Tagged: paul kagame

Britain’s Bashir-Esque Dilemma – What to Do With the Arrested Rwandan Spy Chief?


(Photo by Daily Maverick)

2015-06-30 15_36_41-Home _ Daily Maverick

By Simon Allison 

He might not be a president, but Rwandan spy chief Karenzi Karake is still a very big fish. His arrest in London, on a Spanish warrant, could precipitate another crisis for international justice. A word of gratuitous advice for the British authorities: This one’s delicate!  Handle with care. 

Another day, another crisis for international justice.

First it was the arrival of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on South African soil, and South Africa’s ensuing failure to arrest him – defying both the International Criminal Court and South Africa’s own judiciary in the process.

Then it was the arrest in Germany of Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour, detained at the airport in Berlin at the request of the Egyptian government. Egypt had convicted Mansour in absentia for allegedly torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011, and sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment. On Sunday, Mansour was released without charge, with the Germans citing diplomatic, legal and political concerns that could not be ignored (presumably, these have something to do with the Egyptian military regime’s notorious lack of respect for the judicial process, especially when it comes to journalists).

Finally, news broke on Tuesday that Rwandan spy chief Lieutenant-General Emmanual Karenzi Karake, head of the notorious National Intelligence and Security Services, had beenarrested in the United Kingdom while trying to depart from Heathrow. Karake is one of 40 Rwandans indicted by a Spanish judge in 2008 for allegedly ordering revenge massacres in the wake of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. If the process gets that far, it will be to Spain that Karake is extradited.

The three cases represent three very different facets of international justice. Bashir’s is an example of the top-down approach, where an international body investigates and prosecutes international crimes; Mansour’s is an example of the national approach, where bilateral agreements and coordinating bodies like Interpol help countries enforce their national laws in other jurisdictions; and Karake’s is an example of universal jurisdiction in action.

“The term ‘universal jurisdiction’ refers to the idea that a national court may prosecute individuals for any serious crime against international law — such as crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, and torture — based on the principle that such crimes harm the international community or international order itself, which individual States may act to protect,” explains the International Justice Resource Centre.

The majority of states (163 of the 193 UN member states, according to Amnesty International) provide for some kind of universal jurisdiction, but few exercise it. Spain is a notable exception. Spain has actively prosecuted international crimes committed in faraway jurisdictions such as Argentina, El Salvador and Guatemala – and, of course, Rwanda.

Karake’s arrest is a major test of universal jurisdiction in action, and there are enough allegations surrounding him to suggest that he should have his day in court. As well as the charges relating to the post-Rwandan genocide massacres, Karake is implicated in the killing of hundreds of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo during fighting between Rwandan and Ugandan forces.

(Coincidentally, given the current comparisons with Bashir, Karake was appointed in 2007 to head the African Union/United Nations hybrid mission in Darfur, with strong backing from the US and UK. Bashir, of course, is wanted by the ICC on charges of committing genocide in Darfur).

Although the legal case for Britain to extradite Karake to Spain is solid, there are political considerations that might get in the way.

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Karenzi Karake in London, on Rwanda Day. (Photo byJambo News)

The most significant is the close relationship between Britain and the Rwandan government. Rwanda is a major destination for British aid, and President Paul Kagame is advised by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Already, Rwanda is putting on heavy diplomatic pressure to secure Karake’s release, with its ambassador the UK describing the arrest as “an insult”. But the British government won’t be able to ignore its courts in the South African manner. Should Karake’s arrest warrant be in order, and all procedures properly followed, it’s going to be difficult to prevent his extradition.

Which begs the question: why was Karake detained in the first place? According to media reports, Karake has made several trips to Britain since 2008, and he has been permitted to leave each time. This implies either that something has changed – most likely, that the furore around Bashir’s non-arrest forced Britain’s hand – or that some border official was a little over-zealous in the execution of his duties, and now it’s too late for anyone to turn a blind eye.

Another factor that the politicians will be considering is the ramifications that extraditing Karake will have on the already strained relations between the African continent and international justice. It will be a public relations coup for African leaders looking for further justification that they are being unfairly targeted by the West. While there are sound reasons for the German court to have released Mansour, and for a British court to extradite Karake, these decisions could just as easily be portrayed as western judiciaries choosing to enforce western arrest warrants (in the case of Spain and Karake) while refusing to enforce African justice (in the case of Egypt and Mansour).

Britain, in other words, is in an extremely delicate position. If it does go ahead with extradition proceedings, and eventually extradite Karake to Spain, it risks angering an important ally and alienating a continent – while giving self-interested leaders more fuel for their claims of western bias in international justice. If it doesn’t, it will have to defy its own rule of law, potentially dealing a crippling blow to the concept of universal jurisdiction in the process. It’s a legal and political minefield, complicated by a diplomatic storm that shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. No one ever said international justice was easy.

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Happy Liberation Day, after all…


girl holding flag

Photo: Rwandan girl holding US & Rwandan flag. Source: anotherwilhem.blogspot.com

This Friday, on the 04th of July 2014 Rwanda and Rwandans all over the world will celebrate 20 years of peace and growing prosperity. Twenty years ago, back in 1994, that date marked the end of the Rwandan Genocide and gave birth to a new government that kind of rose from the ashes.

How “libre” are we?

Rwanda has (hopefully had) a very turbulent and tragic history. The country’s journey has been long, pain- and eventful. The first three decades of Rwanda’s independence were characterized by unfortunate upheavals perpetuated by ideologically bankrupt politics. This culminated into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in which over one million people were annihilated in just a 100 days. During the dark three months of the Genocide, Rwanda died and descended into an almost failed state.

The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the current leading political party, led by President Paul Kagame ended the  genocide by defeating the civilian and military authorities responsible for the killing campaign. As RPF troops advanced south down the eastern side of the country and then swept west, they encountered little opposition from government forces, except around Kigali. They drove military, militia, and other assailants from the region and so made it possible for Tutsi to return from the swamps and bush and to emerge from their hiding places. The RPF soldiers saved tens of thousands from annihilation. They even stopped the killers in the act of attacking or preparing to attack Tutsi at several churches or camps and relentlessly pursued those whom they thought guilty of genocide. In their drive for military victory and a halt to the genocide, the RPF killed thousands, including noncombatants as well as government troops and members of militia.

