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Posts from — September 2012

Rwanda: The RPF builds a formidable business group

Within days of seizing power in 1994, the victorious Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) was taking charge of everything from the supply of plastic chairs and beer to bars, the harvest of coffee, to the financing of government. It lent $9m from war reserves to resuscitate the state.

Even suits worn by the first ministers to take office were purchased with RPF funds, says James Musoni, the local government minister who used to run the movement’s business affairs.

It is a legacy that lives on. Having been so pre-eminent when rebuilding the state from scratch, the RPF has retained a dominant position in many walks of life.

The movement’s investment arm, Crystal Ventures, controls assets worth more than $500m inside the country, according to insiders.

The group owns a construction and road-building company, granite and tile factories, a furniture company, a chain of upmarket coffee shops (in Kigali, Boston, London, Washington and New York), a real estate developer and an agro-processing venture, Inyange. It also retains a stake in MTN, the leading mobile phone operator.

This makes it perhaps the largest quasi-private business venture in the country, and with 7,000 staff, the second-largest employer after the state. It also puts the ruling party in an enviable position when it comes to financing politics. Relative to the size of the country, the RPF is one of the best endowed political movements in the world. In the subregion, only Ethiopia’s ruling EPRDF, under Meles Zenawi, the recently deceased prime minister, has built a more formidable business empire.

Professor Nshuti Manasseh, chairman of the board of Crystal Ventures, says half the RF1.5bn ($2.4m) cost of RPF campaigning in 2010 elections was met by donations from party members, the other half from company coffers. “We came in when contributions fell short,” he says. “From the beginning, we said we should have our own resources so that we are not indebted either to business people who want favours or foreign people like Gaddafi,” says Mr Musoni, referring to the late Libyan leader’s penchant for using cash for influence among his African peers.

The RPF’s money originally came from the contributions of members of the ethnic Tutsi diaspora. Parts of the community were driven out of the country by pogroms in 1959. They lived in enforced exile in neighbouring Uganda and further afield until returning following the 1994 victory of Paul Kagame’s guerilla army.

By necessity, at first, the RPF pioneered new business. Initially, according to Mr Musoni, this involved trading, financing small enterprises, and taking charge of the coffee crop that had been left to rot. But with time, the movement’s investment arm became more strategic.

In 1995, it launched Inyange, an agro-processing venture that has grown into one of Rwanda’s largest companies producing bottled water, milk and fruit juices. In 1998 it persuaded South Africa’s MTN to provide mobile phone services in what looked then like a marginal market. The RPF fronted much of the capital required. Crystal Ventures has since sold down its 49 per cent stake twice, earning $110m, according to Prof Manasseh.

It was a shrewd investment. Less so, perhaps, was what happened to the proceeds. The group bought two executive jets, which it then leased to – among others – President Kagame, from a base in South Africa.

Nor has that been the only controversy involving RPF-linked businesses who were accused by UN experts of plundering mineral resources during neighbouring Congo’s wars. Another frequent charge is that they have crowded out other investors, and enjoyed favoured status when it comes to government contracts.

Crystal Ventures’ Intersec, for example is the only private security outfit authorised to carry arms. “Where there is lucrative business they control it. Things are not as open as you think,” says a prominent business person in Kigali.

Prof Manasseh however, rejects the charge. “Our objective is not to monopolise. The interest of the party was to run businesses if there were no other investors,” he says.

Crystal Ventures is now considering selling Inyange (Kenya’s Brookside, owned by the Kenyatta family is interested). It intends to sell out its “Bourbon” coffee shops for franchise, and is debating whether to offload its 20 per cent stake in the Rwandan Investment Group, a $70m venture capital fund. Mr Musoni says, the party also plans to list several interests on the Kigali stock exchange.

All this would leave Crystal Ventures flush with cash for new investments.

Source: Financial Times.

September 28, 2012   No Comments

Rwanda submits citizens to a development tax

Rwanda has been working hard on in-house development, after several major international donors have slammed the cash box over alleged military involvement in neighbouring Congo conflicts. A recently launched Development Fund invites Rwandan people to donate money to the country’s development in order to close the gap for international development aid.

