Will Kagame be the next Idi Amin that led the collapse of the East African Community in the 1970s?
President Kagame has not only mastered the language of the West of divide and rule but has further gone another step of lying in all his political life. Kagame has turned everything in Rwanda to be seen through the prism of the genocide, a hundred apocalyptic days that wiped out 800,000 men, women, children and babies and left no family unscarred. As a guerrilla commander who led his former RPA to the capital, Kigali, Kagame without even mentioning his comrades, he boasts of having single -handedly stopped the nightmare and, he calls all his former comrades worthless(Ibigarasha). It is in this regard that many people, who don’t know his true colors say, he tilted the scales more towards reconciliation than revenge. “I’m not sure Rwanda would exist if not for him right now,” one Kagame’s admirer said.
When the Rwandan Head of State attended the military graduation ceremony in Nyakinama Military Academy he categorically stated that those who think that he can talk to his enemies are day dreamers. The Rwandan leader described the calls of his Tanzanian counterpart to negotiate with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) as “utter nonsense.”
This is not only a deliberate distortion of facts but also deliberate demonization of the Tanzanian Head of State. It is on record that President Kagame has been and is still in bed with people who did not only commit genocide but also those with genocide ideology. Kagame is a man who does not need to be told the truth because he does not tell the truth. President Kikwete was honest with Kagame and his advice was in good faith, but why Kagame does not want to negotiate with his political opponents?
The answer is not hard to find, Kagame has politicized the Rwandan tragedy that cost almost one million people, and he can bargain cheaply with labeling people genociders and give them little or nothing. If Rucagu was to be bargained with negotiations he would have been very expensive or Gen. Rwarakabije, therefore a post will be enough and amnesty to bring these guys from the jungles of Congo if Kagame uses threats and intimidation that they all committed genocide.
Although this might be a good argument for a short term, it is a miscalculation of the principles of a lasting peace for a country that has been marred by ethnic instability for the last 5 decades since its independence from Belgium. As I have mentioned above the collapse of the East African Community in 1977 was largely on the cold blood that existed between President Id Amin of Uganda and the former Tanzanian Leader Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
The new Community now has an expanded five Partner States from the original three that founded the original Community in 1967 and which collapsed in 1977, a lot has been said on the reasons for the collapse of the East African Community but the Community with a bigger economic area with a Common Market, moving towards a Monetary Union and ultimately a Political Federation, the challenges are numerous compared to those that existed in 1970s when the block was managed by only 3 States and a low population. It could be assumed that in the course of this progress, the EAC has drawn lessons from successful regional economic communities elsewhere, but apparently, inadvertently or otherwise, there seems to have been no effort made to draw lessons from itself: What does the old EAC teach the revived EAC?
As I have mentioned above many political commentators have advanced various reasons for the collapse of the old EAC. These have ranged from political differences especially between Uganda and Tanzania (though the actual quarrel and eventual war peaked in 1978-79, long after the EAC had collapsed). It could be argued that President Idi Amin behaved in the same way like the President Kagame when President Nyerere told him to negotiate with his political opponents who were in Tanzania at the time. President Idi Amin instead called him a woman that he could even marry. In the same way President Kagame has called his counterpart that he suffers from the genocide ideology. “Rwanda to hold talks with the FDLR is utter nonsense and comes from a point of ignorance. He added that if the comment was an ideological problem then it should stay with FDLR sympathizers.”
But if President Kagame cannot talk to the FDLR, because according to him they have been the part of the genocide movement, why can’t he talk to his political opponents who include even his former comrades who have fallen apart with him? Is he waiting for them to take arms so that he can talk to them? This is what President Kikwete was talking about, but because the Rwandan President wants to draw sympathy from both domestic and international community as usual his excuse is the genocide ideology, how long will the president keep fooling Rwandans and the international community?
The list of the people who were murdered by IdI Amin include the Archbishop Janani Luwum of the Church of Uganda in the same way Kagame ordered the brutal murder of the Rwandan Bishops who had sought sanctuary in Kabgayi during the war in 1994, they have not been given a decent burial they deserve. Murdered along with the archbishop was Internal Affairs Minister, Charles Oboth Ofumbi and Lands Minister, Lt. Col Erinayo Oryema. These were just a few of the prominent ones. The list of the murders and disappearances of many Rwandans on the orders of Kagame is endless, friends, comrades and political opponents have been killed yet the international community is silent and instead they talk about good roads and clean City, these so called developments should not be traded with Rwandan blood, Human Rights and Dignity. The Rwandan Military Intelligence (DMI) commands the right to life and death in the same way Amin’s State Research Bureau commanded the right to life and death. Kagame should listen to other people’s views lest he will fall in the same pit like his predecessors.
Source: Inyenyeri News
June 19, 2013 No Comments
Themed “The Human Factor in Shaping Tomorrow”, this year’s Presidential Conference will also mark the 90th birthday of Israel’s President, Shimon Peres.
Shortly after arrival, President Kagame and Mrs Kagame attended a reception hosted by President Peres alongside former US President William J. Clinton.