As RPF soldiers sought to establish their control over the local population, they also killed civilians in numerous summary executions and in massacres. They may have slaughtered tens of thousands during the four months of combat from April to July. The killings diminished in August and were markedly reduced after mid-September when the international community exerted pressure for an end to the carnage. Carried out by soldiers who were part of a highly disciplined military organization, these killings by the RPF rarely involved civilian participation, except to identify the persons to be slain. In only a few cases, particularly in areas near the border with Burundi, civilian assailants reportedly joined soldiers in attacking other civilians.

During the months when the RPF was just establishing its control, it is quite certain that the kinds of abuses that occurred must have been directed by officers at a high level of responsibility, but most reports of the genocide focused on the genocide itself and the crimes committed by the RPF are very poorly documented.

The first convincing evidence of wide-spread, systematic killings by the RPF was gathered by a UNHCR team dispatched for another purpose. When the team and the head of the UNHCR attempted responsibly to bring the information to the attention of the international community, the U.N. decided to suppress it, not just in the interests of the recently established Rwandan government but also to avoid further discredit to itself. The U.S., and perhaps other member states, concurred in this decision, largely to avoid weakening the new Rwandan government…

Between 1994 and 2003, Rwanda was governed by a set of documents combining President Habyarimana’s 1991 constitution, the Arusha Accords, and some additional protocols introduced by the transitional government. As required by the accords, Kagame set up a constitutional commission to draft a new permanent constitution. The constitution was required to adhere to a set of fundamental principles including equitable power sharing and democracy. The commission sought to ensure that the draft constitution was “home-grown”, relevant to Rwanda’s specific needs, and reflected the views of the entire population. They sent questionnaires to civil groups across the country and rejected offers of help from the international community, except for financial assistance.

The draft constitution was released in 2003. It was approved by the parliament, and was then put to a referendum in May of that year. The referendum was widely promoted by the government; ultimately, 95% of eligible adults registered to vote and the turnout on voting day was 87%. The constitution was overwhelmingly accepted, with 93% voting in favor.

The constitution provided for a two-house parliament, an elected president serving seven-year terms, and multi-party politics.

The constitution also sought to prevent Hutu or Tutsi hegemony over political power.

Article 54 states that:

“political organizations are prohibited from basing themselves on race, ethnic group, tribe, clan, region, sex, religion or any other division which may give rise to discrimination”.

According to Human Rights Watch, this clause, along with later laws enacted by the parliament, effectively make Rwanda a , as “under the guise of preventing another genocide, the government displays a marked intolerance of the most basic forms of dissent”.

 What does peace and development look like in Rwanda?

children-in-independance-day

Photo: Children at the Liberation Day 2012. Source: rwanda-in-liberation.blogvie.com

Rwanda’s economy has grown rapidly under Kagame’s presidency, with per-capita gross domestic product estimated at $1,592 in 2013, compared with $567 in 2000. Annual growth between 2004 and 2010 averaged 8% per year. Kagame’s economic policy is based on liberalizing  the economy, privatizing state owned industries, reducing red tape for businesses and transforming the country from an agricultural to a knowledge-based economy. Kagame vision for 2020 is to emulate the economic development of Singapore since the 60’s and achieve a middle income country status.

The Vision 2020 program consists of a list of goals which the government aims to achieve before the year 2020.These are:

  • Goof governance 
  • An efficient state
  • Skilled human capital, including education, health and information technology 
  • A vibrant private sector
  • A world-class physical infrastructure
  • Modern agriculture and livestock

Rwanda is a country of few natural resources,and the economy is heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture, with an estimated 90% of the working population engaged in farming. Under Kagame’s presidency, however, the service sector  has grown strongly. In 2010, it became the country’s largest sector by economic output, contributing 43.6% of the country’s GDP. Key tertiary contributors include banking and finance, wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, transport, storage, communication, insurance, real estate, business services, and public administration, including education and health. Information and communication technology (ICT) is a Vision 2020 priority, with a goal of transforming Rwanda into an ICT hub for Africa. To this end, the government has completed a 2,300 kilometers (1,400 mi) fiber-optic telecommunications network, intended to provide broadband services and facilitate electronic commerce.

Tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic resources and became the country’s leading foreign exchange earner in 2011. In spite of the genocide’s legacy, Kagame’s achievement of peace and security means the country is increasingly perceived internationally as a safe destination the first half of 2011, 16% of foreign visitors arrived from outside Africa. The country’s mountain gorillas  attract thousands of visitors per year, who are prepared to pay high prices for permits (500$ for non-Rwandan!).

Rwanda ranks highly in several categories of the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.

The Rwanda Development Board asserts that a business can be authorized and registered in 24 hours. The country’s overall ease of doing business index ranking is fifty-second out of 185 countries worldwide, and third out of 46 in Sub-Saharan Africa. The business environment and economy also benefit from relatively low corruption in the country. In 2010,Transparency International ranked Rwanda as the eighth cleanest out of 47 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and sixty-sixth cleanest out of 178 in the world.  

Health & education indicators dramatically improved

Kagame’s government has made education a high priority for his administration, allocating 17% of the annual budget to the sector. The Rwandan government provides free education in state-run schools for twelve years: Six years in primary and six in secondary school. The final three years of free education were introduced in 2012 following a pledge by Kagame during his 2010 re-election campaign. Kagame credits his government with improvements in the tertiary education sector. The number of universities has risen from 1 in 1994 to 29 in 2010, and the tertiary gross enrolment ratio increased from 4% in 2008 to 7% in 2011.

From 1994 until 2009, secondary education was offered in either French or English. Since 2009, due to the country’s increasing ties with the East African Community and the Commonwealth of Nations, English has been the sole language of instruction in public schools from primary school grade 4 onward. The country’s literacy rate, defined as those aged 15 or over who can read and write, was 71% in 2009, up from 38% in 1978 and 58% in 1991. Rwanda’s health profile is dominated by communicable diseases,including malaria, pneumonia and HIV/AIDS.

Prevalence and mortality rates have sharply declined in the past decade but the short supply or unavailability of certain medicines continues to challenge disease management. Kagame’s government is seeking to improve this situation as one of the Vision 2020 priorities by increasing funding and setting up more training institutes such as the Kigali Health Institute (KHI), and in 2008 effected laws making health insurance mandatory for all individuals by 2010, over 90% of the population was covered.