In late August the Rwandan government launched an alternative source of Rwanda’s future development: Agaciro Development Fund. The fund, which name means ‘dignity’ in Kinyarwanda, aims to ensure the continuation of Rwandan development after several of the largest development donors to Rwanda, including the U.S., UK and Sweden, have frozen parts of development assistance to the country. Funds were cut due to the accusations of Rwanda’s active participation in mobilizing financial and military support to a militia group M23, which is in battles with the Congolese military in the east part of DRC.

What makes Agaciro Development Fund so special is that it is Rwandans themselves who donate money to the fund and thus actively contribute to the country’s future development. One could call it a kind of voluntary development tax. The idea behind the fund and its descriptive name is that despite funding cuts of the major international donors, this should not prevent the country from developing – on the contrary. –

Political pressure

Since a UN experts reported that Rwanda supports the militia M23 in Congo, the Rwandan government has been in strong international headwind. M23a rebel group mostly led by ex CNDP (a Tutsi rebellion which, signed a peace agreement with the Congolese government in March 2009). The fighting has caused more than 260,000 people to flee since April 2012 – many of them have gone to refugee camps inRwanda.

The Rwandan government strongly denies all accusations of its active support to the M23 and similar militias and according to Paul Kagame – President of Rwanda “it is absurd to believe that Rwanda might be interested in supporting a military conflict in theCongo”. And this despite the fact that a UN report presents clear evidence of Rwanda’s role in the form of interviews with former soldiers, access to confidential correspondence between M23, top Rwandan politicians and military officials, pictures and other materials..

Absurd or not, the allegations (and evidence) have led to many of the largest international donors to Rwandato stop parts of their aid flows to the country, the last one being the European Union, which announced having suspended millions of dollars on the 25TH of September. Half of the Rwandan national budget is based on foreign development aid. According to the Rwandan government, this financial penalty from donors is a clear sign that the power relations between Rwanda and its donors are twisted and odd. “The donor’s response is a wake-up call for Rwanda and other aid recipient countries to actually start fending for ourselves and figure out a way to sustain our development without being subjected to bullying and pressure from donors.” Louise Mushikiwabo – Rwandan Foreign Minister told the BBC.

In addition, President Kagame, who has for many years benefited from being a favourite African leader of many Western countries – not only because he is described as the one who put a definitive end to the genocide when he took over Kigali as the front man of the RPF in 1994 – and who is most likely to take up a chair in the UN Security Council soon, recently in an interview with Metro New York hinted to the fact that the major donor countries were using their power inappropriately by stopping their financial support . He calls it a timely reminder to Rwandans that “we still have some way to travel as a nation before we are truly independent’, and he warns against using aid money as a weapon to impose political will. Thus, in response to the donors’ withdrawal of development funds, the Rwandan government has now launched Agaciro Development Fund.

Multiple donors

The Fund has been created through contributions from large and small investors, rich businessmen, Rwandans living abroad and all the way down to street sweepers and moto-taxi drivers who can donate an amount equal to almost one U.S. Dollar via SMS service. The Fund’s portfolio ‘s goal is to exceed the amount thatRwandahas received so far from international donors of development aid. Thus the objective probably serves as an emphatic statement thatRwandadoes not intend to succumb to the international political pressure. The financial amount that has been cut by donors such as the U.S., UK, Sweden and the Netherlands altogether amount to about 150 million U.S. dollars this year.

It should be noted that such an amount is being withdrawn from a country that today, despite great economic progress in recent years, is still considered to be among the world’s poorest nations. But so far the Fund seems to be a success; in the first four hours an amount equivalent to 2 millions U.S. dollars was collected, and the size of the fund is now thought to have exceeded 23 millions U.S- dollars. However, it must be noted that certain donations are from mandatory “donation” solutions implemented by the government, and these so-called solutions do not give Rwandans much freedom to decide whether and how much they want to donate. For example, employees in many of the large public companies have to donate half, or their entire month salary, to the Fund. There’s little freedom of movement in the small country, which is known to be controlled with an iron fist by Kagame.

