Thursday, February 4, 2010

Belgium Worried About Lack Of Democracy In Rwanda

The new Foreign Affairs minister of Belgium, Steven Vanackere (CD&V), recently visited the great lakes region. On January 25th, Belgium newspaper De Standaard reports:
`Vanackere benadrukt dat hij in Congo, Rwanda en Burundi geen enkel gespreksthema uit de weg is gegaan. ‘Zo heb ik in Congo het hoofd van de militaire justitie erop gewezen dat je geen opleiding nodig hebt om te weten dat je niet moet verkrachten.'En aan de Rwandese president Paul Kagame — voor wie De Gucht altijd een stuk milder was dan voor Kabila — zei Vanackere dat hij bezorgd was over het gebrek aan een oppositiepartij.`
In English:
`Vanackere stressed that on his visit to Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, no subject has been avoided. 'I have, for example, told the head of military justice in Congo that you don't need education to know that you should not rape.' And he told the Rwandese President Paul Kagame, of which his predecessor Karel de Gucht was less critical, that he had worries about the lack of a opposition party.`
Today, the largest Dutch newspaper, de Telegraaf, writes that Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who has recently returned to Rwanda as Presidential Candidate for a Rwandan political party, has been attacked at a municipal office in Rwanda. Police stood by without protecting her and her assistant. The New Times, a "newspaper" that in reality publishes propaganda in favor of the current military junta, has for weeks been writing half-truths and lies about her. Off course, again today, the New Times wrote a distorted account of what actually took place: "Ingabire was standing in line and didn't want to wait for her turn." I am affraid The New Times campaign of character assasination will continue. There strategy seems to be: "Throw as much shit at her, some of it will stick." Allafrica, a faithfull publisher of government friendly press in Rwanda, continues to pass on these "press releases". It's amazing it doesn't hurt their business model. Makes me wonder concerning the credibility of the news they receive from other "news sources" in Africa. US mainstream media have kept silent about Ingabire´s return to Rwanda so far, makes me wonder how much longer they can wait. I can´t wait to hear what Philip Gourevitch or Stephen Kinzer have to say about her.

Voice Of America reports that Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza will today publish an open letter to Paul Kagame demanding protection in the run up to the Presidential elections. Wouldn't it be great if Reverend Rick Warren made a video with his "friend paul", a civil forum setting would do, asking him to protect Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza?

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