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When I first read a story in the Inyenyeri News that some Rwandans have been stripped off their nationality, as usual I thought that, it is the usual machination work of the political dissidents of RPF Government who just want to stain the good image and dirty our clean streets and extinguish the Venus streets of the smallest state of the great lakes region and thousand hills.
However, little did they know that, the same story will run on one of our famous reliable radios, the VOICE OF AMERICA.It was both a shock and dismay to me as a Rwandan but also as a human being. The question to the lips of many is, why did the state do this to her Citizens? What legal ground do they base this barbaric and Dishonorable act? Did or do the authors of this act know the legal and political implications of their actions?
On the other hand I’m not sure and certain that the top brass of this country are aware or authorized this act? Natural justice demands hearing both sides of the coin, therefore in my article I will refrain from passing my judgment without getting the other side of the government. However, the deliberate refusal of the government to respond to the media as the journalist of the Voice America said this morning raises more suspicion that, the cat is already wandering in the wild.
Although the travel document or the Passport for that matter is and will always remain a property of the state, the state has a contract with the holder to use it and if it’s used contrary to the authorized actions, the state can revoke or cancel a travel document or passport. But I do guess that the state if it is wise enough or regains its senses will say that the immigration officials acted ULTRA VIRES meaning that those who did it overstepped their powers, here the state will save her skin. But if they don’t, then it will not only be illegal but also madness of the highest order.
The constitution of Rwanda in article 23, says that every Rwandan has a right to move and circulate freely and to leave and return to the country.
These rights shall be restricted only by the law for reasons of public order or state security, in order to deal with a public menace or to protect persons in danger.
Article 24, Every Rwandan has the right to his/her country.
No Rwandan shall be banished from the country.
Article 29, every person has a right to private property, whether personal or owned in association with others. Private property, whether individually or collectively owned, is inviolable.
The right to property may not be interfered with except in public interest, in circumstances and procedures determined by law and subject to fair and prior compensation.
It is therefore inappropriate for the state as the guarantor of the rule of law to disregard all the steps and procedures. But even if they had followed all the above mentioned procedures, there is a red line they could not cross, what public security is posed by a young boy and girl of KAYUMBA AND KAREGEYA respectively? The state should and is required to distinguish between the political actors and the relatives and family members of those they call dissidents. What is the father or mother of KAYUMBA AND KAREGEYA respectively have to do with their children? Will the present head of state be happy when is out office to hear that his family members including his old mother being physically and psychologically tortured? Even if he is dead, I’m sure he will be restless in the grave.
This brings me to almost a similar situation in Uganda during MILTON OBOTE 11 regime when his soldiers kidnapped and tortured the mother Esteri Kokundeka of the, then guerrilla war leader who is now the president of Uganda YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVEN just because her son had rebelled against the government of OBOTE.
The war within
The political future of the RPF led government is unpredictable even to the insiders, why even the seniors and elders of the RPF fear to tell the truth and advise the leadership on the right course of action? With this kind of discontent within and outside the RPF establishment particularly with its former allies it is not only worrying but also a road to disintegration.
Can history repeat itself?
When Habyarariman started to kill his comrades who helped him to overthrow the regime of KAYIBANDA, little did he know that, the same people will be used against him after almost 30 years? Was habyarimana complacent or ignorant? This question could have been better answered by Habyariman himself but make no mistake, Habyarimana thought that he is too powerful, surrounded by army generals he had nurtured himself ignoring his comrades whom I have mentioned above. Indeed, PK having physically and politically exterminated his comrades and rapidly promoted his former aids to manage his security and that of the country, he thinks that he can peacefully go and sleep in KIYOVU, make himself i KINANI.
Why the international community silent? Is it guilty or conspiracy?
