By Theogene Rudasingwa
PRESS RELEASE IN RESPONSE TO REPORTS ON GRENADE ATTACKS IN KIGALI (RWANDA)
02 March 2011
On Wednesday March 2, 2011, the Rwandan intelligence-owned newspaper, The New Times, quoted SPT. Theos Badege, spokesperson, Rwanda National Police, as having said that “last night at about 2030 Hrs a grenade was hurled on a passenger minibus parked on Kimisagara Road, Nyakabanda sector in Nyarugenege District, Kigali City. Three suspects were arrested. Preliminary investigations indicate that the suspects are linked to the criminal network of FDLR and the Kayumba Nyamwasa and Patrick Karegyeya renegade group”.
We condemn in the strongest terms possible, the heinous and cowardly acts of terror and murder visited on our people by groups involved in grenade attacks in Kigali and elsewhere in Rwanda. As individuals and as an organization, Rwanda National Congress (RNC), and as a matter of policy, we do not subscribe nor support acts of terror and violence. Furthermore, we refute and condemn the above-mentioned allegations made by SPT. Theos Badege, Rwanda police spokesperson. As we have said in the past, we reiterate that RNC and its founding members do not have any contacts with FDLR. As such, RNC does not work with this group or any other armed group operating in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or anywhere else.
It is President Paul Kagame and armed groups that have been involved in a vicious cycle of violence in Rwanda and plunder in the DRC. President Paul Kagame and elements in his command are particularly suspected to be the perpetrators of grenade attacks, through the Directorate of Military Intelligence, to terrorize the population. These grenade attacks have served the interests of President Paul Kagame because he has conveniently exploited these heinous acts to assassinate or incarcerate his critics on the basis of the grenade attacks. The grenade attacks have given him a perfect opportunity to purge and prosecute political opponents, including Mrs. Victoire Ingabire, Mr. Benard Ntaganda, Mr. Deo Mushaidi, Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, Col. Patrick Karegeya, Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, Dr. Gerald Gahima and Mr. Paul Rusesabagina. Each one of these has been accused of associating with FDLR, when it is clearly known that neither of them subscribes to the FDLR ideology, nor works with this group. The grenade attacks have served President Paul Kagame’s agenda of denying political space to the Rwandan people by employing fear to suppress attempts to exercise or claim fundamental rights of expression and association.
The Government of Rwanda has convinced the international community that FDLR is a genocidal and terrorist organization. FDLR is categorized as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council and the US State Department. Surprisingly, the commanders and founders of FDLR, including Maj. Gen. Paul Rwarakabije and Maj. Gen. Jerome Ngendahimana are his close confidantes used to recruit disgraceful witnesses to testify against President Paul Kagame’s political victims in courts of law. It is ironical that such “genocidal commanders” become innocent simply because they have crossed the border and connived to give false evidence against innocent people. This is a classical case of cynicism and the international community should not be duped by President Paul Kagame’s deceit. According to the Rwandan Minister of Defence, General James Kabareebe, there are more FDLR in Rwanda than in the DRC. It is probable that the disgruntled FDLR elements integrated in the communities without a clear integration agenda could have continued their war inside the country.
According to information from Rwanda, the capital, Kigali, has heavy military and police deployment on every street and corner. Given this scenario, where do those throwing grenades come from? It is possible that members of the security apparatus are disillusioned with the brutal illegitimate government. The events in North Africa have exposed the proposition that security and stability are the hallmark of peace and tranquillity at the expense of freedom and liberty in an authoritarian political dispensation. President Paul Kagame is a brutal dictator who has murdered countless people both at home and abroad. His developmental credentials are a sham and his security claims are premised on fear and repression. The grenade attacks could be the reaction of repressed people and RNC categorically has no responsibility in such violent schemes.
By now the international community should be aware of this stereotyping employed by dictators like President Kagame, Col. Gaddafi, and the recently fallen ones in Tunisia and Egypt. Each time people demand freedom and respect of human rights, dictators deflect attention from abuse of human rights in their countries by pointing to foreign-based enemies. Col Gaddafi claims that the on-going people’s revolution against his brutal rule is influenced by Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. President Paul Kagame has repeatedly blamed FDLR. This is a desperate end-game strategy by failing and falling dictators to attract sympathy and support from the international community. President Hosni Mubarak’s party registered 95% in the parliamentary elections and President Paul Kagame “won” the Presidential elections by 93.5% during the same period. While both elections were declared legal, they were factually and fundamentally rigged, flawed and illegitimate. The people of Egypt took to the streets to express their discontent. Unfortunately, the people of Rwanda, prompted by the brutal nature of Kagame’s regime, may be resorting to violent and destructive means to voice their discontent. Rwandans are tired of endless wars and bloodshed. It is RNC’s objective, shared by the majority among other Rwandan pro-democracy voices, to harness the anger, frustration and fear among Rwandans to peaceful and democratic change.
President Kagame’s reputation as an unrepentant and serial mastermind of horrendous abuses of human rights in Rwanda and the DRC makes him the principal suspect in this latest brutal disregard of human life in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region. RNC calls upon the international community to carry out fair and independent investigations on the grenade attacks and other human rights abuses being committed by President Kagame’s regime in Rwanda and the DRC.
RNC is a non-violent organization whose political objectives include: stopping and preventing violent conflict; eradicating a culture of impunity for human rights violations; creating a conducive and progressive environment for sustainable social and economic development for all the people of Rwanda; establishing, nurturing and institutionalizing democratic governance, particularly the rule of law in all its aspects; establishing independent, non-partisan, professional civil service and security institutions; building a stable society that promotes and protects equality, embraces and celebrates diversity, and fosters inclusion in all aspects of national life; promoting individual, community and national reconciliation and healing; promoting harmonious relations, reconciliation and mutually-beneficial collaboration with the peoples and governments of neighbouring states; resolving the chronic problem of Rwandan refugees; and, nurturing a culture of tolerance to diverse ideas, freedom of discussion and debate of critical issues. Obviously, these are non-violent objectives towards the peaceful transformation of Rwanda. Attacking innocent people with grenades does not serve any of these objectives. RNC calls upon the international community to support these genuinely important and urgent interests of the Rwandan people instead of babysitting another brutal dictator in his days of decline and eventual demise.
Jennifer Fierberg, MSW