Tag Archives: Rwanda

How To Win An Election In Rwanda

The nation of Rwanda lives in the hearts of many people due to the horrific genocide which swept the country during the 1990s that resulted in the deaths of untold thousands of Tutsi people by the Hutu government. After the Tutsi army was able to regain control of the nation, it was hoped a new era of peace and respect for human life would become the norm. Alas, those who once were persecuted all too often adopt behaviors of their enemies rather than behaviors of peace and democracy. An election looms and the government of Rwanda has decided it must win the contest. A simple solution is placing in prison those who oppose the government or, just kill a few to send the message of how to vote. Andre Kagwa Rwiscreta, a senior member of the opposing party was found hacked to death, the fourth such killing of critics in the past few months.

A few weeks ago, an editor of a newspaper which opposes the government initially had his paper closed and shortly after had his life closed. Rwanda has suffered too much in the past decades to renew hate and violence as the norm of behavior. Remember the genocide and return to the path of democracy.

Genocide Denial Is Stupidity, Not A Crime

In Turkey, it is a crime to claim that genocidal policies were carried under the Ottoman Empire against Armenians. In several European nations it is a crime to deny the existence of the Holocaust during World War II. In Rwanda, it is a crime to deny the Hutu government in the 1990s carried out a policy of genocide against Tutus. Peter Erlinger, an American professor from William Mitchell College, was asked to provide assistance to a Rwanda opposition leader, Victoire Ingabue who is charged with a criminal act because he denies there was genocide in Rwanda during the 1990s. The American was arrested and he is now charged with genocide denial. The issue is clear, whether it be the Holocaust or Rwanda or Darfur or Indonesia, people have a right to be ignorant. If we arrested all the ignorant people in the world, there would be no one left to run the planet.

To one who endured the genocide in Rwanda or whose parents and relatives were killed, it is painful hearing that individuals still do not believe the reality of this horror. There are occasions in life when one must bite a lip and allow stupidity to be expressed. One never knows when one’s idea’s will be judged to be a crime.

Rwanda Genocide Accused Freed In UK

Four men accused of participating in the infamous 1994 Rwanda genocide were freed by a British court on grounds if they returned to Rwanda it would be impossible for them to be accorded a fair trial. The justices ruled to accept the extradition request from the Rwanda government would be in violation of Article 6 of the European convention on human rights which safeguards the right to a fair trial. The men are accused of killing or conspiring to kill members of the Tutu ethnic group. Lord Justice Laws and Lord Justice Sullivan ruled there was concern over the “impartiality and independence” of Rwandan courts. Some witnesses claimed they were afraid to testify in support of the four men because they would then face being placed on trial themselves.

This is certainly a complex issue, the men are accused of participation in the Rwanda genocide but they have a right to a fair trial. We have learned from the Bush administration that accusing someone does not mean the person is guilty. On the other hand, what if they were guilty and escaped punishment because their rights were being protected?

The War Time Forgot Or Never Thought About!

Pick up a newspaper these days, regardless of where it is purchased in the world, and there is bound to be stories concerning the situation between Israel and Palestinians. Glance at photos on You Tube or in journals and one encounters numerous presentations of dead or wounded people in Gaza. But, if one asked the ordinary American or European citizen to cite which area of the world is experiencing the most violence, few would mention the Congo. Since 2000 an estimated five million people have been killed in that region and thousands of women have been raped. It is a war that few think or care about and the sufferings of Congolese is the last thing on the mind of those who loudly proclaim their concern for social justice and peace. A joint Rwanda/Congo military operation is coming to a conclusion in which there was an attempt to drive Hutu forces from the Congo.

Of course, even if Hutu force are expelled from the Congo, the Rwanda troops will remain and return to their exploitation of Congo wealth for their own purposes. The Congo has become every neighboring African country’s gold mine of riches which they intend to use for their own purposes and ignore the rights and needs of Congolese.

What this writer would not give for some protests among European intellectuals about the horror that daily transpires in the Congo. Of course, that would require these shining lights of liberalism to take their minds off Gaza for a moment and think about the plight of black skinned people. Are there elements of latent prejudice against black skinned people in which area of concern is addressed by European intellectuals?

Congo Thug Leader Arrested!

Rwandan and Congolese troops finally worked together as a team and conducted a joint operation which has resulted in capturing one of the leaders of an invading army which has caused tremendous destabilization of the Congo. Troops captured General Laurent Nkunda, a Tutsi leader who up to this point has been supported by the government of Rwanda. The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said: “We ask the Rwandan government to respect international law and extradite General Nkunda to Congo.” This operation represents a major shift from ignoring the government of the Congo to working with it to help eliminate the numerous invading armies which have created devastation.

However, the danger is that Nkunda’s arrogance and corruption may simply have turned his own followers against him which could lead to another leader from his group emerging who would continue the program of invasion death and destruction. Time will tell.

