Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rwanda: " So how did it come to this bitter end? "

New Times Rwanda reports


Kagame awarded for promoting peace, justice





President Paul Kagame was over the weekend awarded for his contribution to peace and justice not only in his country but around the world.
The award was presented by the African Television (AFTV) in the City of Rotterdam in Netherlands on Saturday at an event to honour the President.

His contribution has been outstanding in South Africa, particularly his recent efforts in Johannesburg

" It is not new. It is not the first time and it is not the last. Most of President Kagame's political opposition are in exile or in prison or are dead."

Chimp reports ( Uganda ) gives us Kagame's thoughts on the subject.

" Rwanda President Paul Kagame has spoken out for the first time on the recent murder of dissident Patrick Karegeya in South Africa, saying “anyone who plots against his country will turn out to be the loser.”

" A visibly angry Kagame told a huge gathering at the Rwanda Leaders Fellowship Prayer Breakfast on Sunday in Kigali that “those who were made who they are by Rwanda and then turn their backs on the country can be dealt with. We can fight back.”


And for that matter the thoughts of his cabinet ministers are revealing. The Mail & Guardian reports.

" Kagame's remarks follow some equally controversial statements by his cabinet ministers.

On Saturday, Rwanda Defence Minister General James Kabarebe reportedly said of Karegeya: "When you choose to live like a dog, you die like a dog."

He was quoted as saying, "Do not waste your time on reports that so and so was strangled with a rope on flat seven in whatever country. When you choose to be a dog, you die like a dog, and the cleaners will wipe away the trash so that it does not stink for them.

"Actually, such consequences are faced by those who have chosen such a path. There is nothing we can do about it, and we should not be interrogated over it."

There is very little peace and no justice available to those who disagree with Kagame.

" Paul Kagame will brook no opposition, he is a dictator who despite his attempts to compare himself with Mandela over the past week should be compared to Stalin. This blog is not hostile to the people of Rwanda, it is very hostile to the government of Rwanda, I make no apology for that. Rwanda has been the cause of the vast majority of the ongoing instability in the DR Congo, the evidence is overwhelming and the denials and lies of the junta in Kigali have been nothing short of astonishing in their total lack of any credibility. It is worth keeping that in mind when it comes to situation Victoire Ingabire has found herself in. Hungry for Truth blog has a transcript if Ingabire's speech made on her return to Rwanda in 2010."

AFTV is the first African television in the Netherlands and is based in The Hague.

AFTV has set itself some very high standards and it would seem have fallen over at the first hurdle.

" The station idea originated from the fact that CNN promotes American ideology, BBC does the-same for Europe, Aljazeera has been successfully re-branding the image of the Middle East. AFTV-African Television has taken on the mantle of showing the beauty of Africa."

I think perhaps AFTV should set itself targets that are doable Fox News springs to mind. 




The TV network content is mostly aimed at promoting Africa by depicting a positive side to the continent and countering content which focuses on negative aspects of Africa such as war, illness and poverty.


To ironic to be true. Six million people have died in the DR Congo over the past 20 years a period that coincides with the reign of Kagame in Rwanda yet is no coincidence.  

Present to receive the award on behalf of the President was the Rwandan envoy to Netherlands, Jean Pierre Karabaranga.

Amb. Karabaranga emphasised the role of the Rwanda Patriotic Front in stopping the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and consequently stopping the injustice in the country.

He reiterated the role of peace and justice which he said precedes and enhances growth and development.

Hypocrisy doesn't come much better than this.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

DR Congo: FDLR " We don't need no uniforms, we have no disguise "

IRIN Reports

Fighting an invisible enemy in DRC


BISHONGERA, 9 April 2014 (IRIN) - It is difficult to identify the fighters of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), one of the many armed groups active in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), some of whose leaders played a key role in Rwanda’s genocide 20 years ago. Bearing neither uniform nor insignia, they are indistinguishable from the civilian population. 

The pangas (long knives) the FDLR carry in North Kivu Province’s Rutshuru Territory village of Bishongera are commonplace within agricultural societies and the AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades have been stashed since the DRC national army (FARDC) and Malawian soldiers from the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC’s (MONUSCO) Force Intervention Brigade (FIB)began preparations in the area for an offensive against them. 

I very much doubt the weapons have been stashed. I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to find that the shooting of Virunga National Park head ranger Emmanuel de Merode was the result of FDLR activity.

The trick, according Patrice Munga*, a civil society activist based in Tongo a few kilometres down the mountainside, is to look at the footwear. “The ones wearing the gumboots - they are FDLR.”

That is fairly flimsy when it comes to positively identifying FDLR combatants. Shooting a guy because of the footwear he is wearing is a hell of a big call. 

In the valley below, a UN helicopter gunship traverses Virunga National Park. The clatter of its rotors does not elicit a glance from the roughly 10 young men in gumboots, some brandishing pangas, gathering around the only bench in the village where a senior FDLR officer, Agathe Nzabonimana*, wearing black shoes, sits. He barks orders at the encroaching men in Kinyarwanda and they move away.

