PRESS RELEASE N° 021/2016
The hero of Mozambique liberation and independence Samora MACHEL pointed out that “a soldier without politics is an assassin, i.e. using force for its own sake or for personal interest and not to serve the interest of the people. President Kagame should avoid being judged by history as an assassin.
It is very sad and tragic for Rwanda which General Kagame took power by force, and is now using force to oppress his own people and maintain himself in power indefinitely. During the last 22 years that the ruling party in Rwanda the RPF has been in power, it has demonstrated that it cannot manage people’s demands without resorting to violence and coercion. Rwanda has the highest number of refugees of all time in the history of the country cutting across, ethnicity and profession and the only regime that has hunted its critics to assassinate them. His people have been cowed down to accept, despite gross violations of human rights, to change the constitution that allows him to be in power for 40 years (1994- 2034). We recall that even though he was Vice President (1994 -2000) he was the man with real power.
Extra judicial killings
The president has set the tone in inviting his security agents to eliminate anyone who threatens state security which, under articles 463 and 451 of the penal code, includes anyone saying anything or tells others anything that is likely to incite the people against the government. This is come to mean anything that criticises government policy or practice and hence likely makes people hate the government.
For example, on January 12th, 2014, following the assassination of Col. Karegeya in South Africa, President Kagame made a speech of self – congratulation in which he stated: “Anyone who betrays our cause or wishes evil to our people will suffer the consequences. It’s only a question of how and when he will face the consequences”. President Kagame reiterated his threat in another speech on June 5, 2014 in Nyabihu in north-western region of Rwanda, “We will continue to arrest more suspects and if possible kill in broad daylight those who attempt to destabilize the country”.
Freedom House report 2015 considered Rwanda as “no free county”. Reporters without Borders’ report 2015, indicates that Rwanda ranks 161 out of 180 surveyed in terms of the freedom of the media; the Global Peace Institute Index Report for 2015 on the trend of peace in the world ranks Rwanda 139th out of 162. According to the UCLA sociologist Andreas Wimmer, Rwanda has the third – highest level of political exclusion in the world (behind Sudan and Syria).
On October 6, 2016, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning “the politically motivated trials, the prosecution of political opponents and the prejudging of the outcome of the trial”. It also condemned acts of intimidation, arrests, detentions and prosecutions of opposition party leaders, members and activists, as well as journalists and other perceived critics of the Rwandan Government, solely for expressing their view”. The United States country report 2015 also stated “government harassment, arrest, and abuse of political opponents, human rights advocates, and individuals perceived to pose a threat to government control and social order; security forces’ disregard for the rule of law; and restrictions on civil liberties. Due to restrictions on the registration and operation of opposition parties, citizens did not can change their government through free and fair elections. The report also highlighted “arbitrary or unlawful killings; torture and harsh conditions in prisons and detention centers; arbitrary arrest; prolonged pre-trial detention; government infringement on citizens’ privacy rights and on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association”
Rwandan refugees who do not show their allegiance to the current government are perceived as enemies and considered a threat to the Rwandan regime, to be hunted down. The closest incidents include among others, three assassination attempts against General Kayumba Nyamwasa, the former chief of staff refugee in South Africa, former chief intelligence Patrick Karegeya assassinated in a hotel room in South Africa, a former Minister of Internal affairs Seth Sendashonga and a former Member of Parliament Colonel Lizinde Theoneste were gunned down in Nairobi. A former body guard who had served President Kagame for 20 years, Lt Joel Mutabazi, was kidnapped from a UNHCR safe house in Uganda in 2014 and brought back to Rwanda. He confessed to journalists that he had fled because he had grown “tired of the plots, political intrigue and killings orchestrated by the regime, and just wanted to live a normal life with his wife”. The list is endless.
