Re: Please stop Kagame from entering the Oxford University:Open letter to OXFORD UNIVERSITY
Dear Prof Tufano,
We have learnt with sorrow and disappointment that, on 18th May2013, your school is preparing to roll out a red carpet to President Kagame of Rwanda, one of the bloodiest dictators and criminals in recent human history. By welcoming Mr Kagame, the university of Oxford is jeopardizing its reputation and will be judged by history as having been an accomplice in all the crimes that Mr Kagame has and continues to commit not only on his own people in Rwanda but also on peoples in the Great Lakes region of Africa.
We are British citizens of Rwandan and Congolese origin. We represent different political and civil society organisations pre-occupied by the poverty and political situation as well as bloody wars that Mr Kagame has imposed on Rwandans and Congolese people for 20 years now. We all have parents, brothers, sisters, friends and other relatives who are victims of Mr Kagame’s criminal and warmongering agenda.
Prof Tufano, the list of crimes committed by Kagame is endless. We will just cite here a few and we urge you to do your own research. We are sure you will discover more of his dark personality not worthy to be associated with the University of Oxford.
We Rwandans know Kagame as a man who started the 1994 genocide by shooting down the plane of his predecessor while a peace agreement to end the war had been signed. He knows the truth as we do and that is why he does not even deny it himself1. We also know him as a pagan butcher who decapitated the Rwandan Catholic Church by killing 4 bishops and many priests. We will not forget him for ordering the killing of more than 8,000 Rwandans in Kibeho in April 1995, a place that came to be known as the Srebrenica of Rwanda.
The war that Mr Kagame has imposed on DR Congo since 1996 has now claimed the lives of more than 6 million of our brothers and sisters, making of him the only person to rival Adolf Hitler in terms of numbers of people killed. After describing more than 600 incidents where thousands and thousands of women, children and the elderly were shot, killed by blows from bayonets or hit by shrapnel, the 2010 UN mapping report even talks about a possible genocide that Mr Kagame and his thugs may have committed on Hutus (one of the two main tribes in Rwanda) in Congo : “the apparent systematic and widespread attacks described in this report reveal a number of inculpatory elements that, could be characterized as crimes of genocide”3. The report goes further and says “This report shows that the vast majority of incidents listed, fall within the scope of widespread or
2 Combat Medic: An Australian’s Eyewitness Account of the Kibeho Massacre
3 http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/ZR/DRC_MAPPING_REPORT_FINAL_EN.pdfpage 14, para 31.
systematic attacks, depicting multiple acts of large-scale violence, apparently carried out in an organised fashion and resulting in numerous victims. Most of these attacks were directed against non-combatant civilian populations consisting primarily of women and children. As a consequence, the vast majority of acts of violence perpetrated during these years, which formed part of various waves of reprisals and campaigns of persecution and pursuit of refugees, became collectively, a series of widespread and systematic attacks against civilian populations and could be found by a competent court to constitute crimes against humanity”4.
On the other hand, the 2012 UN Group of experts report on the conflict in Congo clearly documented the support by Kagame’ s army to M23, a criminal rebel movement which is effectively commanded by the Rwandan Minister of Defence, General James Kabarebe. The report says “Rwandan officials exercise overall command and strategic planning on M23. Politicians, current and former M23 members, Congolese armed forces officers and former Rwandan armed forces officers all confirmed that Gen. Ntaganda and Col. Makenga received direct military orders from the Chief of Staff of the Rwandan armed forces, Gen. Kayonga, who in turn acted on instructions from the Minister of Defence of Rwanda, Gen. Kabarebe”5. The M23 is a rebel group that has been accused of mass killings of women, children and the elderly, rape, torture, recruitment of children, plundering of natural resources, etc. This support has led to the international community’s decision to suspend foreign aid that was arrogantly used to fund those criminal activities in Congo and at home.
The 2012 Foreign and Commonwealth office reports on human rights confirms “ There is credible and compelling evidence of Rwandan support to M23 militia who have committed human rights abuses in eastern DRC, including the recruitment of child soldiers, sexual violence and displacement of people”6.
Prof Tufano, the man you are inviting to Oxford University, is well known for his violation of human rights both at home and abroad. He uses his killing squad to silence any real or perceived critics as evidenced by his harassment and assassinations of Rwandans abroad7. Can we remind you of the “Threats to life warning notices” that the UK Metropolitan police issued to a number of Rwandans in May 2011, warning them that “reliable intelligence states that the Rwandan Government poses an imminent threat to your life. The threat could come in any form. You should be aware of other high profile cases where action such as this has been conducted in the past. Conventional and unconventional means have been used”8. We are worried that your welcoming to Mr Kagame will enable him infiltrate other killing squads in this country and that will put our lives and those of other Rwandans in danger.
Mr Kagame is a dictator who crashes any dissenting voice in Rwanda and abroad. The recent 2012 US Department of State’s report on Human Rights says “The most important human rights problems in the country [Rwanda] remained the government’s targeting of journalists, political opponents, and human rights advocates for harassment, arrest, and abuse; disregard for the rule of law among security forces and the judiciary; restrictions on civil liberties; and support of rebel groups in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Other major human rights problems included arbitrary or unlawful killings, both within the country and abroad; disappearances; torture; harsh
4 http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/ZR/DRC_MAPPING_REPORT_FINAL_EN.pdfpara 26
5http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S%2F2012%2F843&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.un.org%2Fsc%2Fcommittees%2F1533%2Fegroup.shtml&Lang=E para 32
8 We are attaching a copy of one of those “Threats to life warnings” for your information
conditions in prisons and detention centers; arbitrary arrest; prolonged pretrial detention; executive interference in the judiciary; and government infringement on citizens’ privacy rights”9. On the other hand, Kagame ‘s intolerance to criticism has earned Rwanda a handsome 161st place out of 179 countries according to the 2013 Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index, making of him one of the world’s worst 20 predators of press freedom10.
