Rwanda’s Twitter-Gate – the Disinformation Campaign of Africa’s Digital President


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Analysis

by Susan THOMPSON

17/03/2014

As Rwanda prepares to mark the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 genocide, it has found itself in an unprecedented diplomatic crisis. The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front has all but claimed responsibility for the murder of its former Spy Chief Patrick Karegeya in Johannesburg in January.

More recently, the South African government has accused Rwandan diplomats of a third bungled attempt on the life of the country’s former army chief Kayumba Nyamwasa.

The State Department scolded the government of President Paul Kagame for the attempt. The South African government then expelled three Rwandan diplomats, and is considering ending formal diplomatic ties with Rwanda.

Foreign journalists reporting on the attack on Nyamwasa raised the ire of President Kagame. On March 7, Radio France International journalist Sonia Rolley was subject to misogynistic harassment from the account of @RichardGoldston. American freelancer Steve Terrill came to Rolley’s defense, resulting in a series of mocking tweets from the account of Rwanda president @PaulKagame himself, not the @RichardGoldston to which Terrill (@steveinafrica) had directed his Tweets.

A week later, on March 15, Terrill was denied entry into Rwanda. The denial appears politically-motivated as Terrill broke the story that someone in the office of the Rwandan president also had access to the @RichardGoldston account.

The @RichardGoldston account trolled Twitter for any sign of criticism of Kagame or the RPF, and regularly harassed and demeaned Twitter users that criticized the government.

On March 8, the official Twitter account of the Office of the Rwandan President (@UrugwiroVillage) tweeted that the @RichardGoldston account had been deleted and the staff member responsible for the account had been “reprimanded”.

Rwanda’s Twitter-gate raises questions about the central role of RPF Twitter-trolls in calling out foreign journalists who seek to hold it to account for its excesses at home and abroad.

President Kagame’s reactionary tweets provide insight into the political reality behind his government’s carefully crafted narrative that Rwanda is a nation rehabilitated from the ruin of the 1994 genocide. Twitter-gate is also illustrative of the harassment and intimidation to which critics of the RPF regime regularly experience.

Twitter-gate is the first crack in the armor of the RPF’s longstanding disinformation campaign that has relied on Western exchange students, public relations firms, commemorative events, and a whole host of other techniques to craft an idealized and often invented version of what Rwanda was like before the onset of colonialism and what it has become since the 1994 genocide.

Since 2009, the RPF has worked with American and British PR specialists whose primary task is to drown out the voices of foreign critics and bury evidence of the RPF’s human rights abuses under rosy language about political stability, economic growth, and the stated intention of helping the poor.

In January, Rwanda launched the Kwibuka20 campaign, from inside Kagame’s office of course, for the same instrumental reason: to substitute the trope of genocide for the trope of authoritarianism in narratives about Rwanda.

The disinformation strategy is simple: ensure maximum international sympathy and donor dollars and a minimum of international inquiry into the government’s denial of liberties and human rights abuses.

The Kagame-led regime has a penchant for U.S. visits and visitors, and until recently successive U.S. administrations turned a blind eye to massive human rights violations for which the Kagame-led regime, according to the United Nations, is responsible in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Americans in particular have been taken in by the rhetoric of reconstruction, development, and reconciliation that invariably accompanies most public events in the country.

The RPF frames itself for Western audiences as the political party best able to move Rwanda towards a Western-style democracy because it has regularly held presidential and parliamentary elections.

The RPF handily won the most recent round of parliamentary elections, in September 2013, with 76% of the vote. In theory, it was contending with nine other parties. In practice, Rwanda’s nearly six million voters had little choice on the ballot. A total of 98% of the votes went to the RPF and its four coalition parties.

The continued dominance of the RPF in the electoral realm projects a semblance of political pluralism while masking the fact that all parties are expected to acquiesce to the ruling party. Two actual opposition parties have been banned and their leaders jailed.

Another pillar of Rwanda’s disinformation campaign is that the government promotes gender-equality. 64% percent of parliamentarians in Rwanda’s lower house are women, but this number masks reality. Although women are very visible in Rwanda politics, their ability to shape the future of women, ironically, is circumscribed. Rwanda’s parliament has limited influence.

