Archive for the 'International Pressure' Category

Where’s the sense of proportion in all of this?

This morning I nearly fell off the sofa while watching BBC News24 when a report outlining how Rwanda is behind the genocide in the Congo was broadcast. The fleeing of people from Goma initiated this report. It even went so far as to say that we have all been told lies about what really happened in the Congo. Was this really happening? I had to rewind the V+box to replay this news again and again just to make sure that I had not misheard the report. But no, I had heard correctly. Mention was made of how the regions mineral wealth has fuelled the crisis and how Kivu has become the prize fought over by Rwandan businessmen. This was extraordinary. Truth was finally dribbling through my box! Was my hardening cynicism of the function of the media going to have to be relaxed? When had I last heard the British Broadcasting propaganda service for the corporate elites do something as revolutionary as telling the truth? But here was the BBC telling their viewers that “Tutsi rebels” paid for by Rwandan businessmen have been committing crimes against humanity and well basically, it has to stop, chaps. Does one Messrs Tony Blair know this? Having appointed himself envoy to Rwanda recently he must be made aware of these facts straight away.

Talk of humanitarian intervention was interspersed with pictures of ragged Congolese men stoning UN blue tops as they passed in their shiny white tanks and the finger of blame was pointed at them by the BBC for failing to prevent the deaths of one million people. There was video too of Kagame’s men in crisply pressed new green uniforms filmed from sinister angles decrying their innocence. No mention was made of the fact that the BBC had bought these lies and why but I was prepared to forgive this omittance at this point and the fact they got the death toll wrong, it’s closer to 5 million who have died in the DR Congo at the rate of 45,000 a month since the Rwandans invaded the country ostensibly to hunt down Hutu rebels.

A developing story so more was bound to leak through the miasma. But just as the horror of what has transpired in the Eastern region of DR Congo, and why, threatened to dominate the headlines it was killed dead in its tracks at about 10.00 am by the very important coverage of bad boy comedian Russell Brand and partner in crime tv presenter Jonathan Woss and their crime of having made a rude call in the middle of the night to a grand-father about some sexual dalliance Brand had supposedly enjoyed with his grand-daughter. And that was that.

Other bad boy friends of Brand and Ross came forward to tell us this was a conspiracy of the left media to tarnish these good people. Calls for the resignation of the lads and producers who had allowed their obscene behaviour to filter through to the public at 2.00 am in the morning was gathering steam. None of this I would have heard anyway if it had not been relayed to me through the media as I happened to be fast asleep in the early hours of Sunday morning and I don’t listen to dead-wood like Radio 2. By this morning the deluge of calls for the sacking of anybody that had come within 2 feet of Brand and Ross was in full swing. Complaints that had been received by OFCOM on Monday morning had swelled from 4000 to over 10,000 today.

The report on DR Congo, as far as I can see, has not made it to the website but you can hear what the important news stories in the UK are today.

Russell quit his job as Radio 2 presenter in a video in which he claimed to be contrite over his bad behaviour, intriguingly, a picture of Joseph Stalin could be spied behind him as he explained himself and offered up his resignation. This was no accident on Russell’s part as he’s a smart man. George Orwell, no lover of the BBC, I think would have commiserated with Brand and understood the significance of this detail.

Now watch the BBC version. What’s missing? I think my cynicism about the media is hardening… again!

In the meantime Johan Hari wrote an article for the Independent on the crimes being carried out in our names in the Congo. We are all a party to this genocide because people being killed in the Congo are dying over coltan which is used in the manufacture of the mobile phones we use. I remember explaining this to a Bigfish back in 2003 who thought I was nuts but Hari gets it.

Now wouldn’t it be great if the BBC could get just as indignant and self-righteous about people dying in the Congo in wars as it does about Brand and Ross playing pranks in the middle of the night?

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State Sanctioned Kenyan Clashes

The BBC has learnt of allegations of state-sanctioned violence in Kenya during the turmoil that followed last December’s disputed presidential poll.

Watch video here

Sources allege that meetings were hosted at the official residence of the president between the banned Mungiki militia and senior government figures.

The aim was to hire them as a defence force in the Rift Valley to protect the president’s Kikuyu community.

The government denied the allegations, calling them “preposterous”.

“No such meetings took place at State House or any government office,” the government said in a statement posted on its website.

Such “unfounded lies” are “injurious to the president, government and the people of Kenya”, the statement said.

We were ordered not to stop the vehicles to allow them to go -Rift Valley policeman

The allegations come as parliament is due to open on Thursday preparing the way for a new coalition government.

Although parliament’s focus will be on healing ethnic divisions and creating a coalition government – allegations of state involvement with a banned Kikuyu militia, known as Mungiki, will not go ignored, the BBC’s Karen Allen in Nairobi says.

She says there is of growing suspicion that some of the violence that led to 1,500 people being killed and hundreds of thousands displaced was orchestrated by both sides of the political divide.

Gangs with machetes

The BBC source, who is a member of the Kikuyu tribe and who is now in hiding after receiving death threats, alleged: “Three members of the gang met at State House… and after the elections and the violence the militias were called again and they were given a duty to defend the Kikuyu in Rift Valley and we know they were there in numbers.”

Groups of Kikuyu groups roam the streets of a neighbourhood of Naivasha as fires burn
Non-Kikuyu homes in Naivasha were ransacked and set alight

On the weekend of 25 January, the Rift Valley towns of Nakuru and then Naivasha were the focus of the some of the worst post-election violence.

Eyewitnesses spoke of non-Kikuyu homes being marked, then gangs with machetes – who they claim were Mungiki – attacked people who were from other ethnic groups.

Sources inside the Mungiki have told the BBC that it was a renegade branch of the outfit that was responsible for violence, not them.

A policeman who was on duty at the time, who has spoken to the BBC on condition of anonymity, has also pointed to clear signs of state complicity.

He alleges that in the hours before the violence in Nakuru, police officers had orders not to stop a convoy of minibus taxis, called “matatus”, packed with men when they arrived at police checkpoints.

“When we were there… I saw about 12 of them [matatus] packed with men,” he said.

“There were no females… I could see they were armed.

“We were ordered not to stop the vehicles to allow them to go.”

The current and previous minister for internal security have both been invited to respond to the allegations. So far they have declined to do so.

The allegations come at a time of growing concern that there was pre-planned violence on both sides of the political fence, in the aftermath of Kenya’s disputed election result.

The international crisis group has already raised such concerns and Human Rights Watch is expected to publish its report making similar claims shortly.

There are plans to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the coming weeks to examine claims of election violence.

The allegations are likely to be among the themes investigated by a commission created to address the issue of post-election skirmishes.

MUNGIKI SECT
Banned in 2002
Thought to be ethnic Kikuyu militants
Mungiki means multitude in Kikuyu
Inspired by the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s
Claim to have more than 1m followers
Promote female circumcision and oath-taking
Believed to be linked to high-profile politicians
Control public transport routes, demanding levies
Blamed for revenge murders in the central region

Maina Kiai warned that Mungiki were being activated by the government in January.

An earlier report by Kenyan Corruption and Warlords here.

Newsnight Video here – the Dr Alfred Mutua govt spokesman gets Paxmanned at 22.30 mins in. Mutua claims that the BBC report is fabricated and finds the allegations are shocking. He also says that people are not happy for Kenyans to have found a solution to the crisis and ends asking what the reason for the allegations are “…Is it racism?”

Dr Alfred Mutua’s response to BBC report

BBC STORY BASELESS AND MEANT TO INCITE KENYANS INTO VIOLENCE

The Government of Kenya has been shocked by a story appearing on the BBC that alledges that members of the banned group Mungiki held meetings at Statehouse, Nairobi, the Official Office of the President.

This story is preposterous, baseless and at best defamatory. No such meetings took place at Statehouse or any Government Office. It is injurious to the President, Government and the People of Kenya for BBC to run such unfounded lies. What credible sources do the BBC have and what is the motivation of the BBC in running untruths and manufacturing such allegations? Why didn’t the BBC seek comment from the Government of Kenya before airing the story? The Government of Kenya will write to demand an apology, a retraction and an inquiry into the motive of the producers of the story.

The Government of Kenya takes great exception to the story, which is coming days after signing of a peace agreement, and can only conclude that the producers of the story are trying to dent the hopes of Kenyans and incite Kenyans into violence.

Kenyans should not believe the dangerous lies on the BBC story and should nurture the peace we enjoy with the knowledge that not everyone is happy that we are a stable country and that an African solution to the Kenyan crisis has been found.

The Mungiki sect is a criminal organization that has been banned by President Mwai Kibaki’s Government. Last year, the Government embarked on a special operation to wipe out the banned group and arrested its key leaders. The Government of Kenya has never worked or engaged banned criminal organizations for any work.

Dr. Alfred N. Mutua,
EBS PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY &
GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON

On Kagame and other “disinterested” observers of Kenya

A number of Kenyans in the blogosphere approvingly cite Rwandan Major General Paul Kagame’s opinion that a military intervention might be the best solution to Kenya’s crisis after Kagame expressed his concern about the killing taking place in Kenya in a recent interview. Kagame said,

“This is a case of emergency where certain things have to be done very quickly to stop the killings that are going on. There’s no time to go into niceties and debates when the killings are taking place.

“It starts with five deaths, then 10, then 50, shortly it grows to 100, then it goes to thousands … By the time you realise, it has a dimension that is wiping out life in villages and communities and is getting out of control and the whole political situation is in a mess.

Major General Paul Kagame
What Kagame doesn’t know about genocide is not worth mentioning. The rehabilitation of Paul Kagame from genocidaire to peace-maker and receiver of honorary doctorates from universities in the West has been achieved by the international media and G8 governments sweeping his crimes under the carpet. This has been easy to do because grasping what happened in Rwanda is a gargantuan task. Once you move beyond the Hotel Rwanda frame you begin to uncover an evil so unspeakable and so complex, it shatters all your media-fed illusions.