If this massive support to the Fund continues, it is tempting to question whether Rwanda will need to receive such large sums of development aid in the future as it did in the past, or whether the country is gradually preparing for greater economic independence.It is still unsure whether the Fund will maintain its sustainability in the long term, or whether it is a strong one-time response to the country’s economic situation and international pressure. But so far there are indications that the donor’s economic power demonstration has not worked out as planned. On the contrary, the M23 is still fighting and has installed its own government in Rutshuru, a large area in North Kivu in eastern Congo.

by By Jeph Mboneye.

Source: Jambonews

September 27, 2012   1 Comment

The Power of Commitment – Seven Demons That Keep Kagame In Power



I recommend my friends to take a total of one and half hours this week to listen to T D Jakes talk about commitment. Do not worry that he is Christian preacher. You do not have to be a believer. Commitment is key to success in every life endeavor. For Rwandans today, commitment to change is a great stakes endeavor.

For almost all of us Rwandans, we know how much suffering we are undergoing. We are a fearful nation. On every hill we live in fear, anger, suspicion, and uncertain of the future. We are in jails in Rwanda. We are in jails in Arusha, and even when are free, we cannot go back home as free people. We are banished as refugees in every corner of the world. We are silent for fear of persecution if we speak. We are targets of assassination in every corner of the world. We are in the jungles of Congo, fighting endless wars that consume lives of young Rwandans and Congolese so that a dictator may survive longer. We are poor, and yet being forced to give money to the so-called Agaciro Development Fund, to a dictator who plunders and kills Rwandans. We clap for the dictator, and while he is away, or secretly in our hearts, we wish him dead. We are a humiliated lot, living as second class citizens in the country that belongs to all of us.

The revolution is ripe, since there is enough injustice and human suffering among us Rwandans. The harvest is plentiful. However, the harvesters are few. Nothing important in life is ever cheap. It takes nine months of pregnancy, painful labor and a whole lifetime to get and raise a useful human being. Revolutions are even more costly. The number one asset for a revolution is commitment. It cost commitment on the part of Rwandan kings to run the show for several centuries. Even the Belgian colonial enterprise was committed to run Rwanda for decades. It cost commitment to bear and deliver the 1959 MDR revolution. It cost commitment on the part of the coup-plotters to deliver the 1973 MRND regime that lasted until 1994. It cost commitment and sacrifice for RPF to wage and win the 1994 war.

How much commitment do Rwandans have to win the current revolution whose core mission is to unite and heal all Rwandans? If you ask Rwandans, they will tell you they want change immediately. A quick and cheap solution, they will tell you. We spend enormous time on the internet and social media trading words among us and with the dangerous regime in Kigali. We are scattered in organizations that are weak enough to be manipulated, intimidated or bought by the regime. Many of us are neither hot or cold. They have one foot in the revolution and another in the regime that hunts them down. The Hutu are a marginalized lot, but they dream that one day, as if by magic, numbers will do the miracle. The Tutsi, hostages falsely believing that Kagame represents them, are in denial, thinking that monopoly of the army, intelligence, government and money will save the regime for ever.

Kagame’s regime is at its weakest since 1994, with little legitimacy among Rwandans and increasingly isolated abroad. This is the time to mobilise and organize, and shorten the agony and suffering of the Rwandan people. We must face and kill these seven demons that consume our commitment to move quickly to peacefully end Kagame’s brutal regime:

1. FEAR: Fear is the most powerful weapon in the hands of Kagame and his clique. The moment Rwandans overcome fear will be the moment the regime crumbles.

2. PROCRASTINATION: Rwandans know what to do and how to do it but they are still trapped in believing that it will be done tomorrow. Yet a day spent procrastinating is another day spent in misery. Laziness has never been an asset. You reap results in direct relationship to how much time and effort you have invested in something.

3. MINDS TRAPPED IN DENIAL AND DECEPTION: There still among us who believe we can restore the Rwandan kingdom, regimes of the past (MDR-PARMEHUTU, and MRND) or prolong RPF for ever. The past is gone, and gone for ever ever. The best we can do is to learn lessons to help us change the present and re-invent, or re-imagine, the future in which we leave behind the shared bad past, and build on the shared positives in our history.