Parliamentarians – be they male or female – actually have little power to legislate on behalf of their constituents. They have little room to develop policy or even to debate openly; space for free and open political expression is limited. Put differently, an assessment of political realities shows that women parliamentarians in Rwanda are mere accessories of power; they do not actually wield any of it.

Though the genocide has not repeated itself, growing socio-political and economic inequalities – notably the exclusion of youth – under an increasingly authoritarian and repressive government have meant that post-genocide Rwanda is still deeply entangled in its violent past. Rwandans deserve better from their American friends.

Rwanda’s Twitter-gate also reminds us that, on this 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, we should not allow our generally rosy perception of Rwanda as a stable and free country under the visionary leadership of President Kagame to mask long-standing political tensions, unresolved resentments, and the rise of an authoritarian regime.

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Susan M. Thomson is Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University in the United States. She is author of Whispering Truth to Power: Everyday Resistance to Reconciliation in Postgenocide Rwanda (Wisconsin University Press, 2013).

Amazon: “Whispering Truth to Power: Everyday Resistance to State Power in Postgenocide Rwanda” (Wisconsin UP, 2013)

Source: African Arguments

Related articles:

Daily Maverick

16/03/2014

How to spread Rwandan propaganda, and intimidate opponents? Twitter, of course.

Last week, a few unfortunate clicks revealed to the world that the Twitter account of Rwandan President Paul Kagame is run by the same person who spews pro-Rwanda propaganda under the handle @RichardGoldston. The faux Goldston is, of course, allowed to be a lot less guarded than Kagame himself, and a trawl through his Twitter cache offers up a few revelations – none of which are complimentary toward South Africa. No wonder SA-Rwanda relations are at an all-time low. By SIMON ALLISON

[read full article]

Kwibuka20 – Press release of March 6, 2014


The Flame reaches Gicumbi

The Flame of Remembrance  moves to  Gicumbi today , the 20th step of its national tour. The flame will return to Kigali April 7, 2014 , to mark the beginning of the period of national mourning , twenty years after the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda . You can view an interactive map of the tour here

The next step in the national tour of the Flame will be the Nyagatare District , March 11, 2014 .

The community event today will be hosted by the Mayor of the District of Gicumbi Alexander Mvuyekure , and will aim to reflect on the events of 1994 as well as on the developments made in Gicumbi and Rwanda since. The guest of honor is the Hon. Agnes Binagwaho , Minister of Health. The governor of the Northern Province , Aime Bosenibamwe , will also speak .

The Flame of Remembrance will be received from the District Rulindo by two students aged 20 years , Marie- Louise Dusabe Viateur Mbarushimana . A children’s choir will sing ” Urumuri Rutazima “ to welcome the flame.

Testimony will be given by Anastasius Kamizikunze , a 40 years old survivor of the genocide  . He will tell how he survived the genocide in Mutete and how he was able to return to school after the genocide. Innocent Nyirigira , 48 years old genocidal will talk about his role in the genocide and his new life after being released from prison. Finally, Chantal Ndatenyirigira will sing a song.

The Gicumbi District is composed of the former municipalities of Kiyombe , Mukarange Cyumba , Kibale , Bwisige , Kinyami , Rutare , Giti , Buyoga and the commune Cyungo .

The town of Byumba in Gicumbi is among the places where Tutsis were systematically killed in 1990. Some of the victims who perished there , were brought from Nyagatare and other regions of the country. The first training of the militia, in what was then called “civil defense” , began in the municipalities of Byumba where the distribution of weapons to civilians began in 1991.

When the genocide began , half of the district was under control of the Rwandan Patriotic Front but widespread massacres took place in Mutete , an area under the control of government forces (FAR) . Initially the Tutsi, who had gathered to Zoko , were able to resist the attacks of the Interahamwe , but they succumbed to the arrival of reinforcements April 15, 1994 . There were 1,789 victims of genocide Gicumbi , some of which were killed before 1994. Among the known murderer of this region was influential business man , Ntakaveve Athanasius , who killed his wife , Catherine, as to encourage others to kill.

