Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Does Truth Matter in Burundi Crisis?

By Deo Lukyamuzi
Montreal, Canada
May 19, 2015

Now that the dust has settled, can we have some truths as to the events in Burundi that culminated in a failed coup d’état this past week of 11th May.   I will leave the legal quandaries of whether by contesting in another presidential election President Nkurunziza is violating any constitutional provision to experts who can in a calm and professional way enrich the debate without choosing sides. 
During this melee, I found a few outbursts rather annoying and for that matter, they deserve some barbs.  A one Bernard Maingain all the way from Belgium, a lawyer and wanna-be expert on Great lakes affairs, reported that there were FDLR (Interahamwe) operating in Burundi on the side of President Nkurunziza and his CNDD-FDD party.  In Fact, Mr. Maingain went ahead and sent an urgent message to the UN headquarters calling on the international body to intervene and prevent a possible genocide.  Before I was done sighing, out of fatigue due to the abundancy of quack experts on all things African, the same claim surfaced from Rwanda, and then it was re-echoed all over the place including coup plotters who even after their project fizzled,  insisted that Interahamwe must leave Burundian soil.

According to the UN’s Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework Report released last March, there were an estimated 1,900 strong FDLR still holding out in the DRC jungles half of whom, actually had weapons.   That being the case, why in all our wild imaginations should we believe that President Nkurunziza would seek the intervention of a rag tag militia to fight his battles when he has a well-equipped army, police and even CNDD-FDD Youth wing-the Imbonerakure who can and actually, did the job?  President Nkurunziza is not known to have an erratic personality to the contrary; he is quite an analytical mind.

The disservice that those who are quick to make wild accusations and others who buy into them hook, line and sinker, is to distort an important pre-occupying question  and replace it with salacious accusations that only appeal to lazy minds and those with hidden agenda at the expense of a whole country’s future.  There were no FDLR in Burundi and the dispute in Burundi is a political one rather than an ethnic one.  Of course there are those who get paid to distort but, in this Burundi case I am not terribly disappointed their narrative came to naught.

Come in Bensouda.  Fatou Bensouda is the hot prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. Before we even knew who was winning between the coup plotters and coup defenders, Fatou was no one to be left out of the action.  She came swinging like the legendary head teacher with a big stick in the Taro Affair.  Fatou Bensouda issued a warning to President Nkurunziza of possible prosection for some form of crimes –Really! The poor guy was not even in the country and his political life was hanging by the thread never mind his personal security, but Bensouda felt it urgent to issue warning before she could even crystallise the prosecutable nature of the possible allegeable crimes.  That is kind of futuristic. 

Does this point to an international conspiracy against President Nkurunziza as some in his circle have alleged?  Why else would otherwise competent people and organisations make accusations and dire warnings before they even gather sufficient evidence credible or fictive before their outbursts?

Of the four other heads of state who went to Tanzania in the quest to work out a possible resolution of the crisis, it is only Presidents Kikwete and Kenyata who can counsel Nkurunziza with a semblance of any moral higher ground.  President Museveni of Uganda actually changed the constitution to allow himself to stay in power as long as he wants.  What used to be two five years presidential term limits were transformed into termless and as we speak, he is slated to stand again in 2016 for another five years which will take him painfully close to 80years old; -talk about Mugabe having company.

As for Dr. Kagame Paul, regardless of prophesies of Andrew Mwenda, professor of Kagamean Studies at the independent, who god-knows from where, deduced that Kagame should reign until 2032, Kagame has no lessons to give to Nkurunziza.  It is rather to the contrary.  Campaigns are underway at full speed in all villages in Rwanda, local RPF leaders are cajoling peasants to sign petitions ‘pleading with parliamentarians to amend the constitution to allow Kagame to stand again’ and, ‘begging the president to not go but stay and steer the nation with his steady hand’ as, ‘no one else in the country can do such arduous task’. Actually, even with all this on-going chaos, there is still more freedom of speech, of assembly and expression in Burundi than there is in Rwanda.  So Kaguta and Kagame please, if you keep your advice to yourselves, it will certainly be more useful.

As for the international Community represented by UN and US,  the Barundi and the rest of us in the region will be better served if you spoke proper English that majority of us will comprehend rather that the habitual ‘we urge all parties to act with restraint and resolve their misunderstanding in a responsible manner’.  Prince Clemens Von Metternich once referred to such statements as loud sounding nothings.

Monday, March 9, 2015

No leader has succeeded another leader peacefully in Rwanda's history

By Yohani Mbera
March 9, 2015

In pre-colonial Rwanda, the unification process of Rwanda as we know it today was achieved by large through extermination of defeated hutu kings. To keep this memory of violent end for the former leaders, the Nyinginya royal drum (first Rwoga and then Karinga), symbolizing their power, was dressed with "ibikondo", the genitals of the defeated kings. Under the Nyiginya dynasty, a reigning Mwami had to die before a new one could be enthroned. Mwami Mibambwe Rutalindrwa was burnt with all his family and followers at Rucunshu.

In colonial Rwanda, Mwami Yuhi Musinga was deposed by the Belgian colonialists and sent into forced exile in Congo where he died. Mwami Mutara Rudahigwa died in office in controversial circumstances in Burundi. Mwami Kigeli Ndahindurwa was deposed by the people in a referendum while in forced exile where he still lives.

In post-colonial Rwanda, President Kayibanda was deposed by a military coup d'Etat and died of mistreatment under house arrest. President Habyarimana was assassinated when his plane was shot down by two missiles fired by an RPA squad. Interim President Sindikubwabo died in the Congolese jungles along with hundreds of thousands of hutu refugees exterminated by RPA invading forces there. President Bizimungu was forced to resign and was jailed.