These policies have contributed to a steady increase in quality of healthcare and improvement in key indicators during Kagame’s presidency. In 2010, 91 children died before their fifth birthday for every 1000 live births, down from 163 under five deaths for every 1000 live births in 1990. Prevalence of some diseases is declining, including the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus and a sharp reduction in malaria morbidity, mortality rate and specific lethality. In response to shortages in qualified medical personnel, in 2011 the Rwandan government launched an eight-year US$151.8 million initiative to train medical professionals.

So we’re all good, now?  

The results of the iron management methods of Kagame’s government have surely not gone unnoticed. His economic policy has been praised by many foreign donors and investors, including Bill Clinton (Clinton  referred to Kagame as “one of the greatest leaders of our time”) * and Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz.  However, the DRC government and human rights groups have accused Rwanda of illegally exploiting Congolese minerals,which the London Daily Telegraph describes as an “important part” in the success of Rwanda’s economy Read: London Daily Telegraph article: “Paul Kagame: Rwanda’s redeemer or ruthless dictator”.

In 2010 Kagame’s relations with the US and UK came a under strain, following allegations that Rwanda is supporting the M23 rebel movement in Eastern Congo. The UK suspended its budgetary aid program in 2012, freezing a £21 million donation. The US has also frozen some of its military aid program for Rwanda, although it stopped short of suspending aid altogether.

Today, it’s hard to imagine where Rwanda will be on its 40th 4th of July Independence day but if I were to bet on it, it will be nothing like how we used to know it.

About Bill & Paul…
*As the killing intensified in April 1994, the international community deserted Rwanda.  Western nations landed troops in Rwanda or Burundi in the first week to evacuate their citizens, did so, and left.  The UN mission (UNAMIR), created in October 1993 to keep the peace and assist the governmental transition in Rwanda, sought to intervene between the killers and civilians.  It also tried to mediate between the RPF and the Rwandan army after the RPF struck from Rwanda to protect Tutsi and rescue their battalion encamped in Kigali as part of the Accord.  On April 21, 1994, the United Nations Security Council, at the behest of the United States—which had no troops in Rwanda—Belgium, and others, voted to withdraw all but a remnant of UNAMIR.  The Security Council took this vote and others concerning Rwanda even as the representative of the genocidal regime sat among them as a non-permanent member.  After human rights, media, and diplomatic reports of the carnage mounted, the UN met and debated and finally arrived at a compromise response on May 16.  UNAMIR II, as it was to be known, would be a more robust force of 5,500 troops.  Again, however, the world failed to deliver, as the full complement of troops and materiel would not arrive in Rwanda until months after the genocide ended.  Faced with the UN’s delay, but also concerned about its image as a former patron and arms supplier of the Habyarimana regime, France announced on June 15 that it would intervene to stop the killing.  In a June 22 vote, the UN Security Council gave its blessing to this intervention; that same day, French troops entered Rwanda from Zaire.  While intending a wider intervention, confronted with the RPF’s rapid advance across Rwanda, the French set up a “humanitarian zone” in the southwest corner of Rwanda.  Their intervention succeeded in saving tens of thousands of Tutsi lives; it also facilitated the safe exit of many of the genocide’s plotters, who were allies of the French. [Read: “The U.S. and The Genocide – Evidence of Inaction]
Sources:
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Kagame
http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/rwanda/Geno15-8-03.htm
http://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/index.php?a=68456&i=15412
http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/happy-liberation-day-rwanda/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB53/

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

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.

*** VOTE: ELECTIONS 2013***


*** As a reminder, the election of deputies will be held on Monday 16/09/2013 in Rwanda. ***

To allow as many people to vote, elections will be held on Sunday 15/09/2013 from 7AM to 7PM, at the Embassy of Rwanda in Brussels for all Rwandans resident in Belgium and Luxembourg.

To get more information click here: Embassy of Rwanda (Brussels)

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

THE NEW TIMES

Rwanda Polls to Boost Ruling Party

14/09/2013

Kigali — Rwandans vote Monday in parliamentary elections set to bolster the ruling party and highlight the stability of a country wracked by genocide nearly 20 years ago.

With Rwanda’s economy one of the continent’s fastest growing, the government is keen to show off the elections as a badge of its democratic credentials, despite fierce criticism dismissing the polls as a sham.

In stark contrast to election campaigns in many other African nations, the race for 80 seats by 410 candidates has so far generated little if any excitement in the capital Kigali.

Only a few posters — mainly for the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) of President Paul Kagame, who has held power with an iron fist since 1994 — suggest the vote is coming.

Experts say there will be little if any real political challenge to Kagame’s ruling RPF, which heads a coalition of smaller parties.

“There won’t be any surprises,” said Andre Guichaoua, an expert on Rwanda at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Some six million people are eligible to vote, with direct voting Monday for 53 seats, followed by a further 24 seats reserved for women to be chosen Tuesday by women’s groups and local councils, and then on Wednesday, representatives of the youth and the disabled will be named.

The last elections in 2008 brought in the only parliament in the world where women held a majority, with 56.3 percent of seats.

Rwanda has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past two decades, with powerful economic growth and the strangling of corruption credited to the strong rule of Kagame.

The World Bank’s ease of doing business index for 2013 ranked Rwanda 52nd out of 185 countries, and third best in sub-Saharan Africa — after Mauritius and South Africa.

The small nation was left in ruins by the brutal genocide of 1994, in which 800,000 people, mostly from the ethnic Tutsi minority, were butchered by Hutu extremists.

But critics say the economic growth and security have come at the expense of freedom of expression.

Alongside Kagame’s coalition are the Liberal Party, Social Democratic Party and the PS-Imberakuri party, but even though they are outside the RPF-led group, they too have backed the party of the president.

The Liberals and Social Democrats both backed the overwhelming election of Kagame in 2003, and while they put forward candidates for the next polls five years later, that did not stop Kagame from an overwhelming win again with 93 percent of votes.

Meanwhile PS-Imberakuri, whose former leader was jailed in 2010 for crimes against state security and “sectarianism”, is now believed to have been effectively taken over by supporters of the ruling party.

These three parties are “satellites circulating around the party in power without challenging its hegemony,” said Kris Berwouts, an independent analyst specialising in Central Africa.

