Category Archives: Debate

Rwanda: Kagame’s daughter unleashes “her war dogs” against Ingabire Victoire!

On March 21, 2020; Victoire Umuhoza received in her residence Aimable Karasira, a university professor who also manages a Youtube channel during his spare time. In his videos, Mr KARASIRA carries analyses on social phenomena, and counts many followers.

A gesture of washing hands

Before granting an interview to Karasira, Victoire Ingabire washed her hands with soap, following the example of President Paul Kagame, who in a video, had invited Rwandans to protect themselves against the corona virus by washing hands regularly.

The journalist filmed this sequence before he, himself washed his hands. The interview focused on a unique topic: The corona virus and its consequences in a country like Rwanda in general and in the city of Kigali in particular. Karasira made it clear that he is not in politics, that he does not belong to Ingabire’s DALFA (Development And Liberty For All) party or to Paul Kagame’s RPF. He invited Victoire Ingabire to limit herself only on this one topic in her statements.

During the interview, Victoire Ingabire drew attention to the damage caused by the corona virus to the Rwandan economy. She notably pleaded in favor of small self-employed people (hairdressing saloons, motorcycle and car taxis, repairers of all kinds, vendors at markets, etc.) who saw their activities closed while  tha was their onlys source of income and daily bread. She suggested that the state provide assistance unto them.

In fact, the quarantine measures decreed by Rwanda are extreme since they go as far as the closing of all borders, which will weigh heavily on the supply of essential goods from neighboring countries. Meanwhile, the authorities are asking traders not to raise prices and have even ordered rationing.

War dogs unleashed

Instead of criticizing this proposal by Victoire Ingabire, the presidnt’ daughter, Ange Kagame and her team, via Twitter, launched an action to denigrate the political opposition, focusing on the gesture of washing their hands made by Victoire Ingabire. The attacks were virulent and some suggest that Victoire Ingabire be taken to the psychiatric hospital for examination (1).

Among the eminent members of the team include not only Ange Kagame but also another figurehead of the entourage of the president, a certain Yolande Makolo, ex- director in charge of communication of president Kagame ; Lucy Mbabazi, another important woman in Kagame’s system; or Edwin Mukiza, a lawyer and legal adviser to cabinet offices.

Like father like daughter ?

Since her arrival in Rwanda in January 2010 to stand for the presidential elections, Victoire Ingabire has been designated as the person to be killed by all means. It didn’t take long, and in his official speeches, President Kagame verbally attacked her, calling her a hooligan in particular and predicting her imprisonment. It didn’t take long, Ingabire was taken into prison the same year. The appeals were unsuccessful and in 2013 the Supreme Court sentenced her to 15 years of prison,  for “conspiracy against the authorities by terrorism and war”, inter alia. She was released after eight years by presidential pardon. Recently, she founded a new political party: DALFA (Development And Liberty For All) but her troubles are far from ending. In fact, in one of his legendary angers, the president threatened to have her put back in prison.

It is worrying that Ange Kagame joins his father in harassing political opponents. Young, and holder of American universities degrees, one would wonder what what she has learned from the country pionneer of the modern democracy. How comes she cannot understand and measure the importance of political opposition in a country for the promotion of a true democracy and a real respect for human rights?

Ange Kagame

B. Ndengeyingoma (left) and A. Kagame (right)

But the dice are loaded and therefore it cannot be otherwise. Isn’t Ange Kagame’s husband Bertrand Ndengeyingoma (2) cited in the Panama Papers, an investigation in which the world press denounced the owners of bank accounts hidden in tax havens! The couple therefore rolls on gold. The couple has millions of dollars in blocked bank accounts, especially in Panama. Ange Kagame has an interest in seeing no political changes in Rwanda, scared that she migh lose her colossal fortune stolen from Rwandan taxpayers. If Ange Kagame unleashes her war dogs to silence any dissident voice according her father’s policy, she knows that by the time she won’t be in power any longer, the castle will collapse. When that time comes, it will be “la fin des haricots”!