Tour Flame Kwibuka : Program Gicumbi

Time: 14h-16h , The March 6, 2014
Location: Mutete Gicumbi District

Welcome
Interpretation of the song ” Urumuri Rutazima ” by the children’s choir at the arrival of the Flame
Speaking of the Mayor of Gicumbi Alexander Mvuyekure
Testimony of Anastasius Kamizikunze , genocide survivor .
Song Chantal Ndatenyirigira
Testimony of Innocent Nyirigira , author of Genocide
Invite participants to write on the Ribbon of Remembrance
Introduction by the Governor of the Northern Province , Aime Bosenibamwe
Address by the guest of honor , Hon. Agnes Binagwaho , Minister of Health
Final performance of ” Urumuri Rutazima ”
Information on Tour of the Flame of Remembrance

The Flame Kwibuka symbolizes remembrance, resilience and courage of all Rwandans in the past twenty years. Transported in a single lamp , it will be used to light other lamps in communities throughout Rwanda . To mark the 20th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi, all commemorative fires across the country come from this single flame Kwibuka . When it will return to Kigali April 7, 2014 , President Paul Kagame will use to light the flame of national mourning , marking the official commemoration period . The flame will also be the source of light used during the candlelight vigil to be held at Amahoro stadium on the evening of April 7, 2014 .

Learn more about the flame and its national tour here.

Photos of today’s event will be available on the Flickr page Kwibuka20 and videos here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/kwibuka20

Please send all media inquiries to media@kwibuka.rw

Source: Rwanda Embassy in Belgium

Rwanda’s Peacekeeping Operations – a Poisoned Pill That Blackmails the West


OPINION

by Theogene RUDASINGWA

30.1.2014

Rwanda’s leader uses UN peace missions to maintain the dictatorship in Kigali and to enhance his formidable global financial and criminal network that liquidates his opponents

President Paul Kagame has come to love United Nations peacekeeping operations. This is ironic since he hates the United Nations, and does not actually believe in peacekeeping. It is now an unwritten rule that the West (mostly the US and UK) will ask Rwanda to participate in UN peacekeeping missions, and Kagame will kindly oblige.

Photo: Rwandan peacekeepers serving with UNAMID escort IDPs on their return from an IDP camp to their original village in Sehjanna, near Kutum, North Darfur, July 2011. Source: un.org

What is the deal?

First, the West will not shed the blood of their sons and daughters for Africans. They need their favourites like Kagame to do the job for them. Hence, Rwanda’s troops can now be found in Darfur, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Haiti. Rwanda’s officers, some of them notorious human rights abusers, are the most favoured when it comes to leading United Nations peacekeeping missions. The unspoken thought from Washington and London seems to be ‘Africans are killing Africans, who cares even if African murderous dictators like Kagame pretend to keep an illusive peace?’

Second, Kagame needs these ‘gifts of love’ from the West. He needs something to occupy his increasingly restless Tutsi army. If they are not in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they should be somewhere else.

Third, Kagame has made a fortune out of peacekeeping. His family and clique pockets most of money that should otherwise go to the Rwandan officers and men in these UN missions. Through the Horizon Group ( controlled by Rwanda’s military and intelligence), alongside Crystal Ventures ( Kagame’s financial empire that controls most of Rwanda’s economy), he gets money directly from the UN system, and indirectly from taxpayers in the West. With vast resources, Kagame has built a global financial and criminal network to liquidate any of his opponents, be they Rwandans or heads of states of other countries.

Fourth, by having his troops in these peacekeeping missions, Kagame can always blackmail the West into silence, inaction and protection when it comes to calls for accountability for his horrendous human rights abuses. All that Kagame has to do is to threaten to withdraw Rwandan troops from UN peacekeeping missions. In 2010, when the UN Mapping Report chronicled his war crimes, crimes against humanity and even possible ‘acts of genocide’ in the DRC, Kagame threw a tantrum, and threatened to withdraw his troops from Darfur. The next day, UN Secretary General embarked on a pilgrimage to Kigali to pay homage to Kagame. The report was shelved, joining many others that tell the sad story of unaccounted crimes by Kagame and his clique before and since 1994.

