DR. RUDASINGWA’S LETTER TO MUSEVENI: Kagame Is A Regional Problem

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa one of the Rwanda’s opposition leading figure in the Rwanda National Congress says Rwandan president Paul Kagame is the source of all the instability in the region.
This is contained in his open letter he wrote to president Museveni as the chairman East African Community in his response to his letter to President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi.
Nkurunziza had accused Kagame and his government in his letter to President Museveni for plotting and supervising the 2015 failed coup in Burundi which resulted into a civil leading to thousands of deaths and displacement.
Rudasingwa is a leading figure in the Rwanda National Congress and a former Chief of Staff to Rwandan President Paul Kagame (2000-2004), former General Secretary of the Rwandan ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and former ambassador to the United States from 1996 to 1999.
Rudasingwa has been in exile in the U.S. since 2004 after falling out with President Kagame, and was recently sentenced to 24 years in jail by a Rwandan court on charges that critics say were politically motivated.
Rudasingwa Letter
His Excellency Yoweri Museveni
President
The Republic of Uganda
State House: Entebbe-Uganda
14th December, 2018
Your Excellency,
Two days ago I came across your letter dated 8th December, 2018, to President Pierre Nkurunziza.  Earlier, I had also stumbled on President Nkurunziza’s letter (December 4, 2018) to you, in your capacity as the Chairperson of the East African Community. I was surprised how these days delicate state and diplomatic business are conducted or easily leaked to the public.
Nevertheless, both letters, written with a claim of candor by sitting African Heads of State of two member nations of the East African Community reveal as much in what they say, what they leave out, the state of internal and regional affairs, and the mindsets of the authors.
I write to you as an African, and a citizen of Rwanda living in exile. It is my intention to be equally candid, and respectfully disagree with you on a number of points you raise in your letter. My commentary is understandably short, for more space would be required to give exhaustive comment.
BURUNDI’S CONTESTED HISTORY
Since you say you have been in the business of revolution for 53 years, most likely you understand that the history of Burundi does not begin with the assassination of Prince Rwagasore in 1961. What you rightly describe as Burundi’s “chronic problem” is indeed centuries old, characterized by Tutsi monopoly of power for most of this convoluted history. Since 1966, successive military regimes within this broader Tutsi monopoly (Micombero Bagaza, Buyoya ) was therefore primarily an exercise of preserving the old order by other means. Your assertion that this Tutsi monopoly of power in Burundi was a reaction to Rwanda’s 1959 Hutu revolution and the consequent killings and exile of Rwandan Tutsi, while being a possible factor, ignores the facts in history’s time line.
The rise of Hutu resistance against this Tutsi monopoly, exemplified by CNDD-FDD among others in the 1990s, was the primary pressure that created the need and momentum for the Arusha negotiated and peaceful settlement. Admittedly the leadership of Mwalimu, visibly missed in present times, provided the wisdom to shepherd a complex process to the Arusha Peace Agreement of 2000. It is not correct to minimize the role of CNDD-FDD in particular, and Hutu resistance in general, in bringing the Buyoya government to the negotiating table. That they did not capture Burundi’s capital city, Bujumbura, only speaks volumes to your rather militaristic understanding of revolutionary change. Not all changes in history are born out of outright military victory. Nor does outright military victory translate into sustainable democracy and security for all. I am surprised that in your analysis, you conveniently decided not to mention two landmark tragic events that have shaped Burundi’s recent history. The first is the genocide committed against the Hutu in 1972, and the second is the assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, the first democratically elected Hutu President of Burundi, in 1993. Both were committed by Tutsi military elements in power.
RWANDA’S TRAGIC HISTORY
As a student of the Africa’s inter-lacustrine history you missed an important point in Rwanda’s story line. Until the Hutu Revolution of 1959, the Kingdom of Rwanda was centuries-old monarchy at the top of which was a Tutsi king. As in Burundi (with unique differences in the complex relationships among the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa), Belgian colonial rule accentuated the sharp distinctions, contradictions, and divisions between and among ethnic identities.  I presume you do not contest the historical fact that the Hutu people were at the very bottom of the socio-economic-political pyramid. The rise of Hutu consciousness, though ethnic-based in character, was a legitimate development against historical group injustice. That Belgians opportunistically manipulated these identities, in shifting alliances, simply testifies to the nature of every colonial enterprise. For President Gregoire Kayibanda and his Hutu colleagues to have risen to lead the Hutu revolution to end monarchical rule and preside over the new Rwandan republic was a momentous and historical achievement. To dismiss him just as a reactionary in the service of Belgians is not a correct assessment. He failed to create a Rwandan consciousness, lead all people,  and extricate himself from the limitations of his time. As history shows, revolutionaries of yesterday can easily turn up as reactionaries of today and tomorrow!
THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY AS A GUARANTOR
You argue that because the region was the architect, mediator, and guarantor of the Burundi peace process, it still must have a say in how Burundi should be managed. President Nkurunziza has a different opinion on that, emphasizing that the process should be internally-owned and Burundi-driven, while not excluding the complementary role of the region and the international community. Neither you, Mr. President, nor any other leader in the East African region, or anywhere else in the world, would ever want guarantors to have a permanent presence in one’s own home. The rationale, comparison with, and examples of American and British forces in Germany and Japan is not a strong argument. Germany and Japan were defeated by the Allied Powers. The victors then had every reason to occupy the vanquished spaces as deterrence against any future re-emergence of Germany and Japan as military powers.  Decades later, however, the United States and Britain do not determine how Germany and Japan are governed.
To guarantee peace, the guarantors must fulfill certain criteria. Neutrality, impartiality, and moral authority are crucial ingredients.  Above all, the principle of “do no harm” is an indispensable one. National, as well as regional actors must endeavor to be mutually accountable, open, and transparent. An attempt to be manipulative on either side will always be counter-productive. This is complicated by the fact that national actors in one country have historically played roles that are biased in favor of some other national actors in another country.  How could you, Mr. President, imagine that you are an objective and impartial actor in Rwanda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo where you have spent fortunes of time and treasure?