Jean-Charles Murego


A free translation from French by Chaste GAHUNDE

(1) This means a lot to Rwandans, since recently another political opponent was sent to the mental health facility and injected drugs in order to silence him. A new strategy to fight the dissenting views.
(2) There are unverfied information that Ndengeyingoma cited in the Panama Papers might be Ange Kagame’s brother-in-law, not her husband.

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Professor KAMBANDA rubishes BUSINGYE’s response to UK legislators.

Charles Kambanda

Dr Charles Kambanda, PhD


TO: MR. Johnston Busingye
Minister of Justice and
Attorney General,
Rwanda, Kigali

From: Charles KM Kambanda, PhD
Attorney and Counsel-at-Law
New York State,
United States of America

Date: November 08th, 2019

RE: Concerning the contrivance and misapprehension of common law sub judice rule, in your response to the British Legislators’ call for Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara’s release.

I. Introduction
This Memorandum serves to draw your attention to the shameful falsehoods and inaccuracies in your letter dated 6 November 2019, addressed to The Rt. Hon. Baroness D’Souza CMG, and other UK Legislators, hereafter the British legislators. On behalf of the government of Rwanda, you dismissed the British legislators’ call for the immediate release of Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara. You wrongly argued that the British legislators’ letter amounts to ex facie contempt of court and your government does not interfere with cases that are before a competent Court of law.

You invoked the Common Law sub-judice rule; that substantive issues of the matter before a competent court cannot be discussed outside the Court. You contend that the government of Rwanda wouldn’t comment on Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara case because the detainees appealed their conviction. Your ‘argument” is erroneous, at law, because it is settled law that the common law sub judice rule does not apply (1) where the case involves matter of public concern, like the instant case and (2) when citizens are exercising their duty to hold government officials accountable
In your letter, you faked what you called a UK case; “Assange v. United Kingdom”. No such case has ever been litigated in the United Kingdom. You faked the parties, facts and the “ruling”.

II. Background
On 4 November 2019, The Rt. Hon. Baroness D’Souza CMG, House of Lords et al., wrote to the President of Rwanda, expressing their concern regarding continued detention of Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara.

On 31 March 2016, Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara were convicted different political crimes. Col Tom Byabagamba was convicted of Inciting insurrection or trouble amongst the population, committing an act aimed at tarnishing the image of the Country or the Government, Contempt of the national flag and Concealing objects which were used or meant to commit an offence. Rtd Brig Gen Frank Rusagara was convicted of Inciting insurrection or trouble amongst the population, committing an act aimed at tarnishing the image of the Country or the Government, Illegal possession of guns and their ammunitions.

On 23 December 2017, The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention rendered its opinion No 85/20 17 that the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Frank Rusagara, and Tom Byabagamba is arbitrary and in contravention of Article 95,9,10,12 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 7, 9,10,14,15,17 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Category I, II and III, and that the deprivation of liberty of Mr. François Kabayiza is arbitrary and in contravention of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, category III.

Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara were sentenced to 21 and 20 years, respectively.

The British legislators requested for the release of Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara, at least on humanitarian ground, because of the deteriorating health condition of the two former Kagame loyalists.

III. Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara case is a matter of public concern for Rwandans and friends of Rwanda, including the British Legislators – whose taxpayer’s money sustains your government. The British Legislators moved to hold Rwanda to the Commonwealth and/or international human rights standards.

The “crimes” for which the two Kagame former loyalists were convicted of are ridiculous political crimes; spreading rumors, tarnishing the image of the country and government, concealing evidence from the government and undermining Rwanda flag. These “crimes” are classic political crimes in Criminology. Political ‘crimes” are legal acts, criminalized at the convenient of the dictator trying to hold on to power by all means. Jefferson Thomas, one of the Founding Fathers of the US, in his Correspondence and Papers vol. 12, 1816 -1826, calls political crimes “acts against the oppression of the government”. The two detainees, like thousands of other political prisoners, are in prison for standing up to oppression.