Fifth, Kagame has come to believe that he is indispensable to the West, in war-prone and far-flung hot spots that are still viewed as the dark continent. Through Kagame’s deployments in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, Western military and intelligence establishments have proxy eyes and ears on the ground. Occasionally, Washington and London will timidly voice their concerns as in the M23 saga in DRC, or the assassination of Patrick Karegeya in South Africa, but the hard-nosed analysts will insist Kagame is still their man.

As in 1994, it will take another civil war, more bloodshed, regional instability and the demise of the Kigali regime for Washington and London to wake up to the new national and geopolitical realities. When that happens, Washington and London, like Paris before them, will hopefully learn that even powerful nations can be wrong, be on the wrong side of history, and knowingly help inflict damage on poor nations.

* Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa is President Paul Kagame’s former envoy to Washington and now an opposition leader in exile in the US.

 

Source: allAfrica.com

Kagame calls for end to genocide militia group


 

(Reporter’s name unknown)

31.1.2014

Photo: President Kagame (centre in glasses) in a group photo with other Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa yesterday. The New Times/ Village Urugwiro.

President Paul Kagame has called for an immediate end to the continuous impunity of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (F DLR) militia, operating in eastern DR Congo.

The President was speaking at the opening of the 22nd Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa yesterday.

His remarks followed a discussion and presentation of various reports, including the report by the Peace and Security Council.

“Despite the welcome agreement signed between the government of DRC and M23, an armed group behind the 1994 Genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, the FDLR, remains untackled, even though it is the bedrock of instability in our region. Rwanda requests this gathering to urge and follow up the end of the FDLR threat to Rwanda and the region,” the head of state said.

Kagame underscored the importance of Africa solving its peace and security issues across the continent.

“There is increasing evidence of Africa’s genuine commitment to manage our own security crises. But a lot more could be done, if together, we redoubled our efforts to confront instability; the single biggest obstacle to the prosperity we all aspire to,” he said.

President Kagame also urged all member states to keep in mind the central purpose of peacekeeping missions.

Genocide a reminder of reality

His call comes amid an ongoing conflict in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

“Whatever the stated mandate, the protection of civilians should always be at the heart of our interventions. In Rwanda, we learned the hard way that this seemingly evident principle does not always translate into corresponding behaviour on the ground. The 1994 Genocide that we commemorate this year for the 20th time is one important reminder of this reality,” Kagame said.

Rwanda has contributed peacekeepers to several countries, including Sudan, South Sudan and, more recently, Central African Republic.

Yesterday’s discussion was preceded by a hand over ceremony of the AU chairmanship from Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania.

In his handover speech, Prime Minister Hailemariam thanked all African Union members for their support and urged them to work towards a dignified Africa.

 

“Let us strive to achieve our collective vision of a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Africa.”

 

President Kagame, who is accompanied by First Lady Jeannette Kagame and Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo, later held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam.

Contact email: editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

source: The New Times

Bill Gates Has a Point


 

 

by Gitura MWAURA

30.1.2014

Photo: Multimillionaire Bill Gates (onlinegadgetstore.com)

Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of an American multinational software giant, Microsoft, has made a bold prediction in his 2014 Gates Annual Letter.

By 2035, he suggests, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. There are those who would not like to believe him, which he attributes to three myths. The first myth, he says, is the belief that poor countries are doomed to stay poor. The second myth is the notion that foreign aid is a big waste, with the third suggesting that saving lives leads to overpopulation.

Looked at closely, the second and third myths affirm the first, or feed from the first, and vice versa. “The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful,” Gates writes.

That anyone should hold the belief that “life in Africa never gets better, and it never will,” he describes it as a most pernicious version of the first myth.

To dispel the myth he looks at the available facts, pointing out that countries supposedly doomed to remain poor have not stayed poor.

“The percentage of very poor people has dropped by more than half since 1990,” he observes.

He notes that gross domestic product (GDP) which, on average describes annual income per person, has risen in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 50 years, while seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies of the past half-decade are in Africa.