Which suggests if a IRIN journalist can elicit this information then boosting the intelligence gathering ability of the Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade should be a priority.

He tells IRIN: “We [FDLR] don’t have uniforms. We don’t have support from a foreign country” - a direct nod to M23, an alleged proxy force of neighbouring Rwanda.

It is hardly comparing apples with apples. The FDLR are genocidal Rwandan rebel group attempting to establish an exclusive Hutu regime in Rwanda. M23 were a bunch of murderous Rwandan / Congolese thugs at the hard end of Rwandan efforts to colonise the Eastern DR Congo.

M23 was the first armed group targeted by FIB, established after a February 2013 UN Security Council resolution to “neutralize” and disarm all armed groups in the country. FIB has since moved its sights to other armed groups. 

The 3,069 strong FIB - a unit shorn of any civilian functions - is made up of soldiers from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania and equipped with heavy weapons and helicopter gunships and works in tandem with the FARDC. Military operations in North Kivu Province are either under way, or in preparation, in the districts of Masisi against Janvier Buingo Karairi’s Alliance des patriotes pour un Congo libre et souverain (APCLS); in Beni against the Allied Democratic Forces(ADF-Nalu) an anti-Ugandan militia; and in Rutshuru against the FDLR. 


I am not on the ground but it would seem to me that the a reason that the Intervention Brigade was so successful against M23 was its refusal to be stampeded into action. The brigade took its time getting organised and as a consequence took a lot of flack   it was the the right decision as subsequent events have proved. M23 collapsed in a spectacular fashion. I think dealing with each group in a sequential way might well be less popular but ultimately more successful.  

" The intervention brigade, consisting of Tanzanian, South African and Malawian soldiers, was created by the U.N. Security Council in March and has deployed to Congo over the past few months, reinforcing 17,000 U.N. blue helmets already with MONUSCO. The brigade has a stronger mandate than past U.N. peacekeeping missions and is authorized to fight the rebel forces operating in eastern Congo.

There has been widespread skepticism in Congo that the intervention brigade will be a game-changing addition to the existing U.N. force, which stood by when M23 fighters briefly captured Goma late last year.

Main roads through Goma were blocked early Saturday by burning tires and crowds chanting anti-MONUSCO slogans.

Kobler, the U.N. mission chief, called on Goma residents to protect his staff after angry crowds tried to march on the mission headquarters there.

He said he understood people's impatience to see an end to rocket attacks "but the U.N. are not the enemy."

A host of NGOs in a joint 5 March 2014 correspondence to the Security Council on the renewal of the “robust” military mandate noted the “upcoming military operations carry with them high risks for the civilian population of DRC”. 

But the heavy weaponry of the intervention brigade - which proved decisive against M23 – will be less effective against the FDLR, which has integrated within Congolese communities over the past two decades. 


Agreed. But MONUSCO is not without significant intelligence gathering assets.

FDLR mix with civilians 

In Tongo, where soldiers are gathering with the support of FIB’s Malawian contingent, an FARDC major in the 601 Regiment - more commonly referred to as the Chinois commandos in deference to their three years of training by Chinese military instructors - told IRIN “the difference between M23 and the FDLR, is that the FDLR mix in with civilians. 

“M23 had military emplacements, so when we used heavy weaponry, we knew we were hitting military targets. It makes FDLR very hard to attack… The FDLR is essentially using them [civilians] as human shields,” he said. 

“There are FDLR in every village [of the Rutshuru operational zone]. The local population does not collaborate [with the FARDC] as they fear retribution after we leave. So they will not identify the FDLR,” the major said. 


The reality is that the FDLR are a cancer inflicted upon the Eastern DR Congo and they need to be eliminated. If that means garrisoning the Rutshuru zone then so be it. Establish safe zone around the villages and take the genocidal bastards out.

Nzabonimana dismisses the notion. “We live very well with the population. Why is it necessary to do this operation? I have no problem with the FARDC, but if they come here, they will kill the population… I am not afraid of the FARDC. I have been through two [anti-FDLR operations] and I am still here.”


There are 18,000 regular MONUSCO troops, 3000 Intervention Brigade troops with the right mandate for the job ( ie the ability to shoot first and between the eyes ) as well as FARDC ( Congolese Army ). 

FDLR was formed by the remnants of the Forces armées rwandaises (FAR), the national army of Rwanda, and the Interahamwe, a Hutu Power militia that drove the genocidal ideology and led the 1994 genocide. After 20 years in neighbouring DRC, the armed group has survived by recruiting from the local population. Even so, its strength has diminished from more than 10,000 to about 2,000 over the years, according to some estimates.

I am guessing they are the true believers in their insane ideology of racial hatred.  

Although the FDLR has made several vain appeals for talks with Kigali over the years, some of its leaders have never fully renounced their Hutu Power ideology – which provided the genocide’s “logic” and their ambitions to seize power by force in Rwanda. 