Some years ago I met a Congolese journalist who began to educate me on President Kagame’s role in the destabilisation of eastern Congo. What I heard was so disturbing and so opposite to the UK media’s representation of the situation in Rwanda that at first I refused to accept it. Today there is no doubt in my mind that Kagame and his cohort, Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni are war criminals who should be tried in the Hague for crimes against humanity. This is not likely to happen as they are instruments of the US.

And where the US goes, the UK will follow closely behind clinging tightly to the imperial master’s coat-tails. It has just been announced that another well known war criminal, Tony Blair, is offering his services to Rwanda as a consultant, impressed with the progress that Rwanda has made after years of civil war. No word has been uttered about Kagame’s bloody past nor is it likely to gnaw on the conscience of Blair who bolstered Rwanda with foreign aid even as he was killing, torturing and executing his internal enemies.

So I read with creeping alarm that the first person to congratulate Mwai Kibaki on his supposed re-election was Ugandan war criminal and dictator Yoweri Museveni. Kibaki then sent out a call for help to Museveni who duly turned up in Nairobi to discuss how to resolve the situation. An envoy was swiftly dispatched to Kingala, Rwanda with a message from Kibaki for Kagame explaining the Kenyan situation which begs the question, why does Kagame need an explanation from Kibaki? South Africa’s Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu’s offers of mediation were rejected as were the then head of the African Union and Ghanaian president, John Kufuor. Add to this Kibaki’s rejection of South African Cyril Ramaphosa, a man widely respected for the role he played in the South African democratic process and Irish peace negotiations. This speaks volumes.

As instruments of US policy in Africa, Museveni and Kagame’s utterances should be paid close attention to, as they give pointers to US intentions in the region. Museveni is “America’s darling” and strongman. Kagame was trained by the US Army at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA and served as head of Museveni’s Directorate of Military Intelligence. Kagame visits the US frequently, speaks at Harvard University and has the ear of the White House and the Pentagon. Both men recognise Kibaki’s government.

It must be remembered Kagame has been accused of ordering Rwandan President Habyarimana’s to be shot down. At the time Habyarimama was involved in talks that aimed at sharing power with Kagame’s Revolutionary Patriotic Front (RPF) but he was not pleased with the pace at which the talks were moving and decided to kill Habyarimana.

This event became the catalyst for the Rwanda’s civil war which led to a million people being killed. Kagame did this knowing full well what the consequences would be and to secure control of power for himself. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that from April to August in 1994, the rebel RPF headed by Paul Kagame systematically killed between 25,00 and 45,000 Hutus and others as it made its way to the capital city of Kigali. That was just the beginning.

When it was reported that the bodies of Hutu victims were being found washed up on the shores of Lake Victoria, Kagame, a consummate liar, scoffed that those were Tutsis and the killings continued with fury. (See the Taylor Report – COMPENDIUM OF RPF CRIMES – OCTOBER 1990 TO 1996 *pdf). There was no one to speak for the victims because the killings were sanctioned in the west as a necessary evil.

The RPF was made up of Tutsi exiles who had fled an earlier genocide instigated by Rwanda’s departing embittered Belgian colonial masters in the 1950’s. They had found refuge in Uganda and many had ended up in the military. Kagame headed the RPF who received financial and military backing from Washington while Habyarimana’s forces were supported by France.

Both Hutus and Tutsis engaged in atrocities but it was primarily a proxy war between the US and France for control of the Congo. The US wanted to establish itself as a neo-colonial power in the region and France desperately tried to hold on. Iraq ravaged by war became the center for illegal arms deals which supplied both sides of the conflict. Uganda became the conduit. Ethnic rivalries were stoked deliberately. The loss of a million lives did not matter to Kagame nor to Washington.

The RPF invasion of Rwanda led to 1.5 million Rwandan and Burundians fleeing into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Paul Kagame as newly installed head of Rwanda then led an invasion together with Uganda’s People’s Defense Force (UPDF) and Laurence Kabila’s Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) into eastern Congo ostensibly to capture Hutus.

Kagame’s reasons for invading eastern Congo quickly disappeared as the the army linked up with the Hutus and used them to gain control of the region, particularly the diamond city of Kisangani which is 1500 miles away from the border Rwanda shares with Congo. According to the UN, “With minor exceptions, the objective of [its] military activity is to secure access to mining sites or ensure a supply of captive labour.”

Eastern Congo is one of the most minerally rich places in the world, minerals which are highly sought after by US and EU corporations. Here he set up the ‘Congo desk‘ which was manned by his soldiers. Its purpose was to funnel out of DRC diamonds, gold, cobalt and coltan, an expensive mineral used in the manufacture of mobile phones.

Sixty to seventy per cent of the coltan exported from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations reported in 2002, has been mined “under the direct surveillance” of the Rwandan army. Most of the rest was produced by subcontractors and companies answerable to the army or to other departments of the Rwandan government.3 Kagame’s people, in other words, had a near-monopoly on global coltan production.

After fighting off the Ugandan army in June 2000, the Rwandan forces managed “to funnel all the diamonds in Kisangani [in eastern DRC] through the Congo Desk”. Local diamond traders were forced to sell to the contractor nominated by the Rwandan army, and at prices set by the desk. The Rwandans appear to have been stealing about $2 million worth of diamonds a month. (Monbiot C.)

The army also managed to capture most of eastern Congo’s public funds, seizing its revenues for water electricity, airports and roads. By 1999 the ‘Congo desk’ was generating 80% of the Rwandan army’s budget, some $320 million a year. The Rwandan elites new found wealth and prosperity is fruit borne from the Congo’s fields of blood. This is the reason why Rwanda has made progress since its civil war, the Congolese have been paying tribute to Kagame. And this is the dark underbelly of neo-liberalism which avaricious Blair admires.

Horrifyingly, the displacements caused by the people fleeing the army who burned and razed to the ground Congolese villages led to more people dying than were killed by the Interhamwe in Rwanda. From the invasion in 1999 to when the Rwandan army pulled out in 2002, the UN suggests that over 3.5 million deaths in excess of previous levels of mortality “occurred from the beginning of the war up to September 2002. These deaths are a direct result of the occupation by Rwanda and Uganda.” The figure today stands at 5 million. That’s 45,000 people a month since the troubles began in the region. This barely raises a flicker of interest in the international press.

The war in DRC might have officially ended but the plundering carries on. The Rwandan Patriotic Army soldiers at the ‘Congo Desk’ exchanged their uniforms for civilian clothing and the plunder continued under close management by the army in Kigali. Rwanda continues to use the excuse of rebel soldiers to invade and to arm rebel Tutsi forces that have been fighting to annex eastern Congo.

Kagame’s soothing comment, “I tend to believe that the Kenyan army is professional and has been stable,” should be viewed with extreme suspicion. It is widely known that Kenya’s army harbours the same ethnic rivalry tearing the country apart. Many of those in the army are sympathetic to Odinga who is aware that there is a danger the army could split along ethnic lines.

It is Odinga who has poured cold water on using Kenyan troops to contain the violence that is ripping Kenya apart while Kibaki will not dare involve the army. Which then leaves only outside military intervention by the AU or UN. If the AU or UN take this route what would that look like? Which countries would send troops and given the behaviour of Ugandan troops in Nyanza who killed Luos indiscriminately, would Kenyans welcome them? Would the army stay in their barracks if that happened? Proof of how destabilising this will be to Kenya can be seen in neighbouring Sudan and if you have the courage to look, Congo.

So-called humanitarian missions such as United Nations Observer Mission in Congo (MONUC) are merely cloaks for the theft at gun-point of DRC’s wealth. MONUC members sit on the boards of many of the corporations that have interests in DRC. This reflects the growing trend to privatise humanitarian missions.

I don’t think the solutions to the political crisis are going to come from Messrs Kagame, Museveni, Brown or Bush who will probably opt for military intervention if Kibaki and Odinga can not reach agreement. Further, Kenya’s upheaval is not being viewed in the west as a political crisis but as a ‘tribal war’ which is impeding the extraction and safe passage of central Africa’s wealth out of the region.

The Central Lakes region is land-locked and relies on Kenya’s transport links. Following the destruction of the section of Kenya’s railway line that passed through the slum of Kibera there are plans afoot to rebuild the railway along a new route to the tune of $12.8 million that will by-pass Kibera. This will take nine months.

In contrast there are no plans to resolve the abject poverty that 60% of Kenyans hoped desperately to overturn by voting for Raila Odinga, a million Kenyans living in Kibera alone. It is hoped that a power-sharing deal between the key players will defuse their anger and frustration.

Oil interests are also threatened by the instability. Presently a pipeline worth billions of dollars is being constructed to carry oil from Lake Albert to a refinery in Mombasa and there are plans to link this with pipelines which will carry oil from the other Great Lakes.

In Eastern DRC, petroleum under Lake Albert is being tapped on the Ugandan side by Canada’s Heritage Oil & Gas, Tullow Oil and Hardman Resources, supported by the organized crime syndicates involved with the Uganda “government,” which is itself another syndicated crime ring run by the Ugandan military, General James Kazini, and Museveni’s half-brother Salim Saleh. Further south near Goma and Bukavu, Lake Kivu is targeted by U.S. companies, working through the current dictatorship in Rwanda, for its massive methane reserves.

FURTHER READING:

  • The war that did not make the headlines
  • Hotel Rwanda: Hollywood and the holocaust in Africa
  • Operation Iron Fist
  • GenoDynamics: Understanding Rwandan Violence
  • Rwandan ex-minister who cooperated with UN Tribunal found dead in Brussels – 2005

    UPDATE: 07.02.08

    Spanish judge indicts Rwandan officers

    The charges stem from massacres in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. President Kagame is accused, but has immunity.

    By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    February 7, 2008

    ROME — A Spanish judge Wednesday indicted 40 Rwandan army officers on charges of mass murder and crimes against humanity in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, asserting a concept of justice championed by his nation known as “universal jurisdiction.”

