Tag Archives: Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame: I asked America to kill Congo rebel leader with drone

19 May

Sunday 19 May 2013

In an exclusive interview with Chris McGreal in Kigali, Rwanda’s president denies backing an accused Congolese war criminal and says challenge to senior US official proves his innocence

M23 rebels train in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A new M23 recruit demonstrates his martial arts skills in the Democratic Republic of the Congo last week. Rwanda denies aiding them. Photograph: James Akena/Reuters

Rwanda‘s president, Paul Kagame, has rejected accusations from Washington that he was supporting a rebel leader and accused war criminal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by challenging a senior US official to send a drone to kill the wanted man.

In an interview with the Observer Magazine, Kagame said that on a visit to Washington in March he came under pressure from the US assistant secretary of state for Africa, Johnnie Carson, to arrest Bosco Ntaganda, leader of the M23 rebels, who was wanted by the international criminal court (ICC). The US administration was increasing pressure on Kagame following a UN report claiming to have uncovered evidence showing that the Rwandan military provided weapons and other support to Ntaganda, whose forces briefly seized control of the region’s main city, Goma.

“I told him: ‘Assistant secretary of state, you support [the UN peacekeeping force] in the Congo. Such a big force, so much money. Have you failed to use that force to arrest whoever you want to arrest in Congo? Now you are turning to me, you are turning to Rwanda?'” he said. “I said that, since you are used to sending drones and gunning people down, why don’t you send a drone and get rid of him and stop this nonsense? And he just laughed. I told him: ‘I’m serious’.”

Kagame said that, after he returned to Rwanda, Carson kept up the pressure with a letter demanding that he act against Ntaganda. Days later, the M23 leader appeared at the US embassy in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, saying that he wanted to surrender to the ICC. He was transferred to The Hague. The Rwandan leadership denies any prior knowledge of Ntaganda’s decision to hand himself over. It suggests he was facing a rebellion within M23 and feared for his safety.

But Kagame’s confrontation with Carson reflects how much relationships with even close allies have deteriorated over allegations that Rwanda continues to play a part in the bloodletting in Congo. The US and Britain, Rwanda’s largest bilateral aid donors, withheld financial assistance, as did the EU, prompting accusations of betrayal by Rwandan officials. The political impact added impetus to a government campaign to condition the population to become more self-reliant.

Kagame is angered by the moves and criticisms of his human rights record in Rwanda, including allegations that he blocks opponents by misusing laws banning hate speech to accuse them of promoting genocide and suppresses press criticism. The Rwandan president is also embittered that countries, led by the US and UK, that blocked intervention to stop the 1994 genocide, and France which sided with the Hutu extremist regime that led the killings, are now judging him on human rights.

“We don’t live our lives or we don’t deal with our affairs more from the dictates from outside than from the dictates of our own situation and conditions,” Kagame said. “The outside viewpoint, sometimes you don’t know what it is. It keeps changing. They tell you they want you to respect this or fight this and you are doing it and they say you’re not doing it the right way. They keep shifting goalposts and interpreting things about us or what we are doing to suit the moment.”

He is agitated about what he sees as Rwanda being held responsible for all the ills of Congo, when Kigali’s military intervention began in 1996 to clear out Hutu extremists using UN-funded refugee camps for raids to murder Tutsis. Kagame said that Rwanda was not responsible for the situation after decades of western colonisation and backing for the Mobutu dictatorship.

The Rwandan leader denies supporting M23 and said he has been falsely accused because Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila, needs someone to blame because his army cannot fight. “To defeat these fellows doesn’t take bravery because they don’t go to fight. They just hear bullets and are on the loose running anywhere, looting, raping and doing anything. That’s what happened,” he said.

“President Kabila and the government had made statements about how this issue is going to be contained. They had to look for an explanation for how they were being defeated. They said we are not fighting [Ntaganda], we’re actually fighting Rwanda.”

SOurce: The Guardian

 

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Oxford University’s business school faces protests over visit by Rwanda president Paul Kagame

17 May

FRIDAY 17 MAY 2013

There are plans to present him with a student award despite continuing controversy over his regime’s human rights record

Oxford University’s prestigious business school has been dragged into a row over plans to present the president of Rwanda with a student award for his country’s economic development despite continuing controversy over his regime’s human rights record.

Paul Kagame, the one-time poster boy of development whose reputation has been dulled by accusations of authoritarianism and fomenting conflict in Congo, will be greeted by protesters when he attends the Said Business School tomorrow to give a keynote conference speech.

A coalition of campaigners, including Congolese refugees and a prominent Oxford academic, are  backing calls for the university to cancel the invitation, saying it amounts to a vote of confidence in Mr Kagame at a time when he is under pressure over human rights violations.