During the three-day visit to Israel, President Kagame will visit the Kibbutz Shfayim where he will meet thirty Rwandan students currently in an agriculture training program that is part of a partnership between the Rwandan and Israeli agriculture ministries.
The program which focuses on horticulture and irrigation is set grow to over 100 students as part of efforts to strengthen cooperation in one of Rwanda’s priority sectors.
President Kagame is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with both President Peres as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
President Kagame participated in the first Presidential Conference in 2008.
This year’s conference will discuss the future in relation to key issues including geopolitics, economics, society, environment, culture, identity, education and new media.
June 18, 2013 No Comments
KIGALI, RWANDA: Augustin-Habimana who was recalled by President Kagame as Rwanda’s ambassador to Burundi on Friday, 24th May is reported to have disappeared from Kigali since he reported back. Information available says that Habimana was last seen in Kigali on Friday and his whereabouts are said to be a big concern in government circles.
According to reliable sources, Habimana was recalled partly because of disagreements with embassy staff in Bujumbura who continued to report back to Kigali that he was, possibly, involved in activities not in line with his diplomatic posting. This included unconfirmed reports that he was in contact with political groups opposed to the Kigali government.
GLV sources also say that the ambassador is alleged have faced a number of cases at Rwanda’s police for failing to pay child support for children he allegedly fathered with several women. With these allegations, his conduct was regarded not to be appropriate with diplomatic status.
Habimana was the Director of Internal Intelligence at the National Intelligence and Security Services [NISS] before he was sent to Bujumbura as ambassador in November 2011. Sources say that even Habimana’s departure from NISS was a result of serious problems even though they were kept secret, and the diplomatic posting was seen as a solution.
Other diplomats recalled were Venantia Sebudandi and Solina Nyirahabimana from Sweden and Switzerland though for other reasons unrelated to the case of Habimana. If it is confirmed that Ambassador Habimana has freed to exile, he will not be the first diplomat to do so.
Source: Great Lakes Voices
May 29, 2013 No Comments
Carrots and sticks: From appeasement to coercive diplomacy to end violent conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa
In their shuttle diplomacy in the Great Lakes region, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, have spoken on the need for Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to commit to peace in exchange for $ 1 billion in aid. In Kigali, Rwanda, the world’s top diplomats lamented the 1994 genocide, expressed guilt for international failure, and, as usual, praised President Kagame and called upon him to contribute to peace in the region.
Last year, due to pressure from the international community, President Paul Kagame reluctantly agreed to have his creation and proxy, M23, to withdraw from Goma. As a result of this international pressure, President Kabila was influenced, also reluctantly, to talk to M23, to listen to its “grievances”. Admittedly, the problems of eastern DRC are largely a Congolese problem of internal weaknesses. However, since 1994, Rwanda has exported its own internal political and human rights crisis to DRC. Although the current problem in the eastern DRC has a Congolese component, the M23 saga is Rwanda’s deliberate creation. You cannot solve, once and for all, the “M23 problem”without dealing with Rwanda’s own political crisis, and re-evaluating the West’s hitherto unquestioning support to President Kagame. Short of new and innovative ways in the thinking process, policy, and action to underpin diplomatic, political and aid-related initiatives, current peace initiatives will be a temporary and futile measure.
The Great Lakes region is amidst a period of high risk and escalation in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region. Political space in Rwanda has become completely closed, with democratic voices dead, in jail or in exile. The regime has become ever more illegitimate, intransigent, and aggressive. Power is vested in the hands of President Kagame and his wife, and a few Tutsi military officers who run both the formal and informal government. President Kagame and his top military officers have ceaselessly turned to DRC for personal economic gain, the latest venture being the M23, itself with high potential to escalate into a full civil war that could easily turn regional and ugly. Rwanda’s top military officers have been cited by the U.N. Group of Experts as the organizers of M23 rebellion. The same officers are the masterminds of the horrendous crimes which were described in the UN Mapping Report of 2010 and other previous reports. Many people in Rwanda, DRC, Great Lakes region, Africa and the International Community are asking about the endgame in the current crisis in DRC.
Without a robust international engagement with a well calibrated mix of rewards and punishment to regional spoilers, more money and hastily arranged and exclusive peace deals will not achieve much. Even the deployment of the 3,000-strong international brigade, in addition to the 20,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force with U.S. $ 1.5 billion annual budget, sooner than later the costly, redundant and scandal-prone UN peacekeepers in DRC will cut down their losses and close down what has become an embarrassingly ineffectual operation.The international community, especially the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, United Nations, and the World Bank face a mountain of credibility gaps in the Great Lakes region that are both historical and current. African people in the Great Lakes region do not trust that these players are honest and impartial brokers. Nor do they trust their own governments, whose governing elite are largely the source of the cyclical crises in Rwanda and DRC.
Here are some ideas for an all-inclusive, society-wide, regional, Africa-led, approach for responding to the immediate humanitarian crisis. In the medium and long term such an approach should help in de-escalating the violent conflict, stopping the impunity that underlies mass atrocity and other gross human rights abuses, promoting inclusive political and economic arrangements, building strong institutions that enhance the rule of law, co-operating for national and regional security, and building resilient communities for shared peace, and sustainable prosperity.