Registered political parties “do not play the role of a political opposition”, Human Rights Watch said in a recent report, arguing that they do not oppose the RPF but rather “actively support” it, criticising the “harassment” and “obstacles” against those who do challenge it.

Rwanda’s Green Party won official recognition last month but chose not to field candidates as it said it did not have time to prepare.

Another large opposition group, the Unified Democratic Forces, is not recognised. It was set up in exile and led by Victoire Ingabire, who is currently appealing an April conviction for conspiracy and minimising the extent of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The group has said the elections have “no legitimacy”.

Kagame’s RPF and its allies held 42 of the 53 directly elected seats in parliament’s lower house.

Voting opens Monday at nearly 15,500 polling stations at 0500 GMT.

President Kagame Opens 2013-2014 Judicial Year


Government of Rwanda (Kigali)

06/09/13

Focus : Genocide Ideology, Human Trafficking, Corruption

Kigali — Today, President Paul Kagame launched of judicial year 2013/2014 in Parliament calling on the judiciary to work on cases related to genocide ideology, human trafficking, corruption and other crimes that affect the well being of Rwandans.

Speaking at the launch, President Kagame thanked members of the judiciary for all that they achieved during previous judicial year but reminded them to stay focused because a lot remained to be done.

“We all know that justice is an essential part of any country’s development journey. When a country upholds the rule of law, it gives the people the confidence that they are all equal before the law and that they are all equally protected.”

President Kagame also highlighted the need for all countries to have a stable and dedicated judiciary sector.

“Every nation, rich or poor has to respect laws, no country should claim to have monopoly over the understanding of principles of justice.”

The launch was characterised by highlights from the Bar Association, the Prosecutor’s Office as well as the Chief Justice who discussed justice sector achievements over the last year.

President of Rwanda Bar Association, Athanase Rutabingwa spoke on the capacity building initiatives that lawyers have benefitted from in the last year highlighting that the Bar now has 734 lawyers of which 34% are women. He also announced that the Rwanda Bar Association was elected to chair the International Bar Association.

Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga also explained that countries have shifted from universal jurisdiction prosecution process to extradition process allowing for the extradition of genocide fugitives. “A total of 46 international arrest warrants were sent to various countries with two high profile fugitives sent back to Rwanda for trial.”

Speaking on the inaction of some countries to prosecute genocide fugitives, Mr. Ngoga said,

“Genocide cases are too serious to be solved through just one symbolic trial.”

Mr. Ngoga also announced that Rwanda now provides criminal record certificates within a day, both for national and international requests.

Chief Justice Sam Rugege presented some of the accomplishments of the sector last year saying that 28 new courts were built and 28 others rehabilitated and extended which has helped the judges to work in a more conducive environment as well as improve service delivery.

On service delivery, he said that the Supreme Court introduced the use of electronic -filing system, which was installed in courts across the country.

“For the year 2012-2013, the trend shows an increase in judgments issued by judges across all level of courts. On average, every judge issued 23 judgments per month, higher than the 15 judgments per judge target set at the beginning of the year,” said Rugege.

President Paul Kagame paving the way for parliamentary elections


GOVERNMENT OF RWANDA

(Kigali)

14. August

PRESS RELEASE

President Kagame with Chief Justice Sam Rugege, Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, Amb. Eugène-Richard Gasana, Senate President Jean-Damascène Ntawukuliryayo, Speaker of chamber of Deputies Rose Mukantabana and Deputy Chief Justice Sylvie Zainab Kayitesi – Kigali, 23 November 2012

Photo: 24 Tanzania Reporter

Kigali — As provided for by the constitution, President Paul Kagame, today, dissolved the Chamber of Deputies paving the way for parliamentary elections on September 16.

The ceremony began with Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Rose Mukantabana, presenting some of achievements of Parliament since its mandate began on October 6, 2008. The Chamber of Deputies reviewed 300 laws related to the economy, governance and justice.

“Most especially we are proud to say that lawmakers worked on Rwanda’s business legislation which has helped Rwandan businesses as well as giving Rwanda an international reputation for ease of business. We encourage all business owners to use these laws in their transactions and provide quality service to Rwandans,” Mukantabana said.

She also pointed out that Rwanda continues to lead with women in leadership pointing out that 56% of MPs are women.

“We want to thank His Excellency President Paul Kagame for collaborating with us, and for his support.”

President Kagame, in his remarks, thanked all MPs for their dedicated service to Rwandans and for working hard to pass legislation that benefits citizens and is in line with Rwanda’s development goals. “Thank you for fighting all forms of discrimination and keeping government accountable to its commitments,” said President Kagame.

President Kagame encouraged incoming MPs to put more effort in regional integration and cooperation without forgetting to work in the interest of Rwandans.

“I wish all outgoing MPs well in their various responsibilities of nation building they might have after this. I trust you will continue to work in the interest of all Rwandans,” said President Kagame.

In conclusion, he encouraged all those of voting age to do so on September 16. “Go out and vote.”

According to Article 76 of the Constitution, the President is mandated to dissolve Parliament 30 days before the expiry of its current term.

Yesterday, the National Electoral Commission released the list of 438 candidates who will compete for 80 Lower Chamber seats.

Fifty three party seats will be elected by Rwandans on September 16. It is estimated that 6 million Rwandans are of voting age.

Twenty four women’s only seats will be elected by representatives of all administrative councils from Province to Cell level; a group of 130,000 people.

There are also two seats reserved for youth and one seat reserved for persons with disabilities.

Umuganda Foundation of Development, Says Kagame


THE NEW TIMES

by Frank KANYESIGYE, 30 JUNE 2013

Photo: En Root Rwanda

President Paul Kagame has called upon Rwandans to continue participating in the monthly community work locally known as ‘Umuganda’ because it is one of the important drivers of the country’s development.

The Head of State made the remarks yesterday while addressing hundreds of residents of Nyarugunga Sector in Kicukiro District where he participated in community work.

Accompanied by other government officials, the President joined residents in the construction of a 2.5 kilometre road that connects to the village of ex-combatants in Nyarugunga Sector with the main Kigali-Kanombe road.

“Development is our priority and it will be achieved through self-reliance,” Kagame said, encouraging the people to carry on community work while they applauded in approval of his call.

Highlighting that development comes from positive thinking, the Head of State pointed out that the support towards the construction of Nyarugunga Primary School in Kanombe Sector resulted from the community work.