The Rwandan army is accused of having killed at least 200,000 (two hundred thousand) Hutu refugees when it invaded the DRC in 1996 and 1998. According to UN Mapping report some of the crimes committed could be qualify as genocide before a court of law. Paragraph 515 of the UN mapping report points out. “Several of the massacres listed were committed regardless of the age or gender of the victims. This is particularly true of the crimes committed in Kibumba (October 1996), Mugunga and Osso (November 1996), Hombo and Biriko (December 1996) in the province of North Kivu, Kashusha and Shanje (November 1996) in the province of South Kivu, Tingi – Tingi and Lubutu (March 1997) in Maniema Province, and Boende (April 1997) in Équateur Province, where the clear majority of victims were women and children. Furthermore, no effort was made to make a distinction between Hutus who were members of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe and Hutu civilians, whether they were refugees. This tendency to put all Hutus together and “tar them with the same brush” is also illustrated by the declarations made during the “awarenesss – raising speeches” made by the AFDL/APR in certain places, according to which any Hutu still present in Zaire must necessarily be a perpetrator of genocide, since the “real” refugees had already returned to Rwanda. These “awareness – raising speeches” made in North Kivu also incited the population to look for, kill or help to kill Rwandan Hutu refugees, whom they called “pigs”. This type of language would have been in widespread use during the operations in this region”
Economic miracle in Rwanda
Financial backers have tended to turn a blind eye to human rights violations because the government was doing well economically. However, despite the much – lauded economic success, the human development index is at the level of 1980s due high inequalities in income distribution. A joint Rwanda/UNDP (2007) acknowledged that “Rwanda’s high growth rates are deceptive in that they hide large and growing inequalities between social classes, geographic regions and gender”. About 81% of population who live in rural areas bypassed by economic development. And as the Economist Magazine (January 2007) observes “The RPF has marginalized or smeared dissenting voices in the name of “one Rwanda” and the ruling party’s supporters are accruing wealth and power. Rwanda is now ranking among the 15% most unequal country in the world.
We would like to recall that much of the economic achievements depend on foreign aid. Rwanda Overseas Development Aid (ODA) per capita was in 2012, $77; Kenya, $61; Tanzania, $59; Burundi, $53, and Uganda, $49; yet per capita income is $630, while Kenya’s $1,200 and Tanzania’s is $695. The share of exports of goods and services in the economy is lower than Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as other country groups (low income, Sub-Saharan Africa) which has made Rwanda reliant on foreign financing, Rwanda has received substantial aid of over $12 billion in last 20 years. Foreign aid accounts for 86% of gross fixed capital formation (i.e. net additions of capital stock such buildings, roads, and other infrastructural assets).
The Rwanda government: a destabilising force in the Great Lakes Region
The Rwandan regime has been selling its image as a pan Africanist but there is nothing more from the truth. The regime has twice invaded its neighbour the Democratic Republic of the Congo triggering the death of more than 6 million Congolese, the worst humanitarian disaster since the Second World War.
The Rwandan regime has been destabilising the DRC as a strategy to hold on power as king maker in the region and to accumulate wealth from the mineral resources of the DRC. Presenting the final Report (Document S/2002/1146) of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN panel chairperson Safiatou Ba-N’Daw said in a report released on Monday 28th October 2003 that “the plunder of natural resources in the DRC had become the motive and engine of the war that has cost more than 3 million lives”. The panel recommended the establishment of “an international mechanism” to prosecute high – ranking military and government officials, including relatives of Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Rwanda is now one of the world’s big exporters of Coltan which it does not produce.
Rwanda is engaged in destabilising Burundi. UN experts have reported “recruitment of Burundian refugees – including children – may have occurred in Rwanda in the past year, with training provided to facilitate their participation in armed groups seeking to overthrow through violent means the Government of Burundi”.
It is an established fact that the Rwandan government uses charges of “genocidal ideology” and “ethnic divisionism” to attack independent critics and is more concerned with political survival than with lasting reconciliation, manipulating the memory of the genocide for political gain. This is not only political cynicism but an insult to those who lost their loved ones.
It is an open secret that the claim of a licence to kill because it acted alone to stop genocide when others were looking is a total lie. When killings started on April 7, 1994, the RPF (Rwandese Patriotic Front) opposed foreign military intervention. While the Security Council was deliberating on sending troops the RPF issued a statement on the 30th April 1994 declaring: “The time for U.N. intervention is long past. The genocide is almost completed. Most of the potential victims of the regime have either been killed or have since fled. Consequently, the Rwandese Patriotic Front hereby declares that it is categorically opposed to the proposed U.N. intervention force and will not under any circumstances cooperate in its setting up and operation”. It called upon the U.N. Security Council “not to authorize the deployment of the proposed force”. This was a total lie because thousands of Tutsis were still in hiding. RPF was more interested in total military victory than saving lives. It took another two months take over the capit.
Even though nothing can justify genocide and that those who are responsible must be punished, it is now an open secret that the current President of Rwanda ordered the terrorist act of shooting down the aircraft that was carrying the hutu Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and therefore triggering genocide in Rwanda.
We invite the Government of Mozambique and the International community at large to take the regime of Rwanda as it is and according to what the highly paid international public relations say. It is a ruthless dictatorship that has forced many of its citizens in exile
We call on Mozambican government to put pressure on the rwandan regime to respect human rights of its citizens and to stop persecution and/or assassination of rwandan refugees perceived by the regime as real or potential enemy of the regime
Done in Brussels, October 23, 2016.
Jean Damascene Munyampeta
Chair of the Platform
+32 488 96 37 65.