The “crimes” the two detainees are accused of constitute State crime; your government is perpetrating hilarious crimes against Rwandans using unconstitutional codified political crimes, in contravention of the 2003 Constitution of Rwanda, as amended. The 2003 Constitution of Rwanda, in its Preamble, provides that “Rwanda is committed to uphold people’s fundamental human rights … and build a State governed by rule of law and a pluralistic Democracy”. Chapter IV provides that “Rwanda is committed to uphold human rights and freedoms”. Article 24 guarantees the right to liberty and security of a person. Article 27 provides for free participation in government [affairs]. Article 29 provides for Due Process. Article 38 provides for freedom of expression. The political crimes against Col Tom Byabagamba and Brig. General Frank Rusagara are evidence that the government of Rwanda does not respect the 2003 Constitution and the international legal instruments Rwanda ratified. President Paul Kagame’s junta uses the law, and courts of law, to entrench violation of human rights and freedoms.

Aside from the preposterous political crimes the two former senior military officers were convicted of, the two men were denied their right to fair hearing and the right to confront their accusers. The detainees were not allowed to cross-examine their accusers, in contravention of the 2003 Constitution of Rwanda and the relevant International Conventions Rwanda ratified.


Mr. Busingye Johnson, Kagame’s minister of justice

IV. Your claim that The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention opinion NO 85/20 17 is not binding on Rwanda is outrageous. Your insistence that the British Legislators should not cite the UN Group’s opinion is ridiculous.

A. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention points to binding legal instruments
You “argued” that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention opinion NO 85/20 17 is not “binding” on Rwanda ” [because] the United Kingdom government recently noted in the case of Assange v United Kingdom, that opinion of UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is not judicial in nature and non-binding on domestic courts”. First, you faked Assange v United Kingdom No such Court case has ever happened in the UK. Second, the UN Working Group has never issues an opinion over the UK. The only Court case involving Assange in the UK is Assange v Swedish Prosecution Authority, [2012] UKSC 22. It’s direful for a Minister of Justice and Attorney General to “cite” a fake case, in a letter of such importance.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention opinion on Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara case determined that your government is in violations of specific international legal instrument and the Constitution of Rwanda. These legal instruments are binding on Rwanda. The UN Group on Arbitrary Detention “named and shamed” the government of Rwanda. Thereupon, your argument that the Group’s opinion is not binding on Rwanda is a lazy no-count and must be treated with the contempt it deserves.

B. Contrary to your “argument”, Assange’s case is distinguishable from Co. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara
Assuming your intention was to cite Assange v Swedish Prosecution Authority, [2012] UKSC 22, not Assange v United Kingdom you faked, you or your office should have bothered to know that in Assange v Swedish Prosecution Authority, [2012] UKSC 22, Mr Julian Assange challenged the validity of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) on the ground (amongst others) that his arrest warrant had been issued by a public prosecutor who was not a ‘judicial authority’ as required by article 6 of the Framework Decision and by sections 2(2) and 66 of the 2003 Act. The Supreme Court (Majority) held that the EAWs were binding to domestic Courts. Whilst Minority – Lord Mance – ruled that domestic courts were not bound as a matter of European law to interpret Part 1 of the 2003 Act in a manner which accords with the Framework Decision. It is heinous that you and your office confuse the Framework Decision in Assange v Swedish Prosecution Authority, [2012] UKSC 22 with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention opinion Co. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara’s case.

V. The government of Rwanda cannot rely on Common Law sub judice rule in this case

A. It is despicable, at law, to invoke common law sub judice rule in matters of public concern and/or interest.
In your letter, you opined that President Kagame and his government cannot interfere with the judiciary, in violation of the common law sub judice rule. For all we know of President Kagame’s dictatorship, this is frothy assertion. First, Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara are in prison for ridiculous political crimes. Political crimes are created by dictators, for the dictator’s political survival. Second, there is no independent institution in Rwanda. The fact that you have draconic laws like the crimes Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara are accused of is proof that your government is a dictatorship. In a dictatorship, all institutions serve the absolute ruler. The British Legislators, like all right thinking Rwandans, are asking your government to drop those ridiculous political crimes from the criminal code, respect the 2003 Constitution of Rwanda and all the international legal conventions Rwanda ratified.
In Exparte Bread Manufacturing Lts, Re Truth and Sportsman Lt (1937) SR (NSW) 242, Court held that statements are not contemptuous if they raise legitimate and pressing issues of public importance; also Rv Edmonton Sun, 200 ABQB and Midi Television (pty) Ltd v Director of Public Prosecution (2001) SCA 56 (RSA). In Attorney General v Time Newspapers [1973] 1 ALL ER. 815 (UKCA), the Supreme Court held that matters of public interest cannot be suppressed merely because of the common law sub judice rule. When citizens are exercising their constitutional duty to hold government accountable for its excess, government cannot invoke sub-judice rule. Your government cannot invoke sub judice rule in this case.