While the annual income per person in a country such as Ethiopia is $800 (RwF 545,000), Botswana has a GDP of $12,000 (Rwf 8,160,000). But on average across Africa, “after plummeting during the debt crisis of the 1980s, (the GDP) has climbed by two thirds since 1998, to nearly $2,200 from just over $1,300.”

Africa, he writes, has also made big strides in health and education. Since 1960, the life span for women in sub-Saharan Africa has gone up from 41 to 57 years, despite the HIV epidemic. Without HIV it would be 61 years.

The percentage of children in school has gone from the lowly 40s to over 75 percent since 1970.

With such gains one can see why it is a myth that life in Africa never gets better, and never will.

On the second myth, that foreign aid is a big waste, Gates points out that the “aid breeds dependency” argument misses all the countries that have graduated from being aid recipients, and focuses only on the most difficult remaining cases.

He lists former major recipients that hardly receive any aid today: Botswana, Morocco, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Thailand, Mauritius, Singapore, and Malaysia.

South Korea, he observes, received enormous amounts of aid after the Korean War, and is now a net donor. China is also a net aid donor and funds a lot of science to help developing countries. India receives 0.09 percent of its GDP in aid, down from 1 percent in 1991.

These are persuasive arguments, which, with the healthy dose of optimism that he displays makes one see why he believes that there will be almost no poor countries left in the world in the next twenty years.

What about the myth that saving lives leads to overpopulation?

He enumerates the achievements then puts them in a historical perspective: A baby born in 1960 had an 18 percent chance of dying before her fifth birthday. For a child born today, the odds are less than 5 percent. In 2035, they will be 1.6 percent.

Does this imply saving lives can be a negative thing, say, overpopulation?

The irony is that saving lives doesn’t lead to overpopulation. In fact, he notes, it’s quite the opposite. Creating societies where people enjoy basic health, relative prosperity, fundamental equality, and access to contraceptives is the only way to secure a sustainable world.

Rwanda provides an apt example. Limiting reproduction started by helping women seize control of their own lives. In a span of only 5 years, from 2005 to 2010, the fertility rate decreased from 6.1 children per woman in Rwanda to 4.6 children.

Perhaps Bill Gates has a point.

The writer is a commentator on local and regional affairs.

Kagame receives US Senators, Congressmen


NEWS OF RWANDA

25.1.2014

Photo: Kigali-President Paul Kagame, on Saturday received a delegation of six US senators and Congressmen at Serena Hotel in Kigali. (News of Rwanda)

The delegation, led by Senator James Inhofe from Oklahama State, is in the country for a three-day visit.

Speaking to reporters shortly after meeting with the President, Sen. James Inhofe said that they held discussions with President Kagame on different issues but particularly the progress the country has made as well as Rwanda’s continued role in peacekeeping missions in the region.

“We have been to the countryside and the transformation of this country is incredible. You can’t see it in other countries. We commend Rwanda’s role in peace building and peace creation in the region; in South Sudan, and especially in the Central African Republic. I speak on behalf many fellow Senators; the USA doesn’t have a better friend than Kagame,” he said.

Sen. Inhofe added that he personally organized the visit mainly to introduce his fellow US representatives to Rwanda.

During the visit, the delegation met and held talks with ministers of Defence and Trade, as well as officials from the office of Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs.

Sen. Inhofe specified that his delegation appreciated a briefing given by the Minister of Defence on peace and security in the Great Lakes region in general and particularly in Central African Republic.

Among other things, the delegation also held talks with Minister of Trade on the prospects to increase trade between Rwanda and United States.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mary Baine said that among the key trade prospects to be facilitated will be promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

Rwanda is an eligible member of Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) – a programme designed to assist the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa and improve economic relations between the United States and the region.

Groupov plays Rwanda 94


Photo provided by the Embassy of Rwanda, Brussels

Brussels,

La Cantata Bisesero

The famous play Rwanda 94 will be represented this Saturday, January 25 at Bozar Museum in Brussels.

