Rwanda Information Portal

UN Security Council plans sanctions on Congo rebels, others

* Rwanda defense minister accused of commanding Congo rebels

* Uganda, Rwanda deny accusations of involvement

* Nearly half a million people displaced due to fighting

* U.N. says rebellion also being funded by traders in Rwanda

By Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 19 (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council intends to impose sanctions on the leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s M23 rebels and others violating an arms embargo on the country, according to a statement the council unanimously adopted on Friday.

Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe is commanding the insurgency in eastern Congo that is being armed by Rwanda and Uganda, both of which also sent troops to aid deadly attacks, according to a U.N. experts’ confidential report seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

“The Security Council expresses its intention to apply targeted sanctions against the leadership of the M23 and those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo,” the 15-member council said in the statement obtained by Reuters.

The council strongly condemned any external support to the M23 rebels, expressed “deep concern at reports indicating that such support continues to be provided to the M23 by neighboring countries” and demanded that it stop immediately.

The Security Council’s Group of Experts said in its report that Rwanda and Uganda – despite their strong denials – continued to support M23 rebels in their six-month fight against Congolese government troops.

The Security Council statement on Friday stressed “the urgency of constructive engagement and dialogue between the DRC and its neighbors, especially Rwanda, and the need to address the underlying causes of the conflict in eastern DRC.”

The Congolese government on Wednesday demanded targeted sanctions against Rwandan and Ugandan officials named in the U.N. experts’ report.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo on Thursday dismissed the idea that action should be taken on the basis of a report that she called flawed and untrue. She said the priority was to work out how to pacify the region.

“It’s wrong. This report is very problematic so anybody who would want to take action based on that report would be really unfortunate,” Mushikiwabo told Reuters in an interview.

AID WITHDRAWN

Bosco Ntaganda, a former Congolese general wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, controls the rebellion on the ground, and M23 leader Sultani Makenga is in charge of operations and coordination with allied armed groups, the U.N. report said.

Ntaganda and Makenga “receive direct military orders from RDF (Rwandan army) Chief of Defense staff General Charles Kayonga, who in turn acts on instructions from Minister of Defense General James Kabarebe,” it said.

Uganda and Rwanda have denied the accusations of involvement by the U.N. experts, who monitor compliance with sanctions and an arms embargo on the Congo.

They delivered their report to the Security Council’s Congo sanctions committee earlier this month.

Nearly half a million people have been displaced due to the fighting. M23 has proven so resilient that one senior U.N. diplomatic source told Reuters that Rwanda has effectively “annexed” mineral-rich eastern Congo thanks to the rebel force.

“The Security Council also condemns the attempts by the M23 to establish a parallel administration and to undermine State authority,” it said in Friday’s statement.

Rwanda has backed armed movements in the Congo during the past two decades, citing a need to tackle Rwandan rebels operating out of Congo’s eastern hills.

The latest rebellion also is being funded by traders in Rwanda who are profiting from tin, tungsten and tantalum smuggled across the border from mines in the eastern DRC, according to the U.N. experts’ report.

The accusations have prompted the United States, Sweden and the Netherlands to suspend some aid to Rwanda, which relies on donors for about 40 percent of its budget. Last month the European Union froze further budgetary support to Rwanda.

Mushikiwabo said it was “the biggest mistake” for any countries to withdraw aid over the U.N. report.

Source: Reuters: Rwanda News

October 19, 2012   No Comments

Kagame meets students, ready to hand over power!

Kagame Ready To Hand Over Power

Kagame taking questions from students

President Kagame takes questions from students

Rwandan leader Paul Kagame has explained the succession question, saying he would be glad to be succeeded by a President capable of taking the nation another step forward in terms of development.

“I am not thinking of someone like me but someone who can do things even better,” Kagame said Friday during an afternoon interaction with Rwandan students in the country and overseas.

“Rwandans must be empowered. They must be given opportunities. Future leaders are in this room, my duty is to avail opportunity for all to think differently and move the nation forward,” Kagame inspired the students.

The statement shows Kagame’s readiness to hand over power after the expiry of his seven-year term in 2017.

He has on several occasions insisted he is relinquishing power despite calls from some members of his party to stay around.

A student from Haiti asked Kagame: “I see you as a leader like no other, a father and friend to the youth. Who do you think should replace you?”

“The next leader of Rwanda should be one who thinks right and will continue the same direction, no reverse,” said Kagame, adding “leaders of tomorrow must be ready to lead today.”

“We are talking about leaders in your nation and on your continent-a continent in need of change the must be brought by you. For youth to take proper role in leadership, you must start as early as possible. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Be the leaders today, it’s never too early,” said Kagame.

He further advised the youth that “If you want to understand a problem, you must understand and define it first.”

He also hinted on donor pressure over allegations of Rwanda backing M23 rebels in Congo that has led to aid cuts, saying “we must use aid to decrease our dependency and become self reliant.”

The President also responded to media reports that the International Criminal Court (ICC) officials said he faced prosecution for war crimes in Congo.

“There is a problem at the ICC, Africans must wake up,” said the President, adding, “ICC has become a political tool of the west.”

“There is no justice as such…it is being used to decide fates of societies and nations. Why is your (international community) justice selective? We have our right as members of this community and should fight for it,” he said.

Credited for turning around a country bleeding from the catastrophic 1994 genocide wounds and strengthening institutions that have propelled the country to unprecedented levels of economic and social development, Kagame also said Rwanda deserved a seat on the United Nations Security Council “as a country with dignity.”

Rwanda was on Thursday night elected as non-permanent member on the Security Council despite protests from DRC and South Africa.

“What is dubious and controversial is not Rwanda taking its rightful place in the UN, it is the report (that accuses Rwanda of backing M23 rebels) that is dubious,” he observed.