B. Where government is involved, common law sub judice rule triggers complex freedom of speech legal issues

In Dagenais v Canadian Broadcasting Corp. [1994] 3 S.C.R. 835, Court held that the common law sub judice rule cannot overshadow freedom of expression. Dagenais case set two-fold standard to ensure that sub judice rule does not suppress freedom of speech; the necessity and salutary effect standard. Justice Ruthrfold reasoned that sub judice rule is not a tool that can be pulled out of the box for use on occasions when it suits one’s interests.” In almost all cases when government evokes common law sub judice rule, freedom of speech legal issues arise. When government invocation of sub judice rule trigger free speech legal issues, the Dagenais two-fold sub judice standards convert to strict scrutiny standard because freedom of speech is a fundamental right.

In jurisdictions where ex facie contempt is codified, the Statute must create a public affairs exception or a defense. The rationale is that matters of public concern or when people endeavor to hold their government accountable, sub judice rule does not apply. That’s the law; your government can’t re-invent common law sub judice rule

VI. Conclusion
Concocting case law ( fake parties, facts and ruling) and invoking sub judice – which you know or should know – does not apply to the instant case – puts you, your office and government of Rwanda to disrepute and raises competence issues for you and your office. ‘Citing” a bogus case, like the “Assange v United Kingdom” you faked, in a document of national importance, is unbecoming of any lawyer, much less a country’s Attorney General. Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara, like many other Rwandans, are languishing in prison because President Kagame perceives them as a threat to his absolute power. Heed the British legislators’ call; your government should respect the 2003 Constitution of Rwanda and all the international human rights conventions Rwanda ratified. Rwandans must build a democratic society for sustainable development or your government is clutching at straws.

Dr Kambanda Charles,  PhD

Attorney at Law

Rwanda : Comment Jean Damascène BIZIMANA a pu être corrompu ?!

Comment un dictateur peut- il corrompre l’intelligence à ce point ?

Paris, le 31 avril 2019

Cher confrère Jean Damascène Bizimana, Secrétaire Exécutif de la CNLG.

Reçois tout d’abord mes sincères salutations.

J’ai  attendu en vain la réponse à ma lettre que je t’ai adressée à la veille de la commémoration 25ème  anniversaire du génocide. Ton silence m’a inquiété, mais pas du tout surpris. J’ai appris à connaître l’environnement dans lequel tu baignes actuellement. Si tu étais en France, je suis sûr que tu serais resté la même personne, que je connaissais sur les bancs de la Fac à Toulouse.  J’ai hésité, je me suis posé des questions, beaucoup de questions. J’ai pesé le pour et le contre,  in fine, j’ai franchi le pas, pour t’exprimer mon (notre) incompréhension.

Toi l’intellectuel avec qui nous avons partagé les connaissances, l’esprit critique, l’analyse, l’objectivité, toi le rwandais, meurtri par la perte des proches, tes amis tutsis et surtout les membres ta famille hutue, comment en es-tu arrivé au point où tu oublies les fondamentaux du droit ?

Je connais quelques fragments de l’histoire du Rwanda grâce à toi. Tu nous as plongés dans la tragédie, lors de tes recherches en vue de ta thèse de  doctorat en droit international, sous la supervision du professeur Jean Marie Crouzatier.