You don't negotiate with terrorists. You accept their unconditional surrender or eliminate them. It is that simple and much as I oppose the current Rwandan regime Kigali is correct not to accept anything short of surrender. That said guarantees for the safety of those who opt to surrender should also be in place.

“We are called criminals by Rwanda” 

Nzabonimana’s roughly six-year-old daughter - he will not say whether the mother is Congolese or Rwandan - rests her head in his lap, her nose streaming from an infection. The only evidence of humanitarian assistance in Bishongera are some faded NGO logos and a water pump. “After 20 years I still feel like a visitor here [in the DRC]… The only thing we want is to look for our rights. They are not here in Congo.” 

What rights. The right to a life that he presumably denied to those murdered in the Rwandan Genocide and has continued to deny to those Congolese civilians murdered by the FDLR.

A construction engineering graduate, he served four years with FAR and has spent the last 20 years with FDLR. 

In other words he has wasted his life to date.

“The general question I always ask myself is why we are called criminals by Rwanda. When the genocide happened I was fighting the RPF [Rwandan Patriotic Front], an invading force. The solution is negotiations between FDLR and [President Paul Kagame’s] Rwanda… Why were there negotiations with M23, but no negotiations with FDLR. I cannot go back to Rwanda. I will be imprisoned or killed,” Nzabonimana said.

You are called a criminal because you are a member of a criminal organisation.   

Bishongera is one of four villages on the about 14km path to Tshai from Tongo where the FDLR’s North Kivu commander, General Ntawugunka “Omega” Pacifique Israel, is thought to be based with more than 1,000 soldiers. 

The objective, the FARDC major said, “is for FDLR to surrender with their weapons. So they can be returned to their county [Rwanda]. Dispersing them is no good. It will be very difficult to bombard Tshai because of the mix [of civilians and FDLR fighters].” 


So force the FDLR out of Tshai. Garrison the town. Those FDLR who remain arrest or accept their surrender and return them to Rwanda under the agreed surrender mechanism.
An FDLR defector, taken into custody by FARDC in Tongo, Céléstin Ibaka*, told IRIN the FDLR did not want to fight the FARDC and “if attacked we will run.” 


I suspect that it isn't just FARDC they don't want to fight. My feeling is the rank and file don't want to fight at all anymore. Take advantage of that and offer a attractive alternative.

In March 2014 the FARDC captured Kilometre Nine, an FDLR bush-base of about 20 soldiers on the Virunga National Park road between Kalangera and Tongo. After a 25-minute fire-fight, with the support of Malawian troops, the position was overrun and two FDLR soldiers killed, according to FARDC.


I can't imagine defeats of that nature do much for FDLR morale. The combined forces arrayed against the FDLR brings to mind the famous words of Theodore Roosevelt: “If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” 

Decreasing FARDC-FDLR collaboration?
 
In the past FARDC has had “discreet alliances” with FDLR, Christoph Vogel, a DRC researcher based at the University of Zurich, told IRIN, but from a high point 10-15 years ago “the long-term trend of this collaboration appears to be decreasing… 

“More recently, with FARDC struggling to get rid of the M23, interactions between FARDC and FDLR certainly increased again, but the co-option politics of the Congolese army go much farther than that - also APCLS, Nyatura, and other militias have been serving as anti-M23 proxies,” he said. However, “it would be wrong to speak of a systematic FARDC-FDLR collaboration.”

The reality is that FARDC have evolved from a highly unprofessional force into a reasonably effective military organisation in the Eastern DR Congo. Jason Stearns at Congo Siasa blogs:

In addition, the army is now giving more prominence to the commando battalions, the 321 and 322 trained by the Belgians (a third is currently being trained in Kindu), the 391 trained by the Americans, and one by the Chinese (on the northern front line in Tongo). During the operations last year, these battalions had been mismanaged by the military hierarchy, which dismantled them, sent them to areas where there was little to do, and "sabotaged them by sending them into battle without supplies or knowledge of the terrain," according to one Belgian trainer.
   
It would seem reasonable to assume FARDC will continue to improve in terms of its conduct. The collaboration argument has long been used by Rwanda to justify to justify everything from the now defeated M23 through to military invasions of sovereign DR Congo territory. Rwanda is the only voice bemoaning FARDC / FDLR collaboration and the world has grown tired of Rwandan bullshit. 

“Regardless of the actual ties between Rwanda and M23 [or its predecessors Congrès national pour la défense du people, CNDP, and Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie, RCD], the presence of these militias can be seen as a facilitating element for FARDC-FDLR collaboration,” Vogel said. 

The FARDC view of FDLR was not monolithic, he said, and there were those maintaining “cordial relations with senior FDLR figures”, while others were “ferociously” against them; a third category “while not necessarily being supportive of FDLR, demand that Rwanda should negotiate with FDLR just as the DRC negotiated with M23. Needless to say, Rwanda would not accept this.” 