    Judge Fernando Andreu of Spain’s National Court said he also had sufficient evidence to implicate current Rwandan President Paul Kagame in a long string of reprisal massacres after he and his forces seized power, ending the genocide. But Andreu said he could not indict Kagame because as president he has immunity.

    Rwandan officials reacted angrily. An army spokesman, Maj. Jill Rutaremara, said the legal case was “nothing but an attempt to tarnish Rwanda’s image,” according to reports by Agence France-Presse from Kigali, the capital.

    The indicted men include a Rwandan military attache stationed in Washington and a Rwandan ambassador in Asia, as well as the army chief of staff, according to people familiar with the judicial order.

    The doctrine of universal jurisdiction holds that some crimes such as torture and genocide are so heinous that people accused of committing them can be tried anywhere, even in countries where the crimes did not take place.

    Spain has the broadest universal jurisdiction law in the world, human rights experts say. With it, the country’s judiciary has attempted to prosecute late Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Argentine and Guatemalan military officers accused of mass political killings of civilians, and even Osama bin Laden.

    And though Madrid wins praise in international-law circles for the effort, the cases have rarely resulted in convictions and have generated some controversy at home among Spanish officials who believe their courts are not equipped to take on such mammoth cases.

    Judge Andreu said he had gathered testimony from 22 people, most of them in exile and now in witness-protection programs. One witness had served on Kagame’s elite security team and testified to seeing Kagame machine-gun to death between 30 and 40 civilians “in a matter of seconds” and later order the killing of three bishops.

    The 182-page indictment, dated Wednesday and made public in Madrid, contains dozens of horrific accounts, including the dumping of bodies in 173 mass graves and the burning of other victims in national parks and safari game reserves. The witness from Kagame’s security detail was able to compile the names of 104,800 people he said Kagame’s forces killed in the space of one year, according to the indictment.

    The genocide in Rwanda began in April 1994, after an airplane carrying the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda, both Hutus, was shot down. An estimated 500,000 people, most of them Tutsis, were slaughtered over a period of 100 days. Tutsi-led rebels commanded by Kagame ended the genocide by defeating radical Hutus in July 1994 but unleashed more atrocities, the Spanish indictment says.

    By some counts, 800,000 people were slain before the violence ended.

    The Spanish case is potentially groundbreaking because it is focusing on crimes blamed on Kagame and his forces, something that a United Nations tribunal set up in 1994 to prosecute war crimes in Rwanda has not done.

    “This will increase pressure on the” U.N. court, said Alison Des Forges, senior advisor to the Africa division of New York-based Human Rights Watch.

    The Spanish case also goes beyond the work of the U.N. court because it includes crimes allegedly committed in refugee camps in neighboring countries where the Tanzania-based international tribunal does not have jurisdiction.

    Kagame has previously been accused of plotting the downing of the presidential aircraft, a charge he denied.

    The allegations first appeared in French media in 2004.

    Two years later, a French judge indicted nine senior Rwandan officials close to Kagame. But arrest warrants for those men have been routinely flouted in Africa, Des Forges said, and the case has languished.

    Andreu opened his investigation based on complaints from the families of six Spanish priests and three Spanish doctors slain in Rwanda. In 2005, several African groups petitioned the judge to include Rwandan victims, and, under the universal jurisdiction doctrine, Andreu agreed to expand the indictment.

    “This is the kind of thing that can and should happen when you have massive crimes that have essentially gone unpunished,” said Reed Brody, special counsel for Human Rights Watch.

    UPDATE: 10.04.08

    “You cannot understand the present unless you first understand the past.”

    The hero of the film Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, released the following statement in response to a smear campaign instigated by President Paul Kagame. Rusesabagina claims that Kagame’s motivations for sullying his name are based on the fact that he filed a complaint against General Paul Kagame and members of the RPF high military command for crimes against humanity in 2006. Since then Kagame has engaged in a vicious and sophisticated attack on the good name of Rusesabagina. Read on…

    The Rwandan people are not fools–they just need accurate information about their history. They need to be free and live freely. And they need a future based not on justice of the winner, but on the rule of law, mutual respect and truth and equitable justice. This is the only hope for our future generations. Paul Rusesabagina

    Exposing the Pact Between President Paul Kagame, Some Genocide Suspects, Some Genocide Survivors, and Two Supposed Humanitarian Groups against Paul Rusesabagina, An Ordinary Man

    A Response to Hotel Rwanda or the Tutsi Genocide as Seen by Hollywood
    by Alfred Ndahiro and Privat Rutazibwa

    For the last 5 years, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has been waging a fierce smear campaign against me and my actions. All of this started in 2002 when for personal reasons I declined an invitation from the President’s office to attend genocide commemoration ceremonies in Kigali, during which the President intended to officially recognize me for having protected refugees at the Mille Collines Hotel at the height of genocide. Things got worse two years later when film producer Terry George painted me as a hero in the movie Hotel Rwanda. Inspired by my personal genocide experience, the film aimed to bring awareness to the world’s audience about the horrors of the biggest crime of all.

    The movie premiered with immediate success, prompting several high profile personalities and humanitarian organizations to express their profound admiration and cheer me on in my humanitarian line of work. That is how I started, in 2005, Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, with a view to assist victims of genocide, both Hutu and Tutsi, without discrimination. I also launched the idea of setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Rwanda. In April 2006, the Viking Penguin publishing house released my autobiography, An Ordinary Man: the true story that inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda. Also, after Hotel Rwanda came out, I have been frequently invited to give lectures, notably at colleges and universities in Western countries. At my lectures, I rail against genocide and other crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda, including those committed by President Kagame and his army, the RPF. On November 15, 2006, I wrote the prosecutor of the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, to formally file a criminal complaint against General Paul Kagame and members of the RPF high military command.

    Eager to silence me over my inconvenient pronouncements and to sully my image, President Kagame has resolved to fight me head on, in the process vowing to trample evidence and falsify the history of genocide as it occurred at Mille Collines Hotel. In the throes of apparent jealousy and frustration for seeing an ordinary civilian man collecting honorary distinctions from many organizations and world leaders for his action during genocide, President Kagame has appeared ready to do anything, including predicating his own fate to that of prisoners held hostage in Rwandan jails. With the only goal of wiping out my reputation, he has not shied away from using the most reprehensible tactics, such as striking an alliance with some genocide suspects held at Kigali Central prison, commonly known as 1930. That’s how his closest associates have enlisted the services of a notorious hate peddler, former RTLM journalist Valerie Bemeriki, as well as Amri Karekezi and Gregoire Nyirimanzi, both of whom were Councilors of Kigali City’s Biryogo Sector and Nyakabanda Sector respectively during the genocide. There is also a certain Setiba, an infamous genocide suspect involved in several massacres at the Nyabarongo and Giticyinyoni roadblocks.

    Besides these genocide suspects held hostage in prisons, President Kagame’s most loyal servants have also hijacked scores of genocide survivors of Mille Collines Hotel, and have bought from them falsified testimonies accusing me of complicity in the genocide and ill-treatment against them while under my care. A handful of cowards among them have succumbed to this terrible tactic of institutionalized defamation. Odette Nyiramirimo, Tatien Miheto Ndorimana, Egide Karuranga, Bertin Makuza, Christophe Shamukiga, Yolande Mukagasana, and Jean de Dieu Mucyo are part of this select group. The President’s office believed that they had gathered key ingredients for the authoring of HOTEL RWANDA or the Tutsi Genocide as seen by Hollywood, a book recently published by L-Harmattan. The book is nothing but a compilation of egregious lies cooked up by two Rwandan academics, Alfred Ndahiro – an advisor to President Kagame in communication and international relations, a man who never lived in Rwanda until Kagame brought him to the president’s office – and Privat Rutazibwa, a defrocked priest who once headed the Rwandan Information Agency, and is a journalist, writer, and ideologue for President Kagame’s political party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). These false testimonies are recycled by such populist media as Radio ContactFM 89.7, the daily The New Times, and the Rwandan Information Agency, all of which were created and are fully funded by President Kagame and his inner circle for the only goal of smearing opponents.

    The overdrive to erase history facts has caused these puppet survivors to forget that they once freely volunteered their testimonies to credible western journalists in the immediate aftermath of the genocide long before they were sucked into this on-going retraction campaign. Their statements today lack any foundation and serve only to discredit the deponents. The twisting of their own testimonies about genocide goes as far as changing the context of their arrival and stay at Mille Collines Hotel. They even dare to claim that this Hotel, the best in Rwanda at the time, was in fact a Concentration Camp similar to the ones set up during the genocide of Jews in Europe. But such a comparison is nothing but an outright insult to the memory of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust who endured the atrocity of real concentration camps.

    Some civil society groups, which include certain shady local and foreign humanitarian organizations, have partaken in this grand conspiracy gambit by President Kagame. He has particularly targeted organizations involved with the fight against AIDS, which is a pet subject of his wife, as well as human rights groups working directly under the wings of the RPF. Among the most known leaders of these organizations are Francois Ngarambe and Theodore Simburudari, who head twin genocide survivor associations grouped under IBUKA, Allen Susan of the San Francisco Project in Kigali who is also a research fellow at Emory University (USA), and Rakiya Omaar, Director of African Rights who is a staunch ally of the RPF.

    The use of genocide victims’ suffering as a political tool

    In kicking off his smear campaign and leading the way for his hordes of informants, President Kagame has unabashedly used the 1994 genocide as a political instrument, manipulatively playing to the deeply hurt feelings and emotions of genocide survivors, with the only goal of winning their sympathy to his smear campaign. He has succeeded in holding their associations’ hostage and to use them as political pawns. The ones that attempted to resist – but not for a long time – have been completely infiltrated or bought out while holdouts have been systematically demonized. To wit, during the last 2 national genocide commemoration events in Nyamasheke (in former Cyangugu Prefecture) in 2006 and Murambi (in former Gikongoro Prefecture) in 2007, President Kagame on both occasions publicly engaged in smear rhetoric against me. In his speeches to the nation, he called me all kinds of names: a hero made in Europe and America, a liar, a swindler, a person with no history, etc. These insults were not simple temper tantrums; they were run and re-run on State radio and Television. Other media operating under the President’s control also reported extensively on the abusive language speeches inside and outside of the country. For some people, rallying behind the President in his defamation campaign afforded them an easy way to access special favors usually reserved for his most loyal followers. For others, it became a stepping stone to increased visibility and entrenched political positions. Yet others found a way to use this campaign to boost their souring image and get back in the President’s favor.