Te souviens-tu  cher ami, quand tu écrivais dans ta thèse (2004), ces mots précieux et pleins de bon sens : « En outre, par ses décisions et jugements, le TPIR accomplit une fonction dissuasive indispensable à la paix et à la sécurité internationales. Ce tribunal a cependant vécu une profonde crise institutionnelle accompagnéede nombreux abus contraires à l’intérêt de la justice » 

Des abus, tu nous en as cités, lorsque tu t’indignais, à juste titre, que ce Tribunal n’avait pas jugé les tutsi du FPR qui avaient massacré les hutu, et qu’en même temps, ce même Tribunal ne voulait pas évoquer l’attentat contre l’avion du Président hutu, commandité par l’actuel chef d’état rwandais Paul Kagame.

Entre temps, que c’est-il passé dans ta tête ? 

Hier, tu critiquais les étudiants intellectuels africains, qui après leurs études en Occident, étaient incapables d’utiliser leurs connaissances et compétences pour développer votre continent. Aujourd’hui, tu fais comme eux, voire pire, parce que toi, tu contribues à la négation du droit !

Revenons un peu sur ton histoire personnelle.

Tu as été orphelin en  très bas âge. Lorsque tu nous en parlais, en toute sincérité et beaucoup de tristesse, on était tous très touchés, quelques fois émus aux larmes. Je ne sais plus si tu étais  hutu ou tutsi, mais je me souviens que  tu as été adopté par une famille hutue. Cette précision s’impose. Tu as été nourri à la mamelle d’une femme hutue. Cette famille formidable t’a élevé, elle t’a éduqué, elle t’a construit pour te faire ce que tu es aujourd’hui. J’espère que tu l’as protégée de la haine des tutsis extrémistes.

Ensuite, tu as évolué avec tes amis hutus. Tu nous parlais d’un certain  Alexis Twagirayezu, à l’époque  Directeur général au Ministère du Plan et militant du parti de Habyraimana. En plus d’être ton meilleur ami, Alexis Twagirayiezu est devenu ton beau-frère. Tu as épousé sa sœur hutue. Ton beau-père Twagirayezu, était un membre éminent du parti MDR Parmehutu, qui a chassé les tutsis du trône. Pour toi, à l’époque c’était normal que les hutus se libèrent de l’oppression de la monarchie tutsie.  Je me rappelle de ta souffrance, lorsque tu as appris qu’Alexis Twagirayezu avait été tué le soir du  6 avril 1994, juste après l’attentat contre l’avion du Président. Plus tard tu nous as confié que tu connaissais l’auteur de cet assassinat, un certain Karenzi Karaké , chef du bataillon du FPR qui avait son QG à l’hôtel Méridien ! Tu promettais à qui voulait t’entendre que tu lui rendras justice. Où en es-tu ?

Quand tu nous parlais de la guerre dans ton pays, tu nous disais qu’il y avait  des bons hutus mais aussi des criminels hutus dont certains étaient jugés. Tu ne comprenais pas pourquoi la justice internationale devenait aveugle à l’égard des criminels tutsis. D’ailleurs sur ce point on citait l’exemple de la Serbie, mon pays d’origine.  Aujourd’hui, j’apprends avec stupeur que ces criminels présumés t’ont adopté,  que tu es à leur service! N’est-ce pas cela une aliénation intellectuelle?Comment un intellectuel comme toi peut-il succomber aux sirènes de l’argent et d’un pouvoir que tu qualifiais jadis de criminel, et  dont tu dénonçais la radicalisation des esprits. Tu sais bien comme moi que le temps n’efface pas un crime, de surcroît un crime contre l’humanité !

Chers amis, on n’oubliera pas l’admiration que tu portais à l’égard de votre président hutu le Pasteur Bizimungu, son courage, son combat pour faire cohabiter les deux ethnies. En même temps tu fustigeais Paul Kagame et son idéologie  victimaire et revanchard qui s’en prenait aux hutus qu’il réduisait au rang de citoyens de seconde zone! Il semble que Paul Kagame n’a pas bougé d’un iota sur sa politique. Mais toi, tu as renié tes convictions !

Aujourd’hui, j’apprends que ton président préféré le Pasteur Bizimungu est aux arrêts ou mis à l’écart par Paul Kagame. Qu’as-tu fait ? Tu nous parlais souvent des gens de chez toi, à Gikongoro, de tes amis, dont un certain Bernard Makuza dont tu doutais de ses capacités intellectuelles, mais qui était haut placé politiquement. Sa seule qualité était, disais-tu, d’être le cousin du Président. N’est-ce pas cela le despotisme que tu dénonçais avec hargne sur les bancs de la Fac ? Qu’as-tu fait de ton intelligence ?