Once mentioned as the beacon of hope in the great lakes region by the former American President Clinton but now turning into monsters killing their own people or incarcerating them in prisons for just political disagreements which these leaders cannot tolerate in their own country. The answer to this question can be found in the article of Stephen Smith in The London Review of Books:
“Making Rwanda a more tragic place than it needs to be, I am not arguing that we should all know everything there is to know about Rwanda. My point is that we don’t seem to want to know what happened in 1994, or what’s happening now. We’ve learned the wrong lesson from the organised massacre of 800,000 people, which we failed to prevent. Eager to pay off our moral debt, we’re blinded by guilt. The near total lack of media coverage of the ICTR [the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in neighboring Tanzania] trials and findings suggests that we’re happy to waive our best chance of grasping the inner workings of the genocide. We clamour for international justice but the detailed proceedings of the tribunal don’t interest us. At the same time, the denial of freedom and rights under the previous regime in Rwanda impels us to shower [Paul] Kagame with leadership awards and aid money even as he denies them again. We are hypnotised by the 1994 genocide, and oblivious to the atrocities of a regime we regard as exemplary. Aid, we say, must be conditional on good governance – but post-genocide government is an exception. La Francophonie is at best ridiculous and at worst a vector of France’s influence, but the Commonwealth is honourable as it embraces a dictator who favours English over French. Democracy is a precondition of peace – but not in a post-genocidal state. Justice, truth and reconciliation heal – but not the wounds of exterminatory hatred. We hold these opinions not because they’re right but because they put us on the right side. This makes Rwanda a more tragic place than it needs to be”
‘Good’ survivors of genocide and ‘bad’ survivors in the hands of Rwanda’s dictator and his agents
by Frank LeFever
In 1994, while working with head-injury patients at Helen Hayes Hospital and preparing to present some of my research at the next meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, I heard of a genocide in Africa – in Rwanda, a country previously unknown to me – brutal and face-to-face, neighbor against neighbor, unlike the more systematic “impersonal” genocide in Germany a half-century before. I knew enough to reject the idea that it was a primitive “tribal” vendetta and suspected political manipulations exploiting some kind of social-economic rivalry but really could not focus on the details: I had trouble remembering from day to day which group was “Hutu” and which group was “Tutsi.” However, in my retirement (2003), largely through my involvement in the WBAI-FM, the NYC station of the Pacifica Foundation, I have focused a great deal of attention on Rwanda and on what happened and why – as a scientist, going to original sources whenever possible.Among other things, I have learned how the 1994 Hutu genocide against Tutsis began in 1990 with an invasion by a specific group of Tutsis who grew up in exile in Uganda, an invasion with Uganda’s cooperation. I will not attempt to outline all the complexities of what happened between Oct. 1, 1990, and April 6, 1994, except to say that the story we have been told is incomplete and that Paul Kagame did not ride in like a knight in shining armor to end a genocide; indeed, some, including his former bodyguards and his former chief of staff, have even argued that he caused the genocide. The record is clear that he killed many who stood between him and his goal in his drive to seize Kigali, the capital – Hutus and Tutsis alike. Moreover, he killed more people subsequently in Rwanda and in eastern Congo – typically women, children, sick and elderly – in refugee camps or fleeing through the jungle.
Within the “good survivor” vs. “bad survivor” framework, certain stories from survivors are encouraged, welcomed and embraced. More often than not, these are stories that reinforce the official image of leadership and benevolence of the current Rwandan regime. They praise the current president with having stopped the genocide against Tutsis but dare not mention his crimes prior to the 1994 genocide, his crimes during that period, nor his subsequent crimes, such as genocidal crimes in later years within the Democratic Republic of Congo. Acceptable survivor testimonies are ones that dare not raise the issue of war that was being waged by the current Rwandan ruling party, a war that claimed countless Rwandan lives over the course of four years leading up to the genocide of 1994.
The “bad” survivors are individuals who raise concerns about the current regime’s status as a benevolent hero. They challenge the current regime’s stance on democracy and raise issues of human rights abuse both within Rwanda and outside of Rwanda. Susan Rice, U.S. representative to the U.N., recently told Rwandan authorities that Rwanda is not a democratic country and needs to allow basic freedoms.Within Rwanda, genocide survivors saying this are targeted with smear campaigns, often exiled and – worse – imprisoned. Deo Mushayidi, a lone survivor from his entire family, an individual with no connection to the current military dictatorship, is serving a life sentence within Rwanda. His crime? Creating a political opposition party. Raising concerns regarding countless deaths committed by the ruling regimes. Speaking out against injustice, in a stifling atmosphere, and having little or no significant community to back him up.
Many other critics have fled to exile, including journalists of independent media. One of the most high profile exiles from Rwanda is Joseph Sebarenzi, former speaker of the House, whose book Claude praises as one of the fairest among many books written about Rwanda.