    In the days following these commemorative events, President Kagame designated Alfred Ndahiro, his personal advisor in communication and international relations, also the author of the afore-mentioned book, to coordinate this campaign. Mr. Ndahiro initially called on all Mille Collines Hotel genocide survivors to join in this smear offensive. Then he recruited some genocide suspects ready to bear false testimony against me. The on-going change of heart dynamic observed in many of Mille Collines Hotel genocide survivors is insincere and only shows how far the regime is willing to go to peddle lies, manipulate and trivialize genocide through repeated and varied use of false testimony.

    Corruption and infiltration of prisons and human rights organizations

    President Kagame’s smear campaign against me and my initiatives appears to be a long-term project, and a recurring theme in future annual genocide commemoration events. It appears to be solidly anchored around collaboration from suspected genocide criminals such as Valerie Bemeriki, a former RTLM journalist whose incendiary rhetoric during the genocide led to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Rwandans. Following the live radio and TV broadcast of her testimony at the closing ceremony of the National Memorial Week in Rebero, Kigali, in mid-April 2007, emissaries of the RPF and the president’s office paid rounds of courtesy visits to the hate-stoking journalist during genocide in her prison cell, the first time in her 10 years of incarceration that she enjoyed such courtship from the presidential staff. In the lead-up to her live radio and TV testimony against me, she had received close doctoring from prison Director Dativa Mukanyangezi. She also was coached by Tom Ndahiro, a former RPF army member, an improvised writer at the government’s weekly IMVAHO newspaper after the genocide, and a former member of the so-called National Human Rights Commission, and is now a talk show host at Radio Contact FM 89.7.

    Both instructors had convinced her to make up accusations against me in exchange for special favors, including possible presidential pardon. Initially, Ms. Bemeriki had resisted the offer, making it necessary to shake her a little bit. Her interlocutors had searched her prison cell with a fine tooth comb, taking away all of her secret documents, including those on genocide. The incident opened up her eyes, and she caved in to all of their subsequent demands. From then on she readily accepted to play the President’s game, and all she needed was a little time to get to know well her co-conspirators.

    During her testimony in April 2007, she questioned my role in saving the refugees at Mille Collines Hotel during the genocide, and concluded that I did not deserve any of the awards. Later, Alfred Ndahiro, the President’s advisor, came to see her in person in her prison cell. He delivered a personal message from President Kagame who had closely monitored her testimony against me while visiting the USA, and was prepared to reward her for her effort. But he wanted her to add a little bit more beef to the story. Mr. Ndahiro gave her a list of allegations to include in her testimony. Hoping to use her collaboration against the President’s “sworn enemy” to obtain an early release from prison and a return of her seized documents, Ms. Bemeriki did not even think twice. Within a few days, she produced dozens of pages of false testimony against me, which she sent to the President’s advisor through the prison’s Director. Later, the President’s advisor arranged for an audio-video recording of Ms. Bemeriki going through the litany of her false accusations against me, in stark contempt of the most basic moral and ethical etiquette.

    The book by Alfred Ndahiro and Privat Rutazibwa is nothing but a collection of lies mostly inspired by the specious account offered by this inmate as a bargain for prison release. The daily The New Times has found in her a steady source of its regular baseless allegations. As an example, under the title “Rusesagabina becomes notorious flag-bearer of genocide negationism”, Felix Muheto wrote in The New Times of Friday November 23, 2007: “Those who know his role during genocide have testified to us that he notoriously gave out names of Tutsis who were at the UNAMIR-protected Hotel des Mille Collines to RTLM journalists like renowned Valerie Bemeriki, a genocide convict in Rwanda.”

    Soon after the release of the book of lies and its signing at the Universite Libre de Belgique, in Brussels, on February 23, 2008, author Alfred Ndahiro went even further in an article entitled “Rusesabagina despairing as his delusion gets exposed in a book” and published in The New Times of March 5, 2008: “reliable sources close to the ‘1930’ prison revealed to us that not long ago, Paul Rusesabagina tried to bribe Valerie Bemeriki, the repentant RTLM journalist, so that she retrieves her all-revealing testimony on his real role in the 1994 Genocide … She also indicated as previously revealed in our articles that he used to inform the notorious RTLM on the whereabouts of some Tutsis, leading to subsequent death of some. He is also known according to various sources, including Valerie Bemeriki, to have been a valuable source of intelligence or the government security agencies during the Genocide”. These two articles as well as many others published about me in the same newspaper, often by the same author, are part of the all-out smear campaign of President Kagame, are trust-challenged, and truncate the history of genocide.

    Other genocide suspects locked away at the ‘1930’ prison, especially two former councilors of Barolo and Nyakabanda Sectors as well as the notorious Setiba, have also been courted by presidential staff members in order to join the team of informants. The President?s office, in collaboration with the military intelligence special services, have been pressuring them make up false testimony against me. A disinformation database has been set up and run by the same services while waiting to find a western sellout journalist willing to market these lies.

    Within civil society, the character assassination campaign against me and my action is run by the Ibuka Associations of genocide survivors in Rwanda. These associations use awareness and mobilization of Mille Collines Hotel survivors to fabricate false testimony against me and my initiatives, especially Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF). In tandem with the RPF, Ibuka has worked to impose the same exact tactic on its local representations in Europe, Canada and the USA, and its Belgium-based branch appears to be the most active, perhaps because of its strategic geopolitical location.

    With the presence in Brussels of many European institutions and a very strong political opposition to President Kagame’s, the Belgium-based Ibuka branch has been ordered to defend President Kagame’s general line of policy and to spread disinformation against me and my initiatives. Any Ibuka members staying clear of this plan or foiling it are equally smeared and accused of collaborating with me, the enemy.

    In that context, the RPF has created CRB, the so-called Communaute Rwandaise de Belgique asbl (or the Rwandan Community of Belgium), run by Rwandan Tutsi extremists most of whom grew up and lived in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This exclusive club acts as a powerful lobby that manipulates genocide survivors living in Belgium in order to enroll them in President Kagame’s smear operation. Genocide survivors who resist are intimidated and threatened, especially through RPF- remote-controlled internet discussion groups where they are branded as pro-genocide Hutus or as survivors by default. Urubuga rw’intore and Ibuka-l are two of the internet discussion forums dominated by informants working on behalf of President Kagame. Among the big names of this RPF mouthpiece organization in Belgium known as the CRB are Chantal Karara and her brother Gustave Karara, Digne Rwabuhungu, Jean Mukimbiri, Yolande Mukagasana and Tatien Miheto Ndorimana. The last 2 have been successful in splitting the organization in two factions, leading to a self-proclaimed provisional committee headed by a certain Melanie Uwamariya, a Rwandan-Belgian woman. The two architects at the top of this club who are responsible for this mess are none other than Manzi Bakuramutsa, a former Rwandan Ambassador to Belgium, and a Rwandan secret service agent named Olivier Kayumba, also serving as the First Secretary at the Rwandan Embassy in Brussels, who currently is heavily implicated in the assassination attempt of my brother-in-law. An on-going law suit pitting members of the Belgium-based Ibuka is at the heart of what?s terribly wrong with this whole smear operation.

    In France, supervisory authority over President Kagame’s effort to destroy me and my actions rests with Marcel Kabanda, a historian in charge of Ibuka-Europe, Esperance Brossard, president of Ibuka-France, and Jose Kagabo, a historian and an active member of the RPF. In the USA and Canada, the defamation movement against me is run by Sharangabo Rufagari [ a frequent contributor to Radio katwe readers comments about Rwanda -Ed], Alexis Bisangwa, Alexandre Kimenyi (the owner of Ibuka-l internet group), Egide Karuranga, Jean-Paul Nyirinkwaya from PAGE-Rwanda association in Canada, and Louise Mushikiwabo, the newly appointed Information Minister in President Kagame’s government. Coordination at the top is under the care of James Kimonyo, the Rwandan Ambassador in Washington, DC, who is notoriously known for having caused an uproar on September 8, 2007 at the launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Initiative (TRC) in Chicago, by alleging that two former American Ambassadors were arms dealers.

    The African Rights organization headed by Rakiya Omaar is another active partner in President Kagame’s demonization campaign. Strangely enough, the same Rakiya Omaar of the same organization wrote the following in 1995 in her book entitled African Rights: Rwanda, Death, Despair and Defiance under the heading “Hotel Mille Collines, Kigali” in the chapter titled Death Camps:

    Paul Rusesabagina was manager of the Hotel Diplomate before the genocide. The interim government requisitioned this hotel immediately after unleashing the genocide. When the expatriate manager of the hotel was evacuated, Paul was told by the new government to take over the management, which he did for a few days until the government evacuated to Gitarama on 12 April. The Belgian company that owns the Diplomate also owns the Mille Collines; at this point Paul was transferred to the Mille Collines. During his spell as manager of the Mille Collines, Paul Rusesabagina, who is a Hutu, earned the respect and gratitude of the many people who took refuge there. Many of the refugees evacuated from Mille Collines paid warm tribute to his efforts to protect and help them. Speaking the day after he himself was evacuated from his hotel, he described how running the hotel was somewhat different from his normal professional activities
    (Revised edition, pp. 719-729).

    The fear of contradicting her previous account has forced her to shun public visibility, and she has instead chosen the route of going silent while active in the underground. Her investigators are regular visitors of Kigali central prison to talk to select detainees identified by the president’s office, the military intelligence services, and the prison’s director.