The clash is the latest controversy to surround the Rwandan leader, who last year saw Britain suspend £16m of direct budgetary support to his government over “credible” reports that it was supporting the M23 rebel group responsible for atrocities in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The continuing dispute has done little to dent enthusiasm in financial and political circles for Rwanda’s continued economic growth, which will reach eight per cent this year. The country’s first ever sale of Eurobonds this month, securing $400m in funding for infrastructure and investment projects, was over-subscribed.

In a sign of thawing relations with Britain, which remains Rwanda’s largest single aid donor, the country’s foreign minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, met the foreign secretary William Hague on Thursday as part of the visit to London by a sizable Rwandan delegation.

But critics said the decision by the Oxford Business Network for Africa, a student organisation within the business school, to make Mr Kagame the first recipient of its Distinction of Honour for African Growth risked tainting the university.

A petition calling on the student group and the business school to cancel the award had yesterday reached nearly 5,500 signatures. A counter-petition, applauding the award, had collected 2,300 signatures.

In a letter to the dean of the school, Professor Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding director of the university’s respected Refugee Studies Centre, said: “Bestowing any honour upon Mr Kagame at a time when he and his government are becoming increasingly isolated in the face of mounting evidence of their gross human rights violations represents a serious error of judgment.

“It positions the conference organizers and the University of Oxford against international efforts to pressure Mr Kagame to end his abuses and play a more constructive role in the achievement of African peace and development.”

A spokesman for a coalition of Congolese and Rwandan opposition groups, including Liberation, a Congolese women’s rights group, added: “It would be a disgrace for any university of Oxford’s calibre to ignore all the information in the public domain about Kagame’s crimes both on his people and abroad, and roll out a red carpet for him.”

The business school, ranked in the top ten outside the United States, underlined that the award was the decision of the student group but said it was allowing today’s event to go ahead because of its commitment to freedom of speech.

In a statement, the school said: “We prize open discussion and … we have not sought to prevent the students from extending this invitation. President Kagame’s presence in the Saïd Business School does not imply any endorsement by the school or the university of his views or actions. We are aware that President Kagame is considered by some to be a controversial figure.”

The student group defended its award, saying it was “in recognition of [Mr Kagame’s] work in opening and developing Rwanda’s economy” and there would be an opportunity for those critical of his government to raise questions.

The Rwandan High Commission in London did not respond to requests from The Independent to comment on the criticisms of Mr Kagame, who will also attend a Rwanda Day celebration for hundreds of members of the Rwandan diaspora while in London.

Rwanda has strongly denied any involvement in M23 and condemned a United Nations report chronicling links between the group and senior members of the Rwandan military. Critics have also accused Mr Kagame of trampling on media and political freedoms, maintaining a hostile environment for opposition politicians.

The Independent revealed that Scotland Yard also served notices on two UK-based dissidents  in 2011 warning them of “reliable intelligence” that their lives were under threat from assassins sent by the Rwandan authorities.

Britain earlier this year reinstated aid to Rwanda after halting direct budgetary support to the country last November because of the activities of M23. The £16m will be distributed in the form of direct payments to impoverished Rwandans and textbooks for schoolchildren.

The Independent understands there are no immediate plans to reinstate direct aid payments to the Rwandan government.

Source: The Indepandant

Controversy over visit of Rwandan President

9 May

09/05/2013

By News Team

Unease has been expressed concerning g a scheduled visit of Rwandan president Paul Kagame to the Säid Business School, in light of numerous allegations accusing him of human rights violations.

Mr Kagame is due to arrive in Oxford on Friday 18thMay, when he will deliver a keynote address in the Oxford Africa Business Conference as well as being awarded the inaugural Distinction of Honour for African Growth Award.

The decision to give Mr Kagame this award in light the recent allegations has been questioned by a number of academics and students, who have started a campaign calling for the Säid Business School to cancel their engagement with him.

The Oxford Africa Business Conference is a student led organization and the decision to award Kagame the honour was taken by students of the Business School.

Salvator Cusimano, an M.Sc candidate in Refugee studies and leader of the campaign against Mr Kagame’s visit, commented: “As it stands, the University will appear to condone Mr. Kagame’s actions at a time when even the governments of the United States and the UK – Rwanda’s staunchest allies – have distanced themselves from Mr. Kagame and his government.

“As members of the Oxford community, we have a responsibility to use our influence to reverse the Business School’s serious error of judgment.

“We have a unique opportunity to promote human rights and defend our University’s reputation, and we must act. “

The campaign has sent a letter to the Dean of the Business School, the Vice-Chancellor of the University as well as the head of the African Studies Centre detailing why the visit should be cancelled, and has started an e-petition which has received over 260 signatures in its first 24 hours.