4. SELFISHNESS & GREED: The selfish Rwandans. especially most of us the elite, tend to think that the world revolves around us and our immediate family. We have become victims of instant gratification, without thinking about the future of our children and grandchildren. Yes, we still have to service the car, the mortgage, summer holiday, and a lifestyle commensurate with our status. We still have to reserve some of our resources to invest in our common future. Or, sadly, we are “bought” for a plate of jobs and money. We are enticed to “come and see” the new “Rwanda flowing with milk and honey”. In our own country, we are asked to come and see, like visitors or strangers. Especially among the Hutu, we have become the generation of “come and see”. To come and see your property, and that if you fall on your knees they will give back to you what belongs to you? What are we teaching our children? That they must bow in submission if you can only give them a job or food? Is that agaciro, our value?

5. “THEY WILL DO IT FOR US” MENTALITY: There is a false belief among us that somebody will do it for us. The Belgians and the French did it for the Hutu, some say. Others say Americans and the British did it for the Tutsi. The truth of the matter is that Belgians, French, Americans and the British look out and fight for their interests. Rwandans must look out for and fight for their interests first and foremost. Nobody else will. To get friends who support your cause, you must show that you deserve their help, you merit it and you will put it to good use. But you must show that you are in the driver’s seat. and that no matter what, with or without their help, you will win anyway.

6. THE “US vs THEM” MENTALITY: Rwanda is so precious that very often we want to have it alone without the other. The other is the enemy. The other is the problem. The other is “inyangarwanda”, the unpatriotic guys who hate Rwanda. The other killed my people. Who is holy among us to cast the first stone? The kings? MDR-PARMEHUTU? MRND? RPF? Hutu? Tutsi? We cannot re-invent Rwanda’s past. It is shared, the good and bad. We can, however, choose to write our future together. We must be bold and courageous to look at each other from each other’s standpoint, and see areas where we can stand and build together, brick by brick, one day at a time. We must begin where we live and work. We must reach out to the other. I am in the other. The other is in me.

7. GUILT AND SHAME. We have wronged each other for too long that the demons of guilt and shame have robbed us of self esteem. We speak in whispers so that we are not denounced as genocidaires, interahamwe, revisionists, those who deny genocide, terrorists, etc. On the internet we write anonymously so that nobody discovers who we really are. I personally know exceptionally intelligent Rwandans who cannot speak out for fear of retribution from Kagame. One told me he could not be on Radio Itahuka because they ( kagame et al) would connect his organization with FDLR. Incredible! Somebody with a PHD!! We go to places we shouldn’t be to buy identity and acceptance. Now there people in Rwanda who say they have “Tutsi blood” to gain a foothold withing the mafia that rules Rwanda. There are Tutsi who, I was told, used to claim they are Hutu during past regimes. We are what we are. Period. We should be very proud of what we are. We did not bargain with God to be what He made of us. We are the proud sons and daughters of the living God. We have all sinned but WE REFUSE to be held in guilt and shame.

When Kagame taunts us with his death squads armed with cannons and bayonets, we should stand squarely in his face, and like teenage boy David to giant Goliath, say: “who is this philistine who defies the armies of the living God?” . We are building a powerful army of free Rwandans, armed with peace, truth and unity. The giant shall soon fall.

So, Rwandans summon the courage to slay the demons of guilt and shame, ” us vs them” mentality, selfishness and greed, “they will do it for us” mentality, fear, procrastination, denial and deception.

Nurture your commitment. Get off your b–ts and go to work. Or else you will die in humiliation and misery, and condemn future generations to a legacy of servitude.

We shall win!

Theogene Rudasingwa

September 24, 2012   2 Comments

Kagame Blasts Congo

President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame on Saturday joined thousands of Rwandans and friends of Rwanda who gathered at the Westin Copley Hotel in Boston to celebrate Rwanda Day 2012 themed ‘Agaciro: The Journey Continues.’