President Nkurunziza raises an important point that is crucial to the credibility of the East African Community as the guarantor of peace processes in the region. There was a coup attempt against his government in 2015. That Rwanda was very involved in planning and supporting the failed attempt is very much a public secret bragged about by Rwanda’s intelligence officers. Has Rwanda been held accountable to the harm it has caused (and continues to cause) to a sister state in the community? If not, why? The people of East Africa, and the foreign powers you decry, will not take serious the East African Community under such conditions.
RWANDA UNDER PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME
I vividly recall  a remark you once made to me in 1995 during one of many encounters I had with you to the effect that Abanyarwanda bari treacherous (Rwandans are treacherous). Later, in a letter you wrote in 2001 to Claire Short, then British Minister for International Development, you described RPF as ideologically bankrupt. Unfortunately, you were right in describing Rwanda’s ruling elite as such. Looking across East Africa, and Africa in history, it is striking to note that treachery and ideological bankruptcy aptly describe ruling elites, but not African people. I know RPF and President Paul Kagame a lot. I served as RPF’s Secretary General, represented Rwanda Government as its Ambassador in United States, and managed President Kagame’s Presidency for a while.
In your letter you casually remark in passing that you cannot speak for President Kagame. Yet you know him a lot too. Of all people, you are most familiar with his earlier formative years as a military and intelligence officer in the National Resistance Army (NRA) in Uganda. I wonder whether his reactionary and ultra-violent character was apparent in Luwero triangle as it has become a distinguishing characteristic in his conduct as RPF leader since 1990, and Rwanda’s ruler since 1994.
You know as much as I do that President Paul Kagame confirmed to you in person that he was responsible for the shooting down of the plane in which President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and President Cyprian Ntaryamira of Burundi were killed on their way from meeting you and other East African leaders in Dar es Salaam on April 6, 1994. This was a trigger that derailed the Arusha Peace Agreement, provided the spark for the start of genocide, and the subsequent capture of state power by the RPF. Let me remind you, Mr. President, that Tanzania as Facilitator and all of you East African leaders were guarantors of the Rwandan peace process. Two African Heads of States were assassinated by a signatory to a peace agreement. East Africa, the African Union, and the United nations have never called for an investigation in this assassination to hold accountable the perpetrators of this crime. If this is not betrayal of the Rwandan and Burundian people by East Africa as a guarantor, what is? In the case of Burundi, this was a second time in less than one year two Hutu Presidents had been assassinated by Tutsi elements from Burundi and Rwanda. Are you then surprised that politics in Rwanda is a zero-sum game where winners win violently, sustain power violently, and lose power violently? For now, the Tutsi monopoly of power in Rwanda is a reproduction of pre-1959 marginalization of Hutu, and mirrors the earlier Tutsi monopoly in Burundi. This is a recipe for recurrence of genocide and war in Rwanda and the region.
In your letter you do explain that there is a difference between Interahamwe who committed genocide against Tutsi, and coup plotters. You are right in pointing out this. However, you should not remain silent on the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possible acts of genocide that President Kagame’s intelligence and army committed against Hutus in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nor should you be silent about millions of Congolese people who have perished from Rwanda’s and Uganda’s predatory military interventions in that country.
President Kagame’s intelligence was involved in the planning and assassination of President Laurent Kabila on January 16, 2001.  You recall that you and President Kagame sponsored and installed President Kabila in power on May 17, 1997. Once again, East Africa, the African Union, and the United Nations have never sought or conducted an investigation to hold President Kagame accountable. When state actors use the same criminal methods as non-state actors in shooting down planes, assassinating opponents, killing and maiming women and children, they should be called terrorists.
FOREIGN IMPERIALISM, AFRICA’S PROSPERITY AND STRATEGIC SECURITY
You state that Africa’s main problem is foreign imperialism. True, the legacy of Western imperialism has had an enduring negative impact on Africa’s development. However, Africa’s primary problem now, almost six decades after political independence, is internal. Otherwise how do you account for deadly civil wars, human rights abuses, genocide, massive dislocation of refugees and internally displaced people, the peace keeping industry, economic misery, dependency on foreign aid, lack of rule of law, political exclusion, and stunted institutional growth imposed by local tyrants who rule by coercion indefinitely?  It is these internal weaknesses that are exploited by all sorts of opportunistic foreigners, whether imperialists of yesterday, today or tomorrow. The rhetoric of denouncing foreign imperialism that was fashionable yesterday increasingly sounds hollow today. Some of Africa’s ruling elite willingly become tools of foreign imperialism against interests of their own people in exchange for handouts and assurance of protection from accountability. This is the real danger to Africa’s quest for prosperity and strategic security.
LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
In your concluding sentence you write:
Given the convoluted history of our countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan, etc..), the more the reason, sometimes, using flexibility in handling these simple situations but complicated by mismanagement (italics mine).
Convoluted political histories of our countries, because they have been tragic and protracted, continue to leave behind a trail of tears, blood and ongoing human suffering.  There is a trail of trauma that runs across decades, national boundaries, communities, and generations. These are therefore not simple situations to be managed by technocrats with the latest knowledge and skills from managerial disciplines. This is not about markets, about selling and buying, important as they are. It is about people’s dignity and rights. It is about healing the wounds at the individual, family, community, national and regional levels.
The true and urgent call of East African leaders is to do no harm, help their whole society to heal, imagine and co-create communities of shared interests nationally, facilitate people-based regional cross-border bonds, and build Africa’s bridges to the world and the future. This is the heart of building East Africa’s, and Africa’s sustainable prosperity and strategic security.
Respectfully,
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
Washington DC
USA
Contact: ngombwa@gmail.com
 
