By Charles Onana, Posted by Anita Stewart
For OpEdNews: Posted by Anita Stewart - Writer
For the moment, all is silence. Maybe an uncomfortable silence--but silence nonetheless! Faced with the growing murderousness of the Rwandan authorities, faced with the torrent of Rwandan soldiers and diplomats fleeing into other countries, faced with ever more persecutions of political opponents, faced with arbitrary arrests of Rwandan citizens at home and abroad: the Western powers that support the Kigali regime are keeping their heads down. Yet the lives of many Rwandans, inside and outside the country, are now being threatened more than ever--regardless of whether they are Tutsi or Hutu. Not since the days of the one-party states has Africa experienced such a savage and ruthless dictatorship as the one in Kigali today. This unsustainable situation is unbearable for the victims of the Rwandan tragedy of 1994.
My friend and colleague Déo Mushayidi is one such victim. In the past, he was a member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Today, he is the RPF's prey. Before, it was the "Extremist Hutu' who slaughtered his family; today, it is the ruling Tutsi Extremists who are plotting his death. Given the gravity of the situation, I cannot just sit on my hands. By writing this now, I mean to support my friend, who has been kidnapped and is about to face a firing squad.
Two weeks ago Déo Mushayidi was arrested in Tanzania and transported to Kigali, Africa's new capital of state-sanctioned crime. I did not react right away. I wanted to know exactly what he had done and what he was being accused of. After several days, the Kagame regime spat out its venom, accusing Déo Mushayidi of "endangering state security." This was the charge made against him at his first appearance before a Kigali judge. Then, the indictment metastasized with other charges: "disturbing the peace, forgery, associating with a terrorist group, genocide revisionism and divisionism." Déo Mushayidi, a Tutsi victim, should not have expected less from these self-appointed spokespeople for the Tutsi. The Rwandan hills are alive with such mountebanks.
What were the circumstances of Déo Mushayidi's arrest? Who handed down the order to send him to Kigali? Under what international convention was he handed over to Rwandan authorities, or--more exactly--to Paul Kagame?
One evening in my Washington hotel room, Déo Mushayidi warned me against the image of Paul Kagame and his regime being presented in the Western media. He knew a lot about this since he had worked with Kagame and seen just what he was capable of. I was in the midst of my investigation of Kagame's role in the terrorist attack of 6 April 1994 against the plane of the sitting Rwandan President, Juvénal Habyarimana--an international crime against the peace in which the Burundian President, Cyprien Ntaryamira, and the entire French (civilian) flight crew were also killed. Déo Mushayidi had agreed to cooperate in my investigation despite the great risks he'd be running in Kigali. In the course of a dinner in the US he told me at length about the crimes committed by the Tutsi "rebels' during their taking of Kigali and the mass killings of Hutu in 1995, 1996, and 1997. He had also reported on a plan to murder the former president of the Rwandan parliament, Joseph Sebarenzi, a Tutsi, who fought against the arbitrariness of the Rwandan legislature. "Kagame told me he wanted Sebarenzi dead. Because he feared that the speaker of the parliament, widely respected, would overshadow him." Joseph Sebarenzi fled Rwanda and is now in exile in the United States.
I tell this story today because I think my friend has been delivered into the hands of those who tried to murder him in 2000. Were all these efforts to get him out of Kigali in vain? Could the French official who saved Déo from his executioners get the ear of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, or President Nicolas Sarkozy, both of whom are well known to be very fond of Paul Kagame? For my part, I thank the French for prolonging Déo Mushayidi's life and allowing him to fight for Truth and Justice in his country for another ten years. During my 2002 trial in Paris on charges brought against me by Paul Kagame for our book on the terrorist attack of 6 April 1994, Déo Mushayidi came out to support me. He has always supported me against the many attacks of which I was the object for having dared to shine a light on the crimes Kagame committed against the Hutu, Tutsi and Congolese. When he became a refugee in Belgium in 2000, he got out of journalism to be able to continue his political struggles. He still advocates for fairness and justice to all victims of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide (Hutu and Tutsi, alike). In 2008 he joined with former Rwandan Defense Minister, General Emmanuel Habyarimana, once a collaborator of Paul Kagame's now living in exile in Switzerland, to publish a memorandum that was sent to the UN Security Council. That memo was extensively documented (including many highly classified documents) and explained Paul Kagame's involvement in the plundering of resources from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in the terrorist assassination of President Juvénal Habyarimana, and many other crimes. Déo Mushayidi has always advocated for peace and reconciliation among Rwandans--an approach the current government of Rwanda completely rejects.
In the past, Paul Kagame accused the Hutu of having "planned a genocide" against the Tutsi. Now, the same Kagame regime accuses my Tutsi friend of terrorism and denial of the "Tutsi genocide." However, Déo Mushayidi has never carried a Kalashnikov as has Paul Kagame, he's never shot down a president's plane as has Paul Kagame, he's never killed his own staff as has Paul Kagame, he's never killed either Hutu or Tutsi as has Paul Kagame, he's never advocated discrimination against Rwandan citizens as does Paul Kagame. He's never invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and butchered millions of Congolese as Paul Kagame's military continues to do. He's never plundered the DRC as Paul Kagame has for the last nearly thirteen years. Yet, it is Déo Mushayidi who is now in the dock--or should I say, on death row--in Kigali.
And I was struck with a curious hopefulness by the singular lack of enthusiasm shown by the international media in reporting the case of Déo Mushayidi. I'm especially surprised by the pall of silence hanging over Belgium, the country that welcomed my friend and gave him political asylum. And it was thought-provoking to see how little was made of his case by the Human Rights community, which is usually very quick to execute the orders of the Kagame regime by going after so-called "Hutu Genocidaires.' Are they, perhaps, confusing my Tutsi friend with some poor Hutu who deserves to disappear behind jailhouse walls, as did former Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu, in order to protect the criminal syndicate currently in power in Kigali? Do they also see Déo Mushayidi as a "genocidaire' or a "divisionist' and a "revisionist'? Since the regime said he was all those things and a "terrorist' to boot, maybe there are still some brain-donors out there who believe it. The reality is that my friend is paying for his involvement in my investigation of the terrorist attack on 6 April 1994, for his investigative work that led to the memorandum of 2008, and for his public positions as a Tutsi victim and a former member of the RPF working against the Kagame regime. The charges by the Rwandan military dictatorship against Déo Mushayidi are simply arbitrary and capricious fabrications.
Given the weak consensus within the European Union, the principal contributor of public funds to the repressive autocracy in Kigali, I would like to think that my friend will not remain for long in the hands of Africa's Murder Inc., which is currently ravaging Rwanda and the DRC.