Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The strangulation of Patrick Karegeya or the tipping point in the fight against the Kagame regime

Colonel Patrick Karegeya
By Frank Samvura
Gicumbi District
Northern Province

14th January 2014

A few years ago, a young English-Canadian journalist named Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000)”. He defined The Tipping Point as that dramatic moment when little causes drive the unexpected to become expected and propel the idea of radical change to certain acceptance. Could the assassination of Colonel Patrick Karegeya be the dramatic moment the people of Rwanda have been waiting for?

For nearly two decades, the motto of the Kagame-led regime in Kigali has been very clear; “you are either with us or against us. And if you are against us, you must face consequences. You die like a dog”. These words were said by at least three Rwandan cabinet ministers during the past two weeks. Last Sunday 12th January 2014, President Kagame self-confessed of the killing of Colonel Patrick Karegeya on New Year eve in Johannesburg, South Africa. He said that those who undermine his country "usually face serious consequences, wherever they are".  

The King is naked. General Kagame has finally shown his true colours. The firefighter arson who drew sympathy and legitimacy from “stopping” the genocide and from the collective guilt of the international community has turned out to be a bloodthirsty tyrant. The killing of Colonel Patrick Karegaya that followed three assassination attempts on the life of General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa is unique. For over twenty years, most of the political assassinations inside and outside Rwanda targeted the leaders of the downtrodden ethnic group. The chickens have now come home to roost. It is the turn of those who supported Paul Kagame’s rise to power to be eliminated; unless the magic moment saves the day.

Gladwell calls in his book a tipping point as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point". The Rwandan political opposition has reached the boiling point or the threshold. Opposition groups must unite for their own survival and remain divided for their own peril. The assassination of Colonel Patrick Karegeya is what Gladwell would call a “stickiness factor” or a “catalyst”.  Rwandan political parties must build a cross-ethnic movement geared towards removing Paul Kagame from power. The international community would have no choice but to support this new unified movement.
As Jennifer G. Cooke of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC recently put it “Cumulative evidence of egregious human rights abuses or further allegations of planned political assassinations could drive a major rethinking among donors”. Kagame’s strongest supporters such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair or Rick Warren have never believed in the stories of pro-democracy activities. They now see a pattern of intolerance that includes numerous political assassinations, closing down of newspapers and arrest of critics.  Ms. Victoire Ingabire’s sentencing to fifteen years in prison is Kigame’s desperate and pervasive move to cling on to power. Unfortunately, his remaining days on the throne of Rwanda are numbered. Celebrations which have already started in Goma are around the corner.

Related stories:
Rwanda: Karegeya's assassination may speed up political change



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