In the same vein, the 2012 Human Rights Watch report11 says “…Moreover, freedom of expression and political space are still severely restricted. Members of opposition parties, journalists, and other perceived critics of the government were arrested, detained, and tried, some solely for expressing their views”. And they support their argument with an example : “In February, Agnès Nkusi Uwimana and Saidati Mukakibibi, of the newspaper Umurabyo, were tried and sentenced to 17 years and 7 years, respectively, for publishing articles critical of the government and President Kagame”.
Mr Kagame has completely closed the political space in Rwanda. In the build-up to the 2010 elections he imprisoned all his potential competitors who are rotting in prison till now. The list of his victims is endless but we can mention a few such as the 2012 nominees for the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Mrs Victoire Ingabire, Bernard Ntaganda and Deo Mushaidi. After crashing all possible opposition, Mr Kagame rigged elections and awarded himself a staggering 93% of the votes, a proper stalinian score!
The Rwanda’s development myth
Dear Prof Tufano, Kagame’s lobbying machine has managed to convince people who do not have enough information on Rwanda that that country is a model for economic growth. This is pure propaganda and it is an insult to Rwandans whose misery has even worsened under Kagame’ s rule. As we have shown you this is a police state where no credible statistics can be produced. The lack of independent voice makes it impossible for the external world to know exactly what happens in Rwanda, for this is a proper stalinian state, a North Korea of Africa. The fact that Kagame and his inner circle have built a few multi-storey buildings in Kigali from the blood money they get after killing Congolese and plundering their natural resources as confirmed by numerous UN reports, or from appropriating the booming foreign aid, does not make of Rwanda a model of economic growth.
According to the UNDP report on the human development index12, Rwanda ranks 166th out of 187 countries in the world with a HDI of 0.429 far below the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 0.463 today13. The report goes farther and says, between 1985 and 2001, the share of the gross domestic product by the 10% richest almost doubled from 24.58% to 43.22% while the poorest 10% saw their meager share reduced by more than a half from 4.4% to 2.13 % making Rwanda one of the economies with the highest and continuously rising GINI coefficient. According to the World Bank14, Rwanda’s GINI coefficient rose from 28.5% in 1985 to 51 % in 2012, while according to the above mentioned UNPD report, three Rwandans out of four (76.8%) live below the poverty line on less than $1.25 per day.
That is the reality that Kagame’s syphocants have been trying to cover up. And that is the so called Singapore of Africa that Mr. Kagame is coming to sell to your University. In that context of inequality
11 11 http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/related_material/rwanda_2012.pdf
12 HDI is a composite measure of three basic dimensions of human development: health, education and income
and criminal authoritarianism, where is the sustainable development that he is coming to tell Oxford students? These students surely deserve better than that.
Kagame is a selfish and corrupt guy. Despite 50% of his country’s budget coming from foreign aid, he afforded himself 2 private jets worth about £120 million that he lets to his government for his private journeys around the world at an exorbitant hourly price of USD 10,000. He can even afford a hotel room costing £12,00015 in New York while as per the World Bank world development indicators, 76.8 % of his fellow Rwandans live on less than $1.25 a day. He owns many properties in Europe and America including offices and houses that he lets to Rwandan embassies at exorbitant prices
Prof Tufano, Kagame’s crimes and flaws are so many that we cannot mention all of them in this letter. We only want to warn you and encourage you to protect the reputation of the Oxford University. We do not want you to come to regret your decision in the future for having associated your university with the Pinochet of Africa, a dictator that is worse than Gadhafi of Libya16. It would be a failure on your part if in the future, when humanity opens its eyes on Kagame’s crimes, you are investigated as it recently happened to some people at the London School of Economics for having associated themselves with the Gadhafi family to the point of awarding a dubious PhD to one of his sons. It would be a shame to see a criminal and otherwise school failure like Kagame- who is actually supposed to be in Hague alongside his similarly minded Charles Taylor answering to judges’ questions as hinted on by some respected diplomats17- being treated as a model for Oxford students.
We are of the view that the University of Oxford and its students deserve better. We appreciate the university’s interest in African matters but for sure Kagame is the least qualified African to represent Africans at Oxford University. It is actually a shame not only for the Rwandan people but also to all Africa to see the man with more blood on his hands than Adolf Hitler taking the stage at a prestigious university like Oxford to talk on their behalf. However it would also be a disgrace for any university of Oxford caliber and its leadership to ignore all the information in the public domain about Kagame’s crimes both on his people and abroad and roll out a red carpet for him. As Albert Einstein said “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”. We urge the University of Oxford and the Saïd Business School to choose the right side in history by closing its doors on this well-known criminal.
Thanking you in advance for your action, please rest assured of our highest consideration. For further clarifications on this, please do not hesitate to contact us.
List of Signatories: Please see attachment
Prof Andrew Hamilton, Vice Chancellor- University of Oxford
Hon. Nicola Blackwood (MP), House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA
Mr President of Oxford University Students Union (OUSU)