Thursday, March 25, 2010

Albert II Au Congo

As you can read below, on Pieter de Crem's visit to Congo, widely reported in Belgian press, people both in Congo and Belgium are talking about the King's visit to Kinshasa in june at the fiftieth anniversary of Congo's independence.

Meanwhile the FARDC soldiers won't be invited to participate in a "défilé de la fête national" (Belgian independence day) of the Belgian army, allthough de Crem had initially invited them. The FARDC will be treated to a visit to plopsaland instead.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Google Blogsearch Problem

Since march 13th blogsearch seems to have trouble finding or publishing my most recent posts on this blog. I suspect it has something to do with the feeder adjustment. I added my former feeder to google, because feeder has become part of google. I just did what it asked me to do. I googled some on this issue, and indeed there seem to have been more cases like this.

If anyone has advice, I would be very happy to solve the problem. Others suggest "write better content" and "write more often", but in this case I think there must be some technical problem.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rwanda An Open Prison

The reason Ingabire can't leave the country is probably what she said when she came back to Rwanda as hungryoftruth wrote earlier:

"Mrs. Ingabire has never denied that genocide took place in Rwanda and has always advocated for justice for all and equal opportunity for all Rwandan citizens. Here is what Mrs. Ingabire declared about the Rwandan genocide upon her arrival in Rwanda last week: "We totally agree and are conscious that there has been a genocide against Tutsis and we seriously and continuously advocate that all those who were responsible be brought before the courts of justice. We also agree that there have been other serious crimes against humanity and war crimes[against Hutus]; those who committed them have to bear the legal consequences. We must all the time remember those tragedies, make sure they don’t get ever repeated. We also need to ensure that people’s lives are effectively and strongly protected by laws"."

UK and US finance Central African War; eight million Africans die

KPFA Radio News broadcast, 03.23.2010:

As a law professor, criminal lawyer, and Lead Defense Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, Professor Erlinder is very careful to be sure he has evidence supporting any statement he stands by, and he says the evidence is all here, in his Rwanda Documents Project which I'm just getting started on,

He knows he's on the Rwanda Hit List that Keith Snow reported last week,, but said he's expendable because the documents are all there.

He also said that if there had been any reporters with audience at the ICTR in 2009 when the court ruled that there was no conspiracy to commit genocide in Rwanda in 1994, the received history of the genocide---including Kinzer's---and the RPF/Kagame regime's justification would have crumbled.

I told him that Kagame had compared the Rwanda Genocide to 09/11 when talking to Christiane Amanpour on CNN last week, and he said, "That would be ironic indeed, wouldn't it? If 09/11 really were a false flag," meaning a false history to rally around, like the received history of the Rwanda Genocide. 

But, he didn't want to comment on 09/11 beyond that, without proof in hand.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Uninvited Egyptian Blogger

Update of my previous post on the "Nine Egyptian Bloggers" invited by the Dutch foreign ministry to tour the Netherlands.

Faisal Mirza, ( follow him on twitter @faisalmirza ) of the Dutch muslim immigrant website "wijblijvenhier" has the first actually picture of these Egyptian bloggers here. (If faisal Mirza pictures has all the invited Egyptian bloggers, there must actually be 12)

I am using the jump break here for the first time, I know I am slow

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nine Egyptian Bloggers

This morning I watched the Dutch tv program "goede morgen Nederland" (a title which is hard to translate because "good morning holland" would only cover two provinces). Anyway, on that program a representative of Dutch foreign affairs admitted that Dutch interests are being hurt by Geert Wilders superficial but continuous verbal attacks on Islam and muslim immigrants living in the netherlands. This government official explained that foreign affairs had therefore invited nine Egyptian bloggers to visit the Netherlands. Anyone know who those nine bloggers are?

These nine bloggers have apparently been invited to the Netherlands to introduce them to the debate on Islam and migration that has been raging in the Netherlands for the last decade.

Let me therefore give a very short introduction to this debate.

As I argued in my article "if culture matters?" the end of the cold war has not been a blessing to Africa. The "empty house" has seen scores of new ghosts come in. The same goes for Europe, in the Netherlands the last 15 years have seen the rise of anti-immigrant politics which resembles to the line of thought which Lawrence Harrison and Michael Fairbanks seem to be exploiting.

The main ingredient of this line of thought is the assumption that cultural progress is a lineair process and people living anywhere in the muslim world or in sub saharan African are cultural inferior to people living in Europe and the US. An idea that seems to have had a lot of attraction on people who have lost all attachment to some coherent worldview, be it catholicism, protestantism, communism or even social democracy. It's in that context that politicians like Balkenende and Sarkozy emphasizing "European judeo-christian values" and "Law and order" won their victories. It's also to that line of thought that Geert Wilders is appealing.