The Rwandan dictatorship has gone so far as to apply their typical charge of genocide denial against “bad” survivors to descendants of survivors of the Nazi genocide against Jews. The Kigali regime dictates to descendants of Holocaust survivors that they dare not defend “bad” Rwandan survivors, as in the case of the Lantos Foundation’s award to Paul Rusesabagina.
Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress, knew what it means to be imprisoned and beaten because of his ethnic classification, knew the kindness of strangers who sheltered him when he escaped, knew the risks of venturing out of a safe house to serve the underground opposition, and knew the pain of learning that his mother and other family members had been killed, along with 450,000 other Hungarian Jews. His daughter, Katrina Lantos Swett, continues to uphold her father’s human rights legacy through the Lantos Foundation.Rwandan agents have engaged in a campaign calling her a genocide denier for simply stating the obvious – that the Rwandan government is an authoritarian dictatorship that does not tolerate freedoms. The hate for human rights activists comes from the top, as Paul Kagame has said that he doesn’t “give a damn” about organizations such as Human Rights Watch.
Clearly, Katrina Lantos Swett knows something about genocide and about shielding targets of genocide and has been quick to spot the origins and motives of the smear campaign, saying: “I think if Paul Rusesabagina had not had the determination to draw attention to some of the concerns about what’s happening in Rwanda today, none of this outpouring would have taken place. It didn’t take place when the movie came out … it’s when he began to speak out that suddenly many really questionable and unsubstantiated charges were raised.”
She is also firm in stating that the award was given not only for his doing what he did in 1994, but also for his “continued courage” in speaking out about political oppression in Rwanda: “When you have someone who emerges as a compelling voice that is an irritant to a regime, very often the regime or their supporters or proxies will go to great lengths to discredit that individual.”
“Bad” genocide survivors from Rwanda, without any political baggage or connection to the military dictatorship of Rwanda, are bullied, intimidated and harassed. They are attacked by diplomats at forums and constantly have to deal with questioning of their legitimacy as survivors, despite the trauma they’ve faced and despite the difficulty of speaking out against the regime.
“Bad” genocide survivors from Rwanda, without any political baggage or connection to the military dictatorship of Rwanda, are bullied, intimidated and harassed.
For example, the hero of “Hotel Rwanda,” who saved many Tutsis from attacks by Hutus, Paul Rusesabagina, became Public Enemy No. 1 for simply saying that Hutus also died and for speaking out against the repressive measures of the new regime. He is vilified as a “genocide denier” and as a “double genocide” revisionist – and even as a “genocidaire” intent on overthrowing Kagame and renewing the genocide!
Another on Kagame’s hit list is a much less known genocide survivor whom I have heard speak on panels in New York City and have met personally, Claude Gatebuke. Claude’s personal history and consistent antagonism to all forms and locations of genocide, his passion for peaceful resolution of conflicts and reinstatement of a democratic society in Rwanda and elsewhere – Congo, especially – are impressive.The agents of the Rwandan government targeting Claude include a Rwandan “diplomat” at the U.N. by the name of Olivier Nduhungirehe, who also goes by the name of Theoneste Rwemalika (translated in English to mean one who kills instantly with one shot). The reasons for attacking Gatebuke include his criticism of the dictatorship in Rwanda as well as his vocal support for peace in the DR Congo and his denouncing of perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and even possible genocide against more than 5 million Congolese people. The U.N. Mapping Exercise Report for DR Congo released on Oct. 1, 2010, provides evidence for every claim Claude makes about the atrocities in Congo.
Gatebuke demands justice for the victims no matter who they are or where they are from and regardless of the perpetrators and is consistent in this in every forum. This is exactly the reason why the government of Rwanda and their supporters are targeting Gatebuke and denying his story of survival. Had he praised the policies of the Rwandan government or at least remained silent, no one would target Claude with hate speech in an attempt to stop his work.
The Kagame dictatorship’s agents do not limit themselves to verbal smears, vilification and outright lies in public forums and incessant propaganda encouraging hatred for dissidents – especially “bad” survivors. The regime in Kigali led by Paul Kagame is notorious for brutal attacks against those who disagree with them or denounce their crimes. In May of this year, the British police caught assassins sent by the Rwandan government to kill critics of the regime. Similarly, there have been three attempts to assassinate Rwanda’s former army chief of staff in South Africa. In June of 2010, he survived a shooting that lodged a bullet in his stomach. The Kagame dictatorship’s agents do not limit themselves to verbal smears, vilification and outright lies in public forums and incessant propaganda encouraging hatred for dissidents – especially “bad” survivors. The regime in Kigali led by Paul Kagame is notorious for brutal attacks against those who disagree with them or denounce their crimes.