Rwanda 94, created in 2000 by the Liège Groupov, a collective of artists gathered around Delcuvellerie Jacques, is a tribute to the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsis, in Rwanda. Bisesero was the landmark of resistance, where nearly 50,000 Tutsi died twenty years ago, struggling for their lives. This epopee is an attempt of a symbolic redemption for the dead, represented by the living. BOZAR offers the first two parts of this show on the big screen, followed by a live interpretation of the last part La Cantata Bisesero. Based on testimonies of survivors collected by African Right, five actors, two singers, a string trio, a piano and a clarinet interpret the partition of Garrett List.

Times: 

15h 00: Rwanda 94

20h 30: La Cantata Bisesero

Price:

18€ (14€ if <26)

For more information: BOZAR, BELGIQUE

See Groupov, programme diffused by  50° Nord (french) : ARTE- BELGIQUE “à revoir”

Source: Embassy of Rwanda, Brussels

Preparations for Walk-to-Remember underway


 

 

by Eric Kabeera

21.1.2014

Thousands of youth from 15 countries around the world will participate in the forth coming 20th anniversary of the  Genocide Walk-to-Remember over a million innocent people who perished.

Marc Gwamaka, the director of Peace and Love Proclaimers (PLP) that is spearheading the event alongside other organisations like Never again Rwanda  and Generation for change, said they expect thousands to participate.

Initiated in 2009 by members of Peace and Love Proclaimers (PLP), Walk-to-Remember is an annual event designed to empower the Rwandan youth in the country and around the world to fight against Genocide.

“The preparations are done and we are now informing people to participate in the walk,” Gwamaka told The New Times yesterday.

He said they are currently moving in schools within East Africa sensitising and holding debates about the genocide as part of this year’s Walk to Remember.

The Walk is part  of the preparatory activities ahead of the April 7 commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

The Remembrance Flame already on a tour around different districts in the country is also one of the activities .
Gwamaka said they also intend to send proposals to all Rwandan embassies and consulates to get involved in organising the event.

Last year, about 60,000 youth participated in the Walk-to-Remember in various countries.

Countries that will take part include Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Rwanda, china, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Netherlands.

Contact: eric.kabeera@newtimes.co.rw

Source: The New Times

———————————————————————————–

Are you interested in participating in this initiative?

Contact: info@walk2remember.org

Official Walk2Remember Hompage

Walk to Remember International’s Facebook Page

Kagabo, the butcher of Ntongwe


 

 

By Jean Pierre BUCYENSENGE

21.1.2014

CHARLES KAGABO.

That is the name that still sends the chills down many a people’s spine in the present day Ruhango District, formerly Ntongwe commune.

Photo: Hundreds of residents defied scorching sun to welcome Kwibuka Flame in Kinazi, Ruhango District, on Saturday. Sorce: The New Times/ JP Bucyensenge

For each chill the name gives the people, the opposite reaction is the longing for the day Kagabo, a former bourgoumestre (mayor), would be brought to justice. He remains at large, 20 years later.

Kagabo, who is believed to have been the leader of militiamen that executed thousands in his mayoral jurisdiction as well as surrounding districts, especially in the then Mugina commune, is described as merciless, cold, calculative and vicious in his plots to exterminate Tutsis.

Survivors in both Kamonyi and the neighbouring Ruhango District accuse Kagabo and Burundian refugees in the area at the time of being at the forefront of the killings there.

Kagabo is said to have come up with “an elaborate plan to kill Tutsis and executed it with utmost care and in minute detail.”

The Burundians in question were those who were sheltered at the Nyagahama refugee camp, in the then Ntongwe commune.

“They [the Burundians] were stationed there in preparation of the killings which they would eventually commit,” says Samuel Dusabiyumva, a survivor and the head of the committee organising the burial of some 60,000 area Genocide victims.

“It was a plan to have them near places considered strategic and where it was believed Tutsis could hide.”

Nyagahama is also the place where the Burundians were picked from, paid, offered free transport and promised other rewards by then local leaders to kill Tutsis who had gathered in the then Mugina commune.

“He was tactical in his methods. He first targeted rich Tutsis and intellectuals. He emphasised both quality and quantity [in his killings] methods,Dusabiyumva says of Kagabo.

Other survivors described Kagabo as “a mischievous leader who used his skills to exterminate Tutsis.”