The event which brought together Rwandans from North American Diaspora and Rwanda kicked off on Friday, 21 September with exhibitions by Rwandan institutions, presentations and entertainment.
In his address to the thousands of jubilant Rwandans and friends of Rwanda, President Kagame passes on greetings from his country and thanked all those who had travelled from different places to be part of the event.
Kagame told the gathering that it is every Rwandans responsibility to build their country and not delegate it to anyone else.
“It should be our pride to live in a dignified country. You must continually tell the story of your country. If you don’t tell the story of your country, someone else will do it the wrong way,” cautioned Kagame.
“The progress we have made has come devoid of short cuts and lies. Progress invites detractors, but it’s ok. We have the ability, desire and will, to define ourselves,” he said.
Kagame maintained “detractors will do their job and I will do mine,” adding, “if my progress hurts anyone, it’s not our intention, sorry.”
A friend of Rwanda and Honorary Consul to Boston, Bobby Sager said Rwanda was no longer defined by the 1994 genocide.
“If anyone is looking for a perfect leader, don’t look my way, looking for a perfect nation, not Rwanda.”
The President has been under heavy criticism by the international community for reportedly supporting the M23 mutineers in Congo, allegations he vehemently denies.
Kagame said Rwanda has recently been in the news for wrong reasons because of Congo crisis.
The President elaborated that Congo can’t manage her own problems.
“This has resulted in some development partners to withhold aid to Rwanda. I would have wished that the support they have taken from Rwanda would have been given to DRC to help them deal with their problems,” said Kagame.
“We can’t be people who benefit most from peace in the region whilst investing in destabilising the same region, we are the top beneficiaries of peace and stability of peace in Congo, we can’t invest in war,” President Kagame narrated.
“I am sure you have seen how people here work hard to develop their country and how ready they can be to defend it. This is why they have taken their different countries far, Rwanda can’t be an exception.”
“Rwandans back home, individually and collectively are working hard to develop their country. It’s my responsibility and it’s your responsibility to keep it going, it is my responsibility and yours too, to build our country, we cannot delegate this to anyone else,” Kagame advised.
He further blasted Rwanda’s critics, saying his country will always welcome constructive criticism but will not listen to non objective criticism.
“We will not accept to take imperfections from other people. We want to deal with our own imperfections.”

Source: News

September 23, 2012   No Comments

President Kagame addresses thousands of Rwandans at Rwanda Day in Boston

President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame today joined thousands of Rwandans and friends of Rwanda who gathered at the Westin Copley Hotel in Boston to celebrate Rwanda Day 2012 themed ‘Agaciro: The Journey Continues.’ The event which brought together Rwandans from North American Diaspora and Rwanda kicked off on Friday, 21 September with exhibitions by Rwandan institutions, presentations and entertainment.

In his address to the thousands of jubilant Rwandans and friends of Rwanda, President Kagame passes on greetings from Rwanda and thanked all those who had travelled from different places to be part of the event. President Kagame told the gathering that it is every Rwandans responsibility to build their country and not delegate it to anyone else;

“It should be our pride to live in a dignified country. You must continually tell the story of your country. If you don’t tell the story of your country, someone else will do it the wrong way progress we have made has come devoid of short cuts, lies. Progress invites detractors, but it’s ok. We have the ability, desire and will, to define ourselves. Detractors will do their job I will do mine, if my progress hurts anyone, its not our intention, sorry. “


September 23, 2012   No Comments

Villagers drive away FDLR rebels and threaten revenge

Rwandan Hutu rebels have been terrorizing parts of the eastern DRC for the last 18 years. Now villagers have formed their own militia.

One of the most remote, isolated regions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Shabunda, can only be reached by helicopter. Every bar of soap, every grain of rice that people need to survive there has to be freighted in by air.

Rwandan Hutu rebels belonging to the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) had been hiding in the Shabunda forest since 1996. They had sought out the region because of its inaccessibility and gold mines.

The FDLR rebels used the village of Nduma as their South Kivu headquarters for more than ten years. It was home for the rebels’ wives and children, and they called it “Kigali Two.”