Many other critics have fled to exile, including journalists of independent media. Those who are in Rwanda are not as fortunate. Journalist Leonard Rugambage was shot dead as he was planning to break a story of the Rwandan regime’s involvement in the assassination attempt in South Africa, while Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, vice president of an opposition party, was found with his head severed and a machete lying next to his dead body. Journalists Agnes Nkusi Uwimana and Saidath Mukakibibi are in jail for 17 and seven years respectively for writing critical reports of the president, while virtually every opposition leader is in jail, including genocide survivor Deo Mushayidi, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and Bernard Ntaganda, among others.
The question before us now is: How can we help Claude and Joseph and Paul and Deo and so many other courageous “bad survivors” survive Kagame’s current and future deadly attacks?
Frank LeFever is a retired neuroscientist, a director and past-president of the New York Neuropsychology Group, a non-profit scientific and educational corporation which he helped found in 1979, a member and frequent presenter at annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience and of the International Neuropsychological Society. He is also active in the governance of Pacifica Foundation’s New York City station WBAI-FM and of The New York Academy of Sciences Psychology Section. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dreadful grief was an understatement at the funeral service of the Rwandan journalist Charles Ingabire yesterday afternoon. It was more like the shroud on his death had descended on family members, friends and well-wishers bidding him final respects.
One by one, the mourners walked into Evangelical Restoration Church in Bakuli, many avoiding eye contacts with strangers and only speaking in hushed tones.
The funeral service that started about 2:30pm lasted for only about 20 minutes and had only two speakers.
First to speak was Pastor Shedrack Mporana, also a Rwandan, who described the day the editor of Rwanda’s Inyenyeri online news web site was shot as a sad one but urged mourners not to give into fear.
A second speaker, who only wanted to be identified as Pastor Yeremiya, also Rwandan, said many mourners wanted to pay their last respects to the deceased but they could not do so for security reasons.
“If you shoot someone dead, you are only killing the flesh not the spirit. We should not fear those who kill the flesh,” Pastor Yeremiya said.
No photos of identities
Several mourners we spoke to alleged being persecuted by government back home but none wanted their photographs taken or identities revealed.
podium, “There is someone who has sent spies to spy on us.”
Among the mourners were men in civilian clothes, most of whom had security gadgets. The men could be seen communicating on walkie-talkies as the service went on.
Ingabire, 32, was shot twice in the lower abdomen late in the night of November 30, by unknown people in Makies II Bar at Bukesa-Kikoni near Makerere, a Kampala suburb.
Police found five cartridges of spent bullets, which they suspected to have been discharged by a Sub Machine Gun that was used to shoot Ingabire, at the scene of crime.
Police also said they have arrested two suspects now in their custody to help with investigations.
Ingabire had earlier fled Rwanda for Uganda for fear that his life was in danger for being critical of Rwanda president Paul Kagame and his government.
He was buried yesterday in a government cemetery at Lusaze in Rubaga Division, Kampala. He is survived with a wife and a five-month old baby.
No Rwandan government official attended the funeral or burial.
A Rwandan journalist who was a prominent critic of Rwanda’s president was fatally shot in a bar in Kampala, Uganda, the Ugandan police said Friday. Charles Ingabire, editor of the Web site Inyenyeri News, had been living as a political refugee in Kampala. He was killed around midnight on Thursday, police officers said. The police said they were investigating and did not provide a motive. Rwandan exiles blamed Rwandan security forces, citing the killing of an opposition official and a journalist in Rwanda last year, and the attack on a former Rwandan Army chief in South Africa. Rwanda has denied accusations that it targets its opponents abroad.
A Rwandan journalist living as a political refugee in Uganda has been shot dead, police say.
Charles Ingabire was gunned down in a bar in Kampala on Wednesday, but details are only now emerging.
He was editor of Inyenyeri News, an online publication critical of the government of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Several critics of Mr Kagame have been attacked or killed in recent years. The government denies any responsibility.
Police say he had two bullet wounds and they are questioning a security guard and barmaid who worked at the bar.
“They’re helping with investigations,” Ibn Senkumbi told news agency Reuters.