“One of the benefits of Umuganda was the construction of the school because the person who supported us to build the school came up with the initiative during community work. If we were not participating in Umuganda, we wouldn’t have got that support,” he explained.

He was referring to Ugandan President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who pledged US$300,000 (about Rwf193 million) towards construction works at Nyarugunga Primary School in Kanombe Sector. Museveni made the pledge at a community work to build classrooms in the area while he was on a State visit to Rwanda in July 2011.

“We Rwandans know our challenges and have the will to address them within our means. What we need is to put everything into practice, and nothing will stop us from realising our goals,” the President noted.

He said that in community work every Rwandan expresses their wish to develop their country and move forward for a better life.

Kagame explained that Umuganda should be a culture and nobody should remind anyone to participate in the activity since everyone is supposed to know its benefits.

“This is the support every Rwandan should give to their country because the benefits are immense and are for all Rwandans,” he said.

According to Paul Jules Ndamage, the Mayor of Kicukiro District, the work done towards the construction of the road during Umuganda is valued at about Rwf 5 million.

“We thank the Head of State for his continuous support during community work. His participation gives us courage and motivation to build our country,” the mayor said.

The road will help ex-combatants who live with disabilities to access both the main road and the Rwanda Military Hospital with ease, Ndamage said.

Theoneste Ndagijimana, one of the residents, appreciated that President Kagame took time off to join them at Umuganda.

“He is a great leader who works together with people to build the nation. I couldn’t believe seeing our president digging trenches. It was very exciting,” he said.

Related article:

President Kagame Rallies Kicukiro Residents On Development

President Paul Kagame has hailed residents of Kicukiro for participating in various government developmental programs, urging them to maintain the momentum through hard work and cooperation.

Kagame made the call on Saturday while addressing thousands of the residents at Groupe Scolaire Camp Kanombe in Kamashashi cell in Nyarugunga where he participated in the end of the month community work.

President Kagame noted that any development in a country is based on the better mindset of its population and urged the residents after the community that they should always have a strong vision to further develop their district and the country as a whole.

“Every Rwandan should have the goal of contributing towards our national development but I also urge you as Rwandans to know that you should not wait for foreign support to develop the country but to rather use the available home grown solutions” President Kagame said. [read more…]

 

 

 

Source: allAfrica.com

Africa must build and maintain its infrastructure


 – Sunday 12 May 2013.

Commentary

By J Boima Rogers, Oxford, UK.

Introduction

A recent report stated that seven African countries were projected to be among the top ten fastest growing economies in the world in 2013. This is an impressive record that the continent should be proud of but it fails to highlight some important issues. Firstly, African countries have exhibited the highest variation in economic growth rates, so while 2013 may be a good year, some of those countries may well record minimal or even negative growth rates in 2014. Secondly, these growth rates are fuelled by the demand for raw materials, as China and some other fast growing economies pick up from the recession.

African countries continue to remain at the lowest level in the food chain where variability is high and their take of finished products is miniscule. Africa has lost market share in world trade, from 6% of world trade in 1980 to its current share of only 3%. In order for these countries to minimize variability, move up the food chain, improve their market share and bargaining positions in trade and ensure that economic growth filters through the various parts of their communities, the continent needs to build and expand its infrastructure. This should include the physical, educational, governance and regional infrastructure. The continent possesses considerable natural resources that can be used in its infrastructure, the measures required are not insurmountable and indeed some are quite basic. Africa’s trading partners, aid donors and non-government organisations must play a role in this process. African leaders must realise that improving the infrastructure will attract investment, generate economic growth and political stability and secure their positions.

An anecdote highlights the importance of the infrastructure. In response to recent accusations of military aggression in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Rwandan government stated that the problem in Congo was the lack of basic infrastructure which caused its people to revolt against its leaders. It is bizarre that Rwanda, a country that has only 1% of the area and 15% of the population of Congo should be an aggressor. Congo with an abundance of minerals and huge agricultural potential is in such a sorry state that it can be threatened by its much smaller neighbour. A tiny country with minimal natural resources which has made great strides in developing its infrastructure is being accused of aggression by a huge country teeming with natural resources because the bigger country’s infrastructure is largely non-existent.

Physical Infrastructure

The only way that the continent can attract and maintain investment is by building and maintaining its physical infrastructure, namely, ports, rail and road networks, airports, power supplies and telecommunication. An analysis of the situation reveals the challenges facing the continent.

A review of ports, the gateways where the bulk of imports and exports pass into and out of the continent shows that much work needs to be done. The dwell times, that is average waiting times for ships is four days for European ports and berth productivity is 25 moves per hour compared to four days and 40 moves for African ports. High dwell times result in high congestion levels and make African ports less competitive. Customs delays for the continent are three and a half times what they are in Europe. The time spent in ports as a percentage of total transport time in Africa is four times that of East Asian ports. African ports have failed to invest in new equipment, notably, on equipment to handle large ships and in container facilities, consequently only small ships can call in many ports and many cannot handle containerized cargos, a fast growing mode of transportation. The continent also has some of the highest insurance charges. These conditions make African ports significantly more expensive for shippers, discourage ships from using them and for many ports because only small vessels can be handled they miss out on the efficiencies that large ships can bring, ultimately, incurring higher shipping costs.

Roads and railways are the arteries in the economy. Farm to market roads are crucial in agricultural development. National road and railway networks are essential in moving goods and people within countries, between and outside the region. Roads which carry between 80-90% of freight and passengers within Africa are in a poor state and inadequate for the needs of the continent making transportation less efficient compared to other regions. A recent World Bank study revealed that rural Sub-Saharan Africa has only 34% of access (lands covered by roads) as compared to 90% in the rest of the world. The study found out that the average paved road density for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa was only a third that of the average for low-middle income countries as a whole. The poor state of roads, particularly secondary ones and the numerous check points on all roads increase the time it takes to travel and transport goods significantly. This is a major impediment to trade and development, with wastage of farm produce on the continent accounting for up to fifty percent of output.

