Alarming Deterioration of the Political Climate in Rwanda and a Way to Prevent a Subsequent Bloodshed.

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Alarming Deterioration of the Political Climate in Rwanda and a Way to Prevent a Subsequent Bloodshed.
Excellency General Paul Kagame                                                                     February 9, 2011
President of the Republic of Rwanda                                                                          Nº 01/J/PK/0211
P.O Box 15 Kigali

Ref.: Alarming Deterioration of the Political Climate in Rwanda and a Way to Prevent a
         Subsequent Bloodshed.
The Organization for Peace, Justice and Development in Rwanda and in the Great Lakes Region of Africa (OPJDR), Inc., an apolitical Human Rights Organization based in the United States, is deeply concerned by the deterioration of the political climate in Rwanda characterized by the current visible tension between Tutsis and Hutus, between Tutsis from Uganda and all others Tutsis, and finally between the small group of Tutsis at the head of state institutions (akazu) against other Tutsis. While you choose to hunt down anybody who dares to criticize your government or/and your party, today various groups of Rwandans, Hutus and Tutsi alike, armed or not, along with opposition political parties are anxiously bitter against your government. At the same time, high ranking officers from your army and civil officials are deserting your authority and all are consistently calling for your fall.
The Rwandan recent history shows that whenever the government used ethnic tensions by favoring one ethnic group against the other to remain on power, the results have consistently led to that leadership being overthrown by the oppressed citizens and subsequent blood shed was heavy in the country. In Rwanda, all kinds of attacks from one ethnic group to another have been followed by retaliations where many innocent people lost their lives. Rwandans should learn from their past experience. Following are the most important events that marked the recent history of Rwanda.
1. Revolution of 1959:
In April 1954, under the intense pressure from colonialists and missionaries, the Tutsi King Mutara Rudahirwa decided to abolish the Hutu slavery, also known as UBUHAKE and the redistribution of the land known as IBIKINGI[1], a decision that enraged the Tutsi elite[2]. On March 24, 1957, nine Hutus elite politicians published a paper entitled “Memorandum on the social aspect of the native racial issues” commonly known as “The Manifesto of the Bahutu”. The letter mainly denounced the racism and discrimination by “Tutsi race over Hutu in political, economic and social sphere”[3]. In the response to the Manifesto of the Bahutu letter, Tutsi leaders issued a reply on May 17, 1958 declaring that there was no brotherhood between Hutus and Tutsis since they don’t have the same ancestors, but only the Lord/Servitor relationship[4], a statement that enraged Hutu community[5]. This mounting tension culminated with the transfer of three Tutsi chiefs namely Kayihura, Mungarulire and Rwangombwa after the monarchist party Rwandan National Union (UNAR), criticized both the trusteeship administration, Hutu elite and politicians during its rally held in Kigali on September 13, 19592. In the aftermath of that incendiary meeting, the adepts of the UNAR party conducted attacks targeting Hutu politicians and chiefs who have replaced the Tutsi[6].
It is during such turmoil of ethnic tensions that on November 1, 1959 UNAR activists assaulted Chief Dominique Mbonyumutwa, one of the ten Vice-Chiefs Hutus and a very popular politician from Ndiza District. This assault, also known as the All Saints day’s incident ignited the retaliation of the Hutu against the Tutsi. Some 20,000 Tutsi fled to the neighboring countries and unfortunately an estimated of 200 lost their lives2,5.
2. Tutsi refugees attack on Rwanda in 1962:
In the months following the proclamation of the abolition of the monarchy and the Proclamation of the Republic of Rwanda in 1961, several armed attacks from Uganda led by the Tutsi refugees on the newly Rwandan government were registered, one in February and another on March 25, 1962. Both struck Byumba prefecture, killing three policemen and two civilians[7]. 
3. Retaliations following attacks in 1962:
On March 26 and 27, 1962, in retaliation of the previous attacks, Hutu population took revenge on some Tutsis in the region of Byumba, burning down their houses, and looting their properties6.
4. Tutsi refugees’ attacks on Rwanda in 1963:
On July 5, 1963 another Tutsi led attack was launched on Rwanda. Later on various larger attacks with different fronts from Burundi starting on December 21 through December 27, 1963 were registered6. Between 200 and 300 Tutsi refugees in Burundi attacked the Gako military camp, entered the Nyamata countryside and crossed the Nyabarongo River bridge toward Kigali, the capital city where they were stopped by the Garde Nationale Rwandaise (GNR)6. At the same dates, on December 21 and 22, 1963 other several armed incursions targeted Cyangugu Prefecture, in South West of the country. Simultaneously, on December 25, another attack, this time from Uganda attempted to cross the northern border but Ugandan authorities stopped them. before they could reach the border. On December 27 a second group of about 600 men from Uganda crossed the Rwandan border at Kiziba, but GNR immediately intervened and repelled them6.
