Monthly Archives: January 2011

Would change in Rwanda be beneficial to Hutus only?

Back to my roots blog paints a relatively objective account of events which occurred in Rwanda in 2010 and somehow tarnished the glorious image of its president, Paul Kagame, and the country. I followed closely these events and from time to time let my views known online on my pages at The Rising Continent.

Though the account that is described is at some extent correct, one clarification remains necessary. The author of the posting on Back to my roots misrepresents Ms Victoire Ingabire, Chairperson of FDU-Inkingi, when she is referred to in the following terms: ‘A self-identified Hutu, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza went to challenge Kagame and the RPF for the presidency of Rwanda.

I think the ethnic background of the leader of FDU-Inkingi became a serious political issue when, on her first day of returning to Rwanda on January 16th, 2010 she visited the Genocide memorial and declared publicly that it would be difficult to have a genuine reconciliation between all Rwandans (Hutu, Tutsi and probably all other victims) if all the victims are not remembered and honoured in the same way. In the following days she visited a hospital in Gisenyi where she found hospitalised genocide convicted prisoners and others who had been apparently unfairly jailed. Unluckly for her, all her prisoners interlocuters happened to be Hutus.

If someone asked me who I am, I will tell them. If it happens that I am against injustices perpetrayed against people I feel closely connected with, I don’t have to identify myself as them (no need of doing so) despite the fact that we may share some connections in terms of injustices they suffer from.

The misrepresentation of Back to my roots about Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza falls in the same narrow loop and politically malicious way of seeing anyone fighting against all forms of injustices committed by Paul Kagame’s regime as ethnically minded or oriented.

I would rather correct the mentioned misrepresentation by saying that injustices that Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza has been fighting against even today while she is in prison, have defined and still define who she is. If it wasn’t about injustices, how would be defined Tutsis, people like Deo Mushayigi, and others who are today in Paul Kagame’s prisons or have been killed by his regime? Let’s not fall in the trap of those we fight against.

Mahtma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and many others like them in the history of our humanity, have never consciously identified themselves from an ethnical/ or tribal perspective. But injustices their people suffered from were so overwhelming that they stood up for them. Then those who wanted to maintain the status quo cried out spreading everywhere that these leaders for change had identified themselves as the ethnically identifiable victims, diverting by doing so the focus of their will for change on ethnicity rather than injustices as such, which is currently the case in Rwanda.

It is important to know that in oppressive societies, victims are so negatively portrayed in the public collective consciousness in such ways that being associated with them is part of the strategies of the oppressors to kill at birth any attempt to speak out for them. Public channels of communication, which are almost in their entirety in the hands of the oppressors are fine tuned to maintain the status quo and perpertuate the oppression, which is not unfortunately considered as such from the perspective of oppressors, but only as their way of life.

Those who don’t want change, most of the time because of the disruption it may cause to their comfort, always look for justification of the statu quo elsewhere, instead of looking at themselses, since they are the ones whose acts call forcibly for change.

In Rwanda there is no doubt that any fundamental political change would possibly and primarily improve Hutus’ condition, more than any other ethnic group, as they have been the main victims of the oppressive regime of Paul Kagame. There is also the fact that them being the main social makeup of Rwandan society, good or bad policies will all times impact on them significantly because of their number. But any positive change in the country will benefit as well all Rwandans, Tutsis, Hutus and Twas who continue to suffer under the hands of the current dictatorship.

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Africa: it is time to stop being fooled by Western aid

The London Evening Standard published in its edition of Tuesday January 25th, 2011, figures showing levels of debts of UK and US. The former is at £2.3 trillions and the latter at $14 trillions. If you write these amounts in their numbers equivalent they become £2,300,000,000,000 and $14,000,000,000,000. It is millions of pounds or dollars multiplied by million times. It’s huge. In the case of UK, the level of public borrowing is equivalent to 154% of the country’s entire output or Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With such level of public borrowing these countries and others in the West allow themselves to use a tiny fraction of these colossal amounts of money to keep through aid (including its affiliated instruments – IMF and WB loans) the majority of African countries economically and politically dependent. The strategy has worked for many decades at the expense of African development. And it is far from being disregarded. Why would it be? Who does it benefit? Maybe you could guess and be surprised to find that beneficiaries of aid are rather racketeers both in the West and the continent all different from people mainstream western media claim to be.

In reference to the level of borrowing of the West, in 2008, McKinsey Global Institute reported that Africa’s collective GDP was $1.6 trillions, roughly equal to Brazil’s or Russia’s. In 2020, African GDP is expected to reach $2.6 trillions. With this level of continental output, could Africa set up a kind of Marshall Plan, 100% owned and controlled by African governments, which would aim at funding critical sectors (transcontinental railways and roads, major ports and airports, energy and telecommunication infrastructures, technology centres, schools and universities of excellence, harmonisation of economic policies among African countries, continental security forces, creative and innovative industries, etc). The outcome of the plan would be to free African countries from Western bondage and dependence, as they would only be counting on their own resources for their development. Contrary to the speculative/ hyped wealth that the West relies upon to dominate the rest of the world, African wealth is real and tangible. It is not paper based.