The density of rail networks in Africa per land is lower than in other low income countries. A high proportion of them are very old, up to a hundred years, with low maintenance, in some cases tracks have deteriorated to a point of no return and some have gone out of service. The lack of repair and upgrade means they cannot compete against modern road networks. Railroads according to a recent report tend to have “low axle loads, low speeds, small scale, undercapitalized, and ill-suited to modern requirements”. Most of them are single tracks and are not electrified, with South Africa alone accounting for virtually all the electrified rail network. Africa has largely ignored this mode of transport that could play an important role in its transport network by giving businesses and passengers choice, removing transport bottlenecks and being an alternative cost effective transport mode if properly maintained and upgraded.

In comparison with countries of similar per capita income African countries are underendowed with airports, runways and passenger and freight terminals. The number of paved runways longer than 1,500 meters is 20% less (as a share of land area) than other low income countries. Many of the runways are unpaved. A study by Bofinger in 2009 found that twenty five percent of airports are in poor condition. Airport efficiencies, in terms of processing passengers and cargo are low and many airlines servicing those airports have poor safety records. The state of the aviation industry on the continent is a severe impediment in attracting business travelers, tourists and the development of air cargo.

With 3.1% of world power generation, Africa has the lowest electrification in the world. The Economic Commission for Africa reported that only 23% of the continent’s population has access to electricity, with unreliable supply, power rationing and unscheduled cuts. Installed capacity is equal to what China installs every two years. Installed capacity at 153 kilowatt-hour (kWh) per capita, excluding North Africa and South Africa, was only 6% of the global average in 2009. If we include North Africa and South Africa, per capita electricity consumption increases to only 23% of the global average. The average effective electricity tariff in Africa is US $0.14 per kWh, three and a half times the tariff in South Asia and double that for East Asia. Tariff rates would be even higher without subsidies by African countries of US $0.04 per kWh. The situation is really bizarre with some countries endowed with vast power resources having very low installed capacity and consumption per capita. The power generation industry in Africa is dominated by costly small-scale power systems. Subsidies for electricity have discouraged investments needed to expand capacity. The deficiencies in power supply are a major impediment in attracting investment into the continent. In a World Bank survey of 55 countries, 67 percent of firms cited electricity as a business constraint.

Telecommunications and ICT are important for competitiveness and productivity. While there have been significant improvements on the continent in mobile phone usage, the region lags behind other regions in terms of the number of fixed lines, internet usage and broad band installation.

Telecommunication/I

CT Indicators in 2012 (Millions)

Fixed Lines

Mobile Broadband

Fixed Broadband

Individual Internet connections

Africa

11

60

2

120

Arab States

35

53

10

124

Asia Pacific

525

625

275

1133

CIS

72

101

32

145

Europe

250

314

161

467

Americas

271

377

152

582

Source: International Telecom Union

The area where African countries have lagged behind very significantly is in fixed lines and fixed lines with broadband. Fixed lines are still the dominant and cheapest telephone system for businesses and the lack of this infrastructure is a serious impediment to business. African countries are not yet making full use of e-commerce systems. The limited use of information technology is due to inadequate, inefficient and very expensive telecommunications services; the inadequate development of fixed lines which is required by businesses providing such services is a major factor.

The educational and governance infrastructure

A major constraint to economic development on the continent is the poor state of the educational infrastructure. While great strides have been made in basic primary education, the continent is failing to set up and maintain educational systems that are conducive to economic growth, notably, in training a pool of workers proficient in maths, science and technical skills. The lack of trained technical staff and the high cost of services discourage investors who often have to bring in low level staff for many technical jobs. This is happening despite a mushrooming of universities in many countries.

The governance infrastructure is a major deterrent to investment. A clearly defined, consistent and transparent policy and legal framework and efficient civil service with minimal corruption are essential requirements for nurturing and attracting investment. Investors require clear and consistent regulations on property rights, taxation, labour and technical standards. While a lot of progress has been made since the 1990s in the democratic process, with many countries holding elections and attempts made to improve legal systems and reduce bloated civil service and corruption, usually under pressure from aid donors, it is still work in progress. High and in some cases endemic corruption, opaque and burdensome bureaucratic processes, unresponsive and inefficient bureaucracies and lack of clearly defined policies are still a major deterrent to investment in many countries.

It must be noted though that governance is not identical to democracy and many countries have attracted investments without going through the full democratic process. Some leaders who have presided over major developments in the infrastructure of their countries but would hardly be described as blue blooded democrats include Houphat Boigny in the Ivory Coast, William Tubman in Liberia, Jerry Rawlins in Ghana, Jomo Kenyata in Kenya and Paul Kagame in Rwanda. Indeed “democracy” as practiced in some cases has hindered investment in the infrastructure, in particular, it has increased the cost of governance to prohibitively high levels with little funds left for investment in the physical infrastructure. Kenyan parliamentarians have recently decided to get rid of the independent organisation that reduced their extremely generous salaries and perks and, have vowed to reinstate these extremely generous salaries and perks, which will mean fewer funds for investment in the physical infrastructure.

An International Finance Corporation report showing the ease of doing business in a country paints a grim picture, with most African countries languishing at the bottom of rankings. The indicators used include: starting business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; getting credit; protecting investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Only three countries, Mauritius, South Africa and Tunisia are in the top fifty ranking.

Regional Infrastructure

The development of regional organisations and investment projects on the continent will improve the physical and market infrastructure significantly. It allows countries to pool resources to invest in infrastructure projects, create larger markets by giving preferential access, standardizes rules and disseminates market intelligence. This attracts foreign investors to countries involved that would otherwise not be keen to enter relatively small markets and allows for efficiencies and reduced unit cost for electricity, transportation, port charges, telecommunication services, water and goods produced. The problem is that regional groupings have often been political in origin not based on economic prospects but rather the “bandwagon effect”. Many countries are members of several groupings with conflicting policies in treatment of third countries and sometimes different regulations and technical standards governing the import of the same commodity from different sources. Overlapping memberships in the different regional groupings – and hence overlapping commitments – have resulted in duplication of effort and occasionally inconsistent aims. The result is that they have not created the necessary market or physical infrastructure

Policy Implications for Stakeholders

The infrastructure is the linchpin for development and Africa has huge untapped potential for its physical infrastructure. There is much room for improvements in its educational and governance infrastructure. There are huge benefits to be gained from regional cooperation. All stakeholders must make a concerted effort, including national governments, regional groups, donor countries, multilateral and aid organisations. Measures required are not unduly expensive and with modest investments there can be very high returns. The continent has vast quantities of oil and gas deposits and immense hydro and solar potential. It has been reported that the the hydro potential of the Democratic Republic of Congo alone is sufficient to provide three times as much power as Africa presently consumes. A recent study revealed that upgrading the road network would expand overland trade across the continent by about $250 billion over 15 years, requiring an investment of $20 billion for initial upgrading and $1 billion annually for maintenance. Indeed the situation is rather perverse; some countries with huge potentials making little use of what they have. Congo and Nigeria with substantial natural power resources have some of the lowest electricity generation. Gabon a major oil producer has one of the highest electricity tariffs. Nigeria in particular, is a sad case, largely the result of its political elite. This is the continent’s natural giant, with huge oil production that it has been pumping for over sixty years and huge hydro electric potential yet it still has one of the lowest per capita electricity consumption in the world at 121 kWh and availability of less than 5 hours per day.