The Säid Business School has commented “We prize open discussion and in line with the University’s Freedom of Speech policy the students have invited President Kagame to speak and there will be the opportunity for those present to challenge him as appropriate.

“We are aware that President Kagame is a controversial figure and his presence here implies no endorsement of his views or actions. We have taken the view that it’s appropriate to ask him to address any issues that are put to him from a platform in Oxford.”

The controversy surrounding Kagame stems from the accusation that he has silenced opposition politicians and journalists support for rebels in DMC including the paramilitary M23 movement, and illegal exploitation of Congolese resources.

Dominic Burridge, a DPhil Candidate from Oriel College, commented: “The proposal from the Säid Business School to give a Distinction of Honor for African Growth Award to Paul Kagame cannot fall under the criticism of endorsing human rights violations per se because it is making an economic assessment only.

“In this way, the decision errs on the side of a greater tragedy. It is a categorical statement that, in Africa, economics should matter more than society and ethics, and that those who have been accused of brutalising regions through natural resource greed should be decorated as economic leaders.”

The conference website has ignored the controversies surrounding Kagame, and instead focused on some of the successes of his presidency, including the reconciliation after the Rwandan genocide and relatively strong growth in GDP.

As a result they have feted that Kagame’s presidency has “set Rwanda on its current course towards reconciliation, nation building and socioeconomic development.”

A letter delivered to the Säid Business School the campaign has argued: “Mr. Kagame’s Rwanda bears several disturbing similarities to Rwanda under the genocidal government.

“Reconciliation appears superficial: despite a law prohibiting speech with ethnic content – known as genocide ideology – the ethnic tensions that fuelled genocide in 1994 seem alive beneath the surface.”

Amongst the supporters of the campaign are a number of academics and students.  One academic said that is “concerning” that the conference organisers  have invited Kagame to the Säid Business School given the ongoing dispute concerning his human rights record in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide.

Mr Kagame took office in 2000, after spending six years as Vice President in the years immediately after the Rwandan genocide, before winning democratic elections for the presidency in 2003 and 2010.

Source: The Oxford Student

Link

A Conversation with Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda

25 Dec

A Conversation with Paul Kagame, President of Rwand

For the past 12 years, President Paul Kagame has ruled Rwanda with a firm hand, stabilizing a country that was torn apart by genocide only 18-years ago. Nevertheless, his opponents say his rule has come at a cost—harassment of journalists, politically motivated killings, and a crackdown on human rights defenders. Above all, Kagame has been accused of supporting a violent rebel insurgency in eastern Congo, a charge he repeatedly and vehemently denies.

Obama urges Rwandan president to stop support for M23 rebels in Congo

19 Dec

Wednesday 19 December 2012 15.22 GMT

US president tells Paul Kagame that backing rebel group in eastern Congo is ‘inconsistent with desire for stability and peace’

The US has been accused of turning a blind eye to Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s meddling in neighbouring DR Congo. Photograph: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty

Barack Obama has urged the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, to halt support for rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a move welcomed by critics of Kagame’s government.

The United States, and in particular its UN ambassador, Susan Rice, have been accused of turning a blind eye to Rwanda‘s meddling in its neighbour, partly because of residual guilt over the 1994 genocide.

But in a phone call to Kagame, Obama “underscored that any support to the rebel group M23 is inconsistent with Rwanda’s desire for stability and peace”.

The White House said the US president stressed “the importance of permanently ending all support to armed groups in the DRC, abiding by the recent commitments he made… and reaching a transparent and credible political agreement that includes an end to impunity for M23 commanders and others” who committed rights abuses.

Obama “welcomed President Kagame’s commitment to moving forward in finding a peaceful solution” in eastern Congo, it added.

A recent UN report presented detailed evidence that the Rwandan government is backing the rebels, a charge that Kagame’s government has repeatedly denied. M23 members have allegedly perpetrated rapes, recruited child soldiers and carried out summary executions in eastern Congo.

America has been criticised for a muted response. Rice, who is close to Kagame, delayed the UN report’s publication for weeks and prevented a security council resolution from explicitly naming Rwanda as a supporter of M23.

While Britain and others have suspended financial support to Rwanda, the US cut only $200,000 (£128,000) of military aid from a programme worth around $200m. Last week 15 leading campaign groups and thinktanks wrote to Obama accusing him of a failed policy and called for the president to impose sanctions.