Rwanda Supports Death In Congo

A decade ago, the Tutsi people of Rwanda were attacked by Hutus and subjected to the horror of a genocide in which over 800,000 were killed. Today, according to a UN report, the government of Rwanda is providing military support to Tutsi rebels fighting in the Congo who have helped to kill over 5,000,000 and drive millions of others into exile. The report also cites evidence the government of the Congo is also helping to fuel conflict. As the UN investigating committee notes, “this is the most concrete evidence so far of direct government involvement in militias. For years, Rwanda and Congo have been dancing around the international community, saying prove it. This proves it.”

Among the horrible events discussed in the report is efforts by the government of Rwanda to recruit soldiers, including children and supply military equipment for a war that is genocidal in operation. How can people who endured a genocide just fifteen years ago, support genocide!! On the flip side, it appears the Congo government is supporting the Hutus who kill people in Congo. Who are these leaders?

Congo Rebel Chief Threatens Further War

The tragedy of the Congo goes on and on as its people are brutalized, its women raped, and millions are killed by greedy fellow Africans whose only goal is obtaining the wealth of the unfortunate country. General Laurent Nkunda, a Rwandan Tutsi who entered the Congo on the pretest he was after former Rwandan Hutus, demanded that the government of the Congo must negotiate with him or he might march on the capital and take over the country. Nkunda’s troops have routed government forces and taken control of a large swath of the nation. “If there is no negotiation,” boasted the rebel chief, “let us then say there is war.”

Nkunda has been talking with mediator former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obsanjo, who is furious the rebel leader disregarded his plea for peace by making further attacks. By attacking after promising peace, said Obsanjo, “you are making me a laughing stock.”

There is chaos in the Congo since it lacks an effective government and its army is ill trained, ill equipped and lacking in morale or leadership. Perhaps, it is time for the United Nations to assume some form of trusteeship for the nation.

Congo Cease Fire??

The Congo has been the scene of unprecedented horror as several nations and dozens of insurgents vie for control of its resources. It is estimated about five million innocent people have died in the Congo since 2000. UN peacekeeper forces have been unable to halt the genocide which now envelops the nation. A prominent rebel leader, General Laurent Nkunda, has agreed to a temporary cease fire that will be monitored. The agreement was hammered out with the assistance of former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obsanjo. However, Nkunda was not apparently receptive to the idea of a UN peacekeeping force that would enforce the cease fire.

According to Obsanjo, “He(Lukunda) accepts the UN envoy as a mediator between his side and the government side. He wants the government to accept responsibility for a ceasefire by what he called government allies.” So called “General” Lukunda is actually from Rwanda and was part of groups that entered the Congo in search of riches, not in an effort to help the people of this sad country. Frankly, there is no possibility for a “peace” that benefits the people of the Congo unless other African powers become serious and exert pressure on Rwanda for its interference in the affairs of a neighboring nation.

Congo Being Torn To Pieces And No One Cares

Each passing day reveals increasing chaos in the Congo as its government has virtually lost power to enforce its own will upon the nation. Rebel armies cut across the Congo leaving death and destruction in their wake and it is becoming clear that an army which is connected to the Tutsi government of Rwanda has become a dominant force in the country. The National Congress for the Defense of the People(CNDP) led by Llaurent Nkunda, a renegade general from the Rwanda army, is slashing his way toward the capital city of Kinshasa where President Kabila waits without sufficient soldiers to even put up a good fight. In the meantime, rebel forces take over villages and all too often assault women and take food from the population. Actually, some villagers are beginning to establish relations with rebel forces who they believe at least are not as brutal as government forces.

Nkunda argues the Congo gave refuge to Hutu soldiers who fled Rwanda years ago after their failed genocide to wipe out the Tutsi minority failed. The Congo government believes Nkunda is merely a puppet of the Rwanda government and seeks to take over the entire country of the Congo.

There are fears of another genocide if Nkunda seeks out Hutus and begins killing them. The ironic aspect of the situation is that Tutsi Rwandans were subject to a genocide and now they are instruments of a potential genocide. Do they even realize the similarity?

Who Did What In Rwanda Genocide?

The Rwandan government has issued a 500 page report that alleges France was aware of preparations for the genocide and the French military in Rwanda helped to plan and carry out the killings of members of the Tutsi minority. It accuses French troops in Operation Turquoise of acts of murder and rape against Tutsi people of whom 800,000 were slaughtered by the Hutu majority. The Rwandan government calls on international bodies to indict French officials for their role in the Rwandan genocide.

French Defense Minister Herve Morin rejected as “intolerable” the allegations by Rwanda concerning the supposed role played by French forces in the genocide that led to the death of 800,000 Tutsis. Morin was in Rwanda and argues, “I still remember what the military did to save hundreds and thousands of human lives in abominable conditions.” he claims a French parliamentary investigation cleared French troops of any inhumane behavior.

Perhaps, it is time for the African Union or the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation since charges of genocide should not be lightly made or disputed.