Qu’est ce qu’il est devenu ton beau-frère Norbert Muhaturukundo ? Un ancien sous préfet du régime hutu. J’espère que tu n’as pas coupé les ponts avec lui. Et tes neveux hutu, ils sont nombreux, tu nous l’as dit. Que sont-ils devenus ? Que pensent-ils de toi et de ta métamorphose politique?

Enfin, j’en termine avec les chiffres. J’ai appris que tu faisais le marketing des chiffres, pour justifier le génocide des tutsis. En tant que juriste, ce génocide n’est pas discutable. Il a été commis, c’est un fait.

Est-ce que ton action n’est-elle pas plutôt une banalisation de ce génocide ? Tout ce qui est excessive est insignifiant disait Charles Maurice. Vous vous fourvoyez dans des chiffres, mais vous oubliez que la réalité est immuable !

J’ai appris que dans ton pays en 1991, la répartition de la population était la suivante, hutus : 6 467 958 (91.1%), Tutsi: 596 387 (8.4%), Twa 35 499 (0,5%).

J’ai découvert également que IBUKA et le CNLG (commission National de lutte contre le génocide) dont tu es le Secrétaire Exécutif National, a recensé sur le territoire national, un total de 1 685 784 tutsis tués, alors que les tutsis étaient en 1991 estimés à  596 387d’après l’ONG américaine USAID. Peut-on tuer plus qu’il y en a ? Dis-moi cher collègue ?

  Population recensée en 1991 Population tuée en 1994 (source officielle du gouvernement) Population rescapée Nombre personnes massacrées recensées sur les sites Mémoriaux (CNLG et IBUKA)
Tutsis 596 387 800 000 400 000  

1 685 784

Hutus 6 467 958 0 0
Twas 35 499 0 0

Deux questions simples aux quelles je souhaite t’entendre.

1° Comment peux-tu expliquer la justesse de cette opération : 596 387 – 800 000 =400 000

2° Ton organisme CNLG, l’Association IBUKA et le Gouvernement ont recensé 1 685 784 personnes massacrées. Qui sont ces victimes sachant que d’après- toi (contrairement à ce que tu disais avant), les hutu et le twa ne sont pas morts ?

Pierre DAC disait que : « Le Droit criminel ne signifie nullement qu’on ait le droit de commettre un crime »

Inutile de te rappeler cher collègue, que dans les affaires de crimes contre l’humanité,  où la compassion victimaire atteint son paroxysme, il suffit d’accuser pour que la vérité de l’accusateur triomphe, mais pour un temps certain !

Cher Jean Damascène,  je te souhaite bon vent, fais attention à la tempête et reviens vite aux fondamentaux du droit.


Par Dimitri LUKIC-GONFRIER/ veritasinfo 

Short of arguments, Rwanda Diplomacy Chief threatens the critics!


This is what Minister Louise Mushikiwabo tweeted in Kinyarwanda. The derogatory, very racist tweet was aimed at whites and other non-whites who have been critical of the regime she works for as Foreign Minister, led by dictator Paul Kagame.

I am sick and tired of utuzungu said Mushikiwabo. In Kinyarwanda, Umuzungu means a white person. When you replace the first 3 letters “umu” by “utu”, then the word becomes pejorative. It is a common way of formulating an insult  in Kinyarwanda. In this case it means that those whites are subhumans, small (insignificant)  and beneath her. Rwandans do this a lot. They call people they don’t like subhumans. Before the genocide, Tutsis were called cockroaches and subhumans. It is sad that Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister used the same language, same rhetoric as genocidaires. Of all people, Minister Mushikiwabo should know how labeling other races subhumans simply because they shed some light on your government’s human rights abuses is wrong. Instead of refuting those accusatory reports by facts, she resulted to attacks and insults. She chose Kinyarwanda hoping they will never know maybe!