    Among the selected detainees are Ms. Valerie Bemeriki and the afore-mentioned Councilors of Sectors. An intensive back and forth activity between this so-called British human rights organization, African Rights, and the intelligence services of the President’s office and the military, has been observed. Her investigators are very close to the military intelligence apparatus, and the modus operandi of both appears to be similar. It is reliably reported that soon after the onset of the genocide, this British naturalized woman of Somali origin lived in the Rwandan territory under RPF control, fully fed and housed by this rebel organization. After the war, she has continued to enjoy many favors from the RPF. Having thus found a comfortable lifeline, she dumped her career of jurist, and outright betrayed the ethical standards dear to human rights organizations by plunging head first into the regime’s mafia-like schemes that serve the RPF’s interests and her own. She has immediate access to the President and his entourage, especially high ranking military officers and senior officials, as well as businessmen. The RPF provides her with funding, arranges fund-raising for her, orders government ministries to do business with her, houses her and her employees, provides her with transport and identifies partners for her.

    With the help of the RPF, Rakiya Omaar has become a close friend of Dr. Allen Susan, an American researcher on AIDS who heads the Kigali San Francisco Project with funding from Emory University in the USA. Her project was part of Kigali Hospital before the war, but during the genocide she and her staff moved to Zambia. She was later expelled from Zambia for espionage according to accounts from some of her staff, and she returned to Rwanda where she has established strong ties with the RPF. Now the RPF has teamed her with Rakiya Omaar in exporting President Kagame’s demonization campaign against me. This on-going conspiracy against an ordinary individual whose courage during a moment of peril has won him international acclaim, is causing a growing number of observers to question these so-called human rights leaders? real understanding of humanity.

    Evidence cannot be denied

    In the meantime, there were massacres upon massacres throughout the entire country of Rwanda. Using the best estimate, 800 thousand people were killed in one hundred days. That’s 333 killings every hour, or 5 1/2 people murdered each minute. These astounding figures document the reality of the first three or four weeks from the beginning of the genocide. In many areas there were large numbers of uncounted people who survived injuries of all sorts, including many women who were systematically raped. While the rest of the country was in total chaos, the Mille Collines Hotel was the only refuge where more than a thousand people threatened by certain death were able to assemble and survive.

    Evidence cannot be denied. During the genocide, Mille Collines Hotel did not lose one single human life. A total of 1268 people found refuge in the hotel for about three months, and no one was killed or wounded. This is an undeniable fact in the history of Rwandan genocide. Soon after the genocide, while survivors’ and witnesses’ memory were still fresh, and long before any political manipulations had taken sway, many researchers and scholars of international reputation wrote and recorded facts about this exceptional event. A full chapter was devoted to the history of genocide at Mille Collines Hotel in the book by African Rights: Rwanda, Death, Despair and Defiance, (revised edition, August 1995, pp 719-724) in the section titled Death Camps, Hotel Mille Collines, Kigali. In June 1994, in Kigali?s suburb of Kabuga, which at the time was under RPF control, interviewed witnesses readily acknowledged my protection and paid tribute to my effort. A good example is on page 719, paragraph 3: Paul Rusesabagina, who is a Hutu, earned the respect and gratitude of the many people who took refuge there. Many of the refugees evacuated from Mille Collines paid warm tribute to his effort to protect and help them.

    Furthermore, Philip Gourevitch, a journalist at the New Yorker, also visited Rwanda after the genocide in order to conduct research. In 1998, his book We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux of New York, translated in French in 1999 and published by Denoel in Paris under the title Nous avons le plaisir de vous informer que, demain, nous serons tues avec nos familles. This book won the prize of the National Book Award in 1998. One of the lead characters of the book, whose testimony holds a vital role, is Odette Nyiramirimo who was asked by the journalist to tell her history since birth. On page 149, Odette recounts her ordeal during the genocide: Two weeks went by. Then Paul called from Mille Collines. He was an old friend and he wanted to check if anyone was still alive so he can save. When the genocide ended, both our families remained close and Odette even participated in the initial project of the film Hotel Rwanda, and we traveled together many times after the film was released.

    Today, Odette is a member of the Senate under the grip of President Kagame, and has made a complete about-face in her story line. She has decided to betray the truth and feed lies into President Kagame’s demonization campaign against me and my achievements. However, there is nothing surprising about Odette’s attitude, because as she testified herself on page 82 of Gourevitch’s book, she had danced in the streets under President Habyarimana: We danced in the streets when Habyarimana took power, she confessed. The question is whether she will always dance every time a dictatorship replaces another in Rwanda.

    Odette’s attitude brings to mind the attitude of Yolande Mukagasana, the author of the La mort ne veut pas de moi, loosely translated Death does not want me in English, published by Fixot in Paris in 1997. From pages 244 to 255, Yolande described how a high ranking military officer was sent by me to escort her to the Hotel. She wrote:

    The next day, I got news that the Director of Mille Collines Hotel had been repatriated back to Brussels or somewhere else, and had been replaced by a friend of mine. The French government reportedly had even secured an agreement from military leaders not to attack refugees at Mille Collines Hotel. I notified the doctor and requested him to inform the Hotel Director of my presence at Saint Paul: (). The doctor made three back and forth trips between Saint Paul parish and the Hotel, (). Each time, he came back with bad news that the Director cannot be found, but reassured me that an employee recorded his message. I started to despair.

    Among refugees, the atmosphere became gloomier as time went by. (). Suddenly, a big silence hit the chapel. Women started to tremble (). I turned back towards the entrance and I thought I saw death. A high ranking military officer, armed with a revolver and escorted by two armed soldiers, stood in the doorway and called out my name: “Muganga Mukagasana Yolande”. I felt like an electrical shock went through my body, and I froze. For the second time, only stronger, my name rang out through the walls of the chapel: “Muganga Mukagasana Yolande”. For the third time, the officer screamed out my name. (). I made the decision to stand up, yes, I was going to stand up and head towards the officer. I was in disbelief as my memory filled up with images my six weeks on the run. (). I tried to stand firm but my legs gave way under me. I heavily crumbled down to the floor. I stood up again and stumbled forward towards death. ().

    I planted myself a few meters away in front of the officer and said: “I am Yolande Mukagasana”, I was not shaking anymore, but rather altogether resigned. I expected to receive a full round of machinegun fire in my stomach any minute. “Is it you Muganga Mukagasana Yolande” – “Yes, it is me”. () “I came to look for you and escort you to Mille Collines Hotel on the Director’s orders. ” I beg your pardon”? “I am telling you I have received an order to take you to Mille Collines Hotel.” It seems unthinkable. Am I in Paradise already? (). – “I cannot leave behind the two children of my niece”. “That is not a problem, get them!” For a moment, I ask myself if this was not a trap to torture and assassinate us afterwards. But I quickly found an over-riding argument: a government army officer could not guess that I knew the Director of the Hotel. () The hall of the Hotel looked as if it had been hit by an earthquake. The floor was littered with clothes, bags of flour, and some boxes of potatoes. The eight black leather sofas had been pushed two by two against each other to make larger beds. The blinds had been lowered while all the light bulbs of the chandeliers were broken. Then I came face to face with Sperancie. (). “And my children? Do you, by any chance, have any news about my children”? (). At times, it seems as if my life had stopped on that day, right there in the hall of Mille Collines Hotel, in Kigali. () Because I have kept only a vague memory of what happened after that. I can just remember the tarpaulin-covered truck that took away about 50 of us

    Yolande Mukagasana spent only one night at the Hotel and the next day, she was evacuated by the contingent of the United Nations. Unfortunately today, she is one those genocide survivors who are puppets of the RPF, who holds conferences in different parts of Europe to tarnish my image.

    Two human rights organizations of international reputation, Human Rights Watch and Federation International des Ligues des Droits de lHomme have also published a book that touches on events at Mille Collines Hotel. The book’s title is Aucun temoin ne doit survivre, le genocide au Rwanda, published by Kathala in Paris, in 1999. In English, the book is called Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda, and is also available on line at http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/rwanda/. On page 739, it reads: An exceptional case: the Mille Collines Hotel. The authors explore the challenges that we faced on a daily basis and the multiple distress calls that we made.

    These books, as well as many others, published either during or immediately after the genocide, had a unique objective of informing about the genocide. They are exempted from all political manipulation of the RPF and will always occupy a position of highest authenticity in the history of the Rwandan genocide and all other crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda in 1994. They will keep a net advance distance from all other compilations of lies such as the book by Alfred Ndahiro and Privat Rutazibwa, evidently the work of President Kagame and his most loyal servants.

    For example, in Ndahiro’s book, he claims that I visit Rwanda regularly. He claims that I own land. He claims that I am investing in the country. The truth is that I am not allowed to visit Rwanda, as President Kagame has openly designated me as persona non grata in his speeches to the nation. The truth is I no longer own land as the land I had has been given as a bribe for false testimony against me, to a certain Alexander Nzizera, who never sought refuge at the Mille Collines Hotel. I even have evidence that the same Nzizera destroyed the building on my property where he is now developing condominiums for his own capital gain. And lastly, the truth is, I cannot, in sound judgment, invest in a country where government corruption took from me what I rightly owned before.

    It is absolutely stunning how President Kagame and his acolytes have launched an all-out war against me and have tried every trick possible to question my role in protecting refugees at Mille Collines Hotel, where no one was killed, kidnapped or beaten, all the while keeping quiet about thousands of Rwandans who were assassinated in the areas under the control of Kagame–an army general at the time, and under the control of the RPF army, also under his command. Their crimes before, during and after the genocide have been well documented, especially in the above-mentioned book Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda, from pages 818 to 838.

    The Rwandan people are not fools–they just need accurate information about their history. They need to be free and live freely. And they need a future based not on justice of the winner, but on the rule of law, mutual respect and truth and equitable justice. This is the only hope for our future generations.