Police say Mr Ingabire was drinking with an unidentified man at the bar near Makerere University when has killed.
They say they have recovered Mr Ingabire’s phone, which they say should tell them who he made contact with prior to his death, says the BBC’s Joshua Mmali.
Well-known Rwandan exiles were quick to point the finger at Rwandan security forces in posts on social media websites.
The Rwandan government has rejected allegations that it targets its opponents abroad as “preposterous”.
‘Very very insecure’Godwin Buwa, a legal adviser at Uganda’s Refugee Law Project, who had assisted Mr Ingabire, told the BBC he was “deeply saddened” by his loss.
“He told me quite a number of times how insecure he [was] and we co-ordinated to find some kind of security for him,” he said.
He said Mr Ingabire had been rejected as a candidate for resettlement by the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR – despite “ample evidence that he was very very insecure”.
A UNHCR refugee protection officer told the BBC he was unaware of the murder and could not comment.
Seventeen years ago up to 800,000 people died in a genocide in Rwanda.
Since then, the country has been feted by Western donors and investors, but human rights groups say they are concerned about growing political repression.
Friends of Rwanda Speaks,
Please check out Noo Times on twitter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wednesday 19 October 2011.
RWANDAN COMMUNITY IN AUSTRALIA PROTEST AGAINST RWANDAN PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME’S VISIT
BRISBANE/PERTH-THE Rwandan communities across Australia will put up a massive peaceful protest against Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s visit to Australia on October 28 in Perth.
Kagame will be in Perth on a three day working visit to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2011) from October 28 to 30 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
About 500 people from across various states of Australia will participate in this protest against Kagame’s participation in Chogm.
The protest is coordinated by Rwandan communities in Perth, Queensland and Sydney and will be supported by the Rwandan National Congress, the country’s strongest opposition political organization.
“We are well prepared to put up a huge peaceful demonstration against President Paul Kagame’s visit to Australia. He has committed grave atrocities in Rwanda and perpetrated heinous crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said the Anti-Kagame Protest Taskforce Co-ordinator, Robert Mukombozi.
“It is against the values of Australia that a dictatorial leader like Paul Kagame who denies his people the fundamental freedoms should be allowed to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM),” Mukombozi said.
Mr Kagame heads over a grossly corrupt government-himself spending a whopping $20,000 on a hotel room per night while Rwandan live under $1 a day and the country dependent on +50% aid.
The Rwanda Patriotic Front government maintains its hold onto power through acts of repression, including arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings of critics and opponents of the regimes.
In 2010 President Paul Kagame rigged elections and scandalously allotted 93.5% to himself, reminiscent to ousted Egypt President Hosni Mubarak.
In Rwanda, leaders of political parties are languishing in prisons scattered around the country on fabricated charges of treason, inciting ethnic violence, sectarianism and genocide revisionism among other forms of vague accusations. They are currently imprisoned under cruel and inhumane conditions in Kigali.
Ms Victoire INGABIRE UMUHOZA, Mr Bernard NTAGANDA, Mr. Deo MUSHAYIDI, Mr.Charles NTAKIRUTINKA, Ms.Seraphine MUKAMANA, Mr.Andrew MUGANWA are among the critical voices that are perishing in prisons.
Other politicians like Andre KAGWA RWISEREKA have been murdered while members of popular political organisations like the Rwandan National Congress are now exiled.
Military officers that have tried to promote democracy, the rule of law and political pluralism have also been exiled, particularly, former Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa (who survived an assassination attempt on 19th June 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa) and former external intelligence chief Colonel Patrick Karegeya.
They are being hunted by President Kagame’s hit squads in exile because they took a bold step to oppose military rule.
Opposition parties such as United Democratic Forces-FDU Inkingi, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and The Social Party-Imberakuri have been blocked from participating in the political affairs of Rwanda.
Apart from harassing the opposition, the government of Rwanda has enormously tampered the freedom of speech in the country, shattering independent media meant to hold the government in checks.
In July 2010, Mr. Jean-Léonard RUGAMBAGE, a journalist and critic of the government, was murdered. Newspapers that are critical of government have been forced to close down (UMUSESO, The Weekly Post, Umuco, Le Journal Afrique and UMUVUGIZI Newspapers among others) and their owners forced to flee the country, because their lives were in danger.