His intervention has been hailed as potentially signalling a new, tougher approach. “It’s good news for us,” said Jean-Baptiste Ryumugabe of the Rwandan opposition Social Party Imberakuri. “We hope Paul Kagame will listen to President Obama because up to now many presidents and many organisations have asked him to stop fuelling the rebel group in eastern Congo but he refused. We have to hope he will now react positively.”

Ryumugabe called for the US to take further measures such as cutting financial aid and limiting visas for travel to the US. “They have many things they can do to stop this aggression,” he said.

Other Rwandan opposition groups said they were “greatly encouraged” by Obama’s remarks. “It is absolutely important that the United States has taken this important and crucial step in seeking to bring president Paul Kagame to account for his actions in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said a letter addressed to Obama by the Rwanda National Congress and FDU-Inkingi.

“Your voice and effort to bring Rwandan leaders of the M23 rebellion to account will be instrumental in stopping and reversing the carnage in DRC.”

But some questioned why Obama did not speak out sooner. Carina Tertsakian, senior researcher on Rwanda for Human Rights Watch, said: “They’ve lagged behind in terms of coming out strongly to denounce Rwandan support for M23. They’ve been unforthcoming.

“Obama’s words come quite late given how far the situation in eastern DRC has deteriorated in recent months, but we welcome talks at such a high level.”

In a further sign that US patience is wearing thin, the treasury department has imposed sanctions against two leaders of M23, Baudoin Ngaruye and Innocent Kaina, who are accused of using child soldiers. Ngaruye was cited for targeting children through “killing, maiming, and sexual violence”.

The move comes just weeks after a UN security council sanctions committee added the two men to its consolidated travel ban and asset-freeze list.

Tertsakian urged the US to impose sanctions on senior Rwandan officials, including the defence minister and army chief of staff, because of their links to the rebellion in Congo.

The US has launched a fresh appeal for the arrest and prosecution of Sylvestre Mudacumura, the head of Rwanda’s main Hutu rebel group, and Congo’s Bosco Ntaganda, an ex-general who spurred the ongoing mutiny in the east. Both are the subject of outstanding international criminal court warrants.

M23 seized the strategic town of Goma in eastern Congo on 20 November as Congolese troops retreated to the nearby town of Minova. An investigation by the UN has found at least two deaths and 126 cases of rape in and around Minova in the 10 days that followed. Nine Congolese army soldiers have been arrested.

Source: The Guardian

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Rwanda

10 Oct

Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:27pm GMT

By Jenny Clover

KIGALI Oct 10 (Reuters) – Donors including the United States, the Netherlands and Germany have suspended some of their financial aid to Rwanda over accusations that it is backing the rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Paul Kagame has said Western governments were “dead wrong” in blaming Rwanda for the rebellion in neighbouring eastern Congo and threatening Kigali with aid cuts.

 

Following are political risks to watch in Rwanda.

AID SUSPENSION

Last month Britain broke ranks with other donors and unblocked about half of its $25 million aid to Rwanda, welcoming Kigali’s constructive efforts to solve the conflict.

What to watch:

— Will other donors follow Britain and unfreeze aid, or will Britain’s new international development minister reverse the decision and re-suspend aid?

— How will donors react to the new UN report on the situation in eastern DRC due to be released in November, if it alleges continuing Rwandan involvement in the conflict.

— Although regional states have agreed to a 4,000-strong force to try to neutralise the M23 rebels, will the force get off the ground?

 

SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT

The UN will decide on Rwanda’s application for a revolving seat on the Security Council later this month. The decision will be a key indicator of the U.N.’s attitude towards Rwanda in the wake of its accusations over supporting M23.

What to watch:

– How much power will Rwanda be able to exert if they do get a seat on the Security Council?

POLITICAL OPPONENTS, INTERNAL RIFTS

Kagame was re-elected by a landslide in 2010 for a final term that expires in 2017. He has led his country’s recovery from the 1994 genocide, and has received praise for his efforts to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country by 2020.

But critics accuse him of being authoritarian and trampling on media and political freedoms.

A Rwandan court is due to issue a verdict soon in the trial of opposition politician Victoire Ingabire, leader of the unregistered FDU-Inkingi party. She faces charges including denying the genocide, divisionism and working with a “terrorist group”.

In mid-April Ingabire decided to boycott the trial, saying her “trust in the judiciary has waned”. She denies funding Hutu FDLR rebels based in Democratic Republic of Congo and says her detention is politically motivated.

What to watch:

– Verdict on Ingabire. This is a major test of the independence of Rwanda’s judiciary. Her British lawyer says the laws under which she is being tried were not enacted when the crimes were alleged to have been committed, or they lie outside the jurisdiction of the court.