African governments need to ensure that they implement appropriate policies and create and maintain the relevant governance infrastructure. This means having qualified policy making teams to devise appropriate policies and prepare and implement action plans and monitoring systems. Ministers and civil servants need to do the jobs and give the time that they are paid for. Monitoring systems should include mystery shopping in which teams are sent out to actually find out the ease and difficulties ordinary people and businesses face.

The aim should be to deliver credible and efficient services and minimize corruption. Targets must be set for the delivery of services, for example applications for visas, passports, construction permits, licenses and other documentations must have time limits within which they must be processed. Airports and harbours must have time limits when people and goods must be processed. Bottlenecks and issues must be addressed promptly. Governments must continue privatization programmes and where appropriate consider joint venture projects in roads, airports, telecommunications, harbours, water supply and other infrastructure projects. In such ventures or if such projects are fully privatized, the user pay principle will encourage investment and ensure proper maintenance. Governments must phase out subsidies to encourage investment, this is particularly the case with electricity where subsidies have not only deterred investments but tend to disproportionately accrue to sections of society that can and should pay for such services. Measures to ameliorate conditions for the poor must be carefully targeted to ensure that they really go to specific and/or poor households. In cases where infrastructure projects are privatized, measures must be in place to penalize companies if they do not perform according to the specified terms of reference.

In building the human infrastructure, with very scarce resources, governments need to priorities their education budgets. This means a shift away from the arts to maths, science and technical subjects at all levels but particularly at post primary school level. This does not mean that these arts subjects cannot be studied but students pursuing them must score very high grades to obtain state funding or pay for the privilege. Foreign investors and aid organisations must also assist in developing the human infrastructure. They should be given reasonable tax incentives to train staff and after a certain period punitive tax and other measures must be implemented if they have not trained and/or engaged local staff.

African governments need to do a lot more to implement regional infrastructure projects and develop and expand regional markets. The benefits are substantial if these regional cooperation projects focus on real economic issues and standards and rules are consistent. A recent report reveals that cross-regional collaboration could reduce electricity costs in Africa by US $2 billion per year.

Foreign donors, multilateral organisations and NGOs have a part to play in building the continent’s infrastructure. They should give high priority to infrastructure projects, either on a government-to-government basis or encourage private companies to invest on the continent through taxation and/or subsidies. They should make use of nationals (including the diaspora), African companies and NGOs in projects. The current debate over President Obama’s proposal that half of US food aid should be sourced from suppliers within or around countries where it is used demonstrates the difficulties that these partners face. Aid is often seen as an opportunity for producers and companies in the donor country whereas the long term goal must be for aid to improve markets and the infrastructure of recipient countries which in the long run will minimise the need for such aid.

The challenges facing the continent are not insurmountable but they require vision, leadership, planning and tenacity. Leaders must earn the right to govern which means developing and maintaining the infrastructure that will grow their economies and improve the lives of citizens. In a democratic setting they need to deliver to win the votes and admiration of their people. African leaders could take a leaf from Singapore and Malaysia, countries where the same parties have ruled for decades largely because they have built first class infrastructure that have resulted in very strong economic growth rates.

Media and Event Management Oxford (MEMO)

J Boima Rogers, M Sc Marketing

Project Manager, Events, Marketing and Media Management

Boima has been involved with the media for over twenty five years, writing for various publications and websites including Agra Europe, West Africa, Fresh Produce Journal, logafrica.com and local press in Bournemouth and Oxford. He was European correspondent for ProFarmer America. Boima has worked on several events, initially in marketing and PR, eventually as project manager for two large events, Winton carnival 2006 and Bournemouth World Food and Music Festival. Other events that he has worked for include Cowley Road carnival, Oxford, The Water Festival, Oxford, The Boscombe Arts Festival, Bournemouth, The Bournemouth Literary Festival

Let us commemorate the Genocide against the Tutsi as we strive for self reliance


Bruxelles, 09.4.13

Today Rwanda has two days commemorating the Genocide. It is the 7th of April marking the start and 4th of July marking the end, the Liberation day.  However this weekend two groups commemorated, one on the 6th and one on the 7th in Brussels, Belgium.

Saturday 6th

Rwandan commemorating in front of memorial. Photo: cliir.org

The commemoration of the 6th was organized by CLIIR– coordinator and activist Joseph Matata and his group.

A crowd of approximately 30 people gathered at Montgomery and marched together to the memorial dedicated to the victims of the Genocide 1994 where then prayers were held and poems* were read.

Before reaching the memorial, Mr. Matata was stopped by the Belgian police and advised to hold back his group of continuing as the mayor of Woluwe St. Pierre, Mr. Benoît Cerexhe had previously prohibited the assembly, due to the ban of commemorations on the 6th of April set in 2007, claiming that the authorization of such commemoration has been prone to cause incidents that have had consequences on the relations between Belgium and Rwanda, particularly those between the municipality of Woluwé-Saint-Pierre and the district of Kamonyi, sector of Musambira ’’. As the coordinator explained that the group was peaceful and that the march was not politically motivated the police finally let the crowd continue and followed them to the memorial.

Be that as it may, accused of desecration, Benoît Cerexhe had to comment the non-intervention of the police and justified it by saying:

“As a mayor I had forbidden the manifestation of the “commission against the impunity and injustice in Rwanda (CLIIR)” that was supposed to take part the day before the commemoration, but to prevent damages the police decided not to interfere.”

Sunday 7th

photo

Photo: kigalinews.wordpress.com

The commemoration of the 7th is organized by the Embassy of Rwanda and IBUKA*.

