Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, obtained 93% of the votes during the tidily ring-fenced elections held on Monday August 9th. People who followed closely the run-up to Election Day are aware of the plight of the real opposition to the ruling party Rwandan Patriotic Front. Opposition leaders have been assassinated, disappeared, imprisoned and seriously intimidated.
Acknowledging that his reputation had been damaged by the allegations against his regime, Paul Kagame was quick to appeal to the investment community claiming that Rwanda’s democracy was still a model for Africa. He implies that they shouldn’t worry about what some governments and human rights groups say about his style of government. He has the situation under control.
Over the 16 years he has been in power, there are many investors you have bet on him. He can be ruthless to his people, and they may be ready to look away. Even the new British coalition government appears ready to adopt a similar approach, as it is shifting from valuing human rights to primarily doing business despite whatever abuses may be going on in a given country. Fearful of this trend to the victims of Kagame’s rule, a call to African democrats and activists was made. This is what Francis Muhoozi, an activist from the Great Lakes region, came up with.
Open Letter To General Paul Kagame
22nd August 2010
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In direct reference to your article “Rwanda’s democracy is still the model for Africa” of 19th August 2010, published in The Financial Times, I beg to disagree with you as your close friends the Americans also reminded you through their White House statement of Friday 13th August 2010 Mr. President that, “Democracy is about more than holding elections.”
Unfortunately, August 09th 2010 was yet another missed chance for the people of Rwanda to take a step forward towards peace and reconciliation. It was a missed opportunity for all peace loving people of this world to see a step taken in the right direction to correct the bloody past wrongs in Rwanda and aim at the much needed reconciliation in the hearts of all Rwandans. It was a missed chance by all people who have Rwandans at heart, foreign governments and international organizations to stamp down their feet and demand for peace, justice and respect for all the people of Rwanda. I am talking about a ridiculous claim that you won the Rwandan election with 93% of the vote in the just concluded Rwandan elections.
You very well know that the 09th August 2010 sham elections in Rwanda were elections where the poor people of Rwanda were herded in an exercise to legitimize your disguised bloody, autocratic rule against the people of Rwanda where the only choices they had on their voting ballot papers were Kagame against Kagame. Not to mention all the intimidations and atrocities committed to your real political opponents in the run up to these elections, the fear that was boiling in the hearts of the Rwandese people when they were being herded in these voting lines, can only be explained by the beheaded picture of the late Andre Kagwa Rwisereka the Vice President of Green Party of Rwanda, an opposition politician who had dared to oppose you politically just days before these sham elections.
Quoting your article you said, “While few doubt my country’s rapid social and economic progress, too many observers are blind to the successes of our political evolution.” Mr. President while I insist that this rapid social development and economic progress you are boasting of should be relative; it cannot at all replace the fundamental human rights of peaceful co-existence of all the people of Rwanda in their country. Before you started causing havoc on the country of Rwanda in 1990, when you started shelling its innocent people from Uganda with big sophisticated weapons and big guns, all this social development and the economic progress was there in Rwanda at even a faster rate than you would want people who do not know these facts to believe. People who know Rwanda can bail me out on this.
As for successes of your political evolution you are claiming Mr. President, I am short of words to understand what you mean by that. In Uganda where you started your political and military carrier Mr. President, you were no good model for any civilized leader. Your job in the Museveni’s bloody armed struggle of 1981 – 1986, was well defined as a merciless executioner who would not tolerate any dissenting view either from within or from outside. That is why you were rightly nicknamed “Pilato” after the famous biblical Pontius Pilate. Is killing or imprisoning whoever does not agree with you politically the new brand of political evolution you are shamelessly sowing on the African continent and boasting of in these modern times of the 21st century?
You continued Mr. President, “It is important to look at the challenges my country has faced, healing the deep-seated wounds of a shattered society in need of both justice and reconciliation. No country has moved from genocide to confrontational politics overnight.” You are talking of the shattered society, Mr. President in 1990 – 1994. If I may politely ask, when you were taking the lead in shattering this same society you are claiming to protect, why didn’t it occur to you that you were being extremely greedy and reckless at that time? How was the innocent blood you were spilling and the society you were shattering then any different from the blood and today’s society?
But Mr. Kagame, did you have any other better political programs for the Rwandan people while preparing your Rwanda invasion before 1990 with Yoweri Museveni in Uganda? I am asking this because you seem to be tagging each and everything in Rwanda on the 1994 Rwanda genocide. You cannot let people speak freely in Rwanda because of the genocide, you cannot let televisions, radios and printed newspapers report the truth freely because of the genocide, you cannot let people assemble and demonstrate freely because of the genocide, you cannot let opposition political parties register to oppose you during elections because of the genocide; Mr. President, how long are you going to oppress people because of this genocide weapon?