    Caught between the anvil of international investigations reports on his own atrocities and those of his army, and the hammer of international political pressure as well as International Humanitarian Law, President Kagame desperately tries to run away from the truth and find an easy scapegoat for their crimes. He continues to use genocide as his best war horse, unabashedly exploiting politically and economically this humanitarian tragedy. I consider it a blessing and feel particularly honored that I have the opportunity to bring to the attention of Rwandans and the international community the sad reality of President Kagame’s demonization campaign against me and my achievements.

    The ultimate goal of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Rwanda as initiated by my foundation, The Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, is not to continue the war of words between two men, but to end Rwanda’s social injustices and to heal our shattered nation.

    Paul Rusesabagina

    Brussels, Belgium

    April 6, 2008

    UPDATE: 05.02.08

    The East African Community is considering sending a peace-keeping force to Kenya as one of the options in case the situation deteriorates, reports Anne Mugisa.

    “Currently, there are negotiations within the East African set-up. A decision has not yet been reached but negotiations are on,” Fred Opolot of the Uganda Media Centre told journalists yesterday.

    The East African Community, chaired by President Yoweri Museveni, is made up of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya.

    UPDATE: Kagame answers his critics.

    RWANDAN President Paul Kagame has said a re-run of Kenya’s disputed December 27 presidential poll should be considered seriously among options to stem the tide of post-election violence in the country.

    “I want to make my position clear on this matter. There are three scenarios of ending this situation and one of them is a re-run,” Mr. Kagame told journalists in Kigali yesterday.

    He said a re-run would help the warring factions on both sides of the political divide to settle their disputes democratically.

    “The violence in Kenya is worsening and human rights violations are increasing. This must stop. Both PNU and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) should go back to elections all together,” Mr. Kagame said at a monthly press conference held in Kigali yesterday.

    Mr. Kagame is the first and so far only president from the East African region to repeatedly suggest bold solutions to the Kenyan post election conflict.

    Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan brokered a deal between Kenya’s rival parties on Friday to take immediate steps to end the post-election violence which has killed nearly 900 people and displaced more than a quarter of a million. But the ethnic tensions in Kenya have taken on a momentum of their own, going beyond a standoff over Mr. Kibaki’s disputed re-election.

    Mr. Kagame has a right to suggest solutions to Kenya’s problems because Kenya is the main entry and exit route for Rwanda’s imports and exports. The violence therefore has had a great bearing on Rwanda’s economy. Just like Rwanda, Uganda too has suffered the brunt of the anarchy in Kenya, with many of its imports getting stranded in Mombasa.

    Mr. Kagame also took a swipe at critics of his proposed military intervention. Defending his position yesterday, he said the intervention of Kenyan military forces is imperative since people are continuing to die, and many others displaced daily due to the political unrest while other institutions are looking on.

    “The army should step in as negotiations progress. When I gave this military proposal, I knew some people would get it differently but I am just reading the situation on the ground and I find military intervention a priority at this time,” Mr. Kagame, a Major General in the Rwandan Army said.

    Mr. Kagame, however, doubted whether the same institutions that conducted the previous elections would make a difference. Mr. Kagame also proposed a recount of votes and equal power sharing between the big two – Mr. Kibaki’s PNU and Mr. Odinga’s ODM.

    UPDATE: 09.03.2008

    Cause for cheer in war-torn Africa


    The Tribune’s Paul Salopek has waged his own chase of Victor Bout, the alleged arms dealer finally in custody

    By Paul Salopek Tribune correspondent

    JOHANNESBURG — Africans have an extraordinary reason to celebrate this week. True, for untold thousands of their war dead, the news comes too late. But this is a rare occasion, a bittersweet coda, to remember them by: Victor Bout is finally behind bars.

    Most people have never heard of Bout. That’s the way he has always liked it.

    Bout, Butt, Boutov, Budd or Bulakin—the paunchy and mustachioed Russian former intelligence officer accused by Interpol of assembling the world’s largest and most destructive arms-trafficking empire has used a host of aliases. When I first stumbled across his trail in Congo in 2000, he was going by “Commandant Victor.”

    Back then, Bout’s old Antonov cargo planes were slipping into the “Mad Max” jungles of that war-addled nation, busting UN weapons sanctions against homicidal warlords. I once watched Bout’s men unload a deadly cargo in the besieged Congolese city of Kisangani. The pilots were red-faced Ukrainians in dingy T-shirts. One, toting an Uzi submachine gun, appeared to be wearing pajama bottoms. Reeking of vodka, they blasted Santana’s cover of “Oye Como Va” from a boombox while scores of ammunition boxes hit the simmering tarmac.

    Later, while reporting in Africa’s conflict zones, I would hitch rides on Bout’s gunrunning aircraft — a murky fleet of some 50 propeller-driven crates that, from the early 1990s onward, stoked some of the ghastliest bloodbaths on the continent. On one trip, again in Congo, his crews delivered anti-aircraft guns for a rebel thug, then back-loaded coffins filled with dead Ugandan soldiers. On another hop, to the capital of the Central African Republic, his pilots holed up in a bar while their plane was stuffed with U.S.-made combat medical kits.

    Bout was far too shrewd to join such risky missions himself. In Sierra Leone, Sudan, Angola, Liberia and other human slaughterhouses, UN investigators say, he used ex-Soviet air force flunkies, bogus shipping papers and a maze of front companies to erase his fingerprints from millions worth of illicit weapons shipments: guns, bullets, rockets and even attack helicopters.

    In 2001, I tried dogging Bout’s trail across three continents for an investigative article. I failed.

    Supremely wary, secretive to the extremes of paranoia, he was always one step ahead. The closest I came was in Uganda. I arrived at one of his safe houses mere hours, neighbors said, after he padlocked the place and fled. Months later, in a bland suburb of Dallas, a man who claimed to be his American accountant explained in a tense and bizarre 2 a.m. interview what I was up against.

    “Victor is a genius—we’re talking an IQ of 170,” said Richard Chichakli, who has since had his assets frozen by the U.S. government over his alleged dealings with Bout. “He knows the African people. He knows the languages —French, Portuguese, Xhosa, Zulu.”

    According to just about every law-enforcement agency hunting him, Bout is a twisted genius of sorts. His mystique even inspired a Hollywood film, “Lord of War,” starring Nicolas Cage. But he finally let his guard slip Thursday, when he was nabbed in an American-led sting operation in Thailand.

    U.S. investigators say Bout was caught trying to peddle missiles to agents posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a South American rebel group. In recent years, Bout also has been accused in the news media of supplying weapons to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

    Readers often write asking why Africa seems forever to be embroiled in mayhem and violence.

    The reasons are complex. But the fact that the U.S. and the old Soviet Union dumped mountains of weaponry into the world’s poorest continent during the Cold War—a lethal trade allegedly taken up with gusto by Bout, for sheer profit, not ideology—is surely part of the answer.

    Seeing Bout handcuffed on TV, I am reminded how remarkably young he is—just 41—and how he will have his day in court, an accounting that the numberless victims of Africa’s vicious wars, long enabled by cynical outsiders, will never be afforded.

    Paul Salopek is the Tribune’s Africa correspondent.

    Rwandan ex-minister, Uwilingiyimana Juvénal, who cooperated with UN Tribunal found dead in Brussels – 2005

    Uwilingiyimana Juvénal 5 November 2005, Brussels
    Rue Moretus 4
    1070 Anderlecht, Brussels

    The Prosecutor of the ICTR
    PO Box 6016
    Arusha, Tanzania

    Mr. Prosecutor,

    I have been interviewed several times by your representatives from the ICTR: Richard Renaud, director of investigations, Stephan Rapp, chief of legal proceedings, Rejean Tremblay and André Delvaux, investigators; even you, yourself, met with me on 5 October 2005.

    I was asked from the beginning if I was willing to make a contribution to bringing out the truth about the Rwandan drama. I responded positively and enthusiastically. But later, when it became a question of getting to the heart of the matter, Mr. Tremblay first read me the indictment you had written up against me. I’ll spare you the details that led up to your making your demand: I must help you ‘destroy’ (the exact term used by the investigators) Mr. ZIGIRANYIRAZO Protais and all the member of the Akazu, including his sister Agathe, and destroy the leadership of the MRND, among whom NGIRUMPATSE Mathieu, KAREMARA Edouard and NZIRORERA Joseph had already been given up to your office by Mr. BAGARAGAZA Michel, a man about whose good qualities and honesty your investigators could not stop bragging.

    I do not want to lie to please these investigators and to give credit to your thesis according to which the Rwandan genocide was planned exclusively by the MRND and the Akuza. I am ready to face all the consequences that were described to me by investigators Tremblay and Delavaux: that I will be lynched, crushed, my corpse will be trampled in the streets and dogs will piss on it (these are the investigators own terms.).

    Mr. Prosecutor, those who planned and carried out the genocide of the Rwandan people, beginning the 1st of October 1990, are well know; those who assassinated President HABYARIMANA Juvenal and unleashed this horror on Rwanda are also well known and are the same ones who planned and executed the genocide of the people in Congo.

    Juvenal Uwiligiyimana


    Link to letter

    Kenya’s Tin Man

    Vigilante Journalist

    Photo: The Vigilante Journalist


    Observing Mwai Kibaki in Addis Ababa during the African Union Heads of State summit meeting I was reminded of the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man. Every time Kibaki moves I hear the horrible sound of metal grinding on rusting metal, when he speaks he sounds corrosive.

    If you recall, the Tin Man explains to Dorothy that a wicked witch placed a curse on his axe. With every swing of the enchanted axe he managed to chop off a piece of his body. A tinsmith refashioned each part with artificial limbs of tin until at last his entire body had been replaced by tin but alas the tinsmith forgot to provide him with a heart. It is a fitting metaphor for Kibaki’s legacy which will always be associated with the images of youths taking machetes to one another, throughout which he has shown himself to be bereft of a heart and incapable of feeling the pain or connecting with the trauma that Kenyans are undergoing. But like the Straw Man he might also need a brain.