Here is more Kinyarwanda lesson. Abagabo means men. If you want to insult a bunch of men, you can call them utugabo. It is a disrespectful way of saying that they are a bunch of useless nobodies. In Rwandan culture, there is no grave insult than this, especially when this insult is uttered by a woman. Rwanda is still a society where a woman is supposed be genteel and to have ladylike behavior all the time especially the bourgeoisie and higher ups.

The kind of language Minister Mushikiwabo used, normally is for street walkers and thugs. It is the equivalent of ghetto or hood talk in the US. This is why the tweet was scandalous. Many Rwandans were flabbergasted even shocked by that bad language coming from someone in charge of diplomacy and foreign relations, the government spokeswoman. A woman who uses that kind of language in Rwanda is called “inshinzi” (Huchi mama, vulgar with no self worth) and it is normally not proper for a high ranking official to use that kind of language!

Minister Mushikiwabo accused those whites she qualified of subhumans of writing “amateshwa” about Rwanda. Here she was referring to recent reports condemning human rights abuses by the government of dictator Paul Kagame. In Kinyarwanda amateshwa means rubbish, nonsense, words coming out of a mouth of someone who is stupid, dumb, non important, demented, someone so irrelevant that you have no time for whatever they are saying.

Finally, Mushikiwabo asked “utuzungu”, those insignificant white subhumans who put them in charge of Africa? They need to butt out of african affairs she said!


Learn How to Disagree


Graham’s Hierarchy of disagreement

How to disagree?

The web is turning writing into a conversation. Twenty years ago, writers wrote and readers read. The web lets readers respond, and increasingly they do—in comment threads, on forums, and in their own blog posts.

Many who respond to something disagree with it. That’s to be expected. Agreeing tends to motivate people less than disagreeing. And when you agree there’s less to say. You could expand on something the author said, but he has probably already explored the most interesting implications. When you disagree you’re entering territory he may not have explored.

The result is there’s a lot more disagreeing going on, especially measured by the word. That doesn’t mean people are getting angrier. The structural change in the way we communicate is enough to account for it. But though it’s not anger that’s driving the increase in disagreement, there’s a danger that the increase in disagreement will make people angrier. Particularly online, where it’s easy to say things you’d never say face to face.

If we’re all going to be disagreeing more, we should be careful to do it well. What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here’s an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy:

DH0. Name-calling.

This is the lowest form of disagreement, and probably also the most common. We’ve all seen comments like this:

u r a fag!!!!!!!!!!

But it’s important to realize that more articulate name-calling has just as little weight. A comment like

The author is a self-important dilettante.

is really nothing more than a pretentious version of “u r a fag.”

DH1. Ad Hominem.

An ad hominem attack is not quite as weak as mere name-calling. It might actually carry some weight. For example, if a senator wrote an article saying senators’ salaries should be increased, one could respond:

Of course he would say that. He’s a senator.

This wouldn’t refute the author’s argument, but it may at least be relevant to the case. It’s still a very weak form of disagreement, though. If there’s something wrong with the senator’s argument, you should say what it is; and if there isn’t, what difference does it make that he’s a senator?

Saying that an author lacks the authority to write about a topic is a variant of ad hominem—and a particularly useless sort, because good ideas often come from outsiders. The question is whether the author is correct or not. If his lack of authority caused him to make mistakes, point those out. And if it didn’t, it’s not a problem.

DH2. Responding to Tone.

The next level up we start to see responses to the writing, rather than the writer. The lowest form of these is to disagree with the author’s tone. E.g.

I can’t believe the author dismisses intelligent design in such a cavalier fashion.

Though better than attacking the author, this is still a weak form of disagreement. It matters much more whether the author is wrong or right than what his tone is. Especially since tone is so hard to judge. Someone who has a chip on their shoulder about some topic might be offended by a tone that to other readers seemed neutral.

So if the worst thing you can say about something is to criticize its tone, you’re not saying much. Is the author flippant, but correct? Better that than grave and wrong. And if the author is incorrect somewhere, say where.

DH3. Contradiction.

In this stage we finally get responses to what was said, rather than how or by whom. The lowest form of response to an argument is simply to state the opposing case, with little or no supporting evidence.

