By Antoine Roger Lokongo
Carla Del Ponte and Paul Kagame were increasingly at loggerheads.
Del Ponte, a former Chief Prosecutor of two United Nations international criminal law tribunals: the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) fell out with Kagame after she insisted that crimes committed by the Tutsi during the genocide should also be investigated.
Cameroon investigative journalist Charles Onana has published many books about the real culprits of the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana who are still being shielded from accountability and they are not those who have been “officially accused” as perpetrators so far, according to him.
Pierre Péan, a renowned French investigative journalist and Keith Harmon Snow, an American Investigative journalist, all have factually point out that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and Paul Kagame were responsible for the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana, and therefore of having sparked the inter-ethnic killings in 1994! The list is long!
In this special call for articles by Pambazuka about “Rwanda – 20 years on after the genocide”, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight, provide and share with Pambazuka readers the new facts about Rwanda and the Kagame regime that have emerged recently and which prove that the last 20 years have been years of wasted efforts by the Kagame and the Museveni regimes to try to cover up the truth, but in vain, about what happened in Rwanda in 1994!
They are helped in this endeavour by powerful friends in high places in the West, including, former US President Bill Clinton, Susan Rice, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bono, Howard Buffett, Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Bill Gates, and so on (see, Judi Rever, “Paul Kagame’s trips to the West not worth the headache,” Digital Journal, Oct 17, 2013).
First of all, from a Congolese perspective, new facts have merged that in April 1994, immediately after the RPF came to power in Kigali, the DRC’s main opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi sent a telegram to Paul Kagane then Vice-President, congratulating him for “having overthrown Juvenal Habyarimana out of power” (See, “Lettre ouverte” envoyée par 13 Intellectuels du Grand Kasaï (R.D.Congo) à M. Etienne TSHISEKEDI wa MULUMBA, Président National de l’UDPS en prévision de l’échéance du 30 juin 2006).
For us Congolese, Etienne Tshisekedi, a popular Congolese politician who has visited Kigali many times at the invitation of President Kagame and who came second in the 2011 presidential elections, must have known what he was saying. He is not just a man of the street. He uncovered the truth, according to which, what happened in Rwanda was a civil war: a Tutsi rebel movement backed by Uganda and Anglo-Saxon powers overthrew a Hutu dominated regime, notwithstanding the waves of inter-ethnic killings that ensued, and which that overthrow unleashed!
Secondly, Kagame is now put under pressure by his Western powerful backers who have finally realized that when Kagame boasted in an interview granted to the Financial Times of London on 19 August 2010 that “Rwanda’s democracy is still the model for Africa”, that “model” does not square with human rights let alone with democracy itself!
They are now urging him to stop harassing, jailing and assassinating Rwandan opposition leaders, including Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire who was sentenced to 8 years in prison on 30 October 2012 for saying that “Hutu too were killed during the genocide”, but then her sentence was increased to 15 years in prison on 1 December 2013. Former Rwandan Intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya turned opposition figure was found dead in a South African hotel room, having been hanged or strangled by killers sent from Rwanda, four of whom were arrested in neighbouring Mozambique (see, Chimp Investigations Team, “Karegeya Murder Suspects ‘Arrested’ In Mozambique,” Chimpreports.com, 7 January 2014); as well as former Rwandan army chief Kayumba Nyamwasa, turned opposition figure who was shot by a lone gunman in South Africa; Kagame’s Western backers are also privately advising him to hold political dialogue with the FDLR, Hutu fighters roaming the hills of eastern Congo and who announced recently that they have laid down their arms and are ready to return to Rwanda provided the regime was open to political dialogue.
In fact, the British who back Kagame held peace talks with the IRA in Northern Ireland, the Afghan regime which is backed by the United States is encouraged to hold talks with the terrorist Talibans, Nelson Mandela held talks with White apartheid leaders, the Congolese government held talks with “Tutsi Congolese rebels” most of whom are Rwandans and Ugandans sent to the DRC to kill, rape and loot and Kinshasa will go so far as integrating them into the Congolese army (…). So why should the Kagame regime be an exception? Inter-Uganda dialogue including with the LRA, inter-Rwandan dialogue, including with the FDLR is the way forward for lasting peace in the region.