In post-Cold War Rwanda, the incumbent President Kagame took power by force, rules by force and wants to rule for life in a system that blocks the Hutu majority from participating into national politics in the name of preventing genocide, since they are held globally responsible and are even expected to ask for forgiveness even for those who were not yet born when it happened.

Rwanda is poised to go through other painful times before that tradition of political violence is uprooted.


Le camp des réfugiés hutu de Kirama  
été brulé par les FARDC et RDF
Par Charles Ndereyehe
Commissaire chargé de l’Information aux FDU-Inkingi

Bruxelles le 9 Mars 2015

Depuis le déclenchement des opérations de l’armée congolaises « contre les FDLR » le 24 février 2015, des informations alarmantes nous parviennent, faisant état de crimes de guerre et de crimes contre l’humanité. Des voix de plus en plus insistantes avec des images à l’appui, font état de destructions à l’artillerie lourde et brûlis  systématique des camps de réfugiés rwandais au KIVU.  Ces opérations  dirigées par le général Bruno Mandevu seraient conjointement menées avec l'appui des contingents militaires venus du Rwanda.

Certaines sources parlent de massacres de plusieurs centaines de réfugiés rwandais et des citoyens congolais à BIBWE-MASISI, KIRAMA-RUTSHURU, CHAHI, KIWANJA. Les congolais de la région des VIRUNGA, frontalière avec le Rwanda, affirment avoir vu une infiltration massive des troupes fraiches rwandaises lourdement armées ; ceci confirme les informations reçues de Kigali faisant état de rappel sous les drapeaux des réservistes et des démobilisés recyclés intensivement à Kanombe-Kigali pour être envoyés au front en RDC.

Les FDU-Inkingi déplorent que les droits de l’homme soient vraisemblablement valables lorsqu’ils coïncident avec les intérêts des grandes puissances qui siègent au Conseil de Sécurité. Cette nouvelle guerre, qui se déroule loin des cameras en l'absence d'organisations humanitaires, rappelle à bien d’égards les tristes massacres des réfugiés rwandais par des opérations combinées des rebelles des AFDL et de l’armée du FPR en 1996-97. Ces exactions ont été largement documentées par le rapport Mapping Report. Selon ce rapport des Nations Unies, certaines exactions pourraient être qualifiées de crimes de génocide. Pour bien assoir le régime du FPR, certains pays qui se réclament champions des droits de l’homme, s’étaient pourtant voilés la face pour affirmer cyniquement que les réfugiés rwandais rescapés de ces massacres étaient tous rentrés au Rwanda. Il a fallu le courage de certaines personnalités comme Mme Emma Bonino, Commissaire européenne à l'action humanitaire, pour découvrir plus de 200.000 réfugiés fantômes abandonnés à eux-mêmes à Tingi-Tingi.

Les FDU-Inkingi réitèrent qu’aucune solution militaire en RDC ne peut apporter des solutions durables à la crise politique rwandaise. La persistance des réfugiés et les diverses formes de rébellions qui en découlent sont en effet le résultat de la marginalisation politique et économique d'une couche de la population rwandaise. La résolution durable du conflit rwandais ne peut être réalisée qu’à travers un dialogue inter-rwandais hautement inclusif (DIRHI). Ce dialogue doit inclure toutes les parties prenantes, y compris les différents protagonistes, tant à l'intérieur qu’à l'extérieur du pays, armés ou non, ainsi que des représentants des confessions religieuses et de la société civile. A travers ce dialogue, les représentants des diverses composantes s’accorderaient sur des mécanismes constitutionnels et des arrangements institutionnels de gestion du pouvoir qui rassureraient et sécuriseraient tout un chacun.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rwanda: Kizito Mihigo is a political prisoner

By Sixbert Musangamfura
Secretary General

Lyon, 05th March 2015

Our political organisation, FDU - National Movement - INKUBIRI has followed with concern the political trial of genocide survivors, namely the Rwandan musician artist Kizito Mihigo, the journalist Cassien Ntamuhanga, Jean Paul Dukuzumuremyi and student Agnes Niyibizi. On 27 February 2015, the Kigali High Court found three of them guilty of forming a criminal group and conspiracy to murder President Paul Kagame or other dignitaries. They were handed sentences of 10, 25 and 30 years in prison.

This kangaroo trial was initiated after the artist, a genocide survivor, revealed a very artistic and popular music-video entitled “Igisobanuro cy'urupfu”, which translates “the meaning of death”, advocating the non discrimination of our dead and the memory of victims of both genocide against Tutsi and crimes against humanity against Hutu. This song irritated deniers of crimes against humanity committed against Hutu population by some leaders of the ruling RPF.

The hefty sentences came in a spree of suspicious deaths of people in Rwanda: the mystery of dead bodies from Rwanda found floating in the Rweru lake in 2014  is still calling for investigations; Dr. Emmanuel Gasakure, from the University medical hospital and former personal doctor for President Paul Kagame was executed by a policeman in police custody on 25 February 2015; the prominent businessman Assinapol Rwigara lost his life in a suspicious tragic road accident on 05 February 2015, etc.

These extra-judicial killings and sentences that are obviously politically motivated are unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms.

FDU - National Movement - INKUBIRI expresses its keen sympathy for all political prisoners in Rwanda, for the families and victims of politically motivated assassinations and for all those suffering from the iron fist of the  current dictatorship.