Facts cry out to any rational mind and demonstrate that African countries are being fooled by Western aid. Through aid their providers are negatively influencing the continent development. In fact, aid’s focus is not on factors which sustain countries’ prosperity. Provided aid is also being directed under donors’ terms and conditions, which are not necessarily compatible with beneficiaries’ priorities. In most cases, aid is received by rogue regimes which are unpopular and consequently don’t benefit citizens because political leaders who act like mercenaries don’t feel accountable to their citizens. These are situations where one finds that aid is oriented towards activities which serve at maintaining these regimes into power instead of improving population’s standards of living. Like at the time of slavely, when slaves’ traders borrowed money to purchase their next cargo, which would help payback after selling the goods, today Western countries, UK, US and others in the club of donors are getting in debts to enthuse African governments with aid so they can get hold of their natural resources cheaply. With the proceeds from the transformation of these resources they can repay their debts. Is this generosity or a malicious capitalist scum which causes millions of African victims?

African countries should be bold enough to say no to aid. It is a new revolution which needs to be fought as any other that the continent has faced in the past and or may encounter in the future. Aid which should from then on only be conceived under an African Marshall type plan would be acceptable unless it responds to countries’ priorities, individually and collectively. It should benefit nationals and not its providers. On this matter, for example, any aid which would not employ 100% of nationals and or has more than 5% of administrative costs should be rejected. The focus is on the African Marshal type plan. In the same line of reforming the relationship between the West and Africa, at the time when Western highly indebted countries are looking at Africa as their solution to their financial difficulties, the next frontier because of its multiple and untapped opportunities, any business contract involving a Western partner which would not have among its project team at least a third of its members being from African descent should be rejected. It has been proven that remittances from African migrants were higher than aid. Since they are more effective in alleviating poverty in Africa, the strategy would help to increase their importance. It could be argued that as a consequence of such policy, the West could still have a significant advantage as master of the technology which would be part of the contract, and therefore overestimate its value. This could be assessed by third and neutral parties to the contract.

LET’S STOP BEING FOOLED ANY LONGER

Get up Stand Up, Stand Up for your rights
Get up Stand up, Don’t give up the fight
You can fool some people sometimes
But you can’t fool all people all the time
Bob Marley

United States of Africa: a reality which is gradually taking shape

From Saturday January 15th to Monday 17th, 2011, Tripoli, the Libyan capital hosted a historic conference which brought together representatives of African migrants from around the world. Delegates from Africa, Europe, North America, Caribbean Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia included personalities from African migrant background and the majority of them specialists in their fields of knowledge. The theme of the conference was, ‘a decent life in Europe or a welcome return to Africa.’ The objectives of the event were to discuss and find solutions to the issues faced by migrants in their countries of residence and how they could effectively contribute to the development of their continent of origin – Africa. At the background of the conference was the project of making a reality the idea of the United States of Africa.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping addressed participants at the beginning of the conference in a speech which emphasized the importance and role of African migrants in developing Africa. Among the many building blocs of the United States of Africa, the Tripoli conference saw the creation of an International Association of African Migrants whose work and headquarters will be located in Libya. The association’s branches will be established all over the world as needed.

Participants were explained the evolution of the creation of the United States of Africa since the transformation of the old Organisation of African Unity into African Union on 9/09/99. Speeding up the process of establishing AU institutions, and particularly putting in place a central, focused and broad structure of leadership for the continent was found critical. Explaining the AU project to masses in different African countries was also found crucial for making it the pillar of African development and the continent’s respect and image in the world.

The conference was marked by the spirit of the continent’s forefathers who fought for its independence around the 60s. Among the participants who reminded the audience of that critical period of African history were the son of Patrice Lumumba, the daughter of Nkwame Nkrumah, the son of Abdel Gamal Nasser, and the grandson of Malcom X. Traditional kings and queens of different parts of the continent were also represented. While talking to delegates to the conference, one could also understand directly what it means brain drains when it comes to Africa. Out of the 600 participants, almost every one had a post-graduate qualification and tens hold doctorates. And this was only the tip of the iceberg.

What does it take to build the United States of Africa? That’s the question. We Africans need total belief in its feasibility and realisation. Taking action at our own level by contributing with whatever involvement this could be. Since the 60s there have been wars around the world and most of them were fought on African soil. For decades the West has been testing its weaponry on the continent. On American or European soils there has never been any significant war since World War II. The only hiccup sort of war was Kosovo which were a consequence of the destruction of communism in the Balkans. As we know, the latter conflict was the ultimate phase of ousting communism from European soil. Unless we Africans come together and ban any supporters of wars in our midst, it will be difficult to progress.

