe. The massive infiltration caught us off guard. It was very challenging but we built an intelligence structure which was very formidable and successful.
You said Museveni was very supportive but you were instrumental in killing his soldiers during the DR Congo (Kisangani) clashes between the RPA and UPDF between 1998 and 2003.
Col. Patrick Karegeya:
It is true I co-ordinated intelligence during that war but the DR Congo issues are very complicated. Fighting the enemy you know (the UPDF) was especially very challenging but inevitable because we had both deployed.
Now [President] Kagame says he will track you down for masterminding terrorist attacks in Kigali. What do you have to say about that?
Col. Patrick Karegeya:
I am actually disappointed in him. First of all, terrorism is just a political tool used by all dictators to deal with their opponents due to the weight the international community has attached to this charge. That is just blackmail.
He [Kagame] has created a lot of divisions in the army. There were wild allegations that I had problems with the Chief of General Staff [Gen. James Kabarebe] but he [Kagame] was actually the man behind all these fabricated charges of insubordination and desertion.
I remember when he [Kagame] was being called and asked where I should be jailed. Even the army wasn’t sure about which charges they should prefer against me and where I should be jailed. For all the jail terms I served in Rwanda, the army, under orders of the commander-in-chief, detained me in solitary confinement, not allowing any family member or friend to visit me, which is extreme psychological torture going by the international human rights conventions. All the orders were coming direct from Kagame.
All these are political tools that Kagame uses to silence his opponents.
I have actually stopped responding to Kagame’s accusations because it is a waste of time.
We fought for the liberation of Rwanda so that Rwandans can enjoy peace and be delivered from dictatorship but we have not seen that.
A dictator can never step down, they are brought down. It’s only Rwandans who can stand up now and fight for their freedom. Kagame will have his breaking point and I think it will be very soon.
There is no one who will come to save Rwandans from the dictatorship of Kagame and there is no time to fold hands. They should stand up to him and say look; we are tired, you have to go. Obviously some will lose their lives in the process but those who will die will have lost life for a worthy cause, and I am prepared to support Rwandans who want to fight the dictatorship of Paul Kagame.
How do you explain the mysterious death of Col. Lizinde in 1996 and former Internal Security Minister Seth Sendashonga on May 16, 1998, both of whom were assassinated under your watch as the Director, External Intelligence?
Col. Patrick Karegeya:
It is not only Col. Lizinde and Sendashonga who died mysteriously around that time. Many people, especially politicians, died under mysterious circumstances. I can’t say I don’t have information regarding those cases, but Kagame was the boss so he is in a better position to explain those assassinations and mysterious disappearances of people.
Families of people who lost their relatives and friends in mysterious circumstances have the right to seek answers from Kagame and if they want they can go ahead and institute a legal measure because they have the right to know what happened. When time comes for me to present my version of information, I am prepared to do that.
Rwanda’s Prosecutor General has written to the South African government saying security and judicial organs are in possession of evidence implicating you and Lt. Gen. Nyamwasa in acts of terrorism and grenade attacks. Are you prepared for extradition?
Col. Patrick Karegeya:
All those are fabricated and baseless charges. They are saying we bombed Kigali but we both know this is not true, but let me remind the Rwandan government that they have no extradition treaty with South Africa. I and my colleague (Gen. Nyamwasa) are in South Africa legally. We are both lawyers and we have secured political asylum, and we are well aware that no amount of political pressure can change this fact. In fact, we have waited for the Rwandan government to take legal action but we haven’t heard anything from them. We will not even need anyone to represent us in courts of law on this matter because it is a simple case that is politically motivated. We will meet in court. There is no evidence whatsoever that links us to the bombing in Kigali.
Are you safe in South Africa after the recent attempt on Gen. Nyamwasa’s life?
Col. Patrick Karegeya:
We have political asylum in South Africa and we will remain here. Proximity is very important. If Kagame had remained in the United States [During the 1990-94 liberation struggle and after], he would not be the Rwanda president today.
You sneaked out of the country dramatically in November 2007, how did you beat the security?
Col. Patrick Karegeya:
The way I managed to slip out of the hands of Rwanda’s security apparatus is still my secret. Besides, if I reveal those details I may be blocking the way for others who want to escape from Kagame’s oppressive regime. I know of so many people in Rwanda who would want to use the same route but their day hasn’t come yet and I do not want to be their obstruction.
Robert Mukombozi is currently studying for a master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication at Griffith University, Australia.
August 3, 2010 2 Comments