Well I wouldn't describe the DR Congo / M23 Kampala Peace Talks as a negotiation. 
" I am of the opinion that Kinshasa are just going through the motions at the Kampala peace talks and so it would now seem are M23. The real issue is that there is nothing for either side to talk about. This much vaunted political solution has failed yet again, neither side is participating in good faith that leaves a military solution on the table." 

The Rwandan position is that it will accept the surrender of FDLR rebels and rehabilitate them on an individual basis. That is reasonable and might even work.

Deadlock in anti-FDLR operations 

Whether there was some political deal between Kinshasa and Kigali about the fates of M23 and FDLR “is hard to speculate,” but “MONUSCO and the UN Security Council may have given assurances to the Rwandan government that they will not only tackle M23 but also FDLR. 

I will speculate on whether there was a Kinshasa / Kigali deal. There was not. It is a certainty that both the UN and MONUSCO gave an assurance to Rwanda that the FDLR would be eliminated but I doubt they bothered discussing the fate of M23 with Rwanda.

“The current deadlock in anti-FDLR operations puts the credibility of both MONUSCO and FARDC in peril and bears a risk of souring bilateral exchange as Rwanda currently commemorates the 20th anniversary of the genocide,” Vogel said.

Again MONUSCO and its offshoot the Intervention Brigade owe Rwanda nothing and Rwanda has no right to set the timetable. MONUSCO should move against the FDLR when they are ready and will win.

Munga said that in the past, before FARDC was put on an operational footing in Rutshuru against FDLR, the FARDC greeted and drank together with the FDLR “during the days of M23”, and provided the armed group with ammunition and food. But this had since stopped. “When they were drinking together they [FARDC] used to joke: `The FARDC helped return M23 to Rwanda. Now we must help the FDLR return to Rwanda’.”


A small problem with the above joke, it doesn't fit in with the timing of events on the ground. In other words I doubt that any collaboration between FARDC and the FDLR occurred after the defeat of M23 which is the only way that that joke can work.

When unfounded rumours in January 2014 swept through eastern DRC that Kagame had died “the whole [Tongo] population celebrated. FARDC celebrated more than FDLR,” he said.


True. Given Rwanda's interventions in the eastern DR Congo that should surprise no one. Six million Congolese have died largely as a result of Rwandan invasions both directly and indirectly through proxies such as M23.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Rwanda: " An epitaph to a broken dream to exorcise this silent scream "

Reuters reports

Rwanda's foreign adventures test West's patience


Rwanda's President Paul Kagame addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 25, 2013


KIGALI (Reuters) - Rwandan President Paul Kagame may dress in the sharp suits of a company CEO, but his language can be more like a drill sergeant when he grills his cabinet on its performance.

"When you speak I find myself becoming impatient, almost to the point of being annoyed," the former military intelligence commander publicly berated a minister last month at an annual meeting of top officials on modernising the tiny African state.

Western nations offer only modest remonstrations over what they see as democratic shortcomings in Rwanda, thankful for the oasis of order that has replaced the genocide they failed to prevent 20 years ago this month.

But they quietly express concern that Kagame's assertive style at home is being translated into brazen meddling in a volatile region and threatening a potential model for Africa.

That concern is increasing. However it is not only western nations increasingly African nations are also getting frustrated with Kagame.

In 2012, a U.N. report accused Kagame's government of backing a rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, prompting the West to halt some aid; economic growth took a hit.

I wouldn't put the reduction in western aid as a causing of the slowdown in economic growth. Throughout 2013 Rwandas ability to raid the economic resources of neighboring eastern DR Congo was effectively halted. 

" In fact, the relative prosperity of the minority Tutsi political and business elite, is built on the bones of 6 million dead Congolese and the natural resources looted from their country. Rwanda’s so-called “New Economic Model” is simply pillaging and massacre, theft and murder on a huge scale, in concert with multinational corporations and under the protection of the United States."

Now Rwanda is blamed for sending hit squads to assassinate opponents in South Africa, killing one of two alleged targets.

What is interesting is just how unprofessional the Rwandan action was. Kagame made no real effort to deny the accusations, that in effect is confidence verging on insanity.  

" One of the four suspects is a senior official in the Rwandan armed forces, Lt Col Francis Gakwerere. His name was on a list of seven people claimed in a blog run by Rwandan dissidents to belong to a hit squad sent to South Africa to eliminate Karegeya. Police in South Africa suspect the former spymaster was strangled. A bloodied towel and curtain cord were found in a safe in the hotel room. Opponents of the Rwandan government say he was murdered at the behest of Rwandan President Paul Kagame."

"It seems to me that they are getting less risk averse," said one senior Western diplomat, who asked not to be named so he could speak more openly. "The risk they run is sowing the seed for rupture with the international community."