– How will Kagame react to pressure from opposition parties and the West for political liberalisation? (Editing by James Macharia and Diana Abdallah)

Source: Reuters

Rwandan defectors tell of life on run from Paul Kagame’s assassins

8 Oct
  • JEROME STARKEY From: The Times  October 08, 2012 12:03PM

Paul Kagame has been accused of overseeing the systematic murder of thousands of Hutu refugees two years after the 1994 genocide. Source: AP

THE assassins came at night, when their target was alone, and knocked on his apartment door. They had been hunting him for weeks.

Joel Mutabazi, an Israeli-trained commando, had fled his own intelligence service after suffering 17 months of solitary confinement and torture and was about to divulge his government’s darkest secrets.

But it wasn’t Mossad who were after him. Nor was it the KGB or China. The killers, he claims, were from one of Britain’s closest African allies. Mr Mutabazi, who served for 20 years as President Paul Kagame’s bodyguard, said that the men who came to kill him were, like him, Rwandan.  “Kagame has no mercy,” he told The Times. “He is a killer. He is a dictator. He can’t stand any opposition.” The gunmen shot twice but missed, and ran off into the night.

In a series of interviews in Kampala, Uganda, where Mr Mutabazi is seeking refuge, he described the ruthless regime he left behind _ one totally at odds with a government rewarded for its “vision, drive and delivery” by the pledge of 90 million ($142m) a year in British aid.

Mr Mutabazi said that Mr Kagame personally oversaw the systematic murder of thousands of Hutu refugees two years after the 1994 genocide that left at least 800,000 people dead. His allegations echoed and amplified a 2010 UN report, which Mr Kagame denied.

Mr Mutabazi said that he escorted Paul Kagame to a secret prison run by Rwanda’s Department of Military Intelligence in the outskirts of the capital, Kigali, on at least two occasions in 1996. Twice, he said, Mr Kagame, then Minister of Defence, was called out to inspect lorries carrying containers full of dead bodies that had broken down en route to mass graves.

The US, Sweden and The Netherlands suspended their aid to Rwanda earlier this year over allegations that Kigali is helping rebels behind a slew of human rights abuses in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. But Andrew Mitchell’s last act as British development secretary was to reverse a decision following suit, claiming that Rwanda was trying to resolve the conflict.

“He sings to the West about reconciliation, but it’s a lie,” Mr Mutabazi said of Mr Kagame. “Rwanda hasn’t learnt the lessons of the genocide. It’s a volcano and it’s going to burst and it will be worse than before.”

He accused Mr Kagame of running the country on tribal lines. “All of the soldiers in his bodyguard were Tutsi. If you married a Hutu woman, you were kicked out,” he said. Innocent Kalisa, a fellow member of Mr Kagame’s bodyguard, who also fled to Uganda last year, said that a corporal and two sergeants were fired for that reason between 2006 and 2008.

In Kampala, Mr Kalisa surveyed the cafe where we were due to meet from a nearby hillside, then changed the location at the last moment, fearing assassination. The last reporter to interview Mr Mutabazi, Charles Ingabire, was shot dead leaving a bar in Kampala in November. A few months earlier, Scotland Yard warned two Rwandan exiles living in Britain that “the Rwandan government poses an imminent threat to your life”.

Mr Kalisa, who was also trained by Israeli soldiers, said that he was abducted at gunpoint and forced into an unmarked car as he left a restaurant in Kigali in May. “Their first question was, ‘You are a Tutsi, why did you join the Hutu party?”’ he said.

He was driven to a secret prison close to Kigali airport, where he was pistol-whipped by an army officer and left in a cell with his left hand cuffed to his right ankle. “I saw blood and hair smeared on the walls and they said, ‘We are going to kill you.”’

He used his free hand to unpick the handcuffs with a piece of copper wire, kicked out a window and escaped.

Both of the former bodyguards, interviewed separately, also said that the regime’s Republican Guard stuffed hundreds of ballot boxes at their barracks two days before the 2003 elections. Mr Mutabazi said that they worked without sleep for two days: “Finger in ink, finger on Kagame. Finger in ink, finger on Kagame.”

Mr Mutabazi was arrested in April 2010 over allegations that he had supported an exiled Rwandan general, and interrogated three times over 17 months at the army base in Kami. For most of that time his hands were bound behind his back, 24 hours a day, and his feet were shackled. During one interrogation he was hooded and half-suffocated, and water was poured on his head. Later he was given electric shocks. “They told me something I will never forget for the rest of my life. They said: `Your family can’t save you. There’s no Human Rights Watch, no advocates. We can do what we want.”’ He was eventually released into house arrest and fled across the border.

In a report published today, Amnesty International says that it has documented 45 similar cases. It warns that the abuse was only made possible “because perpetrators expected their actions to go unpunished”.

The Justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama, admitted that there had been a spate of illegal detentions in 2010 following grenade attacks. “They became overzealous,” he said of the security forces but added “the state would never condone torture. Not the state I serve.”

Source: The Times

Kagame attacks Belgium over Congo conflict

4 Oct

Thursday, 04 October 2012 17:31 by RNA Reporter

President Kagame during the speech in Parliament today (Photo: PPU)

 

Kigali: President Paul Kagame on Thursday made another swipe at the regional colonial master Belgium – in a major speech in parliament in which he also described the DR Congo government as “ideologically bankrupt”.

Without naming Belgium by name, President Kagame said whoever was still looking at Rwanda from the colonial period was mistaken. “Rwanda is no longer part of Rwanda-Urundi and Congo Belge,” said Kagame.

The President’s comments come following weeks of frosty relations with Rwanda’s colonial master over the current conflict in eastern DRC. Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders has found himself in Kigali’s firing line after suggesting repeatedly that Rwanda was backing Congolese M23 rebels.

During a sideline UN meeting on DRC in New York hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week, the Belgium top diplomat again came in the spotlight when President Kagame reportedly walked out as he spoke in the closed-door meeting. Rwanda’s UN mission has played down the incidence – saying the President moved out to attend to an urgent matter.

Back in Kigali, the President spent much of his 1-hour speech bashing at the west. The Head of State was swearing-in senior government officials including; Maj Gen Frank Kamanzi Mushyo was appointed the Army Chief of Staff for land forces; and Ombudsman, Aloysie Cyanzayire.

In a mixture of English and Kinyarwanda, the President criticized western nations for the latest stance on Rwanda that has seen several donor nations indicating they would free aid. “After these boundary lines were drawn by colonizers, we are now being asked why there are Rwandophones in the Congo,” said Kagame.

While outlining the aid agreements including Busan (South Korea), he said donor governments had abused the international agreements by cutting aid to Rwanda. The donors did not have the courtesy to communicate to Rwanda but relayed the messages in the media, complained Kagame.

“…injustice does not make us compliant, it makes us defiant .I’m not the one to comply to injustices caused to my people,” added the President.

He said the west and the Kinshasa government falsely blame Kigali for developing Rwanda using Congolese resources. Western companies are transporting minerals through Kigali, said Kagame adding: “Have we stopped anybody at roadblock?”

“The issue here is why do resources that continue to enrich them are not doing the same for Congolese,” said Kagame.

The President also said future Rwandan leaders should be judged on him because he has stopped at nothing to protect Rwandans against attack. “This is why you hired me,” said Kagame.

Source: Rwanda News Agency

On a sunny afternoon in Boston… Rwanda Day 2012

25 Sep

September 25th, 2012

Jennifer Fierberg

How many have to die?

(BOSTON) – At the corner of Dartmouth and St. James in Boston, Massachusetts about one hundred people gathered for two separate but related reasons.

On the one side were approximately a dozen supporters for President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and directly across the street just over one hundred people gathered to protest the arrival and hosting of His Excellency in this American city.

About a dozen supporters from inside The Westin Copley came out with signs while singing and dancing in celebration of this ongoing controversial leader. Their banners read “Rwanda Day 2012″ and “Agaciro” (which means Dignity in Kinyarwanda, the native language of Rwandans https://www.agaciro.org/) and another that had a supportive statement of Paul Kagame’s new financial plan for Rwanda.

Back on the other side of the street over 100 Rwandan’s, Congolese, Burundian and Tanzanian people also gathered. They were chanting “We are human, how ’bout you,” “Move Kagame, get out of the way!” Others chanted “Kagme, get out of the Congo” while holding banners and signs listing the crimes President Paul Kagame is accused of in the U.S. Mapping Report on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (August 2010  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/RDCProjetMapping.aspx) the Report by the U.N Group of Experts (June 2012 http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2012/348) listing in detail the crimes and evidences that Paul Kagame and his regime are currently engaged in through the M23 that is committing atrocious war crimes in Eastern Congo.

There are many other UN reports as well as the Rwanda Briefing (August 2010https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzL0v-ZpWCAIMGM1MWVkMTQtMWY0Zi00NjNmLTgxZDgtOTI3NWNkZDhmYTMy/edit?pli=1&hl=en#) that describe the ongoing human rights violations that Paul Kagame is continuing to commit in Rwanda and in the Congo.

Yet, all of these reports have found their way onto the shelves of the UN under dust. Why? Well there are various reasons. First, Paul Kagame has friends in high and low places and is able to silence almost anyone who dare judge him through his murderous hit squads.