By applying the same approach of unifying the African continent that Europe and U.S. used to strengthen their positions in the world, Africa could end its continuous wars. We know these wars are initiated by forces and powers outside the continent. Part of the tools which have been enslaving African leaders and making them to become tools in the hands of the neo-colonialists is aid. It has proven to be effective in keeping African countries in bondage. In recent years it has emerged that remittances from Africa migrants were much higher than aid and far more effective as they tackle directly without other intermediaries the needs of their recipients on the continent. Since no developed country has reached its current level of development through aid, stopping aid should be perceived as a significant way forward to development.

At the time the West is crippled with debts worth trillions of euros or dollars, it is at the same time when it is aggressively pursuing strategies to maintain its supremacy on all areas of world affairs, hammering among them the importance of its aid package. Ministerial delegations are regularly criss-crossing the African continent applying the same strategies of the past which succeeded to delay its development. The counter-plan has to be the enhancement of the Africa Union which was established and is being strengthened gradually. Its role and importance will improve standards and well being of African people.

Since 9.09.99, Kaddafi, the Libyan president, has become the ardent crusader of the Unites States of Africa. He needs us all Africans, wherever we are. All Africans and their leaders particularly need to support the train carrying the United States of Africa structure to make it a reality. A common market, a common currency, continental institutions (parliament, bank, capital, AU government, etc), continental policies on taxation, communication, security, natural resources, etc are very urgently needed. Let’s all play our part. I dream of a day soon to come when African people will be able to travel from Dakar to Nairobi, or Cairo to Cape Town, without a visa, and or live in any part of the continent as they like.

16th January 2011 – Ms Victoire Ingabire’s first Anniversary in Rwanda

16th January 2011 – Ms Victoire Ingabire’s first Anniversary in Rwanda.

She has been in prison for a few months now. Thanks to Paul Kagame.

Between her and him who would logically be in prison? The answer is yours.

The flame of hope and democracy in Rwanda she has enlightened, we are millions to keep it alive. We won’t let it fade.

Planned terrorist acts by Rwandan intelligence against exiled Rwandans living in UK

Since 9/11 the Western world has been regularly fed by mainstream media with terrorist frenzy and terminology. Some developing countries followed suite and have been referring to terrorist acts to imprison and victimise their political opponents. The Rwandan government has excelled in that area. While it accuses individuals who oppose its policies of being terrorists, the tactics that Umuvugizi reveal that are being used to silence Paul Kagame’s dissent voices are close to state terrorism.

In the online edition of the newspaper Umuvugizi published Saturday 8th, Gasasira reveals plans by the Rwandan government through its military and intelligence services to perform terrorist acts against members of its community who oppose its policies and live in UK. It is recommendable that UK authorities take seriously intended criminal actions in order to protect Rwandans who sought refuge in the country. The source of the information is the same which in May 2010 was the first to indicate that its investigation had found that the Rwandan government was behind the assassination attempt on General Faustin Nyamwasa in South Africa at the time.

If people remember, as this was to emerge during the following months, the South African government recalled its ambassador in Kigali, because it had found strong evidence linking the Rwandan intelligence services in that criminal act. The incident occurred in the middle of the World Cup which was being held in that country. The perpetration was visibly intentionally performed at the time when mainstream media would be focused on the football major international event; therefore the assassination would’ve been out of their radar or newsworthy.

With regard the planned terrorist acts that the Rwandan government intends to perform against its exiled citizens living in UK, the newspaper explains that Rwandan military and intelligence authorities invited Colonel Mupenzi who is currently studying in a UK institution. He was speedily invited to Kigali to explain the situation, suggest strategies which would have an effective immediate impact. The meeting also included intelligence staff working at the Rwandan High Commission in London. They agreed on plans to assassinate by strangulation, poison, and destroy unity of members of exiled Rwandan community which is opposed to Paul Kagame.

The newspaper adds that Ambassador Rwamucyo Ernest, intelligence officers Jimmy Uwizeye and Murego are all working with Colonel Mupenzi to implement the strategy discussed and agreed during the mentioned meeting of Kigali last December. Among other tactics to be used, there is identification and involvement of British citizens in the planned criminal activities. The paper highlights as well the fact that Ms Abera, one among top spies of Paul Kagame regime in UK, is using the cover of an organisation of Rwandans in Diaspora to identify and locate where the community lives. Rwandan intelligence agents, disguised as regular refugees, have been gathering at her house. She has apparently transformed it into an unofficial bar where her colleague intelligence agents gather to discuss work and spend their income benefits they receive from the British government.

At the time the Rwandan president is loosing his international credibility following the evidence of his criminal credentials, as exposed through the UN Mapping Report, or during his humiliating visit in Brussels early December last year, he doesn’t restrain his drive to harm any dissent voice wherever it could be anywhere around the world. This is happening while in Rwanda imprisoned opposition leaders and journalists are being dragged in front of his parody of judiciary system for fabricated crimes against national security. As a measure of caution for the Rwandan community living in UK, though its members must need to be more vigilant, they should continue to support democratic change back home to end the system of oppression and injustices that the Rwandan Patriotic Front has established since July 1994.