Copy to:
H.E. President Pierre Nkurunziza, The Republic of Burundi
H.E.President Uhuru Kenyatta, The Republic of Kenya
H.E.President Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuri, The United Republic of Tanzania
H.E.President Paul Kagame, Republic of Rwanda
H.E.President Salva Kirr Mayardit, The Republic of South Sudan
H.E.President Cyril Ramaphosa, The Republic of South Africa
H.E. President Joseph Kabila, The Democratic Republic of Congo
 
 

South Africa Withdraws its Ambassador from Rwanda over Minister Nduhungirehe Reckless Utterances

South Africa has summoned the Rwandan envoy in Pretoria after a Rwandan pro-government news site reportedly called a key minister a “prostitute”.
Lindiwe Sisulu, the South African international relations minister, has also been criticized on Twitter by a senior Rwandan official.
Her spokesman told the BBC the remarks were “unacceptable” and “must stop”.
Ms Sisulu recently met an exiled critic of the Rwandan leader, triggering a diplomatic row between the countries.
She told a press conference last month that she had met Rwanda’s former army chief, General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, in Johannesburg.
She said she was “pleasantly surprised” to hear that Mr Nyamwasa, who has established an opposition party in South Africa, was willing to negotiate a reconciliation deal with his former government.
Mr Nyamwasa has been living in exile in South Africa since 2010, after falling out with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.
Rwanda’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Olivier Nduhungirehe, criticized the meeting on his Twitter account, in remarks South Africa described as offensive.
He said that if any South African official wanted to negotiate with a “convicted criminal” who was leading a “subversive movement”, they were free to do so – but they should “never think” of involving Rwanda in the process.
A headline on a Rwandan pro-government news website also referred to Ms Sisulu as Mr Nyamwasa’s “prostitute”, a South African government source told the BBC’s Milton Nkosi in Johannesburg.
The story was removed but the damage was done, our reporter adds.
Ms Sisulu’s spokesman, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, said that the Rwandan envoy in Pretoria had been told that the tone of comments was unacceptable.
He said the South African High Commissioner in Kigali, George Twala, had also been recalled to Pretoria for consultations.
“It is our commitment to normalize the relations, but we can be more focused without being insulted on social media and the use of undiplomatic language,” Mr Mabaya said.
Gun attack
In 2014, South Africa expelled three Rwandan diplomats in connection with an attack on Mr Nyamwasa’s home in Johannesburg. Rwanda retaliated by ordering out six South African envoys.
Mr Nyamwasa has survived at least two assassination attempts in exile.
Four men were found guilty in 2014 by a South African court over a gun attack that left him with stomach wounds. Mr Nyamwasa described the attack as politically motivated.
Relations between South Africa and Rwanda also became strained after Rwanda’s former intelligence chief, Colonel Patrick Karegeya, was murdered in a hotel suite in Johannesburg in 2014.
Shortly after the murder, Mr Kagame said: “You can’t betray Rwanda and not get punished for it. Anyone, even those still alive, will reap the consequences. Anyone. It is a matter of time.”
 