“What kind of justice is it when we are first sentenced then asked to respond to the sentence?” he wondered.

He also advised students that “whenever you await others to solve your problems, the solution will not be sustainable.”

The President said “those who claim to speak for Rwandans are the ones who rob them of their right- the right to decide” for themselves.

“Forward we must go, there is no other way. Challenge yourself to use what you learn to move your country forward. We have our own imperfections; we cannot accept imperfections from other people to double our problems,” he said.

Kagame told students to “reject people who want to decide for you what is good and what is not for you.”

He further asked rhetorically “every day I see people who have never been to Rwanda who want to decide what is good for Rwanda. Do you want to accept this?”

He said “we must be responsible for ourselves and for our development.”

The President said youth in Africa, Asia all over the world have the same aspirations; to be the horse riders.

“Everyone wants to exercise their freedoms to use their talent to better their society. Young people everywhere are the same; no one wants to be a horse so others ride on them.”

He therefore encouraged the youth “to reject being made the horses” because “you don’t just say no, you have to do the right thing.”

DIGNITY

Kagame said the youth must work tooth and nail to “fight for every inch of our dignity, others should only help you in direction you have chosen.”

“It’s not just about saying no, it’s saying no through what you do. I am not saying it’s simple but we are capable of doing it. Others who think they are ordained to tell others what to do or not to do…you must not accept that,” Kagame appealed to the young generation.

“You should become agents of change. Why should you be a secondary global citizen?

Ask yourself why should you be a second citizen of this planet earth? Challenge yourself and your colleagues.”

Kagame said the youth must have the determination and make the choice to be the change agents they are capable of being.

“Do you want to be a horse or a horse-rider? We must end the relationships where we are the horse and it is up to you. Rwandans, Africans should be the horse riders, not horses. We have been horses for long. What matters is what you do, how well you do it and results.”

He observed “saying good words isn’t enough, what matters is what you do, and the results you achieve.”

Earlier, Syldio Mbonyumuhire of Carnegie Mellon of shared innovative ideas of students bringing solutions to their community, saying the “youth of Rwanda aim to be part of the solution not part of the problem…solutions are within us.”

The function was held Petit Stade where the President interacted with more than 2,500 University students in Rwanda.

Chimpreports understands students in foreign countries posted questions on Kagame’s Facebook wall while others used Twitter under the hashtag #MeetthePresident.

Source: Chimpreports.com-Uganda News

October 19, 2012   No Comments

Rwanda warns against cutting aid over Congo rebels

* Rwanda relies on aid for about 40 percent of its budget

* Says wrong to impose sanctions based on flawed report

* Rwanda won seat on U.N. Security Council on Thursday

By Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Rwanda’s foreign minister warned on Thursday that it would be “the biggest mistake” for any countries to withdraw aid to Kigali over a U.N. report accusing Rwanda’s defense minister of commanding rebels in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The United States, Sweden and the Netherlands have all suspended some aid to Rwanda, which relies on donors for about 40 percent of its budget. Last month the European Union froze further budgetary support to Rwanda.

However, Britain unblocked part of its cash in September, praising Rwanda for constructively pursuing peace.

“It would be the biggest mistake that any donor country could make for Rwanda,” Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told Reuters at the United Nations, shortly after Rwanda won a seat on the U.N. Security Council. “Rwanda is deserving of aid.”

“I think Britain has made the right choice,” she said.

A confidential report by the Security Council’s “Group of Experts,” seen by Reuters on Tuesday, said Rwanda and Uganda – despite their strong denials – continued to support so-called M23 rebels with arms and troops in their six-month fight against Congolese troops in the east of the country.

The Congolese government on Wednesday demanded targeted sanctions against Rwandan and Ugandan officials named in the U.N. experts’ report.

Mushikiwabo dismissed the idea that action should be taken on the basis of a report that she said was flawed and untrue. She also said Rwanda felt vindicated by its successful election to the Security Council.

“It’s wrong. This report is very problematic so anybody who would want to take action based on that report would be really unfortunate,” Mushikiwabo told Reuters.

“The priority right now is to look at what it would take first to pacify the region and secondly to look at the root causes and look for ways to solve this problem in a way that would last,” she said.

 

RWANDA “HAPPY WITH SIZE”

Nearly half a million people have been displaced due to the fighting. M23 has proven so resilient that one senior U.N. diplomatic source told Reuters that Rwanda has effectively “annexed” mineral-rich eastern Congo thanks to the rebel force.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said last month that the rebels had set up a de facto administration in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, controlling the people and collecting taxes.

But Mushikiwabo said there was no “desire to cut off part of the DRC … Rwanda is very happy with its size.”

Rwanda has backed armed movements in the Congo over the past two decades, citing a need to tackle Rwandan rebels operating out of Congo’s eastern hills.

Bosco Ntaganda, a former Congolese general wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, controls the eastern Congo rebellion on the ground and M23 leader Sultani Makenga is in charge of operations and coordination with allied armed groups, the U.N. report said.

Both Ntaganda and Makenga “receive direct military orders from RDF (Rwandan army) Chief of Defense staff General Charles Kayonga, who in turn acts on instructions from Minister of Defense General James Kabarebe,” it said.

Mushikiwabo rejected claims in the report that Ntaganda regularly travels to Rwanda.

“He hasn’t been traveling back and forth. If Bosco Ntaganda needs to be arrested why wasn’t he arrested?” she said. “He hasn’t been in Rwanda. He’s not in Rwanda. He’s in Congo. Those who want him know where he is.”

The rebellion also is being funded by traders in Rwanda who are profiting from tin, tungsten and tantalum smuggled across the border from mines in the eastern DRC, according to the U.N. experts’ report.

Source: Reuters: Rwanda News

October 19, 2012   No Comments