According to UN secret reports, evidence on record in the Arusha ICTR, Rwandese witnesses Abdul Ruzibiza (RPF), Jean Pierre Mugabe (RPF), Alphonse Furuma (RPF), Aloys Ruyenzi (RPF), Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere of France, Judge Fernando Andreu Merelles of Spain, and International Lawyers, John P. Zelbst, Prof. Peter Erlinder, Kurt P. Kerns in the United States of America District Court of Oklahoma, and all new emerging evidence on record, you General Paul Kagame ordered the shooting down of the plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundi counterpart, Cyprien Ntaryamira, a crime that has been solely found unequivocally to have sparked off the Rwanda 1994 genocide in which over one million souls perished. The plane was shot down on April 6, 1994 at 8:30 PM as it was about to land at Kanombe International Airport. Presidents, their aides and the crew died instantly on the impact. Will I be wrong if I conclude that you personally ignited this genocide for your power thirsty selfish political power gains? No wonder you have and can continue to deceive the whole world about your love for Rwandans while hiding behind this genocide quagmire.
In the mentioned article Mr. President you proudly and arrogantly state, “Gacaca, our system of community courts, has tried more than 1.2m genocide suspects in the last five years. These reformed perpetrators have been allowed to resume their lives by acknowledging their crimes and asking for forgiveness. Today they live peacefully with their victims.”
Without denying there might be some real genocide suspects in your figures, there are misleading facts hidden behind the picture you provide to the world today. One relates to who these suspects are as people. These are majority Hutu males, bread earners for their families of three to four children or more. On the basis of the crimes they have been accused of, their properties have been confiscated apparently to compensate the Tutsi victims of genocide, whereas the truth is that such properties are given to the elites of the regime.
We well know now that the impoverishment of these millions of Rwandans then, if you include their dependants, is part of your cynical agenda to see them as second class citizens. The same way you gave them a conditional chance to live by acknowledging rightly or wrongly their alleged genocide crimes and asking for forgiveness. It is openly evident Mr. President that it is your intention to make them live in permanent poverty and guilt conscience so that you can maliciously easily manipulate them, and use them to always make you look very popular in Rwandan politics. These genocide suspects are survivors of the war that you and your Rwanda Patriotic Front rebels with the full backing of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni started on Rwanda on October 01st 1990 from Uganda and pursued on into the Democratic Republic of Congo in the following years.
Mr. President you again boasted that ‘Rwandans have gradually accepted the need to tolerate even those who killed their families,’ and have even abolished the death penalty. This is highly misleading because firstly, abolishing the death penalty from the panel code of Rwanda has not stopped your establishment to behead opposition politicians and critical news journalists and secondly, the forgiving field is tilted to only one ethnic group the Tutsi. Whereas it is now common knowledge that both ethnic groups killed each other, some good peace loving Tutsis have accepted and forgiven their Hutu neighbors who admitted to have committed the genocide crimes. However, the poor innocent Hutus have not had a similar chance to forgive their Tutsi neighbors who openly killed their loved ones, because you have refused deliberately to accept and prosecute Tutsis who including yourself are well known and well documented to have killed innocent Hutus.
Mr. President, saying that ‘the massive attendance at rallies during the campaign was a loud statement of confidence in (your) democracy,’ is another form of your deliberate resolve to continue confusing the world that you are a popular person in Rwanda, when actually you are continuing to hold the Rwandan people at ransom, and using your lies to keep them in the bondage of fear. Former president of Iraq Mr. Saddam Hussein held elections in that country in 2002 and his campaigns in this sham process were always overflowing with fear ridden people of that country. He even bet you on the polls because he polled 100% of the cast votes. Do you want to claim that massive attendances on these Sadam’s rallies were also a loud statement of confidence in his democracy? So please shape up and give people a break.
Finally Mr. Kagame sir, as you can see, the peace loving people of the beautiful country of a thousand hills of Rwanda are far from experiencing genuine democracy and real peace under your rule, simply because you are holding them at ransom with your massively blood soaked hands. Your RPF army is holding the state of Rwanda hostage. You are a major suspect in grave, very serious capital offenses which unless are urgently addressed by your being aligned to face fair justice in a competent court of law, peace and democracy will continue to elude the poor people of Rwanda and the Great lakes region of East and central Africa in general.
The writer is a peace loving citizen of the Great Lakes region.
CC. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda
Your mentor and comrade in crime
Read also: Non exhaustive criminal records of Paul Kagame and RPF as documented by Human rights organizations, UN and French and Spanish judiciary institutions.