First, immediately initiate a coordinated two-track peace process for Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The two-track peace process should be co-facilitated by South Africa and Tanzania, under the auspices of the African Union. The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France and China), and the European Union should be engaged observers to the peace processes. If President Kabila talks to M23 created by Rwanda, why can’t President Kagame, who presides over a minority regime, talk to the Rwanda’s legitimate political opposition and armed groups like FDLR?
Second, call a spade a spade. The contact group, comprising of the co-facilitators and the observers, should be brutally honest to all the regional players involved in the problem. The international community should halt the policy of appeasement born out of the failures of 1994. The contact group collectively has substantive leverage and wisdom to bring to the table. The members of the contact group should seek to understand the current power dynamics in Rwanda and DRC, appreciate the consequences of maintaining the status quo and inaction, and consider the threats and opportunities with respect to international peace and security.
Third, adopt a people-centered approach. The contact group should directly engage Rwandans and Congolese struggling for fundamental freedoms and justice. A timid international community that won’t care for African people, and will only look at the each country and the region through the eyes of rulers is a recipe for cyclical conflict and disaster. The thousands of civil, community and political groups that are calling for change in these countries are, like their own societies, imperfect, but still they are indispensable stakeholders. The international community must support efforts that promote genuine dialogue, reconciliation and healing within Rwanda and DRC. It is no good value for money when billions are spent in development projects when many in Rwanda and DRC feel they are marginalized within and outside their countries.
Fourth, seek and promote accountability to end impunity, with an end goal of promoting restoration rather than retribution. However, Africans and the rest of the international community must make sure that those who have committed, and continue to commit, horrendous human rights abuses, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are held accountable. Economic efficiency, though desirable, is not the only factor in human development as founding and policy documents of the United Nations and the World Bank testify. Without basic rights and human dignity, the so called economic development is both sham and unsustainable.
Fifth, the contact group should urgently convene a Great Lakes Peoples Conference(GLPC) to consider a “Great Lakes Peoples Compact” to motivate the tens of millions of the unemployed, youth, and women who are both victims and tools of predatory state and non-state actors. The conference should invite governments, community and civic groups, business, academics, political opposition, multilateral and bilateral organizations to promote buy-in in the peace process.
Throwing money and hastily organized peace deals among the principal spoilers in a protracted and complex problem, without redressing its root causes, is a recipe for another failure and disaster The challenge to resist repression and war, and build viable communities and institutions, is primarily an African affair. However, the international community should have an interest in supporting Africa’s efforts before it is too late. A window of opportunity does exist, but it is closing fast. We must think and act innovatively, and together, now, to stop the slaughter of innocent Africans and prevent what may escalate to an unprecedented bloodbath in the Great Lakes region. As Albert Einstein once said, you can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
The writer was President Paul Kagame’s Chief of Staff, Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United States, and Secretary General of Rwanda’s ruling party, RPF. He is currently the Coordinator of Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the author of Healing A Nation: A Testimony: Waging and Winning A Peaceful Revolution to Unite and Heal A Broken Rwanda ( CreateSpace, April, 2013)
Source: Inyenyeri News
May 28, 2013 No Comments
In a letter to the Wall Street Journal of May 19, 2013, written for him probably by his spin doctor, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Paul Kagame states:
This has been our approach in Rwanda. We have decentralized the state, reformed our business sector and strengthened our institutions. But we have also invested in health care, agriculture and education. As a result, the World Bank this year ranked Rwanda as the eighth easiest place in the world to start a business. A recent index in Foreign Policy magazine named the country the fifth best investment destination world-wide.
There are several flaws in President Kagame’s argument but let me cite three most important ones.
First, Rwanda has gone through repeated cycles of death and destruction despite economic gains that previous regimes and the current one were able to achieve. Governance is the fundamental problem in Rwanda, long polarized on ethnic and regional lines. Kagame’s record on governance is the worst in Africa. In Rwanda, political parties are banned; opposition leaders, human rights activists and journalists jailed, killed or forced into exile
According to the U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2012, “the most important human rights problems in Rwanda were lack of respect for the integrity of the person, particularly illegal detention, torture, and disappearance of persons detained by State Security Forces; unwarranted restrictions on the freedoms of speech and press, particularly harassment, violence, and arrest of journalists, political dissidents, and human rights advocates….Other major human rights problems included allegations of attempted assassinations of government opponents, both within the country and abroad.”
On a visit to Rwanda in 2011, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, a well-known defender of President Kagame, remarked that “the political culture in Rwanda remains comparatively closed. Press restrictions persist. Civil society activists, journalists, and political opponents of the government often fear organizing peacefully and speaking out. Some have been harassed. Some have been intimidated by late-night callers. Some have simply disappeared.”