A few examples are General Kayumba Nyamwasa who faced an assassination attempt in 2010, a case which is currently before the courts in South Africa; also, Frank Ntwali (Brother in law to General Nyamwasa) survived multiple stabbings also in South Africa in August 2012.

Outspoken Rwandan Humanitarian activists were also notified in the UK by Scotland Yard that they had credible evidence that hit squads were looking for them and could possibly kill them if they did not increase their security measures and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families (May 2011 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389075/Rwandan-dissidents-warned-hit-squad-sent-London-suspect-detained-Eurotunnel.html).

These are just a few isolated cases.

Those President Kagame has not been able to eliminate he has either imprisoned, driven into exile or sentenced in absentia to charges that Kagame’s regime has created through the ubiquitous title of the “Genocide Law” in Rwanda (http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/06/04/phillips/).

There are many more examples but for the sake of brevity let’s get back to the protest.

Of those opposed to President Kagame their emotion and passion were very clear, their goal is for the U.N to and the International Community to continue to investigate and hold Paul Kagame accountable for the crimes he has committed in Central Africa and around the world.

The previous reports on Paul Kagame have gone unnoticed until the most recent U.N Group of Experts report on what is really happening in the Eastern Congo (see the link above).

Due to this report most European countries who contributed to Rwanda’s development as well as a nominal amount from the US have either cut or suspended their foreign aid to Rwanda which, in total, amounts to tens of millions of dollars and Rwanda is feeling the heat.

President Kagame has responded by sending out his Minister of Foreign affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo on mission impossible which requires her to travel the world over and vehemently deny all of the allegations in this damming report.

With each appearance she appears more and more disgruntled and it seems as though she does not even believe what she has to say yet she follows orders as dictated to her.

Other Rwandan officials take to social media to support their President and deny all allegations by the U.N. Group of Experts, they have even gone as far to discredit those on the committee who have had years of experience in this field. Since the testimony and rebuttal report put out by the Government of Rwanda (http://allafrica.com/stories/201208020326.html) they have begun a campaign of Agaciro Development.

Human Rights

This campaign is a fundraising campaign that all Rwandan businesses and     residents are to contribute to with pride. All Rwandans are asked to sign a pledge of how much they will commit to donating each month in order to make up for monstrous gap that the withdrawal of foreign aid has left in their national budget because this aid makes up for 40% of the national budget.

Now, again, back to the sunny afternoon in Boston. Rwanda Day 2012 was a fancy fundraising maneuver in order to gain pledges from Rwandans in the diaspora.

But, did it work? Doubts have arisen due to the already inconsistent reports coming out of the event. So far the Rwandan government owned and operated publications, such as The New Times and Igihe.com, have both reported that 4,000-5,000 people were in attendance.

Yet, they seem to have forgotten that the event was live web-casted on www.Rwandaday.org and in the main hall where President Kagame addressed a crowd it was clear that there were barely 500 people in attendance. One third of the chairs were empty. When President Kagame asked for Rwandans from North America to stand up less than half the room got on their feet.

The other half of the room was clearly filled with Rwandan officials, Rwandans who were paid to be there and many who were bussed in from Maine on transportation provided by the Rwandan Government.

Although, the busses were due to hold 500 people to arrive in two separate runs from Maine, one run was Friday afternoon and the other was early Saturday morning, but on only 75 people actually arrived in Boston on those busses.

Some supporters reported even being turned away at the door because they refused to register or show their ID’s out of fear of being reported to immigration for supporting a regime they claim to be fleeing in fear for their lives and political/personal persecution into the safe haven of the US.

The Mayor of Boston was scheduled to speak but also did not show up to greet a visiting Presidential Detail from this African nation.

William Penn University Protest, photo by Jennifer Fierberg

On President Kagame’s last visit to the US at William Penn University he and the president of the University were named in a $350 Million lawsuit. That case is ongoing and is for the families and wives of the former President of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana along with the French crew members and the wife of the President of Burundi who all perished in the shooting down of the plane they were all in on the order of Paul Kagame through his RDF soldiers.

This accusation has also been vehemently denied by President Kagame and his government except for two major political opposition figures who have gone on public record and under oath, General Kayumba Nyamwasa and Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, that President Kagame confessed to ordering the assassination of President Habyarimana in order to claim power in Rwanda.

These two men were as close as brothers to Paul Kagame in the years following the end of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. This assassination has also been called an “open secret” in Rwanda. Could the Mayor of Boston have feared a similar fate of being named in a lawsuit for hosting such a controversial character?

Back on the ground outside The Westin Copley those opposing President Kagame remained vigilant in their protest which Claude Gatbuke, a 1994 Genocide survivor and human rights activist, riled the crowd with his chants and enthusiasm.