Jason Stearns at Congo Siasa gives an interesting regional perspective:

" South African involvement was particularly on show during the 2011 elections, which took place just weeks after a Kabila granted the South African government a contract for Inga III . Zuma was then one of the first presidents to congratulate Kabila for his victory, despite rampant irregularities. Then, when Uganda began facilitating peace talks with the M23 as chair of the ICGLR, South Africa and Angola (which has also just signed a lucrative offshore oil deal with Kinshasa), worried about Uganda and Rwanda's influence in the ICGLR, offered to send troops to Kinshasa's aid through SADC. Kabila reportedly believes that the brigade will help bring an end to the nettlesome M23 rebellion."


Which the brigade did. Uganda has recognised it would seem that the tide is out and the world is now ( I guess better late than never ) serious about defending the territorial integrity of the DR Congo. The reality Kigali can't comprehend is that its interfering in the Congo is over and it would seem Tanzania, Mali, Angola and South Africa have chosen sides and they are with the DR Congo. Ironically the Republic of Congo seems to have inexplicably gone with Rwanda a quick look at a map might have you shaking your heads on that decision.
Rwanda, which insists the government that has reformed the still aid-dependent economy is democratically accountable, vigorously denies both accusations of foreign meddling.

Well it used to vigorously deny meddling but I suspect that Kigali has recognised that the world just doesn't believe its denials anymore. I would guess that perhaps signals some vague connection with reality and that might be a reason to hope Kigali adopts a new position on international relations.
Public comments from Kagame and other officials have done little to change Western views of Rwanda's complicity, but criticism has remained muted, and more so with the anniversary of the genocide that Kagame is credited with ending.

"There is an upswing of international guilt about 1994," the diplomat said. "There is pressure. I don't think it is increasing and this year there is a dip."

There is guilt and there should be but, and it is not a small but, that guilt should not prevent us seeing the the bigger picture and that is that 6 million people have died in the DR Congo since 1994 and the lions share of responsibility for that genocide can be laid at Rwanda's door.
EXILED OPPONENTS

After exiled former spy chief Patrick Karegeya was found dead in a Johannesburg hotel in January, Kagame said "traitors" should expect consequences. A Rwandan website quoted Defence Minister James Kabarebe saying: "When you choose to be a dog, you die like one."

As I said above they can't even be bothered lying about it now, one has to hope that the geopolitical realities Rwanda now faces are not being handled by the M23 former Chief of Staff James Kabarebe.
In March, armed men broke into the Johannesburg home of former Rwandan army chief General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, another exiled critic. Nyamwasa, who survived an attempt on his life in South Africa in 2010, was not in his house at the time.

Diplomats and analysts said the killing and attempted assassination in short succession showed Kagame feared exiled opponents were trying to unseat him using links inside Rwanda.

"His number one threat is potential military dissidents in his own party," said central Africa expert Jason Stearns.

Jason Stearns is worth listening to. The problem with Rwanda is that it is a military organisation in charge of a state and history tells us if you have that around the wrong way which Rwanda does, the results are never good in the long term.
South Africa, a regional superpower, expelled three Rwandan diplomats over the attacks. Kigali, which said South Africa had produced no evidence, reciprocated by throwing out six.

The U.S. special envoy to the region, Russ Feingold, said in a brief statement he was "very concerned about the tension", but was unavailable for further comment when asked by Reuters.

Russ Feingold has been a total disappointment.

Rwanda lives in an unstable neighbourhood, next to war-ravaged east Congo and politically troubled Burundi, which endured decades of ethnic massacres into the 1990s. Nearby are South Sudan and the Central African Republic, both mired in conflict.

Rwanda has created much of the instability in the " war ravaged Congo " by successive military invasions. As noted above the Rwandan economic miracle requires the eastern DR Congo to be unstable so Rwanda can nick anything of value. It doesn't wash as an excuse for the Kagame regime.
Behind closed doors Western feathers have been ruffled. Diplomats, who have described Rwanda's foreign policy as "reckless", worry Kigali could target opponents in exile in Europe or elsewhere, action that would draw tougher sanction.

"On the security side, there are more and more countries warning them off," said another diplomat, He said the private U.S. message was: "Don't do anything like this in the States."

I suspect Rwandan passport holders will face a lot more scrutiny going forward. I blogged yesterday about this issue amongst other things.
Critics of Western policy say such warnings are too little, too late. Rwanda is assertive abroad because the West has not reined in the president's authoritarian ways at home, they say.

"There hasn't been much reaction to things that happened inside Rwanda," said Filip Reyntjens, a Rwanda expert and professor at the University of Antwerp, who says he has been banned from travelling to Kigali. "That emboldened the regime."

That can change very quickly. It should start with expulsion from the Commonwealth, that inconveniences a few athletes but it might also focus a few minds.
HEALING RIFTS

Rwanda dismisses such criticisms. Shyaka Anastase, head of the Rwandan Governance Board, a state agency that licences political parties and assesses everything from civil liberties to corruption, said Rwanda's system was based on consensus.