This is often combined with DH2 statements, as in:

I can’t believe the author dismisses intelligent design in such a cavalier fashion. Intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory.

Contradiction can sometimes have some weight. Sometimes merely seeing the opposing case stated explicitly is enough to see that it’s right. But usually evidence will help.

DH4. Counterargument.

At level 4 we reach the first form of convincing disagreement: counterargument. Forms up to this point can usually be ignored as proving nothing. Counterargument might prove something. The problem is, it’s hard to say exactly what.

Counterargument is contradiction plus reasoning and/or evidence. When aimed squarely at the original argument, it can be convincing. But unfortunately it’s common for counterarguments to be aimed at something slightly different. More often than not, two people arguing passionately about something are actually arguing about two different things. Sometimes they even agree with one another, but are so caught up in their squabble they don’t realize it.

There could be a legitimate reason for arguing against something slightly different from what the original author said: when you feel they missed the heart of the matter. But when you do that, you should say explicitly you’re doing it.

DH5. Refutation.

The most convincing form of disagreement is refutation. It’s also the rarest, because it’s the most work. Indeed, the disagreement hierarchy forms a kind of pyramid, in the sense that the higher you go the fewer instances you find.

To refute someone you probably have to quote them. You have to find a “smoking gun,” a passage in whatever you disagree with that you feel is mistaken, and then explain why it’s mistaken. If you can’t find an actual quote to disagree with, you may be arguing with a straw man.

While refutation generally entails quoting, quoting doesn’t necessarily imply refutation. Some writers quote parts of things they disagree with to give the appearance of legitimate refutation, then follow with a response as low as DH3 or even DH0.

DH6. Refuting the Central Point.

The force of a refutation depends on what you refute. The most powerful form of disagreement is to refute someone’s central point.

Even as high as DH5 we still sometimes see deliberate dishonesty, as when someone picks out minor points of an argument and refutes those. Sometimes the spirit in which this is done makes it more of a sophisticated form of ad hominem than actual refutation. For example, correcting someone’s grammar, or harping on minor mistakes in names or numbers. Unless the opposing argument actually depends on such things, the only purpose of correcting them is to discredit one’s opponent.

Truly refuting something requires one to refute its central point, or at least one of them. And that means one has to commit explicitly to what the central point is. So a truly effective refutation would look like:

The author’s main point seems to be x. As he says:


But this is wrong for the following reasons…

The quotation you point out as mistaken need not be the actual statement of the author’s main point. It’s enough to refute something it depends upon.

What It Means

Now we have a way of classifying forms of disagreement. What good is it? One thing the disagreement hierarchy doesn’t give us is a way of picking a winner. DH levels merely describe the form of a statement, not whether it’s correct. A DH6 response could still be completely mistaken.

But while DH levels don’t set a lower bound on the convincingness of a reply, they do set an upper bound. A DH6 response might be unconvincing, but a DH2 or lower response is always unconvincing.

The most obvious advantage of classifying the forms of disagreement is that it will help people to evaluate what they read. In particular, it will help them to see through intellectually dishonest arguments. An eloquent speaker or writer can give the impression of vanquishing an opponent merely by using forceful words. In fact that is probably the defining quality of a demagogue. By giving names to the different forms of disagreement, we give critical readers a pin for popping such balloons.

Such labels may help writers too. Most intellectual dishonesty is unintentional. Someone arguing against the tone of something he disagrees with may believe he’s really saying something. Zooming out and seeing his current position on the disagreement hierarchy may inspire him to try moving up to counterargument or refutation.

But the greatest benefit of disagreeing well is not just that it will make conversations better, but that it will make the people who have them happier. If you study conversations, you find there is a lot more meanness down in DH1 than up in DH6. You don’t have to be mean when you have a real point to make. In fact, you don’t want to. If you have something real to say, being mean just gets in the way.

If moving up the disagreement hierarchy makes people less mean, that will make most of them happier. Most people don’t really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can’t help it.

Thanks to Trevor Blackwell and Jessica Livingston for reading drafts of this.

Paul Graham, March 2008

Source: How to disagree