Amnesty International Rwanda Report, 2012, documented “severe restrictions on freedom of expression and association, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and enforced disappearances”. Human Rights Watch World Report, 2012, cites that in Rwanda “freedom of expression and political space are still severely restricted. Members of opposition parties, journalists, and other perceived critics of the government were arrested, detained, and tried, some solely for expressing their views.” The United Nations Human Rights Commission Mapping Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010, documented war crimes, crimes against humanity and apparent systematic and widespread attacks against Hutu in the Democratic Republic of Congo that could be characterized as “crimes of genocide”. The European Parliament on May 23, 2013, passed a resolution calling upon Rwanda to end political persecution and torture, guarantee fundamental freedoms and independence of the judiciary.
President Paul Kagame’s catalogue of gross human rights abuses in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo clearly show a pattern of impunity without accountability.
Second, President Kagame’s belligerent policies in the Democratic Republic of Congo have a regional destabilizing and humanitarian effect, by undermining efforts towards peace, security, and economic development. President Kagame’s regime is isolated in the region. Tanzania and South Africa, key African players in the regional dynamics, are increasingly unhappy about President Kagame’s aggressive policies and actions in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Third, his latest venture into Congo through M23 proxies left most of the funding to Rwanda’s so-called economic miracle delayed or cut off. The U.N. Group of Experts Report, 2012, documented Rwanda’s support to the M23 rebel group, leading to unanimous international outcry and condemnation, even from his long term allies, the United States and the United Kingdom. Late last year President Obama called President Kagame to cease and desist from his actions in Congo. Now, on his upcoming visit to Africa next month, President Obama has excluded Rwanda from his itinerary. President Kagame, too used to a cozy relationship with President Clinton and President Bush, will not be amused by this dramatic reversal of fortunes.
Isolated from his own people, Africans and, increasingly, his own allies, it is mere wishful thinking and an empty dream that small and impoverished Rwanda will ever become the lion of Africa. Violent coercion, flattery and appeasement by some in the West do not place Rwanda on a sustainable trajectory for peace and prosperity. There is no short-cut to accountable government, genuine regional co-operation as a more durable anchor for peace and security, and international support that places people, not repressive dictators, as the center-piece of human development.
Rwanda’s history repeatedly shows that stakes are extremely high for Rwanda, the Great Lakes region and the international community. It is time for Rwandans, Rwanda’s neighbors and the international community to work together to avert the next bloodbath that will inevitably follow President Kagame’s policies and actions if they are not stopped and reversed as soon as possible.
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
The writer was President Paul Kagame’s Chief of Staff, Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United States, and Secretary General of Rwanda’s ruling party, RPF. He is currently the Coordinator of Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the author of Healing A Nation: A Testimony: Waging and Winning A Peaceful Revolution to Unite and Heal A Broken Rwanda .
Source: Inyenyeri News
May 27, 2013 No Comments
Despite the international pressure, President Kagame remains defiant. For a month now, North Kivu civil society and others have reported increased crossings of Rwandan soldiers into DRC to help M23 and have called on the international community to take appropriate measures. They have identified among many Colonel Bingira, a Rwanda military officer who is currently commanding Rwandan and M23 troops.
The same source reported that Rwanda has put Mr. Laurent Nkunda back in the game, whose presence was reported at a high level meeting between M23 leadership and newly arrived Rwandan troops in Rumangabo military base on May 11, 2013. Laurent Nkunda is the former leader of this same rebel movement when it was called the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). He currently lives with impunity across the border in Rwanda where he continues to play a key role in the M23 rebellion. Advocacy groups have asked the Rwandan government to hand him over to DRC’s authorities or send exile him far from the region. The current M23 leader is Nkunda’s brother in-law.
Physical and economic terror reigns in M23 controlled areas. The rebels rape, kill, loot, and forcefully recruit soldiers, even children. Communities may be forced into monthly or weekly extortion taxes, be forced to endure checkpoints on roads and in markets, or have family members kidnapped for ransom.
After months of calm while the governments negotiated with M23 leadership, the rebels have resumed hostilities in an effort to take the city of Goma before the UN combat battalion begins its mission. Under UN Resolution 2098, this battalion has an offensive mandate to once and for all dismantle the multiple rebel groups in DRC. Soldiers from South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania compose the battalion; some soldiers are already in DRC.
On Tuesday, May 21, in Gisenyi, the Rwandan border city to Goma, General Ruvusha, a Rwandan officer, chaired a meeting with M23 leadership and committed to send 2 additional battalions to help capture the city of Goma as quickly as possible. The evening of Wednesday May 22, M23 started shelling the city of Goma.
Source: Africa Faith and Justice Network
May 23, 2013 No Comments
The Untold Stories: Are Kagame and RPF becoming the Major Boar and Napoleon Characters in the Animal?
By Jacqueline Umurungi
Yesterday morning on the BBC Newsday programme, the Rwandan ruler was interviewed by Komla Dumor where Kagame defended his autocratic rule for almost two (2) decades where persecution of his political opponents in the country and beyond has become intolerable to even some of his admirers. Kagame told BBC that he plays with the rules in the political game. He is in fact lying, dishonest, corrupt and a killer of the highest order.