Many Rwandan journalists are now operating online from exile because of threats to their lives.
Mr Ally Yusuf Mugenzi, Jean Bosco Gasasira, Bonaventure Bizumuremyi, Thomas Kamirindi, Steven Baguma, Lucie Umukundwa, Charles Kabonero, Eleneus Akanga, Mugisha Furaha, Didas Gasana and Amiel Nkuliza are among those exiled.
Journalists are jailed on charges related to their freedom of expression. Two Editors of UMURABYO Newspaper (Ms.Agnes UWIMANA NKUSI and Ms.Saidat MUKAKIBIBI) are in Prison. Other media houses exercise self-censorship in order to survive. Civil society organisations are forced to take the official Government line in order to operate.
Such gross abuse of human rights has been documented throughout the years by all major international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and most recently the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
“We believe that Mr Kagame should be arrested and taken to the Netherlands based International Criminal Court at The Hague for trial on the documented killings he has committed and continued to perpetrate against innocent civilians in Rwanda and the DRCongo,” Mukombozi said.
Notes for Editors
The Rwandan genocide in 1994 left so many in the international community, including Australia, with a sense of guilt that they wish they had known and done better to prevent or stop the carnage that engulfed Rwanda, leaving more than a million of its citizens dead.
Rwandan President’s former senior official, Dr Theogene Rudasingwa revealed recently that Mr Kagame was himself in charge of the shooting down of Habyarimana’s plane.
Unfortunately, Rwanda’s tragedy continues unabated. It is the expectation of the majority of Rwandans that Australia will support all Rwandans to build a free, united, democratic, stable and prosperous Rwanda that will begin to reconcile and heal at last. If Australia is unable to provide help to respond to the plight of ordinary Rwandans, at least it should do no harm. As the English sayings go: “a stitch in time saves nine”, and “forewarned is forearmed”.
Rwandan president’s $20,000-a-night hotel
NEW YORK — The president of Rwanda, one of the world’s poorest countries, faced criticism on Thursday night after he was reported to be staying in a $20,000-a-night hotel room in New York.
Paul Kagame, whose country receives more than millions of dollars in foreign aid, is said to have been based in the Mandarin Oriental’s presidential suite while attending the UN General Assembly. A receptionist at the hotel said on Thursday that the standard nightly rate for the suite, including taxes and charges, totalled $20,664.50.
The average Rwandan would need to work for 18 years just to be able to afford one night in the “luxurious two-bedroom suite”, which boasts “panoramic views of Central Park and the city skyline”.
According to the hotel, it “is the perfect retreat with large living and dining area and separate wood panelled study”.
Spokesmen for Mr Kagame and the hotel declined to confirm he was staying there. Sixbert Musangamfura, a spokesman for the United Democratic Forces (UDF), the Rwandan opposition coalition, told The Daily Telegraph: “It is a scandal. Rwanda is not a country that can afford to pay this much for hotels. People who have to survive on 40 cents a day will be disgusted.”
The president typically travels with dozens of bodyguards and aides, who would also have been housed in hotel rooms with access to the UN headquarters. Most of New York’s classiest hotel suites were packed with world leaders this week. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, is thought to have been housed in a $2,800-a-night room at the UN Millennium hotel.
But Mr Kagame’s reported room rate was extraordinarily high even for the busiest week of the year in Manhattan.
David Cameron stayed at the Barclay Intercontinental in a room with an adjoining office. Aides said the price was “certainly not in the territory” of Mr Kagame’s, but declined to give a figure.
Britain is Rwanda’s biggest direct aid donor. Labour party figures last month called for aid to be withdrawn amid reports that exiles in Britain had received death threats. The Rwandan High Commissioner in London dismissed the allegations as “bogus”.
© Copyright (c) The Daily Telegraph
Kagame’s first official visit to France since the 1994 genocide is met with protest by the Rwandan diaspora, including prominent peace activist Paul Rusesabagina. The protesters want France to avoid legitimizing the Rwandan regime and for Kagame to be held accountable for crimes he has allegedly committed. Kagame’s visit to Paris comes after more than a decade of cool relations between the two countries.
According to a press release by Paul Rusesabagina’s organization, the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF), the protesters will be lobbying the international community for support in ending the conflicts in Africa’s Great Lakes region, improving governance in Rwanda, and holding Kagame accountable for his alleged crimes and suppression of human rights.