Yes, well it is an interesting interpretation of consensus. I very much doubt Rwanda's only credible opposition leader Victoire Ingabire who is rotting in a Rwandan gaol agrees with the consensus.
That helped Kagame win re-election in 2010 with 93 percent of the vote, he said, while Western critics were too conditioned by their politics where parties often win just 40 percent.

93% if you aren't laughing you should be. That is a North Korea statistic and whilst Rwanda is not quite yet at that level of batshit crazy it is well down the road.
"We feel there is a lot of unfairness," he told Reuters, adding Rwanda's system was healing ethnic, religious and regional rifts which fuelled the ethnic slaughter in 1994 of 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis but also moderates from the Hutu majority.

Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo denied a Rwandan role in the South Africa cases but, via Twitter, said Pretoria harboured "dissidents responsible for terrorist attacks in Rwanda".

Louise Mushikiwabo AKA Rwanda's liar in chief.  

Rwandan officials have in the past blamed sporadic grenade attacks, often fatal, in the capital and elsewhere on exiled and other opponents. One former presidential bodyguard, who lived in Uganda, is now on trial in Kigali over involvement in such assaults. Exile opposition deny any role in such attacks.

They have and in fairness this would seem to be true. The genocidal fools of the FDLR the remnants of the former regime do occasionally promise gullible kids future jobs in the next Rwandan incarnation, not to mention US $20 to go and throw a grenade in a market place in Rwanda. Quite how that justifies 6 million deaths in the DR Congo escapes me.   


" One of the suspects who manned the recent grenade attack at Nyabugogo Taxi Park in Kigali, has said that he and his colleagues were sent on a mission by their boss, Colonel Enoch Bizimana alias ‘Matovu’ who commands a section of FDLR rebel in the DR Congo.
The 23 year old suspect, identified as Jean de Dieu Ntakirutimana, who left Rwanda at the age of 4 years, says that he joined and deserted FDLR forces and was later on contacted by the Colonel, through a third party, to conduct the attacks for a price.


When asked for further comment on the South Africa attacks, the president's office again denied any role and said Rwanda "cannot be expected to mourn the death of someone actively involved in carrying out violence against innocent citizens".

It added that talk of "extrajudicial assassinations on foreign soil is both outlandish and false".

A return if not welcome to form.

Even as diplomats express private frustrations, public Western criticism is muted, tempered by genocide guilt and Rwanda's role as an example for Africa on the efficient use of the West's aid.

And even more efficient theft of the mineral resources of the eastern DR Congo.
Achievements are plain to see. Residents describe jumping over corpses in the capital in 1994 but now few, if any, African cities can rival the order and tidiness of Kigali, where small groups of women trim grass verges on the sides of new roads.

And there are six million more corpses in the Congo, A very high price for trimmed grass verges.
Rwanda is pitching to be a regional financial hub, an idea unimaginable a few years ago, while the World Bank assesses the tiny nation of 11 million people as the easiest place to do business in continental Africa. Ranked No. 32 globally, it is above some European nations such as its former colonial power Belgium. http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

It still relies heavily on aid for two-fifths of government spending. When aid flows stopped in 2012, growth in 2013 tumbled sharply to 4.6 percent, down from the 7 to 8 percent it had averaged in previous years, even though aid resumed in 2013.

As I said above aid had nothing to do with the economic slowdown.
POLITICAL CREDENTIALS

Britain's overseas aid department DFID, one of Rwanda's top benefactors, talks of "impressive and fast-improving public financial management system" but notes political restrictions.

To burnish Rwanda's political credentials, Anastase's governance board now produces a scorecard on issues from rule of law to transparency - ticking boxes that win allies in the West. Rwanda, says one diplomat, is "obsessed with indicators".

It might be time to add a few more coffins sorry boxes. Six million in fact.
Swayed in part by visible development, the West also worries about upsetting the fragile balance maintained by Kagame - president since 2003 and power behind the throne since his Rwandan Patriotic Army marched into Kigali in 1994 to halt the killings that mainly targeted Kagame's own Tutsi group.

The west should be more worried by the the truth. I get the feeling it is now and Kagame has no idea what that will mean.
The government wants to bury the idea of ethnic loyalties, saying everyone is "Rwandese". But tensions sometimes emerge including during the "I Am Rwandan" campaign that began last year and which urged Hutus to apologise for the killings.

If you believe that well .... the whole point of this article is that nobody believes a word Rwanda has to say on anything.
"It encourages people to feel guilty because of their ethnicity," said a middle-aged Hutu, asking not to be named and commenting on the voluntary countrywide meetings. "But what can you do? We still go along (with the idea)."

Hutus accept their group is to blame for the genocide, but grumble that Hutus who were also massacred are often ignored.

Such concerns give Western nations pause. "The worry at the back of Western minds is you end up with an ethnic bloodbath," said the senior diplomat. "That is why people in the West are prepared to put up with the political situation as it is."