5. Counter Attacks of Rwanda Government in 1963
In counter attack, the Rwandan authorities arrested and imprisoned, then executed 15 members of UNAR and Rassemblement Democratique Republicain (RADER)[8]. In December, 1963, groups of Hutus armed with spears, clubs and machetes attacked Tutsi in Rusumo, Bugesera and Gikongoro[9], score of Tutsis were killed and many other fled to neighboring countries.
6. Violence on Tutsi population in 1973:
Starting in 1968, dissentions among elite Hutus on power frightened the unity of the country.  Animosity between Southerners where hailed President Kayibanda and Northerners was tense. In 1972, massacres of Hutus by the Tutsi mono ethnic army in Burundi and the arrivals of some of those Hutus who managed to escape Burundi pogroms exacerbated the already tense political situation in Rwanda. According to the witnesses of the event, those on power felt that they had the obligation to protect their brothers in Burundi and those in opposite camp tried to take the advantage of the situation to bring chaos and eventually overthrow their political enemies.
In February – March, 1973 purges were organized in secondary schools institutions and in the administration against the Tutsi population, by mid-February, the movement reached the National University of Butare[10],[11]. At Kabgayi, two Josephite priests and four of their students were assassinated by hundreds of mob students from Byimana and Shyogwe High Schools 10. The movement spread to administrations and private companies, after the towns, this phenomenon reached the countryside, and some innocent Tutsis people were killed and other were told to leave, their houses were burned down and properties looted 8.9.
7. Tutsi led attacks on Rwanda on October 1st, 1990:
On October 1st, 1990, The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), mainly composed of former Rwandans Tutsis refugees, most of them high ranking military officers in Uganda army, attacked Rwanda through the northern border. The RPF motto with good purpose and slogan of restoring democracy, protecting human rights and ending the status of refugees for all Rwandans. After a month of intensive combats between RPF and Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR), the rebels were defeated and those who survived returned to Uganda for reorganization. Starting January 1991, RPF started guerrilla warfare and the liberators of October 1990 became killers starting by the guerilla heads, Banyiginya General Fred Rwigema, Dr. Peter Bayingana and Maj. Chris Bunyenyezi. In fact, beginning 1991, RPF selectively killed hundreds to thousands Hutus peasants in Byumba and Ruhengeri regions[12].
8. Killings in Bigogwe and Bugesera in 1992
In 1992 and 1993, score of Tutsi of Bagogwe clan (North) and Tutsis in Bugesera (South East) respectively have been apparently killed by pro Hutus government apparatus[13]. However, it appeared later that, according to an RPF member, Lt Abdul Joshua Ruzibiza, in the book “Rwanda, L’Histoire Secrete, Panama 2005’, those killings were ignited by RPF infiltrators with the aims to implicate Rwanda authorities and its army and tarnish their image[14].
9. Genocide of 1994
On April 6, 1994, the presidential aircraft carrying Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, from a peace talk meeting in Dar Es Salam to end war between FAR and RPF, was shot down when landing at the Kigali International Airport. All 13 persons on board including the three French crew members were killed on spot. Upon the news of president’s death reached out, killings of unprecedented levels spread over the country, and fighting between governmental forces and RPF resumed. While Tutsis were targeted in the area under the control of the government, RPF forces also were busy killing all Hutus in the northern areas under its control. On July 4, 1994, RPF defeated governmental forces and took power in Kigali. The killings, later recognized by the United Nations as Rwanda genocide, left about
800, 000 deaths. French and Spanish investigators concluded that RPF was responsible for the airplane shooting while an RPF government commission concluded that Hutus extremists were the authors of the crash[15].
In its resolution 955, the UN Security Council concluded that the two belligerents in Rwanda tragedy, namely RPF and Governmental Forces have been responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was then created to judge all persons found responsible of that tragedy. To the dismay of Rwandan victims, only members of the then Hutus government, who lost the war, have been trialed by the ICTR and no single member of the RPF, now in power in Kigali, has been indicted. In fact, in her book “The Hunt. Me and My War Criminal”, Carla Del Ponte, Prosecutor of ICTR details how  the current government of Rwanda led by RPF, backed by the United States and United Kingdom, exercised an unbearable pressure on the prosecution of the tribunal that succumbed to it and froze all investigations on RPF crimes[16]. Carla Del Ponte’s assertions were in fact the confirmation of her spokesperson; Florence Hartmann, who has revealed a year earlier in her book “Peace and Punishment”, Flammarion 2007[17].