President Kagame has exploited the tragedy that be fellow our country where almost one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in Genocide in just 3 months. Indeed, the international community’s failure to intervene has been the political card used by the Rwandan dictator whenever is asked about Human Rights, freedom of speech, independence of the judiciary, media and civil societies. This has been the view of Kagame that Rwanda cannot afford political freedoms and basic civil and political rights given its tragic history. What does he mean by playing with rules when he has used his courts to lock up his political opponents? And there are credible accounts of political assassinations of those who have expressed the mildest criticisms of his autocratic rule.
Kagame hides behind what he calls the economic development which in fact cannot be achieved at the expense of basic human rights and freedoms. Kagame’s argument is selfish centred since some economic power counties which in fact had almost the same tragic history are now the best democracies in the World. Countries like Germany and indeed, Japan, who have both had a tragic history, but emerged to become global economic giants without sacrificing such rights. Kagame is instead another African old-style tyrant using economic development as an excuse to further his selfish aims.
As I have mentioned above Kagame has technically been in power since 1994, and today, Rwandans are kind of gagged, they can’t freely express themselves, for those who dare to speak up they are dealt with accordingly, many politicians including his former colleagues, and officers in the army have since fled the country and unfortunately he has followed them in exile to assassinate them just because they tried to question his policies. His government fully controls not only the government media that broadcast and prints or publishes government propaganda, but also all censors and harasses other independent media and journalists, dozens and dozens of journalists have either fled, killed or incarcerated for just questioning his repressive tendencies, and there’s nothing like separation of powers in Rwanda (on paper yes, but in reality the executive controls everything.
Kagame should have learnt from the history of our country or what has been happening in what is commonly known as the Arab spring or in the Arab world in general (Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Libya), and Ivory Coast. Does he think Rwandans are happy and contented with all the democratic freedoms and what RPF government is doing for them or like in these countries, Rwandans can’t risk their own lives to speak out against the government, do Rwandans have a right to peacefully protest? Why that is the only protests the governments allow are only pro-Kagame government?
Kagame vaguely answered the BBC question on succession come 2017, he never gave the precise answer, and he said that he is not bothered by succession but rather development, what a naked lie? Initially president Kagame was advocating for a woman as his successor but when media out lets started finger pointing to his own wife Jeannette whom they have ruled the country like a family project, he has started changing the goal posts, it is therefore not clear whether the dictator will unequivocally reaffirm his commitment or intentions to stand down when his current term lapses in 2017.
Kagame again told the BBC that he is a straight forward man and incorruptible, this is another naked lie, Kagame through his companies in the name of RPF ventures and investments he owns more wealth than the country he leads, it is estimated that RPF under the roof of the crystal ventures is worth US $500m, is he accountable on that money? How big tenders in which RPF companies are involved are awarded? It is inconceivable that the International community knows all these games by the Rwandan dictator but they have kept a deaf ear. Rwanda has never had free and fair elections, it’s the RPF and some of its affiliated parties that go for elections then Kagame is declared the winner with 95%, does the international community recognise that?
Kagame and RPF almost own every business in the town and beyond, the big buildings and mansions are owned by RPF officials or those who are their sympathisers does this mean development? The Road construction companies and other companies in the real estate are RPF owned, the country is governed like Peru in the days of President Alberto Fujimori, who is now serving a prison sentence for crimes against humanity during his rule.
The crimes against humanity that Kagame committed against the people who were in Kibeho Camp are still fresh in many Rwandan memories, the Bishops who were murdered on his direct orders have never been given a decent burial or a thorough investigation by independent organs to establish the real perpetrators of this heinous crime and it’s a shame that the Catholic church has never demanded that these Bishops be given a decent burial like other human beings let alone their status as Catholic Bishops.
If President Kagame thinks he has done many great things for Rwanda as he wants people to believe, why is he so frightened of political opposition? Rwanda will never grow as a country and reach its full potential as long as you prevent the Democratic dispensation in the country from registering when you keep people like Bernard Ntaganda, Deo Mushyayid and Victoire Ingabire just to mention a few imprisoned for no genuine reason or the reason that they have different views from yours and RPF. In then Senator Barack Obama’s 2006 Obama Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006, he wrote:
“(6) Despite the conclusion of a peace agreement and subsequent withdrawal of foreign forces in 2003, both the real and perceived presence of armed groups hostile to the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi continue to serve as a major source of regional instability and an apparent pretext for continued interference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by its neighbors [Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi].” Mr. President (Kagame), Rwandan Day and other days you think you will organise without addressing the fundamental human rights and democratic future of Rwanda is not only wastage of the Rwandan Taxpayers money but also sign of fear and panic.
May 22, 2013 No Comments
By Noble Marara
While attending Rwanda day in London President Kagame stated that those who threw manure and eggs at Oxford University and at his motorcade should have eaten them, because they looked hungry. Among the demonstrators at Oxford University at Said Business College were members of the Rwandese community in the United Kingdom together with the opposition members of the RNC/FDU as well as civil society and the Congolese community. They all gathered today to express their feelings about the university having invited the murder and dictatorial ruler President Paul Kagame to Oxford University where he received yet another award for his “development of Rwanda.”
The demonstrators demanded explanation as to why he portrays himself an elected leader to convince the west when evidences prove that he is a killer and a murderer who had a hand in the deaths of over a millions of people. The demonstrators came from far some from Belgium France Holland and Scotland, and even the United States, holding signs with images of the people who died in the Congo as well as inside Rwanda.