At the closing of the protest representatives from each of the organizations present gave thank you speeches and words of encouragement to keep the struggle alive for the sake of freedom in Rwanda, Congo and all of Central Africa.

Although, the question remains, how many people have to die senselessly at the hands of this dangerous regime in order for the world to take notice? Are the six million dead in Congo not enough? Are the 800,000 killed in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide not enough? What about those who spoke out or openly criticized the current ruling party in Rwanda who have never been seen or heard from again?

What about the 150 Hutu prostitutes that have been systematically murdered in Rwanda over the last two months?

Is this not enough yet? How much blood has to be on this ruling party before the world says “enough is enough” and agrees to hold President Kagame at The Hague while we investigate further?

How many have to die?

Rwandans deserve a country in which they are free to speak and free to have democracy in their own way on their own terms where every member of society has a voice.

Jennifer Fierberg is a social worker in the US working on peace and justice issues in Africa with an emphasis on the crisis in Rwanda and throughout the central region of Africa. Her articles have been published on many humanitarian sites that are also focused on changing the world through social, political and personal action.

Jennifer has extensive background working with victims of trauma and domestic violence, justice matters as well as individual and family therapy. Passionate and focused on bringing the many humanitarian issues that plague the African Continent to the awareness of the developed world in order to incite change. She is a correspondent, Assistant Editor, and Volunteer Coordinator for NGO News Africa through the volunteer project of the UN. Jennifer was also the media co-coordinator and senior funding executive for The Africa Global Village. You can write to Jennifer at jfierberg@ymail.com.

Source: indepthafrica

Conference: Examining Congo Genocide And UN Mapping Report

13 Sep

09-12-12

Rwanda’s Gen. Paul Kagame, once a U.S. darling has seen his star dim as UN reports implicating Rwanda in Congo genocide gains wide acceptance

[Congo Genocide]

The Congo DR Mapping Report Conference will be hosted in New York, on September 27, 2012.

The full title of the Mapping Report, released by the United Nation on October 1, 2010 is: “The Report of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003”.

This June, 2012, a United Nations Group of Experts released a new report further implicating Rwanda’s political and military leadership in the atrocities in Congo, prompting several countries including the U.S. to suspend aid to Rwanda.

The September 27 conference will examine the October 1, 2010 Mapping Report under the themes: “The UN Mapping Report of Oct. 1st, 2010, Balkanization, and Congo Genocide,” “Paul Kagame’s Rwanda Role and Intent to Balkanize the DRC,” and “How to End the 16 years of atrocities and misery in the Congo DR.”

Date: September 27, 2012:  10 AM – 2 PM
Place: Vanderbilt YMCA, 224 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017
REGISTRATION: RSVP required (Réservation Obligatoire); Must bring ID (Carte d’identité obligatoire)
Email: congocoalition@hotmail.com and cc to cprc2011@hotmail.com [provide your name, email address, and a phone number – Veuillez donner votre nom, adresse email, and votre numéro de téléphone].
Info, please call (Info, veuillez appeler) Tel: 718-610-9388; 347-749-9188

PRESENTERS:

Professor Peter Erlinder: An American lawyer who teaches Law in St. Paul, Minnesota.  He is a world renowned international attorney who was the Lead Defence Counsel for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda where he represented several leaders of the Rwandan opposition.

During the last Rwandan elections, he was thrown in jail by Paul Kagame when he went to Rwanda in order to represent Rwandan presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire who had been arrested herself. She has been languishing in jail and faces a life sentencing.

Mr. Mulopo Kapita:  A Special Advisor in charge of Mobilization in the Office of the National President of APARECO (Alliance des Patriotes pour la Refondation du Congo).

Professor Yaa-Lengi Ngemi:
 A Historian, a Scientist and an Author.  He is the author of “Genocide in the Congo-Zaire” and an activist and president of the Coalition for Peace, Justice, and Democracy in the Congo (CONGOCOALITION).

ADDITIONAL PANELISTS:
Mr.  Keith H. Snow:  Keith Harmon Snow is a photographer, journalist –war correspondent– and researcher who resides in Western Massachusetts, and has worked in and reported from many African and Asian countries.

Mr. Milton Allimadi:
 He is a journalist, writer, publisher and CEO of The Black Star News, who has worked for such diverse publications as The Journal of Commerce,The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, and The City Sun.

Sponsors of the Conference:
The Coalition for Peace, Justice,  and Democracy in the Congo-Zaire (CONGOCOALITION); Alliance des Patriotes pour la Refondation du Congo (APARECO); Combattants Patriotes Résistants Congolais aux USA (CPRC-USA).

“Speaking Truth To Empower.”

Source: Black Star News