10. Retaliations by the Tutsi led government following 1994 genocide:
During and after the Rwanda genocide, RPF’led government and other Tutsis extremists selectively killed innocent Hutus as many as they could get from inside and outside Rwanda. (cfr Major Furuma Alphonse[18] and Lieutenant Abdul Ruzibiza’s testimony[19])
11. Current Precursor Signs of Potential Upcoming Troubles:
11.1. Tensions between Hutu-Tutsis communities:
After RPF won the war and established its new government in July, 1994, it appeared that a clear policy was put in place aimed to hunting Hutus not only interahamwe genocidaires but, also innocent people, including elderly, women and children. In the beginning, the Government and pro-government organizations did set up and implement different measures to marginalize and exterminate Hutus population12. Different training sessions were organized to falsely accuse Hutus and imprison as many Hutus as possible mostly educated men and women, business owners, journalists, clergy members, and even young boys[20]. The plans were physically executed on village levels, in prisons, or through local courts, and later in gacaca courts and even at ICTR proceedings where forged testimonies were largely used. High ranking RPF authorities did not even hesitate to state that “…they can use a spoon to empty a barrel container filled of water” referring to reducing Hutus population despite their significant number. One would also regrettably recall Mr. President, your speech in Murambi on April 7, 2007 where you regretted not to have exterminated enough people who were fleeing the country and now you were obliged to welcoming them back to Rwanda[21].
11.2. Massacres of innocent People:
One of the well documented extermination of the Hutus was marked by the massacres at Kibeho Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp housing between 80,000 and 100,000 people[22] on 22 April 1995. On that fateful day, up to 8,000 people were killed by the RPF army while UN peacekeepers were watching[23]. This selective massacre was followed by a carefully extermination of Hutus refugees amassed in refugees camps in Eastern DRC where up to 250,000 Hutus souls were murdered, an act that can be qualified as act of genocide according to the UN Human Rights Commission report made public on October 1, 2010 18.
11.3. Internally division within RPF party:
Later in 2000, internally division within ruling party started to emerge. In fact, it clearly appeared that the Tutsi faction from Uganda ensured the quasi control of the country’s institutions, making less favored those Tutsi from Burundi, Congo and those Tutsis who survived the 1994 genocide whose complains were quickly dismissed by the authorities. One remembers that in 2000, the following slogan was initiated by yourself, Mr. President: “Keep your feelings closed in the cabinets” or “Izo sentiments muzifungirane mu tubati”. Some distinguished RPF members were troubled with such drastic event and stated that: “Even Tutsis started fleeing the Country” as it was depicted during the Michigan declaration following RPF convention on September 3, 2000[24]. It was during this wind that we saw the first wave of Tutsis fleeing the country such as the Former speaker of the House, Mr. Sebarenzi Joseph in 2000, followed by Mr. Kajeguhakwa Valens a prominent business man and friend of the former Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu who, was later arrested and jailed for having tried to start a political party after his forced resignation.
Later on, RPF continued to isolate its inner members subsequently creating a small and strong group around, You,  President Paul Kagame to control the country. It is increasingly being shown that even in that inner circle, there is less and less tolerance on any dissenting voice toward you. This was mostly characterized by the take off of Col. Patrick Karegeya in 2007 and later by Lt.Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, who was nearly assassinated in June 2010 in South Africa where he leaves in exile[25].
Later during July 2010, General Karenzi Karake former UMAMID deputy Commander and General Muhire, former Commandant in chief of the Air Force where arrested for unspecified reasons. They have not been produced before the court of law some five months after their arrests. OPJDR has just learned that Gen. Karake has been released after he pleaded for mercy.
Regarding General Rugigana Ngabo, brother of Lt. Gen. Nyamwasa’s, has been held in undisclosed location since August 2010. His family has not been allowed to see him since his arrest and many fear that he has been a subject to the harsh tortures, until Thursday 27 January when he was allowed to appear to the Court which subsequently has decided to extend his detention while the investigations go on[26]. Today, Hutus and Tutsis are almost equally experiencing the same hunt to kill by the kill-to-reign principle.
11.4 Arrests, Disappearances and Assassinations:
Arrests and assassinations of political leaders, journalists and lawyers have been nourishing your kill-to-reign principle.