Villager Maurice Sambamba
Maurice Sambamba is one of Nduma’s “angry people”

The fertile land, on which pineapples, bananas, guava fruit, lemons and mangoes hang from the trees, seems to exude peace and harmony, yet it has an ugly scar. Black ash on the otherwise white sand is all that remains of the huts of local residents which were burnt down four times.

Behind the huts that are still standing looms the forest, like some vast impenetrable wall. But the FDLR rebels who used to hide in it have since fled. This is because the men in many of the villages have risen up against the rebel invader, arming themselves with machetes and spears. Nduma was where the villagers’ militia, called Raia Mutomboki, was founded and it is now active in two provinces, according to local priest Maurice Sambamba. “Raia Mutomboki means angry people and that is what we are,” the cleric explained.

Villagers forced to hand over possessions

Their anger has deep roots. When the FDLR fled from Rwanda after the genocide into neighboring DRC, the Congolese treated them like brothers in Nduma even though they had committed heinous crimes in their home country against the Tutsis. Sambamba feels deeply disappointed: “We let them have land on which they built their own village. Then they started to turn against us,” he said.

During the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Hutu militia killed more than 800,000 Tutsis in around a hundred days. Then the culprits fled into the forests of eastern Congo and formed a militia, the FDLR, reputed to be one of the most brutal in the whole region because of its systematic looting of the local population. They were also active in Nduma, Sambamba said. One day after the troops had pulled out, the FDLR went marauding through the village at eleven in the evening. They plundered the homes of local residents, who fled into the forest where they hid for several days. A week later, the FDLR appeared again, ordering every household to hand over their possessions. “Many had to part with their goats, pigs and chickens,” Sambamba recalled. “In July they burnt our village down yet again. That was when we decided to form the Raia Mutomboki militia!”

Calls for help

The villagers grouped around the priest nod their heads in assent. Only a handful of young men are present. The rest of the village youth, who make up the core of Raia fighters live in the forest. The militia leaders are two young men who call themselves “the lawyers.” They did indeed study law in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province. But then the money run out and they couldn’t afford to take their exams, so they returned to their village of Nduma to fight for their own personal style of justice.

Raia Deputy Commander Kikuny
Raia deputy commander Kikuny: says the skulls call for revenge

On the morning of the next day, the air pulsates with the rhythmic beat of drums. A group of powerfully-built young men emerge from the undergrowth of the rain forest and take up positions, like troops protecting their commander. A man appears with a sack over his back. Carefully, he places it on the ground and opens it, letting out a foul stench. From the sack, he retrieves the remains of human skulls and bows down before them. “I show these skulls so the whole world sees the truth, sees how our people have suffered,” said the man who is known as deputy commander Kikuny. “These are the skulls of our relatives, friends and neighbors, who were massacred by the FDLR. We keep them because they call on us to wreak revenge,” he added.

The villagers had long ago called for help. They had appealed to the international community, the government of the DRC. Kikuny is furious with their lack of response. “The government told us to defend ourselves,” he explains. “That is exactly what we are doing. We are taking action against the FDLR and taking our security into our own hands.”

As Kikuny stands up to return his headquarters in the depth of the forest, the women of the village burst into song, praising Kikuny and other militia commanders.

“May God watch over them, for they protect us from rape and pillaging,” they sing.


September 22, 2012   No Comments

Rwandan UN Peacekeeper Shot Dead in Haiti

A Rwandan police officer who has been serving under the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti, died on Wednesday.

Police identified the deceased as Hassan Bisangwa, who was based in the Haitian western coast town of Jeremie.

Police Spokesperson Supt Theos Badege, said today that Bisangwa died after he was accidentally shot by a colleague during routine night patrol.

Bisangwa is survived by a wife and two children. His family, which stays in Kigali, has been informed of the bad news. “He was shot accidentally. Police and the United Nations in collaboration with the family are in the process of repatriating the body,” Badege said.

September 21, 2012   No Comments

Massacres by M23 with support from Rwanda: Jason K. Stearns testifies before US House Committee

Before a jam-packed audience, on the 19thSeptember 2012 Jason  K. Stearns testified in front of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights.

