Importance of cultivating correctness or righteousness in Rwandan politics

Eugene Shimamungu recently reminded the public interested in Rwandan politics an important issue which needs to be dealt with as radically as possible to do justice to people’s collective consciousness about fairness. The issue at hand is the criminal investigation against General Kayumba Nyamwasa from two international judges, French and Spanish, and the fact that he and his associates have launched a political party, Rwandan National Council, which is today gathering momentum to bring together all the Rwandan opposition against Paul Kagame.

I have not been a military strategist but as one, the general through his current tactics and other intelligence associates, shows that he can succeed on a front battle you wouldn’t expect him to be. Though he has been strongly associated with Paul Kagame’s wars, and only last year in 2010 distanced himself officially with his ex commander in chief, this should not clear him from any wrong doing against his fellow Rwandans, particularly survivors of his military campaigns inside Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is regrettable that his ex military chief, Paul Kagame, wants him dead. But this again does not excuse the former of any past crimes he is accountable for.

In the financial world there is what is called money laundering techniques. In a few words, you acquire generally substantial but suspicious amounts of money through drugs dealing, corruption deals, scams, or other dubious activities, etc. Then you try to make that money get into the formal and legal financial system. By creating a political party, Rwandan National Congress, that is what the general and those particularly in the group who are named in French and Spanish court cases have done to officially clear their names in the eyes of the general public.  The surprise is how those who yesterday claimed to be the general and his group’s victims welcome them while the memory of the crimes is still so fresh in their mind. Is it because they suffer from amnesia unknowingly or are too much into the future, which may even be uncertain, they don’t care about what happen to them?

Many among the main founders of RNC have legal backgrounds. Understandably they know well what they are doing by creating a political party while some of them have pending serious judiciary cases. These cases could see them sentenced for harsh and long years of imprisonment if there was enough agreement among the international community around the crimes committed. Ignoring this context and deciding to associate themselves with RNC which includes the names of people that judges want to have in court is to lack some political maturity on the part of Rwandan political parties in the opposition.

The Financial Times newspaper reported in its March 4th edition that ‘Sir Howard Davis, one of the most enduring and successful figures in British public life, had resigned as director of the London School of Economics as new details emerged of the institution’s relation with Libya.’ ‘The world class social science had become embroiled in an intensifying controversy about its links to Muammar Gaddafi’s regime,’ further explained the paper. You might wonder what can be the relation between this resignation of Sir Davies and General Kayumba Nyamwasa creating a political party despite his judiciary situation. In fact there is a lot to that.

In the case of Britain, someone who has not done anything apparently wrong, unless accepting to work officially with a regime which today is seriously decried by the West, and which by the way was at the time in good terms with Tony Blair’s government, has to resign because of that. His involvement with Gaddafi did not demand from the institution he led to get into killing anyone, but only provide a professional service of training Libyan officials against payment of an agreed fee. On the other hand, you have a Rwandan general and his team who, as either field military commander or members of official institutions in the country, get involved directly and or indirectly in killing and or oppressing their fellow Rwandans, and then everything is under wrap as if it didn’t happen to make room for a formal and legal political party.

I remember looking back and learning at the time that FDU-Inkingi leadership, before it went to do its political activities in Rwanda, was particularly only interested in having around only people who could not be accused at anytime of any crimes or offenses punishable according Rwandan laws. It is difficult to understand what has changed today. Sometimes it is said that politics is a world of compromises. But it should also be agreed that without aiming for correctness or righteousness in politics, Rwandan politicians opposed to Paul Kagame could end up not changing what they want to see changed: the lack of ethics in politics. Aim high and you will reach high, but aim low and you achieve low.


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