    Kibaki in need of a heart and a brain

    Kibaki needs fixing

    Attending the AU summit gave Kibaki an opportunity to stand before African leaders creaking as “the duly elected leader of Kenya” and to stubbornly claim that his re-election represents the “will of the majority” of Kenyans, a position rejected by ODM and the reason for Kofi Annan’s mediation efforts. How can he continue to insist on saying this when Electoral Commission of Kenya’s chairman, Samuel Kivuite, declared that he is not sure who won the election?

    He was quick to take a swipe at Raila Odinga, head of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement accusing him of genocide and blaming him for the violence that is sweeping through the country, saying “the ongoing crisis erupted after the opposition … went ahead to instigate a campaign of civil unrest and violence. There is overwhelming evidence to indicate that the violence was premeditated, and systematically directed at particular communities (ethnic groups).”

    Somebody ought to remind him that ODM did not start the fire. Kibaki lit a match and set fire to the ballot box on December 30th while subsequently extinguishing the hopes of many disenfranchised Kenyans. Is it clearer now what Kibaki’s game is?

    He has simply allowed the violence and bloodshed to reach fever pitch and blamed the ODM for it. Odinga is hostage to this strategy. As long as Kibaki refuses to meet Odinga and talk seriously about where the country goes from here and while he also continues to exhibit his characteristic lack of humility he will continue to fan the flames of the fires searing Kenya. Odinga can do little to put those flames out now. Kibaki is increasingly portrayed as the lesser of two evils in the eyes of the International Community.

    Kibaki has kept very quiet throughout The Terror nor has he dared to leave State House while people have been slaughtered and burnt. At the same time he has denied Raila the use of Kenya’s airwaves. He has also sent the Administrative Police into the slums of Nairobi and Kisumu where hundreds of Luos have been killed indiscriminately leading to further outrage. Now the Mungiki gang are said to be terrorising the Luos of Kibera. Some are saying that politicians are funding them.

    In Addis Kibaki also said, “Arrangements are also under way to resettle the displaced victims even as we search for a lasting solution to the current political crisis.” Those arrangements include government directives to close down IDP camps such as the A.S.K. show ground and Jamhuri Park where some 75,000 people, mainly women and children are sheltering.

    “I am not leaving this place if I don’t have a secure place to relocate to,” Catherine Simba, an IDP from the western Kenyan town of Kakamega, told IRIN on 22 January at Jamhuri Park, the temporary home for at least 3,000 people displaced by post-election violence in parts of the country.

    Simba was reacting to a government directive to have the camp closed. District Commissioner Evans Ogwankwa visited the camp on 21 January and said the government’s position was that the IDPs must leave.

    “I’m not happy staying here, but I would also not want to go back to my looted and destroyed home near Kakamega town; I want to be relocated to a secure area,” she said.

    “How can you take us back to the lion’s mouth, it will swallow us!” Simba exclaimed.

    Kibaki also informed the AU summit that “the security situation in the country is under control.”

    This statement following hot on the heels of the killing of two Orange Democratic legislators which have been described as political assassinations by the opposition. Three police stations have since been targeted by Kenyans and policemen have been lynched in response to the killing of the MPs. Kenyans continue to be attacked and killed. Vigilante gangs threaten to take the law into their hands and lynch robbers because the police are not doing anything to stop crime.

    I found this slideshow extremely harrowing. It’s posted on Paris Match and depicts a lynching that took place on 16th January, in Mathare, Nairobi. Photographer, Enrico Dangnino and his colleague saved a Kamba man from being killed by a crowd of Luos. Nod to Vigilante Journalist a.k.a Anne Holmes.

    Kenya’s slum residents are disillusioned with the police who have shot and killed people indiscriminately and refuse to patrol the slums at night when gangs are out in force. One gang member said

    “The head officer said, ‘Let them fight each other. We will come in the morning to pick up the bodies’.

    He said he called police to report the murder of a Luo friend in the Mathare slum by a group of Kikuyus. “When they didn’t come, we had to go out to protect ourselves.”

    The country is lawless and gangs of young emboldened by the breakdown of law and order set up road blocks to demand money and kill people for belonging to the wrong tribe.

    My sister, Rozi, called me yesterday trembling with fear. She lives in Western Kenya, on the Eldoret/Kakamega border. They had taken a patient to Moi Referral Hospital Eldoret. On their way back, the ambulance was stopped by youths bearing all forms of crude weapons. They demanded to know which tribes everyone in the ambulance belonged to. The driver was of the local tribe, so he was told to step aside. As the others showed their National Identity cards, my sister realized that all around them were corpses of human beings freshly chopped to death. Her turn came and she said she was Luhya. They told her to speak in Luhya, but my Sister doesn’t know Luhya. “I really can’t speak it because my mother is a Taita!” she pleaded. She had to desperately show a photocopy of my mother’s National Identity card which she had in her purse, a photocopy my mother had given to her the previous week to use as a referee for the bank account she was switching to. That photocopy saved my sister. The only language my sister can speak, apart from English and the National Swahili, is Gikuyu. The tribe the youths were targeting.

    In the meantime the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said women and children are being raped in displacement camps, where sexual violence was being used to threaten and intimidate, as reported here.

    Many law-abiding citizens are turning to gangs for protection because of the breakdown in law and order.

    800 people are dead, 300,000 have been displaced by violence and the security situation is under control! It might look that way on the short journey from State House to Embakasi that Kibaki made under security escort to catch his flight to Addis.

    Kofi Annan said that he had suggested to Kibaki on Tuesday that the military might need to be deployed to restore order. While British Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch Brown agreed that deploying Kenya’s army might be a solution, saying police “at this stage seem to be seen as no longer neutral and behind some of the killings.”

    Kumekucha calls the military option “a poisoned chalice.” pointing out emphatically that Kenya’s military barracks are bristling with ethnic competition. He says:

    In addition to disenfranchising Kenyan voters forever, it will trash all our democratic credentials and history. And worst or it will be a perpetuation of the present day slavery to HELL-FOR-LEATHER rulership and absolutely no leadership. Two wrongs never made a right.

    Kenya is crying for politico-economic justice which the military CANNOT deliver. It is therefore not only suicidal but also reckless and STUPID to entrust such an audacious quest to gun wielders while still smarting from fractures and amputations from machetes. We cannot afford to engage is such an expensive and FATAL gamble.

    Kenyan anti-corruption campaigner Richard Leakey said

    “I think Kibaki is getting very poor advice. He’s showing no personal leadership in this crisis; I’m not quite sure who around him is making the decisions.

    “I think that’s a large part of the problem — the country feels at sea without a captain. But ODM has made some pretty outrageous statements too. Everybody is playing bad guy on this and nobody is trying to play good guy.”

    In Addis the 53 member nations of the AU appeared toothless and at first tried to steer clear of addressing the violence that erupted following Kibaki’s private inauguration on the lawns of State House.

    “There are divisions between one group who see themselves in Kibaki’s situation and another that has told him in no uncertain terms that this is not acceptable,” said one Western diplomat, adding that South Africa was in the latter group.

    In Nairobi the mediation team set up by Kofi Annan had made breakthroughs and come up with a Four Point Plan to resolve the political crisis. Back in Addis Kibaki was describing Annan’s efforts as a “facilitation” mission rather than mediation!

    Mr Annan said: “We believe within seven to 15 days, we should be able to tackle the first three agenda items. The first is to take immediate action to stop the violence.

    “The second is immediate measures to address the humanitarian crisis, the third is how to overcome the current political crisis.” The fourth point concerned long-term issues such as unemployment, poverty and land reforms.

    A document signed by both sides said an agreement might require “adjustments” to the constitution — suggesting a power-sharing arrangement that would give opposition leader Raila Odinga a new position of prime minister.

    Finally, Kibaki tells Odinga to allow Kenya’s High Court to arbitrate. Nobody takes this option seriously. Kibaki appointed new judges only a month before the elections were held, further proof if any were needed that the theft was planned in advance. Kenyan Jurist elucidates the problems with the court option clearly:

    As I have stated previously, this insistence on challenging the results in court is just a ruse and it ignores the fact that we are dealing with an issue not of legality but legitimacy and justice. How can anyone expect the court to be fair when in Kivuitu states, “I arrived at State House to take the certificate and I found the Chief Justice there, ready to swear-in Kibaki.” What can Kenyans expect from the court?

    Hon Martha Karua also repeats the legal redress meme. If the government was bold enough to interfere with the tallying of votes. Just consider what the following;

  • Do we know where the Returning Officers of the disputed polling areas are. Is their security guaranteed? Will they be able to testify without intimidation and inteference? Remember the case sad case of DAVID MUNYAKEI. Is any of these people willing to risk their lives for the greater good of Kenyans.
  • Has the official ECK tally of votes been published in the Kenya Gazette or other media? Will it be interfered with? The longer this takes the greater the risk.
  • Have all the election materials been secured. Remember, in law, the petitioner has the burden of proving that the election was rigged. If the election materials have not been secured or tampered with then this would render the case moot.
  • Now that the Commonwealth Observers, European Union Observers, the Electoral Commissioners and many other have cast doubt on the election result, can Kenyans accept a court verdict that say the Election was proper?
  • Would politicians please spare us the legal mumbo jumbo and go right to resolving the political dispute at hand.

    By now it must be obvious that Kibaki is resistant to any kind of negotiations and neither is he going to step down. It is time for the international community to censure him more forcefully. What can be done? Robert Calderisi writing in the Globe and Mail says that the military coup d’etat option that is gaining currency among some commentators might be too draconian. He suggests the international community can respond by

    “[seizing] the assets of senior officials who, until now, have salted away their loot in Western banks with total impunity.

    “The world can continue to provide direct support to community groups, human rights activists, democratic reformers, and those promoting a free press.

    “And, in a number of cases, the answer may be to make foreign assistance more openly political..

    “Making aid more political does not mean using it as a convenient instrument of foreign policy. But if the goal is to fight poverty, the way a government treats its citizens — including its journalists, entrepreneurs and small farmers — should be central to the level of aid it receives.”

