These two countries had lived peacefully as neighbours from times expanding back before the arrival of Europeans. Throughout their characterised histories, they had had their own specific problems, but most of the time, these were cared for within the boundaries of their respective territorial spaces. Then from 1/10/90, their shared tranquillity was going to change forever by atrocities rarely seen in past experiences of humankind.
Joweri Museveni, president of Uganda, and that many in Uganda associate with Rwandan origins, had in 1986 accessed to power with a strong support of exiled Rwandan Tutsis who had lived in the country since the 60s. Though the Rwandan government was doing whatever in its power to find a solution to the situation on its long-term refugees, those who were impatient among them, particularly the extremists didn’t want to come back as ordinary citizens. Their parents had been removed from power starting from the social revolution of 1959, when the enslavement system of the majority Hutus ended with the wind of African independences.
A quarter of Museveni army consisted of Tutsi Rwandans when he took power. Such disproportionate representation among a national army of Ugandan soldiers, some with important strategic positions in government, created a general resentment which required appropriate solutions, especially from the perspective of Ugandan Tutsis who wanted to return and conquer political power in their ancestral home [Rwanda]. They had helped Museveni into power, what he only needed to do was to return the favour. And he did, with all the catastrophic consequences that the whole Great Lakes region had to bare since then.
Rwanda experienced a guerrilla war from October 1990. Up to one million of civilians became internally displaced people [one Western genocide narrator was apparently told these were Tutsis who had been expelled from Uganda and had lived almost a refugee life since the 1960s], and thousands others were killed as a consequence of the situation created by the Rwandan Patriotic Front [RPF]. On April 6th, 1994, Paul Kagame, then leader of the rebel movement, ordered the shooting of the plane which was carrying Juvenal Habyarimana, president of Rwanda, Cyprien Ntaryamira, president of Burundi, and their close advisers, from Tanzania. The Rwandan genocide ensued immediately.
More than 1 million people died, Tutsis and Hutus [it appears more Hutus than Tutsis, according to certain sources, and contrary to the official narrative of what happened]. Paul Kagame, in power since July 1994, would not stop the killing his forces had started since 1990. They would continue even when his forces controlled the whole country. They exported the killings into the Democratic Republic of Congo, under the pretext of pursuing the defeated Habyarimana army. The UN Mapping Report unveiled on 1/10/2010 the scale of atrocities they committed in that country.
Since their initial invasion of Rwanda fitted the plans of US, UK and other western countries interested in the region, except France which was then on the side of the Habyarimana government, Kagame and his criminal associates, have benefited of total impunity, from international courts. ICTR has been prosecuting those namely responsible for the Rwandan genocide, but unfortunately they constitute one side of the conflict.
The systematic plundering/looting of DRC resources by Rwanda and Uganda particularly since the first war of Congo in 1997 and the continuing raping of Congolese women in areas rich in minerals have become part of the accepted narrative in the Great Lakes region. Despite vehement denials of involvement on the part of the Rwandan government, many witnesses confirm that Paul Kagame and his government can only fool their unconditional fans.
On top of the serious and numerous atrocities committed, accompanied with an accommodating impunity offered by his Western sponsors, the Rwandan president does not seem ready to reform his character. The ongoing case of Mrs Victoire Ingabire constitutes a clear manifestation of such behaviour.
Tens of thousands civilians are languishing in Rwandan prisons. Others have disappeared. Survivors live under constant fear not knowing what tomorrow will look like.
On 1st October 2011, twenty one years will have just passed, citizens of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo living nearly under hell brought to them by Paul Kagame and his affiliates and sponsors. It may seem a long time for those who have managed to survive despite everything. They may be already thinking of giving up on hope. If they want to appreciate their chance of being alive so far, they shouldn’t. Without hope there is no life. And everything has an end, even when we don’t see it clearly.