“He was like a chameleon,” Dusabiyumva says. “He knew how to approach militiamen to mobilise them to kill and he had the charms to approach some Tutsis to know where they were planning to hide or escape through so he could send his killers after them.”

Critical role:

Sources say Kagabo was a medical worker and that he was sent to lead Ntongwe commune in the build up to the Genocide.

“May be the appointing authority knew him as someone who would successfully execute their genocidal plan,” Dusabiyumva says.

The Burundians enlisted by Kagabo joined hands with militia groups, gendarmes and soldiers to exterminate Tutsis, according to testimonies.

“If Kagabo was not the leader of the commune, the killings would never have been at the scale we saw. I bet so many Tutsis could have survived,” says Dusabiyumva.

Survivors believe Kagabo is alive and at large, probably in DR Congo.

It is estimated that more than 60,000 Tutsis perished in the former Ntongwe sector. The victims are set to be given a decent burial at a new memorial site being built in the area.

Testimonies indicate that the Burundians had been trained and offered military equipment in the build up to the Genocide. They used traditional weapons, grenades and rifles to execute Tutsis, survivors said.

“What they did was unimaginable. They killed Tutsis in the most horrific of ways. What saddens us the most is that they are still free, going about their lives in their country. The government should do everything possible to bring them to book,” Marie Claire Niyomujeje, a survivor, says.

Jean de Dieu Mucyo, the executive secretary for the National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide, said efforts to track the Burundians and other foreigners accused of playing a role in the Genocide has been ongoing.

“I am confident that time will come when they will face justice,” he said.

Contact: jp.bucyensenge@newtimes.co.rw

 

Source: The New Times

French TV to be sued over Genocide sketch


 

 

by Eugène KWIBUKA

21.1.2014

Some of the protestors outside Canal+ Group headquarters in Paris last week. The New Times/ Courtesy.

Anti-Genocide activists in France are considering suing French TV Canal+ over its broadcast of a sketch seen as ridiculing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The revelation comes days after protesters from the Rwandan community in France and their friends took to the streets in the capital Paris on Saturday to deliver a message of their disapproval with Canal+.

The march was the latest in a series of activities to protest against the television’s broadcast.

It was first held at the office of the “Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel” (CSA), which regulates television content in the country, before the protesters marched to the office of Canal+ Group.

As part of its flagship comedy show codenamed DBQT, the television allowed a December 20, 2013 show that dug into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in a manner that viewers who are conversant with the killings have called “unacceptable and intolerable.”

The Saturday protests were organised after activists against Canal+ comedy on the Genocide were not satisfied with the group’s response that it did not mean to undermine the memory of the victims.

More than 22,000 people have signed an online citizen petition that seeks an apology from Canal+, a private French pay TV channel, for the comedy sketch.

Canal+ executives said their comedians had wanted to criticise how little some people in France and the Western world know or care about what happens in other countries, using the Genocide in Rwanda as an example.

But the sketch irked many around the world, especially Rwandans, both at home and in the Diaspora.

Legal action due

Richard Gisagara, a French-Rwandan lawyer living in France, who is involved with the protests, says the activists still believe the comedy was “abject” and will now sue the television to seek both retraction and damages.

“A case will probably be brought up against Canal+ by the end of the month. This will be done in the name of a person seeking justice for the victims and survivors and not in the name of an association,” he said.

The lawyer said the civil case will come after the announcement of the position of the CSA on the comedy sketch, which is supposed to be communicated soon, according to the association of Rwandans in France.

“Someone will be proving in court that their dignity or that of their parents or children was undermined by the comedy sketch,” he said.

The manager of CSA, Marc El Nouchi, told a delegation representing the protestors on Saturday that his organisation will make a statement about what it makes of the comedy sketch before the end of the month.

Gisagara said the body’s response will not stop his clients from suing Canal+ unless the latter makes a public apology and retract what activists see as undermining the memory of the Genocide.

The online petition that demands Canal + to officially apologise insists that “genocide is not a laughing matter.”

The activists say “disregard for the victims of a Genocide that claimed over a million lives in 100 days in 1994 will not be tolerated.”

Contact: eugene.kwibuka@newtimes.co.rw

 

Source: The New Times