And when the untenable situation that is the current status quo erupts and you have another ethnic bloodbath are we any further forward ?
Some politicians now talk of changing the constitution to allow Kagame stand for a third term in 2017. The West murmurs disapproval, while opponents in Rwanda struggle to be heard.

"We do not have a personal problem with the president but we would not wish that the constitution is changed," said Frank Habineza, head of the Democratic Green Party, which registered last year and is the only party not aligned with the government.

"Kagame is not naturally a democrat," said a regional Western diplomat. "We just wish he was embracing a little bit more of the concepts of democracy."

Yes well look to the Russian solution.

" Kagame has become delusional, his inability separate his administration from the the nation state that is Rwanda. He assures all that he will not alter the constitution to extend his tenure as Rwanda's President but the reality is that he has created a situation where he will be forced to remain in office. Expect an African version of the Putin / Medvedev tandemocracy . There is very little available in the way of attractive retirement options available for autocratic dictators after they lose power. Ask Gaddafi."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Rwanda / NZ: " To this orphan of heartbreak, disillusioned and scarred A refugee, refugee. "

Stuff reports 


Returning to Rwanda 'too dangerous'

TWENTY YEARS: Joseph Kimenyi had hoped to take his children to Rwanda by now, but ongoing tensions in the area make it impossible.
The last drive Palmerston North man Joseph Kimenyi made to Kilgali International Airport lives on behind his eyelids.
Thousands of mutilated corpses didn't just line the familiar road, they covered it. Many were bloated.
"There was no way to pass them by. We just had to close our eyes and drive over them," Kimenyi said.
It is reminiscent of the portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina journey across Kigali in the film Hotel Rwanda, the realisation that they are driving over bodies is mind numbing.


On Sunday it will be 20 years since the worst mass-murder event of modern times was triggered in Rwanda - a three-month massacre that left 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus dead.
It was a lesson for the world and unfortunately one that we failed to learn from if one was to look at the current situation in the Central African Republic. Our failure to act against the Rwandan regime 20 years ago is one of the direct causes of the Congo wars that have killed a further 6 million people. Only now is the world catching up with the remnants of the genocidal  regime and the civilian Hutu militia known as the Interahamwe, the FDLR will be defeated soon by the Congolese Army ( FARDC ), MONUSCO, and the Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade.

It forced Kimenyi, a Hutu himself and son of Rwanda's first president Dominique Mbonyumutwa, to repatriate to Kenya and then New Zealand with his family two years later.
The night the genocide began, Kimenyi, managing a fleet of 400 cars for the United Nations in Kigali, dropped a cohort of Bangladeshis off at Kigali Airport and drove back to the UN compound to finish his shift.
"Gunshots started to be fired and I was waiting for them to stop so I could go home but it just got worse and worse," Kimenyi said.  
It is a familiar story, one that you will hear repeated throughout both Rwanda and the DR Congo. It is an interesting historical footnote that whilst the UN Security Council dithered New Zealand was in the presidency and attempted to prevent it only to be frustrated by the permanent members of the council. Former NZ Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay recounts:

" As the death count grew, our Ambassador, Colin Keating, pressed hard for the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda to be strengthened, and for the Council to declare this atrocity as genocide.

As the Council’s President in April 1994, we even had to threaten to hold a public debate to shame certain countries for their refusal to acknowledge what was happening.

In the end, mainly because of the unwillingness of some of the Council’s permanent members, those efforts were unsuccessful and 800,000 innocent people were butchered – many with jungle knives."

New Zealand is in the running for a non permanent seat on the UN Security Council later this year. I hope the world remembers the efforts of a small South Pacific nation to help Rwanda, destined to failure though they were.


Kimenyi could not go home. He was holed up in the sandbagged five-storey compound eating biscuit rations until May 18, more than a month after fighting began, when he was transported by the UN to the airport and then Kenya.
Twenty years on Kimenyi, now 58, wishes he and his adult-age children could go back to his former country. See the mountains, walk the streets, reprogramme the memories.
That is not possible under the current Tutsi-led government, which he says is still marginalising the Hutu population and silencing those abroad who speak up about it.
Paul Kagame's regime is little better ( if at all ), than that of the genocidaires who he displaced. One only needs to look at his treatment of Victoire Ingabire to realise the levels of domestic oppression he continues to inflict on the Rwandan Hutu population. The actions of his government and other African regimes in the Great Lakes Region surrounding the eastern DR Congo have exceeded even the colonial atrocities of the west. That the west has only just started to act to restrain Kagame is in itself an indictment upon us.    
"I had hoped that those who took over power would have learned from the mistakes of other governments. I had thought it would be five, maybe 10 years, but now 20 has gone by and still there's problems."
They haven't and all that can be said for that failure to learn, is that a repeat of the 1994 insanity is far more likely because of that. I blogged this stupidity from Rwanda's UN Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana back in January.