The demonstrators handed leaflets to students of Oxford University early in the morning prior to the commencement of the occasion. The leaflets read ‘wanted criminal help us arrest this man.’ With more information inside the leaflet explaining and referring to the UN mapping report as well as the report of exports on Congo and the M23 rebels. This appeared to divert the students understanding of Paul Kagame, and some students appeared very confused.
When President Paul Kagame arrived he had to be whisked to the back yard of the building due to the anger of some of the protesters who could not stand recalling the problems and family members who were killed due to Kagame’s orders. Some demonstrators jumped in front of the car, throwing eggs Kagame’s car plus Manure from the police horses. The police finally won the battle and managed to get Kagame inside the conference but he only stayed for less than an hour due to known reasons.
On his way out President Paul Kagame was again whisked from the back door and driven around the right side of the building. This was after his cars were taken for cleaning as they were all full of debris (Manure and eggs). This time, when Paulo Kagame came out, however more eggs were thrown at his car, this prompted the police to become more physical but it was too late as one of the female protesters had laid herself on the bonnet (hood over the engine) of the car. Finally the police managed to take the young lady away, but during the process the car travelling behind Kagame sustained broken glass. The police reviewed their film and confirmed that the person who broke the glass was travelling in a bus which came from Belgium, the whole bus of 50 passengers was escorted back to the boarder and deported back to Belgium. Twenty-five officers were on duty at the protest and two individuals were arrested but then released. The police used their horses to restrain and control the crowds. At one point the police called in a Fire Truck and told the protestors that if they did not m manage the event better than they would use the water hose on them in order to control the crowd. The crowd then reorganized itself and maintained proper behavior.
The demonstrations continued to the Troxy Hotel where Kagame has been meeting the Rwandese people who believe in him. Kagame’s regime had transported this audience from the entire world to come and listen to him; his main objective was to make the west believe that he is loved by his people, when most of them are afraid of Kagame’s service men who harass everyone in the country who dare to speaks out.
Demonstrations continued on Troxy Commercial road a building which is under construction; this because all of the halls and hotels that had been reserved the owners changed their mind after finding out about the occasion. Kagame’s followers were walking calmly inside the building and the protesters standing to the opposite side of the building, with very friendly policing everything appeared to be under control until 1900 hours which was the end time of the demonstrations. While arriving on Troxy Paul Kagame had to use the back door which the demonstrators had no access to, this was to avoid what happened in Oxford earlier in the morning. The head of the Congolese Mockerekese explained that the main objective of the demonstration had been reached and so what is left is for the world to understand that when you host a murder, rapist then you will have protestors who stand up for what is wrong.
Jonathan Musonera of the RNC stated that the main thing they have all achieved is the relationship between the DRC and Rwandan refugees which had been damaged by Paul Kagame’s interest. He said this relationship had divided the neighbours but they all know that the dictators are the one to blame, not the citizens. Ambrose Nzeyimana thanked everyone for attending the demonstration; he also reminded the people that the collaboration between all great lakes region refugees started today.
Source: Inyenyeri News
May 20, 2013 No Comments
Prof. Erlinder interview: “Both Hutus and Tutsis should accept responsibility for the Rwandan genocide”
Here is Peter Erlinder’s interview as reported by Ndze Ntuv Evaristus Tunka of the African News Journal.
Professor Peter Erlinder is no stranger to the international community. He is a distinguished Criminal Defense professor at William Mitchell College of Law, and a lead Defense Council for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in Tanzania. He was recently arrested by the Rwandan government on allegations of ‘genocide denial’ while defending Victoire Ingabire – a Hutu politician and current presidential candidate who is charged with ‘propagating genocide ideology’ as well. Prof. Erlinder sat down with The African News Journal’s Ndze Ntuv Evaristus Tunka to talk about his ordeal in Rwanda.
ANJ: Thank you for talking with The African News Journal today. Most people might consider you a rogue lawyer, especially from your defense of such personalities as Mohammed Warsame, Sami Al-Arian, and now Victoire Ingabire….
Erlinder: First I do not consider myself a rogue lawyer. I stand for the legal process and for justice. I think it is very important that we allow justice to take its course in any legal issue.
ANJ: So what made you decide to defend Victoire Ingabire?
Erlinder: Well, Victoire Ingabire has argued that both Hutus and Tutsis were responsible for the genocide in Rwanda, and that it was unjust to blame only one side for the genocide. I share this idea, as my research and findings from UN documents, US government documents, and trial documents at the ICTR on what happened in Rwanda show that both the Hutus and the rebel led FDR were responsible for mass killings in Rwanda. I think that all those who were responsible, be they Hutus or Tutsis should face justice.
ANJ: When you were arrested on May 28th, what was going through your mind? What were you thinking?
Erlinder: Well this is something that in order to talk about, I might probably have to spend some time thinking about it, and I’ll probably write about it at some point; but I wasn’t expecting to be arrested. However once I was arrested, my main concern was not to disappear and my view is that; had I not taken the initiative to force my captives to allow me to talk to the US Embassy, I’m not sure anybody would have known what had happened to me.
