Envoy to Netherlands resigns, Kagame “surprised."

Published on by KANYARWANDA

Envoy to Netherlands resigns, Kagame “surprised."
Rwandan News Agency
3 March 2010

Rwanda’s ambassador to The Netherlands, Mr. Jean-Pierre Bizimana, sent an
e-mail to President Paul Kagame tendering his resignation – making
accusations the President now claims are laughable, RNA reports.

Mr. Bizimana, according to President Kagame, wrote a resignation
e-mail which was received by his Principal Private Secretary, Mr. Gatare
Francis, before the annual ambassadors’ retreat last week. Mr. Bizimana
did not turn up at the retreat.

In the email, the envoy claimed his job had been made “difficult” by his
subordinate, the Second Counselor, a female, at the embassy. At a press
conference Wednesday, President Kagame simply laughed at the issue.

“I find it very strange that an ambassador is failed [in his job] by a
junior officer,” he said amid laughter from the audience. The President
said Mr. Bizimana could have waited to get to Kigali for the
ambassadors’ retreat to raise the issue with the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, “later alone myself”.

RNA has now established that the junior official alleged to have triggered the Ambassador’s going is Ms. Enid Mbabazi, the Second Counselor. Interestingly, the names and photos of the two supposed conflicting individuals are still on the website of the embassy.

Ambassador Bizimana is alleged to have had prior encounters with the President but did not reveal his problems. Mr. Kagame said he finds the situation “strange” that a diplomat resigns in such a manner.

There had been unproven media reports that Mr. Bizimana was linked to the embattled opposition politician Ms Ingabire Victoire – prompting discomfort in Kigali with his presence in its embassy, which is found in one of the country’s key partners.

Ms. Ingabire, head of the yet-to-be-registered United Democratic Forces
Inkingi, has lived in the Netherlands for the last 16 years before her
return on January 16. Local media claimed that Mr. Bizimana helped Ms.
Ingabire, her family and party colleagues to get passports without
authorization from Kigali.

However, President Kagame described all this as “mere speculation”, arguing that what stands out is what was communicated to him by Mr. Bizimana.

Reports also suggest that the envoy was forced out of his job by
authorities in Kigali and is now seeking asylum in Ireland. Rwanda has
signed a prisoner exchange agreement with Ireland, and also has a
temporary extradition treaty with Great Britain.

On Thursday, when French President Nicholas Sarkozy was in Rwanda for the
three-hour visit, opposition critics including Ms. Ingabire, Green
Party leader Mr. Frank Habineza and Mr. Ntaganda Bernard of PS
Imberakuri, released an open letter to the French leader.

They criticized Mr. Sarkozy’s decision to visit Rwanda, a country with a
government, they argued, that is a dictatorship. The trio demanded that Mr.
Sarkozy put President Kagame to task over the lack of political space and
freedom of speech. Several other issues were raised.

During the high-level visit of former US President George W. Bush in 2008,
another similar letter from local media surfaced. This time, President Kagame did not waste any moment when the issue was up at the press briefing Wednesday.

“This shows the level at which those doing the writing are. What we do here
or what has been done for the last 16 years is not to please the
President of another country, whether big or small. We do everything
for the wellbeing of Rwandans,” he said.

“We also do whatever we work on as a gesture of goodwill to have good relations with other countries, but not to please those headmasters they report us to
because we are not their students,” he added.


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