" Meanwhile, 20 years after the Genocide, the UN for the first time yesterday used the phrase “genocide against the Tutsi” in reference to the 1994 killings that claimed the lives of one million people, instead of the “Rwandan genocide”.

That is a mistake. Many Hutu also died because they would not participate in the genocide. Their sacrifice should never be forgotten. Racism should be fought wherever it happens, the perpetrators of the Rwandan Genocide like the Nazi's will face justice. The world owes the murdered nothing less, both Tutsi and Hutu. 

The label “Rwandan genocide” is mainly associated with groups and individuals who attempt to distort the history of the Genocide, including those who deny that Tutsis were the principal targets during the 100-day killing spree.

Bullshit. Again a lie covered with a truth. No one denies that Tutsi were the principal target I just refuse to see people in terms of racial identity. Will New Times next be asking for ethnicity to be included on identification documents ? That is the road of ethnic separation that idiotic statements such as " groups and individuals who attempt to distort the history of the 
Genocide"  will take Rwanda down, a road it should never travel again."

Gasana is a fool in a nation that is governed by fools. Tomorrow should not be about Tutsi or Hutu, it should be a day for the world to reflect on our failing of both the Tutsi and Hutu who were murdered by the Interahamwe thugs and for Rwanda it should be about reconciliation. I have little hope either will happen.  


The Manawatu Standard spoke to Kimenyi in 2010 after a BBC correspondent contacted him to tell him his father's body had been dug up.
After his death in 1986, Mbonyumutwa was buried at Democracy Stadium in Gitarama - the place where Rwanda's Hutu leaders announced the Tutsi monarchy would be abolished.
The exact location of Mbonyumutwa body's is unknown but he is understood to have been moved to a public cemetery. Kimenyi said that was just one example of the government's attempt to rewrite history to exclude the suffering of Hutu during the genocide.
Paul Kagame and his merry men thugs will ultimately fail. As Jason Stearns at Congo Siasa reminds us, " Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi."


"There's still no acknowledgement of the Hutu that have put their lives at risk to protect Tutsi.
Remember Victoire Ingabire who now is rotting in a Rwandan gaol for trumped up charges that there is absolutely no evidence of her committing, her principle crime was opposing Kagame and being a Hutu. 
" Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza  arrived in Rwanda on the 16th of January 2010, From the airport she went straight to the memorial of the genocide to pay respect to Tutsi victims of genocide. She made a speech in which she called for justice to bring to book those who committed genocide against Tutsi and those who committed other crimes including war crimes and crimes against without fear or favour, irrespective of ethnic or political affiliation. She considered equitable justice as a solid foundation for national reconciliation and durable peace and development. After this speech she was accused of having and spreading  Genocidal ideology, negationism and divisionism." 
"It is heartbreaking for me - there can't be reconciliation if the government continues to change our history.
"I feel I have to make a choice. Do I let myself be silenced or do I speak and face the consequences?"
It is a real fear the Kagame regime has undoubtedly informants within the Rwandan diaspora, New Zealand might well be too much of a stretch for Kagame but Joseph Kimenyi would be at risk anywhere in Africa and one of the consequences he now faces is that his country of birth is now for the foreseeable future out of his grasp.


Kimenyi said his criticism of the government was far easier for him to do in New Zealand than if he were in Rwanda but he could never be certain of his safety.
Again that is true Kagame would be insane to attempt anything in New Zealand and if he did his agents would almost certainly be caught but it is not unreasonable to question Kagame's sanity.


"That's why I'll probably never get back to Rwanda. I do wish to go back some day. The weather is beautiful."
Rwanda's loss is our gain.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Uganda: " Hounds freeze in silence bewitched by the reptile spell "

The NZ Herald reports

Giant, man-eating crocodile caught in Uganda

                                       A giant crocodile caught by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Photo / AFP


A giant, one-tonne crocodile has been caught by Ugandan villagers, after allegedly eating a man and maiming several others in a village.

A bit of competition for Museveni. Actually it is good to be blogging about a real crocodile rather than the human variety.

The reptile was captured by the Uganda Wildlife Authority after a four-day hunt along the shores of Lake Victoria, in Kakira village.

The crocodile, believed to be approximately 80-years-old, was trapped by officials using meat on a hook and transported out of the village on a truck while more than 100 residents watching.

I am glad they didn't adopt the Western Australia approach. A dog urinating on a lamppost isn't being anti social it is being a dog.  

"Residents appealed to UWA to hunt the crocodile following the death of a resident from Kakira town council in Jinja district," a UWA official told The New Vision Ugandan daily.

The reptile's presence proved problematic for local fisherman, who became too scared to approach the lake until it was caught.

I can't say that I blame them.
                         A giant crocodile caught by volunteers from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Photo / Donald Kiirya

The crocodile has since been transferred to the Murchison Falls National Park. At 1,000 kg, it weighs just 75 kg less than Lolong, the world's largest crocodile, who died last year.

I am guessing that Murchison Falls National Park well at least the water ways just got a new CEO.