On April 21, 2010, Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, chairperson of the yet-to-be- registered opposition political party, United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi) was arrested for genocide ideology, negationism and collaboration with a terrorist organization. She was released the next day but has been re-arrested on October 14, 2010 and remains in custody since then. Most observers concur to state that she is being prosecuted for her political opinions[27].
On May 28, 2010 Professor Peter Erlinder, a US Lawyer and lead counsel at International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has been arrested in Kigali where he has travelled to join the Legal Counsel team of Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. Pr. Erlinder was being accused of “denying genocide and negationism” for simply has been a lawyer to a genocide defendant in trial at ICTR. It was surprising to find out that Pr. Erlinder was being accused of the same charges as his client Pr. Erlinder was released three weeks later on bail on humanitarian ground after US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton intervened publically to denounce that unlawful arrest[28].
On June 21, 2010 Mr. Denis Semadwinga, former Chief of staff to the incarcerated Gen. Laurent Nkunda , has been decapitated in his leaving room by unknown assailants in the town of Gisenyi, Rwanda. One recalls that Gen. Nkunda has been in custody in Rwanda since January 2008 without trial[29].
On June 24, 2010, Me NTAGANDA Bernard, Founder and President of the opposition party PS IMBERAKURI were arrested along with all his team as they prepared to conduct a peaceful protest against the National Election Commission. These persons remain in prison as of today. Meanwhile, Mr. Aimable SIBOMANA RUSANGANWA, Press Secretary of Chairperson Bernard NTAGANDA , who disappeared since June 2010, remains uncountable for[30].
On June 24, 2010 Jean-Leonard Rugambage, a former journalist with independent newspaper Umuvugizi was shot and killed outside his home in Kigali[31] while investigating on potential involvement of Rwanda secret services in Nyamwasa’s assassination attempt31.
On July 14, 2010, Vice President of the opposition Democratic Green Party, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, was found brutally murdered just outside the city of Butare27. In addition several independent journalists have been incarcerated or forced to flee the country. The most known are Ms. Uwimana Agnes and her colleague Mukakibibi Saidati of the tabloid UMURABYO incarcerated since May 2010. Mr. Gasasira Jean Bosco, of the newspaper UMUVUGIZI and Charles Kabonera and Didas Gasana of UMUSESO managed to escape and now leave in exile.
Overall, today Hutus and Tutsis alike, military personnel or civilians are equally experiencing the same hunt to kill by the kill-to-reign principle
11.5 Armed forces in Exile:
At least three armed political groups operate now in neighboring countries. The known are  Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDRL), Rally for Unity and  Democracy 
(RUD-Urunana) and Rassemblement du Peuple Rwandais (RPR). In recent years they have been calling for an inclusive inter-rwanda dialogue between Rwandans from all the corners of life to resolve the ongoing conflict. Your government arrogantly dismissed all these calls.
12. How to break the cycles of violence and killings in Rwanda
If nothing is done soon, the tension today among Hutu-Tutsi ethnic groups, Tutsi from Uganda and all others Tutsis, and inner circle Tutsis on the head of the State (akazu) against other Tutsis could end up igniting troubles in Rwanda, probably worse than other similar events experienced in previous years. A highly and inclusive Inter-Rwandan Dialogue is a must to ease all kind of mistrust and animosity among Rwandans. This highly sought Inter-Rwandan Dialogue, which among other should lead to the Truth and Reconciliation in Rwanda. Also it should generate a better way to break the killing cycles and create a harmonious Hutu-Tutsi cohabitation through the power sharing in Government, Army and all public sectors positions.
A frank dialogue between Twas, Hutus and Tutsis from all walks of lives should not only instigate a path to reconciliation but also determine a political power structure that will include democratic values and a constitution that will make every Rwandan to feel secure and politically represented. This new political system should ensure that not only all Rwandans Refugees can return to their homeland but it will also ensure that no new refugees are any more generated. Each Rwandan needs to feel secure and represented in all facets of the government including the leadership and the security apparatus.
Excellency President, OPJDR would like to call upon your personal conscience as well as your constitutional obligations, to do everything in your power to protect the Rwandan population against these vicious cycles of conflicts and endless human rights abuses. This goal can be achieved by opening political space, accepting the freedom of speech and assembly in the country as a ground breaking for the preparation of this High Inclusive Rwanda Inter Dialogue. OPJDR and other Rwandan organizations around the world are eager to assist your government and your party to set up the conditions leading to this important venue.