In his testimony, he started by saying “I have been working on the eastern Congo for the past eleven years. In 2008, I was the coordinator of the United Nations Group of Experts on the Congo, and I have also worked on the country for the United Nations peacekeeping mission, as a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, and as journalist and writer”.

From his research on the ground, he stated the following:

Background to the current crisis

Beginning with the to rise of the new M23 rebellion, is the result of the failure of the Congolese peace process to deal with the persistent causes of conflict in the region. While there are no easy fixes to these deep-rooted challenges, the United States government can help avert a further escalation by helping to broker a settlement. This will require a significant change in how the US engages with Rwanda, but also for Kinshasa to provide the political vision necessary for a solution.

The M23 mutiny

There is no doubt about Rwanda’s involvement. It has been documented by a United
Nations report released in June, by Human Rights Watch, and by the Rift Valley
Institute’s own researchers. In response to this evidence, donors suspended around $90 million in aid to Rwanda, including $200,000 from the US government.

Despite this, the situation has not improved. Rwanda has continued to support the
M23, including by sending in troops to Rutshuru near the Ugandan border in early July. Other armed groups, largely ethnically based, have also gained in strength, in part due to their links to the M23 and the Congolese army’s focus on the mutiny, and have engaged in tit-for-tat massacres of the local population.

He argued that ”The only way this kind of deal can work is if Rwanda plays a part. This means reformulating the kind of pressure put on Kigali, from asking them to stop providing support to the M23 – an outcome that is hard to measure, given the clandestine nature of the backing – to becoming an active part of the solution”. “It would have to allow the Congolese government or the United Nations to deploy troops along its border with M23 territory, as well as arrest key leaders of the mutiny, some of whom are based in Rwanda”.

This kind of deal will require strong and sustained pressure on Kigali. Donors, chief among them the United States and the international financial institutions where Washington has influence, have some hard choices to make. They can no longer see Rwanda’s admirable successes in health care, education and peacekeeping as separate from its interference in the Congo

In concluding he said that “the situation in the eastern Congo is bleak. But this latest crisis is also an opportunity to change the way the outside world engages with this region, and to address some of the structural problems that have caused these crises to recur with tragic regularity. It is time to act. As a matter of moral consistency, the United States cannot continue to help fund the Rwandan national budget and at the same time continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on programs to stabilize the eastern Congo”.

So what are the implications? How will the world view us Rwandans, because of our hungry leaders? Will they swallow their pride and “do the right thing”? Or they will continue to tarnish our image, for the sake of fulfilling their stomachs? its up to you to make a change, and change starts within.

JD Mwiseneza


September 21, 2012   No Comments

English language imposed in Rwanda yet unspoken by 98% of the population

Welcome to Rwanda signpost

KIGALI – A customer and a bank clerk nearly came to blows recently in Kigali. The customer had asked the clerk to help him fill in the withdrawal slip in English, but the clerk refused. “How are we supposed to be able to fill in a document in English if you can’t do it yourself?” asked the angry customer.

For most Rwandans, English is a foreign language although its usage in banks, shops, the media and administration has significantly increased. As many Rwandans do not understand it, they struggle with paperwork and end up avoiding English-only stores and businesses altogether.e withdrawal slip in English, but the clerk refused. “How are we supposed to be able to fill in a document in English if you can’t do it yourself?” asked the angry customer.

In the streets of Kigali, French and Kinyarwanda (Rwandan) shop signs have been overtaken by English. The same phenomenon is also taking place in the media. Rwanda’s only free-to-air TV station TVR, which is state-owned, broadcasts English-language programs from the BBC, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). Chronicles and news bulletins make up the only truly national programs. English also prevails on private radio.

“It’s as if banks and radio stations don’t want to reach the majority of Rwandans,” says a villager from Bugesera, in the Eastern Province.

Kinyarwanda, French and English are Rwanda’s three official languages. The last national census, carried out in 2002, showed that 99.7% of Rwandans living in the country spoke Kinyarwanda, 3.9% spoke French, 1.9% spoke English and 3% Kiswahili (Swahili is used as a lingua franca in East Africa). Older Rwandan graduates only learnt French and their native language while younger ones have learnt a little English.