ANJ: How were you treated in the Rwandan jail and what were the conditions like?
Erlinder: What I’ve said to everybody that I have talked to, is that the people in Rwanda treated me quite well. The individuals that were charged with taking care of me treated me well under the circumstances. The conditions in the detention facility I was in were quite difficult per standards; that is no toilets, no beds, no blankets, and no food but this was quite normal to Rwandans, although most Rwandans in jail had family members who would bring them food, and what they needed to survive, but because I didn’t have that, and because the US Embassy was not so reliable, my situation was particularly difficult in that situation, but not because I was mistreated, but because I didn’t have the support that other detainees had. They kept me in a separate cell and the guards would go out and buy me food on the street so that I could have something to eat and some water to drink and no one beat me or mistreated me. But I saw other people being treated not so well, which made it more difficult for me psychologically, because I was really at the mercy of young kids with AK-47s.
ANJ: There were rumors of reports by Rwandan Prison Officials, stating that you tried to overdose on your medications, while you were behind bars. What is your reaction to these rumors?
Erlinder: Well I don’t have any comments on it in detail, but I do have medical problems that if I had been born and raised in Rwanda, I would have probably been dead by forty; but my problems are currently and I’m undergoing treatment, and as long as I get that treatment, then I’ll be ok. But being kept indefinitely in detention facilities with that kind of wasn’t really possible. That’s kind of what the danger was.
ANJ: After your release, the Rwandan government put out an official statement, stating that you were released on medical grounds, and they didn’t and have not dropped the charges against you…have you been formally charged by the Rwandan government?
Erlinder: The actual fact is that in the Rwandan system, it’s not necessary to be charged to be a suspect. Although I haven’t been formally charged, I’m still a formal suspect and the investigation I understand is continuing.
ANJ: Some Rwandans especially the Tutsis, who saw a huge population of their tribesmen murdered during the Rwandan genocide look at you, and might wonder why you are defending opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, who the Kagame regime has charged with alleged genocide denial and promoting genocide ideology. What would you say to them?
Erlinder: The best evidence produced by the Rwandan government/UN prosecutor during 7-years of trial resulted in the Tribunal finding that there was no conspiracy to commit genocide or ethnic killings at the level of the military or government leadership. The Rwandan government is in a difficult position because the majority of the population has a different ethnic and historical background because the leaders in Rwanda now are English speaking Rwandans who actually were raised and even born in Uganda. So that among people who had lived in Rwanda during the time they spoke French rather than English as a European language, the situation is difficult politically. I’m interested in seeing a peaceful democratic development in Rwanda, and I hope that, that happens.
ANJ: With regards to a democratic Rwanda, President Kagame has insisted that since his rise to power, Rwandans have been given the opportunity to participate democratically in the country’s politics; that he has encouraged decentralization has ensured a fair representation of women in government; and has secured economic growth for Rwanda. What is your assessment of this assertion?
Erlinder: I think my arrest is a pretty good indication about the range of discussion and debate that is possible in Rwanda. And I do think that the Rwandan government has many accomplishments. Kigali is a beautiful city and far away more developed than it was in 2004, which is the last time I was there. But on the question of opposition parties, there are none that are meaningful, and any significant disagreement with the current government is dangerous and under those circumstances, I think that the Rwandan people are going to have some difficulty in having a meaningful debate. What got Victoire Ingabire arrested was that on the day that she arrived in Rwanda, she went to the genocide memorial and she made note that the Rwandan government says that the umm….I’m using the word ‘Rwandan genocide’ because its common, not because I understand it the way every one does. She asked the question whether, because the government said it was genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus, which would mean that Hutus who defended Tutsis–and there were many; the question was “where is the memorial to the dead Hutus?” The Rwandan government insists that ONLY Tutsi were victims, but describes 1994 as: “a genocide of Tutsi and moderate Hutus” Ingabire got in trouble for pointing out that there are no memorials to Hutu victims, whether “moderate” or not. There are none in the country, and anyone who suggests that Hutus were also victims during that period has the same faith as Victoire Ingabire and-me. And suggesting that both sides committed crimes is a crime, according to the Rwandan government. That’s what my arrest shows.
ANJ: Some Rwandans and even some member states of the African Union have questioned why the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is based in Tanzania; arguing that it would best address crime and issues of the Rwandan genocide if it was housed in Rwanda. What is your reaction to this?
Erlinder: When you’ve had a civil war, and one side has won the civil war, how can you set up a neutral tribunal of the sort in the country? I don’t think that would be possible in any country. And to suggest that it is possible in Africa, I think it’s unlikely. Also I want to make it clear, that I have never said that large numbers of Tutsis were not killed. However the most recent evidence, not by me, but by Allan Stam at the University of Michigan and Christian Davenport of Notre Dame. They analyzed all the reports that all the NGOs had, and all the reports that the Rwandan government had, and they came to the conclusion that there were twice as many Hutus killed as Tutsis. We have to think through what really happened. But I can say that from the experience of other countries, if there is a civil war and one side wins the war, it’s unlikely that they’re going to give the side they defeated the benefit of doubt, and that happened in the US civil war as well. The US controlled the South militarily for twenty years or more and for a long time, it wasn’t even possible for us to discuss the idea that the Confederate states had a significant that could be defended, and they were also blamed for everything. When there’s a civil war, that’s what happens, different sides tell different stories.