    Justice be our shield and defender

    “My father was shot as he stood in front of our house. The police were shooting indiscriminately, targeting anyone on sight. My father was shot in the stomach,” witness Alphonse Otieno said today by phone from Kisumu’s Kondele slum.

    Proof that Kenyan GSU are using live rounds to kill demonstrators. A Kisumu demonstrator is shot dead in cold blood in Kondole, another is kicked brutally when he is down and dying. They are being hunted down as this video shows.

    BBC clip here. Be warned: both clips are graphic and distressing.
    Photobucket

    Police club a woman suspected of being an ODM supporter

    GSU Shoot, Police Club

    Therein lies the problem. The Kenyan government should not be sending the GSU armed with kalashnikovs and live bullets to police the demonstrations. I do not condone police violence at all, whether by clubbing or bullets, but make the point that arming paramilitary forces leads inexorably to those arms being used against innocent civilians and with the inevitable loss of life following closely behind. Coercion of this sort does not quell violence, it nurtures it.

    Note how in Kisumu yesterday Michael Barasa, a police officer said “At the moment, [demonstrators] have lit bonfires in some parts of the city but we do not want to provoke them yet.”

    We do not want to provoke them yet. Non-violent actions turns violent when the other side uses violent means to suppress them. Using tear gas and bullets only ratchets up violence. Take the GSU out of the equation and the demonstrations would in all likelihood remain peaceful. The government must also lift the ban on rallies as there is no valid reason for assuming that “criminal elements” are taking advantage of them.

    Joseph Karoki has posted photos of victims of police brutality on his blog. Graphic image.

    Much of the worst violence has occured in Kisumu where many protestors have so far been shot dead. There are no reliable figures yet for how many have been killed to date. There are claims that 53 people have died and of those 44 have been killed by bullets. People are enraged by this; many of them did not vote for Kibaki and now he sends his guns in to shoot them dead. Frustration and anger levels are rising so it may now be too late to put the genie back in the bottle.

    The police chief Grace Kaindi said she had no regrets about giving the “shoot to kill” order. Her statement to AP press is contradictory. She claimed that she feared the police would be overwhelmed by the demonstrators and then later said that all those killed were “looters and thieves.” Belying the video footage shown at the top of this post.

    Photobucket

    Nairobi demonstrators in a haze of tear gas

    Human Rights Watch has criticised the apparent “shoot to kill” policy by demanding that Kenyan police follow the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which state that law enforcement officers must apply non-violent methods when at all possible, leaving force as a last resort and only in proportion to the offence committed.

    According to HRW even people who were not part of the demonstrations were hit by stray bullets.

    Yesterday’s demonstrations in Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret remained peaceful until police started shooting tear gas and live rounds.
    Eldoret demonstrations 16.01.08

    Eldoret Demonstrations

    This is what happened in Eldoret AFTER the GSU were sent in

    The police ferried the bodies of the men they had shot to the mortuary. In the chaos, they brought some in alive, mixing them up with the dead, a priest said. Their suffering as they were left to die amid the corpses is unimaginable.

    UPDATE:

    Millions of Kenyans are very outraged by the brutal execution, captured by one of KTN’s courageous camera persons of a young protester in Kisumu whose capital offence appears to have been nothing more than making faces at and playing hide and seek with heavily armed goons in para-military gear… But does he have a name?

    Does he have a family?

    Yes, he does.

    Let me resurrect him in a sense by telling you a few things about him.

    His name was George Williams Omondi Onyango.

    He was twenty two years old.

    He was a mechanic employed by Simba Line Motors in Kisumu.

    He lived in the Migosi area of that western Kenyan town.

    He was also my brother-in-law. His older brother is married to my youngest sister.

    Like every other television viewer in Kenya, I was gnashing my teeth and cursing the illegal and criminal assault on unarmed peaceful demonstrators all over Kenya.

    I was expressing my outrage in my living room watching the news at nine pm when my cell phone rang and I saw it was my sister calling.

    She was sobbing uncontrollably, asking me if I had seen the segment on the news about the young man being shot.

    I replied that I had seen the piece at 4 pm, at 7 pm and now at 9.

    Choking and wailing, she told me between bouts of weeping who the executed young man was.

    To say I was stupefied with additional shock is probably the understatement of this week.

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    On the origins of the General Service Unit

    I have been dipping into James Dianga’s book Kenya 1982 The Attempted Coup, The Consequence of a One Party Dictatorship ever since it was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago and was intrigued to read why the GSU was formed. Kenyatta did not trust the army because the officer class was dominated by Kambas while the rearguard was made up of Kalenjins. Kenyatta was disdainful of the army because there were hardly any Kikuyu in its ranks and he believed it was made up of illiterates. For these reasons Kenyatta could not wholly rely on it so the GSU was formed alongside the Kenya Air Force. These two units consisted of carefully selected Kikuyus from Central Province and Kiambu and their function was to act as a bulwark against the Kenyan Army.

    The GSU is a highly mobile, well trained (by Israel) and heavily-armed elitist paramilitary unit; it is a

    political force, the regime’s coercive arm against its internal enemies’. Targeted for rapid transformation into a virtually all-Kikuyu hit squad, with its base at Gatundu, close to the President’s estate, there could be little doubt about the function of the G.S.U.

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    Todays FT Editorial

    Kibaki is in trouble for sure. The Financial Times points out that Kibaki’s government is illegitimate in a scathing editorial which condemns Kibaki’s election as not fair or free while drawing attention to the blatant vote-rigging and ballot box stuffing as incompetent.

    It should be made clear to Mr Kibaki that his government is illegitimate. If he refuses to accept that, the western powers should suspend programme aid and devote the money to emergency relief and and supporting any more muscular AU intervention. Visas should be refused not only to corrupt officials, but to Mr Kibaki and his team.

    If Mr Odinga and his inner circle are seen to encourage violence, the same sanction should apply to them.

    It also mentions that Kibaki and the old guard have a lot to fear from Odinga

    they may also fear the personal consequences of an Odinga presidency.

    Mr Odinga, a former political prisoner, swore during election campaigning that he would pursue officials for past human rights violations and corruption.

    “I think they could not contemplate Raila and his people having the keys to the intelligence files. There are too many skeletons in the cupboards,” said a Nairobi based political analyst.

    “I don’t know how you can lower these stakes at this stage.”

    Kibaki is blamed for stoking resentment against Kikuyus. Elsewhere in the paper, the International community is blamed too for supporting one of Africa’s most corrupt regimes in a country which has seen the increasing pauperisation of Kenya’s people with 48% of the population living below the poverty line in 1990 having grown to 56% today, despite development agencies being pumped with aid. Attention is drawn to the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, high unemployment, the doubling of the population in 25 years and the lack of land as underpinning the crisis. People have nothing to lose and are now venting their fury at seeing hopes of change that transcend ethnicity being dashed.

    Western media continue to portray the breakdown as a tribal division between Kikuyus and Luos, however, it is the Kalenjin who are killing Kikuyu in Eldoret and elsewhere angry reactions can be attributed to the election being stolen. Commentators are asking for pressure to be placed on the government by the EU and chuck Kenya out of the commonwealth. None of these measures should be applied at this stage. Dialogue has to take place between Kibaki and Odinga first and some agreement made on power-sharing until new elections can be held. Odinga and Kibaki need to get off their high-horses and act now.

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    A woman weeps in front of a Kenya Assemblies of God Church in Eldoret Joseph Karoki

    Stories from the church massacre in Eldoret are now coming out. A woman described how women and children were shut in the church and the door locked after it was torched. There was no escape except through windows at the back. She managed to escape through the window with her 3 year old daughter, leaving behind 2 of her other children, only to be met by attackers who grabbed her child and threw her back into the fire.

    On Tuesday morning, a mob of about 2,000 arrived at the church, said George Karanja, whose family had sought refuge there.

    “They started burning the church,” Karanja said, his voice catching with emotion as he described the scene. “The mattresses that people were sleeping on caught fire. There was a stampede, and people fell on one another.”

    Karanja, 37, helped pull out at least 10 people, but added, “I could not manage to pull out my sister’s son. He was screaming ‘Uncle, uncle!’ … He died.” The boy was 11.

    Up to 50 people were killed in the attack, said a Red Cross official who spoke on condition of anonymity because her name would identify her tribe, and she feared reprisal. Even first aid workers were stopped by vigilantes who demanded their identity.

    Karanja said his two children raised their hands as they left the church and they were beaten with a cane, but not killed. His 90-year-old father was attacked with a machete, but survived, he said.

    “The worst part is that they were hacking people and then setting them on fire,” he added.

    A Red Cross worker said that psychotherapists are to be brought in to deal with the trauma. People are still fleeing to schools, public building and police stations. At the police station security is extremely tight. The displaced families camped with the police compound are surrounded by police in riot gear who are guarding them.

    Riot police are patrolling Nairobi slums after the riots but today has been quieter. Kibera residents are leaving with their possessions, mostly Kikuyus who are worried that they will be attacked. Crowds speaking to a Radio 4 reporter today denied that the clashes in Kibera were motivated by tribal differences. People said they were angry that they voted for Raila Odinga and they had been denied their rightful victory. Members of the crowd said they were ready to die for their rights. The residents insisted they would be going to the mass action rally tomorrow, even if they are killed.

    UPDATE: 16:00 GMT Odinga’s stance is softening, Deutsche Welt TV showed him saying that he is not prepared to talk to Kibaki without international mediators. The AU head and Ghanain President is expected in Nairobi today. Today Odinga refused to attend the meeting at State House called by Kibaki and at a press conference criticised Kibaki for the deaths of protestors who have been killed by the GSU since the troubles began.

    UPDATE: 19:00 GMT BBC Radio 4 is now reporting that hopes for a resolution to the Kenyan crisis are fading now following remarks by Mwai Kibaki that Kenya’s problems are an internal matter for Kenyans to sort out. A snub to the head of the African Union, Ghanaian President John Kufuor who is expected in Nairobi today and who was expected to mediate between Kibaki and Odinga’s parties.