Sincerely                                                         Pascal Kalinganire
              Coordinator, OPJDR
Honorable Ban Ki-Moon
UN Secretary-General
760 United Nations Plaza,
Manhattan, NY10017
Members of Security Council
Honorable U.S. Senator John Kerry
Chair of Foreign Relations Committee
218 Russell Bldg/ Second Floor
WashingtonD.C. 0510

Honorable U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
US Senate Subcommittee on African Affairs
506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC20510-4904
Honorable Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC20520
Honorable Judge Ms. Navanethem Pillay
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland 
Honorable Mr. Kenneth Roth
Executive Director of Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, NY10118-3299USA
Honorable Mrs. Maja Daruwala
Director Executive, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) 
B-117, Second Floor, Sarvodaya Enclave
New Delhi - 110 017 - INDIA

Honorable Mrs. KATE ALLEN
Director Executive, Amnesty International
The Human Rights Action Centre
17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA

[1] NEWBURY, Catharine, 1988, The Cohesion of Oppression, Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda, 1860-1960 , New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press. Pg. 134-140
[2] LINDEN Ian, 1999: 346, Christianisme et pouvoirs au Rwanda (1900-1990) , Paris: Karthala. 
[3] CHRÉTIEN, Jean-Pierre, 2003, Afrique des Grands Lacs, 2000 ans d’histoire , Paris: Flammarion. 
[4] [4]Ibaruwa y’abagaragu b’ibwami”, Kinyamateka, 15 juillet 1958, no 14, p.2 
[5] Lemarchand, René, 1970: 154; Munyarugerero, 2003: 50-51; Reyntjens, 1985: 236. 
[6] REYNTJENS, Filip, 1985 : 261, Pouvoir et droit au Rwanda, Droit public et évolution politique, 1916-1973 , Tervuren: Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale. 
[7] LEMARCHAND, René, 1970: Rwanda and Burundi , London: Pall Mall Press. 
[8] [8]REYNTJENS, Filip, 1985, Pouvoir et droit au Rwanda, Droit public et évolution politique, 1916-1973 , Tervuren: Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale. 
[9]Lemarchand, 1970: 224-225;Reyntjens, 1985: 466. 
[10]MUNYARUGERERO, François-Xavier, 2003, Réseaux, pouvoirs, oppositions, La Compétition politique au Rwanda , Paris: L’Harmattan. 
[12] World Journal News: Rwanda: President Paul Kagame is implicated In War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. By Maj. Alphonse Furuma,
      former member of the RPF/RPA. 29 May 2009
[13] Journal of Humanitarian Assistance: Towards Crisis in Rwanda 1990-1994.
[14]Ruzibiza, Abdul (2005): Rwanda, L’Histoire Secrete, Panama" 
[15] The Spanish Indictment of High-ranking Rwandan Officials. Tribunal Constitucional, Sala Segunda, STC 237/2005, judgment of 26              September 2005; available at 
[16] Carla Del Ponte (2008): “The Hunt. Me and My War Criminal”
[17] Carla Del Ponte (2008): “The Hunt. Me and My War Criminal”
[20] Unclassified document: UN HCR team report of September 12, 1994 “New Human Rights Abuse in Rwanda” led by George E. Moose
[22] Connor, John: Bravery under fire. Wartime, Issue 39. Australian War Memorial.. Retrieved 2008-09-25
[23] Witness to Genocide - A Personal Account of the 1995 Kibeho Massacre.
[24] The President and Vice President of RPF in USA have resigned and quit the RPF
[25] Rwanda ex-army chief  Nyamwasa shot in Johannesburg.  Available at
[26] Lt Col Rugigana Ngabo, brother to General Kayumba Nyamwasa, in military court in Kigali. Avalaible at:
[27] OPJDR’s PRESS RELEASE JULY16, 2010 . PRESS RELEASE Nº 29/J/PK/710  of July 16, 2010 
[28] OPJDR letter of June 1, 2010, N° 24/HR/PK/610
[30] OPJDR: Letter to President Paul Kagame.  N° 20/P/PK/310 of March 20, 2010 available at
[31]Rwanda Presidential Election 2010: Rwanda’s New Political Victims By ZareenIqbal, August, 2010

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Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
Your reference from Rwanda really made alarming deterioration in the political field. The upcoming troubles are many, but one needs to think wisely to get rid of all the hurdles. The hurdles are many since 1959 and it is still continuing in present day. I am working in and I have written in the similar topic on some weekend last year. I hope all such troubles get solved our soon in politics.
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