 

Rwandan Refugees to Be Thrown Out Of Uganda

The government of Uganda is considering cancelling the refugee status of thousands of Rwandans living in Uganda.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Hillary Onek while meeting lawmakers of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in Kampala.
He explained that government is considering cancelling their refugee status and instead issuing them with temporary permits.
“We are going to turn them over to the immigration department so that their long stay in Uganda will be subjected to immigration laws because immigration laws in Uganda say that you are given a visa to stay for three months. Thereafter you have to justify your further stay in a country,” Mr Onek said.
The minister said that the process of convincing Rwandans to return home has not been easy as many are not willing to do so.
Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans fled to Uganda following the 1994 genocide.
Rwanda has generally been peaceful for over 20 years and many Rwandese who had fled have since returned to their home country.
But government says there are still over 14000 Rwandans still living in Uganda as refugees.
Also part of the meeting was Ugandan line ministers, led by the Premier Ruhakana Rugunda. The Ugandan entourage expressed their concerns about the over stay of refugees.
“People who come as refugees end up as Ugandans and they have national IDs. How long will people continue to be refugees when they can be Ugandans?” a Ugandan representative to EALA said.
According to Ugandan officials, they have tried to convince Rwandans to return to their country in vain.
Minster Musa Ecweru also weighed in on the matter, claiming that Rwandan refugees in the country today have nothing to do with the genocide.
“These ones came when the RPF government took power. They are not running way from the genocide but the current system of the Kigali government,” he said.
He said that the situation in Rwanda and most African states in similar to a cup of porridge which is cool on top but very hot as you go down.
This he said could be the reason why most refugees do not return to their countries even when everyone notices stability in those respective countries.
Rwanda has recently accused Uganda of harboring political elements operating across the border and destabilizing the country.
Uganda and Rwanda had set August 31, 2009 as the deadline for the Rwandan refugees to voluntarily return home, but thousands of them have been hesitant to return for fear of persecution.
So far, only 4,000 out of 17,000 refugees have returned home under the assisted voluntary repatriation exercise supported by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Government of Uganda and Rwanda.