The commemoration ceremony of the Embassy started the with tree opening speeches held by the Ambassador of Rwanda Mr. Robert Masozera, the representative of the Belgian Government and Ibuka Chairman. The greetings were followed by a moving testimony and a speech of the Founder of Souvien toi le 7avril*. The morning ended with a minute of silence for all victims of the genocide against the Tutsi.

For the afternoon the Embassy had invited the ACP* Secretary General, HON. Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni who declared:

“It is important that we continue to commemorate this day in order not to forget one of the most heinous crimes against humanity perpetrated by one group of people against another. 

As we take time out to commemorate this day, we honour the lives of the nearly one million people who were senselessly murdered, and the many more who survived with painful physical and psychological scars they carry to this day.

This terrible tragedy occurred 19 years ago, but its effects are still being felt today by its survivors. The ramifications are still evident in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa.”

“NEVER AGAIN, I say! For this to become a reality, we must resolutely attack the root causes of the genocide, namely hatred, intolerance, racism, fundamentalism and tyranny, as well as poverty and exclusion. I call on all States, therefore, to remain mobilized and to strengthen cooperation so as to meet the challenges and eradicate these scourges that can serve as weapons of mass destruction.”

The afternoon program ended after a movie on the genocide was played and the attendees had the opportunity to make comments and ask questions.

The memorial march organized by IBUKA started at 7pm. at the “Place Royale” where around a hundred of people were gathered and walked together to the “Palais de Justice”, where a last memorial speech was held.

The mourning night itself was opened by a speech of IBUKA President Eric Didier Rutayisire and followed by a testimony of a survivor of the Genocide against the Tutsi. After exchanging solidarity messages, the night ended with songs, prayers and poems for all victims.

Why the 6th and not the 7th?

photo2

Photo: kigalinews.wordpress.com

At first it seems as the division finds its roots in a terminological inexactitude.

If Matata’s group chose the 6th it’s because the Government of Rwanda officialized the label “Genocide against the Tutsi” instead of “Rwanda Genocide”. Matata explains that this would exclude Hutu other non-Tutsi victims from the official annual commemoration that now only talks about the Tutsi casualties, even though there were obviously thousands of non-Tutsi victims.

 ‘’The 7th of April is not a date chosen by the Tutsi, it is a date that has been imposed by the President. Kagame could not choose April 6th, because on April 6th he is accused of the crime committed against the head of states Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira. April 6th scares Kagame. There is no neutral date, one has got to choose the right date. The date on which the chaos was created must be chosen, that is to say on April 6th.’’  Matata on Jambonews

So instead, they seeking justice in organising their own marches of peace and commemoration services, one being notably the 6th  and not the 7th of April, because to them, April 6 is the day that marked the beginning of the mass slaughters as then Rwandan President Habyarimana and Burundian President Ntaryamira were killed in the shooting down of  their plane.

Obviously the problem is that the one commemorating on the 6th think that the current regime of President Kagame tries to cover the real implicity of those responsible by continuing to advocate that the shooting down of the presidential plane on April 6th, 1994 which carried the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, did not have any relation with the tragedy which unfolded immediately.

Comments like the one of the Rwandan Ambassador, in The Netherlands, Immaculée Uwanyiligira at a commemoration conference saying that the non-Tutsi victims were not caused by the Genocide, but that they were caused due cross fighting of the Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF) and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), only subsists the irritation and division.

Fact is…

that the assassination of Habyarimana’s and Ntaryamira’s airplane was a catalyst for the Genocide 1994, but curiously the responsibility is still a matter of contention, with both Hutu extremists and the Rwandan Patriotic Front under suspicion.

that the Genocide 1994 was the apex of a three year Civil war between the Rwandan Patriotic Front and the national Government, that started 1990.

that the Genocide was prepared and organized by the mainly Hutu-led government of Habyarimana, the local military and the Akazu at that time, with strong implicitly of France and other countries as a reaction to the Habyarimana’s signature of the Arusha Agreements in Tanzania 1993, that intended a sharing of power between the rebels and the Rwandan government. Hutu racial nationalists felt doubled by their President, as they continued to be strongly opposed to sharing power with the former insurgency and to the Agreement, which called for them to lose control of the army and the government without compensation.

that the Genocide propaganda was supported by state controlled mass media which triggered daily the killings of Tutsis or any kind of “traitors” and “Tutsi-collaborators”. A few days before the assasination of the presidential airplane, warning messages were diffused on the national radio, claiming that something will happen in Kigali around the 7. or 8. of April!

Can we agree to disagree and at least commemorate together?

If the Rwandan government chose the label « The Genocide against the Tutsi » so it’s to accentuate that, as cruel, as it sounds Tutsi were the main target group of this Genocide. And even if there might be various types of victimhood during the Genocide, there was a clear aim there, and this was to have a pure Hutu nation. That is important and significant to remember, as it is brutal and hateful!

Were all Rwandan, Tutsi, Hutu or Twa aware of this atrocious idea of the national government? Of course not! In 1994 Rwanda’s population was estimated to about a number of 10’950 000  and a great bunch of them were totally indifferent towards their ethnical origins, as all they felt and needed to know is that they are Rwandan.

As the human history shows, a war hits the ones, who know the less. But still, we (as the Rwandan people) are all responsable for what happened and by claiming ignorance towards what was going on we just make it worse.

500’000-1’000’000 people Tustsi, Hutus + Twas, 20% of the nation, were killed. A Genocide led by a few hundred politicians, nationalists and extremists, witnessed and ignored by the UN and other Nations.

Some think President’s Kagame regime is going the right way now, as Rwanda strives for self reliance and independence. Some think that we haven’t learned anything and Rwanda’s current government is a threat to justice.

Whoever is right, at least we had 19 years of peace…

Maybe we should just agree to disagree.

Mr. Matata,  himself said:

“With all the elements that we now have, can we agree on one date to commemorate all our dead together?”

Mau.

Read also: 

The New Times, 11.04.2013

Rwanda: UN Admits Failure in 1994 Genocide, Pledges Support

The United Nations has pledged to unreservedly support Rwanda’s road towards development, self-reliance, and peace after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, despite the organisation’s poor response during the Genocide...read all

Sources: CLIIR, wikipedia.org, the rising continentAmbassade RwandaiseAfrican Carribean and Pacific Group of States,