ANJ: Are you still the Defense Council for Victoire Ingabire?
Erlinder: No, I was never given the opportunity to defend her. I had applied for accreditation from the Rwandan Bar, and it was never granted, and even when I got to Rwanda to represent her, I was arrested and sent to jail. She does have a different Defense Council, however, I have kept in touch with her every now and then…and would be willing to give her my advice if she requests it.
ANJ: Thank you again for meeting and talking with The African News Journal, and also thank you for your commitment with the ICTR, your stand for justice, and for your continuous defense of the suppressed.
Erlinder: Thank you too, and it was marvelous that the ICTR stood behind me in my time of need. My opinion is that the support I got from around world was significant in my release; and of course, you know that there have been assassinations and the lawyer who replaced me as Ingabire’s defense attorney was arrested and tortured, so I consider myself lucky.
August 17, 2010 2 Comments
Kigali – Hours after President Kagame firing at his fierce foreign critics telling them to “go hung” (see Defiant Kagame tells critics: You “can go hung”), they are countering with a drive to put Rwanda in the spotlight – less than seven days to the presidential poll on Monday next week.
In Washington, several campaign groups, individuals and American politicians have organised a conference on Tuesday to protest against the August 09 election they say is a foregone conclusion.
The American attorney Prof. Peter Erlinder jailed for three weeks here on charges of Genocide denial will be also be there at the Washington event. Erlinder said he would have never come to Rwanda if he had known what the political climate was like.
“I thought with the election coming up and with the many nice things that the United States government has said about the Rwandan government recently and the progress that it has made … Unfortunately what is happening now raises serious questions about whether that progress was real or whether we really do have a military dictatorship that is being supported by our government. It raises a lot of very difficult questions,” Erlinder said.
Fear, nervousness… no freedoms
Following the arrest of Erlinder, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the time she understood the anxiety of Rwanda’s leadership over what they view as genocide denial, but she urged Rwanda not to undermine its remarkable progress by beginning to move away from positive actions.
Analyst Steve McDonald, with the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, recently returned from Rwanda and was also said disturbed by what he experienced.
“The fear is palpable, the nervousness, the feeling that there is no freedom of speech and association and gathering in the society and I think this could be disastrous,” he said.
He says he believes President Kagame is refusing post-genocide reconciliation as a means to exert his authority. But McDonald is not surprised he has received praise and many awards in the United States, including the Clinton Global Citizen Award last year, from former President Bill Clinton.
“Kagame is an extremely energetic, extremely intelligent man who has fully taken advantage of many of the hot buttons that he knows the West cares about, that is economic progress, that is environmental concern, that is furthering information technology,” McDonald said.
“He is taking the lead on the international stage that originally put him among these new African leaders during the Clinton administration, including Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia, and [Yoweri] Museveni in Uganda.”
“Just election hype”
McDonald says since then he believes these leaders have failed their countries in terms of democracy and human rights.
President Kagame himself has denied his government has been behind any of the killings, and has accused the western critics of making up a crisis in his country which does not exist.
“Why would government be that stupid? I never knew I would be in a government that would be seen as that stupid, that would kill journalists, opposition leaders, one after another, you kill and you kill, as if there is anything to gain from it,” Kagame said at a press conference July 20, just hours before he launched his campaign drive.
In a policy statement to a US Congress committee of lawmakers in May, top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Johnnie Carson, said the political environment in Rwanda was in his words “riddled by a series of worrying actions.”
In response, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo shot back in an email message to RNA saying that was “an out-of-Rwanda reading of the situation in Rwanda, with added election hype.”
Election will be “free and fair”
Africa advocacy groups holding a protest conference Tuesday in Washington say foreign election observers in Rwanda will be a waste of money.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) says in a new crisis assessment that Rwanda there is increasing “political violence and a shrinking of the democratic space” ahead of the polls.
“Although the government denies any involvement, this month’s events should be seen as part of an alarming trend towards repression and intimidation, which could have serious security implications come next month’s elections,” said ICG in the assessment released August 01.
The donor community meanwhile seems to have given a clean-bill to the elections, indicating that the polls will be “free and fair”.
The European Union said last week that the introduction of a revised electoral code should ensure a peaceful and technically sound ballot, following the European Union’s recommendations after the 2008 legislative elections where they found procedural irregularities in over half the polling stations.
Frans Makken, Dutch ambassador and co-chair of the EU fund for the NEC, said results will be published outside polling stations and ballot boxes numbered to aid transparency.
“The electoral law has been adjusted for the better, thousands of volunteers have received training, instructions have been adjusted in line with EU observations. We trust that the conduct of the elections will be free and fair,” Makken told Reuters Friday.
With additional reporting from VOA and agencies
August 3, 2010 2 Comments