Dianne Rwigara: Living in Rwanda under Kagame is Like Hell

Rwanda is “like a prison” with Paul Kagame its imperious warden, according to Diane Rwigara, a young politician who sought to challenge for the presidency and whose treason trial begins Wednesday.
The 37-year-old, who was released on bail in October, struck a defiant tone speaking to AFP ahead of her trial for treason, insurrection and forgery.
“I just came out of a prison but my country still feels like a prison. And the prison guard is none other than the ruling party… dictating to us how to live, what to do and what to say,” she said in an interview at her home in the capital Kigali.
“I was not surprised by my arrest. I was kind of expecting it because of what I was doing in the country: if you dare criticize the government that is what happens, you get arrested, imprisoned or lose your life. I expected some form of retaliation.”
Victoire Ingabire, another woman who sought to run for the presidency in 2010, was blocked from competing, arrested, tried and spent six years in jail before her release in September.
Other political dissidents abroad have been assassinated, abducted or threatened. Rwigara believes her own father, Assinapol, who died in a 2015 car crash in Rwanda, may have been the victim of a political murder after he fell out with Kagame.
– A family affair –
When Rwigara appears in the dock she will not be alone: her mother has also been charged, with insurrection and “divisionism”, an idiosyncratic Rwandan crime levelled at those who question the dominant narrative of the 1994 genocide.
“The hard part for me was seeing my mother and sister in such a situation,” she said.
Rwigara’s brothers and sister have been interrogated; family assets have forcibly been auctioned to pay off a multi-million dollar tax claim, while a hotel they owned was demolished for allegedly failing to abide by city guidelines.
My family had nothing to do with my political journey,” she said, adding, “People are guilty by association, meaning that my family had to be punished for my actions.”
Their arrests in September last year followed the election commission’s decision to bar Rwigara from running on the grounds that she had forged papers.
Prior to that an attempt had been made to smear the young female candidate by the online sharing of naked photographs purporting to be of her.
Kagame has been Rwanda’s defacto leader since 1994 when his rebel forces invaded, stopped the genocide that killed at least 800,000 mostly ethnic Tutsis and seized power.
He became president in 2000, a post he might hold until 2034 thanks to a constitutional amendment waved through three years ago. He later won the presidential election from which Rwigara had been excluded with 99 percent of the vote.
Although the opposition Green Party won its first-ever parliamentary seats earlier this year, Kagame and his party dominate and Rwigara is one of the very few openly critical voices in the country.
– Unbowed –
Despite the threat of a maximum 15-year sentence, the sweeping up of her family into her case and her lack of a political constituency or even party, Rwigara still aims to become a lightning rod for opposition to Kagame.
“What is lacking in this country is accountability. The ruling party does what it does because there is no consequence for their actions,” she said.
“I am not in this for fame. I have gone through a lot and I have to do what is necessary for our country. The only people going to bring about change in this country are us Rwandans. No one is going to do it for us,” she said, echoing Kagame’s own rhetoric of empowerment and independence.
Those sentiments are core to Kagame’s legitimacy which he maintains by constant reminders that he saved Rwandans from the genocide and has built an economic success out of the ashes.
But Rwigara said that image — beloved of Kagame’s admirers — is false.
“Some of the statistics on Rwanda’s development appear to be cooked,” she said, repeating allegations made by many regime critics.
“There is a high level of poverty and unemployment but you will not hear that,” she said.
On Wednesday, Rwigara hopes to defend herself against what she says are trumped-up charges.
“I am innocent and the charges are fabricated because I opposed the ruling party,” she insisted. “I hope I will not go back to prison but if I go back, I go back.”
Credit:DailyMail

UPDF Starts Production of Armored Warfare Vehicles

President of the Republic of Uganda and Commander in Chief of the UPDF His Excellency Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has commended the Uganda Peoples ‘Defence Forces Engineers for assembling armored military vehicles.
The President made the remarks at the commissioning of Nyoka Conversion Project in Magamaga Barracks in Mayuge District.
“Iam glad now after a long period of sleep, Africa is waking up because such work is a result of no sleep” Gen Museveni observed.
He added that” NYOKA” vehicles with a ballistic protection that can withstand a single anti -tank mine blast anywhere under the hull, are made from steel which Uganda has and that very soon a factory in Tororo will be making new steel from iron ore.
The President promised to look into the economies of making iron steel here as opposed to buying from Sweden.
He pledged to work tirelessly to see that other industries such as Luwero Industries can combine ideas for better output and form a bigger industry which can employ more Ugandans.
Impala Service and Logistics Limited of South Africa were commended for choosing to pattern with UPDF and the President urged them to maintain such a wonderful working relationship.
“When in the Bush, we had 100 mines from Libya but we used them to do much damage to the government. By the time we finished the landmines, we had finished the government”.
“Landmines had brought down the government of the Portuguese in Mozambique. Samora Michel used to say “the mine was the nuclear bomb of Africa”.
“After Nelson Mandela came to power in 1994 in South Africa, we learnt of these vehicles which were in two types; mambas and buffaloes.
“We also later learnt that the company making them was stopping production, which prompted me to direct that we take over the technology”.
The president says the good thing about armour is that it will be there for a long time and that only parts that grow old are the moving parts.
“That is how we developed the overhaul concept, the Nyoka vehicles. Ugandans are finally waking up. For an educated population like ours, these things are easy. It is simple physics and chemistry. Now that you are getting out of sleep, the sky is the limit” He says.
“These armored vehicles are made from steel. If we can add some alloy from the steel that will be made from the Tororo steel factory, we can make armored steel”.
At the same function the Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi also commended the Commander in Chief for being such a guiding star for UPDF and doing a very commendable job towards the professionalization of the Army
“We have skilled our soldiers and we hope to upgrade” he said. The CDF also promised that the Army will soon construct a Marine.
I thank the UPDF for the initiative and Impala Company for working with our army in using this mine-resistant technology that had been initiated by the South African white army.