Many Rwandans refrain from shopping in stores that label everything in English: “We’re afraid of buying pet-food by mistake if a clerk isn’t around to translate the labels,” jokes a man from Kigali. “Shop owners should have their products labeled in Kinyarwanda, which most people speak,” he adds.

“Banks and other financial companies, which require their customers to fill in forms, should translate their documents in several languages,” suggests a local economist. For him, “to chose one language for commercial use excludes a large number of customers.”

Meanwhile, a growing number of young Rwandans have stopped using their mother tongue. Public servants who were trained in French force themselves to speak English – even though they hardly know how to – “to practice or simply to show off.”

“Young snobs and intellectuals alike have taken to speaking English only,” notes a teacher from Butare, the country’s second largest city.

In 2008, the Rwandan government decided to change the medium of education and administration from French to English. The government wanted “to give precedence to the language that would make Rwandans more competent.” They justified their decision by saying English was the language of business and would facilitate Rwanda’s integration into the East African Community (EAC) – whose members are all Anglophones.

“But graduates from Rwandan universities speak a broken mix of languages. Their English is not good enough to compete with their Anglophone neighbors,” explains a professor from the National University of Butare.

Three years after establishing English as Rwanda’s education and administration official medium, the government partly reversed its decision. Kinyarwanda is now the official language for the first three years of primary school education.

It’s worth it to note that Rwanda, which has been a member of the International Organization of La Francophonie since the 1970s, joined the Commonwealth in 2009.



September 20, 2012   2 Comments

Kagame To Attend “Rwanda Day 2012” In United States

Paul Kagame

Rwanda President Paul Kagame will this week travel to United States to participate in several activities at the much-anticipated second edition of Rwanda Day 2012.
This year’s event will take place in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, starting on Friday September 21 to 22, 2012.

According to Eng. James Kimonyo, the Rwanda Ambassador to United States, the theme of this year’s Rwanda Day is “Agaciro, The Journey Continues…”
“This event will provide the opportunity for all Rwandans as well as our friends to learn more about the remarkable unfolding success story of Rwanda’s progress by hearing and seeing all the ways that this rebirth has been made possible,” said Kimonyo.
“I am pleased to inform you that His Excellency, President Paul Kagame has accepted to be our Guest of Honor,” he added.
Kimonyo said last year’s Rwanda Day event held in Chicago was a great success.
“Outdoing such a success is no small fit, but I am confident we can. I am most especially inspired by the incredible interest shown by so many of you that have already committed to attend Rwanda Day edition in Boston this year.”
This event will be marked by celebrations of Agaciro (Dignity) through traditional songs, poems, drums and dances.
A variety of organizations will also use this opportunity to showcase their products and potential opportunities for trade and investment offered in Rwanda.
Kimonyo observed: “Some of our Government leaders will share with us information on the ongoing political and socio-economic development of our country, and a wide range of topics will be covered during a series of panel discussions.”
According to the tentative programme, Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo will give the opening speech.
Prof. Shyaka Anastase, CEO Rwanda Governance Board, will give a key speech under the theme “Ongoing governance Reforms, Taking Bold Steps.”
According to international surveys, Rwandans have highest levels of trust in their institutions.
This is primarily due to high levels of accountability and governing reforms aimed at empowering the citizen.
John Rwangombwa, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning will discuss a topic on “Rwanda Socio-Economic Transformation, the Next Phase (EDPRS).”
Rwanda has seen average economic growth of 8% in the last decade.
This growth has come along with socio-economic transformation such that one million people have lifted themselves out of poverty in the last 5 years (EDPRS I).
The Government of Rwanda sets more ambitious targets to ensure that 45% of its citizens are out of poverty under EDPRS II.
Mushikiwabo will separately analyze Rwanda’s global relations.
According to Kigali officials, Rwanda remains committed to promoting good relations based on the respect, mutual interests with other countries, aiming at enhancing peace, security and development.
The guests will also attend Rwanda Cultural Night on Friday.
Then on Saturday, President Kagame is expected to give a speech alongside other high profile guests in the Diaspora.
The function will end with a cocktail and entertainment.

Source: News

September 20, 2012   No Comments