The protesters accuse Kagame of playing a leading role in the conflict in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). There has been near constant fighting in the DRC since 1998, causing an estimated seven million deaths. Among the combatants are openly anti-Rwanda rebel groups, formed by the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, as well as pro-Rwanda militias that the protesters claim are proxies of Kigali.
Aside from the conflict in the DRC, Kagame has come under international scrutiny for domestic politics. He is accused of tightly controlling media, rigging elections and breaching human rights laws. A current example is the trial against Ingabire, who was arrested prior to the 2010 presidential elections in Rwanda in which she would have challenged the incumbent Kagame. The timing of her arrest and the vagueness of the charges “strongly suggest a political motivation,” wrote Amnesty International.
Prior to Monday’s protests Rusesabagina spoke out to discourage French cooperation with Kagame that could potentially legitimize his regime, saying that “any support shown for Kagame reflects poorly on both the government of France and on French businesses.”
Relations between the two nations have been cool since the genocide. The post-genocide government has accused French politicians and soldiers of supporting the genocidaires and in some cases even taking part in the massacres. Paris has vehemently denied these charges. Many observers view Kagame’s visit as a sign of warming relations. For those who see Kagame as a criminal, this is unacceptable.
Author: Tim Davis
by Ann Garrison
KPFA Weekend News Host: Rwandan, Congolese and American activists rallied in Chicago Saturday to protest the appearance of Rwandan President Paul Kagame at “Rwanda Day,” a Chicago event produced by a multimillionaire commodities trader at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency Hotel. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
KPFA: The June 3, 2011, report from Amnesty International condemns Rwandan President Kagame’s government, saying that “the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), in power since the 1994 genocide, tightly controls political space, civil society and the media, contending that this is necessary to prevent renewed violence. Human rights defenders, journalists and political opponents cannot openly criticize the government without facing repression, and Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the FDU-Inkingi coalition of opposition parties, remains in maximum security prison, charged with terrorism and genocide ideology, which means disagreeing with the government or the official government history of the Rwanda Genocide.
KPFA spoke to Celestin Muhindura, a Rwandan American and president of the Initiative for Democracy and Development, a non-profit organization that advocates for peace, democracy and development in Africa, with focus on Rwanda and Congo, whose histories and struggles have been inextricable since the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
Celestin, can you tell us how the demonstration went today?
Celestin Muhindura: The demonstration went very well as planned. The goal was to show, to the American people and to the Chicago people in particular, the true color of the Rwandan government and the true color of the leader, Gen. Paul Kagame.
As you know, Victoire Ingabire left the Netherlands to go run for president. She tried to follow the rules in Rwanda, and once she got there, she was denied the right to register her political party, and the violence against her continued until she was arrested, arbitrary. She was not able to run for president, when the Constitution allows her to run.
So it’s not just for Victoire Ingabire. It’s the same for Bernard Ntaganda. Bernard Ntaganda was in the country. He registered his party, which presented him as a candidate, but, when the time came for running, he was put in prison.
So there are many other signs that the Rwandan government doesn’t offer a political space. Any journalist who tries to speak out is either killed or put in prison. People who try to free the government, their spies follow them in exile to try to kill them.
KPFA: Do you believe that if she were freed from prison, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza could bring reconciliation to Rwanda?
Celestin Muhindura: As I know her, Victoire Ingabire is a Rwandan patriot, who loves people and who loves the country, and who has the capability to bring people together. If freed, she’s going to be the hope for the country.
KPFA: And do you think there’s any chance of her being freed?
Celestin Muhindura: I believe, if the international community puts pressure on Kagame, he will end up freeing her.
KPFA: Many people seem to fear that there could be another outbreak of violence in Rwanda, possibly even worse than before, because the Hutu majority is so repressed. Are you worried about this yourself?
Celestin Muhindura: I’m worried about that and that’s why we put together this organization, to try to advocate for a peaceful solution. So we are afraid because Kagame is pushing hard on people, and if he continues, the volcano will erupt.
KPFA: Celestin Muhindura, I certainly hope that that does not happen, and thank you for speaking to KPFA.
Celestin Muhindura: Thank you very much.
San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View , Global Research , Colored Opinions , Black Star News , the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own blog, Ann Garrison , and produces for AfrobeatRadio  on WBAI-NYC,Weekend News  on KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang . She can be reached at email@example.com .