But Kagame does not want to hear that! So, the so-called “stability in Rwanda” has been achieved at the expense of Congo where Kagame continues and to stock the fire and “mucking” the Congo, as Tony Blair put it in a “supporting Kagame” article he co-authored with American billionaire Howard G. Buffett (Foreign Policy, 21 February 2013).
Recently Kagame threw a tantrum at his erstwhile Western backers, calling them “former colonial masters who do not stop lecturing Africans”. But recently Kagame was caught in his own trap when he boycotted the “Summit on Peace and Security in the African Continent” convened by the French President François Hollande in Paris on 6 December 2013. For Rwanda, it was no question of attending the summit.
“Those who feel they still need the protection of the former colonial master will go to this meeting. This is not our case,” a close associate of Paul Kagame told Jeune Afrique (see, Jean Mitari, “Sommet sur la paix et la sécurité à Paris : le Rwanda décline l’invitation, ” Jambonews.net, 19 juin 2013).
At the same time, Kigali favorably welcomed the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama to attend a historic summit of leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa – the first of its kind – to be held in Washington in August 2014. The White House announced the invitation on 30 June 2013 (Stephen Collinson, “Obama to host summit of African leaders next year,” AFP, 30 June 2013).
Kagame was indeed caught in his own trap! Rwanda declined the invitation of the former French colonial master, but accepted that of Obama to all African Heads of State!
For Kagame, it is worth taking the orders coming from the White House than those coming from the Champs-Elysées! So what is the difference when you decline the invitation of one Western master and then you accept that of the other? That is because it is from the United States that Kagame is shielded from accountability after perpetrating genocide in Congo! After all, he is only playing the role of “an Anglo-American proxy” in Congo. That is the role he has played “so well” in the last 20 years!
Thirdly, in the last 20 years, Kagame and Museveni as well as their cronies and their foreign masters who arms them, have enriched themselves out of predatory wars for natural and mineral resources in Congo. The so-called “post-genocide economic progress in Rwanda” is based on such predatory wars!
But at the same time, Museveni and Kagame have enjoyed impunity, getting away with heinous crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity both in Rwanda and in Congo, basically, trampling on international law or bending it in their favour when it suits their interests at home and abroad. When it comes to extraditing “Congolese Tutsi rebels”, including Laurent Nkunda, Mutebusi, Runiga and others who have found refuge in Rwanda to the DRC “their country of origin”, Paul Kagame evokes the Geneva Convention, allows himself to lecture the DRC, “which has not yet abolished the death penalty”, therefore he cannot extradite “Congolese Tutsi rebels” to “their country of origin only to be executed! If they are Congolese and Congo is their country of origin, why must they not be extradited there to face justice in their own country?
After the murder of Karegeya, President Kagame warned Rwandans who find themselves in the opposition camp that “There are consequences for betraying your country”. Why should there be no consequences for the “Tutsi Congolese rebels” who had betrayed their country then?
There is a saying which goes like this: Lie, lie, there will always be something left to lie about: the truth!
Recently, Joel Mutabazi, a former Rwandan officer (a former bodyguard of Kagame) accused of terrorism, formation of an armed group, murder and illegal possession of firearms, etc., and who sought political asylum in Uganda was unlawfully – that is to say, very much against the Geneva Convention – transferred to Rwanda from Uganda to face justice in his country! Among the other accused are several members of the opposition Rwandan National Congress (RNC) and eight students (see, “Paul Kagame ex-guard Joel Mutabazi rejects Rwanda trial,” BBC, 28 January 2014).
Mutabazi pleaded not guilty at his trial but he faces a death sentence as Patrick Karegeya did! Although the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has condemned Kampala’s decision to extradite him as a “clear violation of the asylum principle”, nevertheless, the United States and Britain remained silent in the face of such a flagrant violation of international law! Is Tony Blair, Kagame’s “special adviser” not a British lawyer who should defend international law in this case?
However, this makes the “cause” the Tutsi say they are fighting for, that is inclusion, in the Great Lakes Region of Africa unjust, unfair to other people in the region and a lost one because the Tutsi are the ones who are now “mucking” other people in the region, to quote Tony Blair again. One day, Museveni and Kagame will have to answer for all these crimes!
Short of inter-Rwandan dialogue, 20 years on after the genocide, Rwanda remains not only “an appeased expansionist bloody dictatorship”, but also “a powder keg, a time-ticking bomb waiting to explode”!
Copyright Antoine Roger Lokongo 2014