The debate on democratic development in the muslim world and in sub saharan Africa is strongly influenced by these people. These people tend to support authoritarian regimes (Moubarak resurfaced today) both in the arab world and in sub saharan africa for a very simple reason. They claim that people in muslim countries and sub saharan Africa lack the level of enlightment to be entitled to democracy. The Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy published a report with the title "Dynamism in Islamic Activism" which resisted this tidal wave, but to this day it has been completely eclipsed by anti-muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric and scorn not only by Geert Wilders, but also ignored by all major socalled centrist parties. I chatted with a city council member of a conservative party in Rotterdam that literally told me that he didn't think muslim immigrants were ready to vote in local elections.

Laurent Chambon, has a good article in French on how right-wing political parties succeed to appeal to progressive voters in Europe based on this line of thought.

Where Are The Egyptian Bloggers?

I would very much like to start following these nine Egyptian bloggers. The debate (should I call it that?) on Islam and muslim immigration in the Netherlands has gone on way to long without any relation to the very large arab world blogosphere, estimates tell us Egypt has 30.000 active arab bloggers. Let's connect to Egyptian bloggers!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rwanda accuses Hotel Rwanda hero of 'Double Genocide Theory'

Rwanda's government has accused Paul Rusesabagina, the Rwandan exile played by actor Don Cheadle in the movie Hotel Rwanda, of being a "revisionist" who "harbors the Double Genocide Theory."
A "revisionist," in Rwanda, is someone who dares to challenge the received history of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. The "Double Genocide Theory" is the belief that Hutus, as well as Tutsis, were victims of genocidal violence in 1994.  


Sunday, March 14, 2010

KPFA Radio News: Keith Harmon Snow on Rwandan Police in Haiti

Keith Harmon Snow, independent journalist and human rights investigator, photographed here in D.R. Congo.

On 03.13.2010, I reported for KPFA Radio about Rwandan police undertaking special training to serve as "peacekeepers" in Haiti, which I had reported on Colored Opinions and the San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper, in "Just what Haiti doesn't need: Rwandan police,"   For KPFA, I recorded Keith Harmon Snow's response:

KPFA Radio News, 03.13.2010: 
Rwandan Police in Haiti,

This seems to have struck a nerve, making Rwandan reality more real to people in this hemisphere, even way out here on the Pacific Coast.  Progressives are very conscious of Haiti in the San Francisco Bay Area, and of Palestine, largely because these are the two hot spots that the popular KPFA Flashpoints Investigative Radio show focuses on most faithfully.

Consciously or not, we consume the resources of the Great Lakes region every day, including Starbuck's coffee and tea from Rwanda, and coltan and cassiterite from eastern Congo, smuggled across the border for export from Rwanda, for all the electronic gadgetry designed and manufactured in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard, and Google headquarters are all roughly an hour away from the City of San Francisco, in Silicon Valley, as are many military industrial contractors, who rely on cobalt ore mined in the Katanga Copper Belt running through southeastern D.R. Congo into Zambia.

If Culture Matters?

The executive summary of the Tuft University project "Culture Matters" (2003) states:
"Although some progress has been made, efforts during the past half-century to reduce poverty and promote democracy and social justice around the world have, with a few exceptions, fallen short of their goals. Growing numbers of scholars and practitioners believe that insufficient attention has been paid to cultural values and attitudes that can powerfully influence for good or for bad the political, economic, and social behavior of individuals and societies."

The principle investigator for this project was Lawrence Harrison, who for example recently claimed:
"Haiti has received billions of dollars in foreign aid over the last 50 years, and yet it remains the least developed country in the Western Hemisphere. Its indicators of progress are closer to Africa's than to those of Latin America. It has defied all development prescriptions. Why? Because Haiti's culture is powerfully influenced by its religion, voodoo."
Michael Fairbanks, who is a close advisor to Paul Kagame, contributed to Lawrence Harrison's project "culture matters", has said similar things in the past, as Herb Talpaert reported at Chicago University back in 2001.

Fairbanks met Kagame in 2001, as reported in Andrew Mwenda's newspaper The Independent:
"The leaders of the World Bank, Jim Wolfensohn, and the country director for Rwanda, his name was Emmanuel Mbi, introduced me to President Kagame in 2001. We arranged to go and give a five-day forty-hour seminar for President Kagame’s entire cabinet. I spoke for 40 hours from Monday morning till Friday evening."
Recently Michael Fairbanks has stepped up his efforts in support of Paul Kagame. Michael has sung Paul's praises in a washington post's article "Kagame Lead's an inspiring turn around". An article which shines like Jerusalem on mount zion for lack of evidential backing for his grotesque claims. The most tangible proof Fairbanks provides for Kagame's supposedly "inspirational leaderhip" is "Umuganda", an idea Kagame obviously stole from Mobutu See See Seeko's "Salongo" (who in turn stole it from the chinese cultural revolutionaries, correct me if I'm wrong): citizens sweeping the streets together every last saturday of the month.

Two days ago Michael Fairbanks published "Communists are back in Africa" in the Huffington post claiming:
"The United Nations has 17,000 peace-keeping forces in Congo costing billions of dollars, but never addresses the underlying issues that caused the war: lack of governance, degrading poverty and intolerance."
The Tuft project "culture matters" mentioned above has, in Michael Fairbank's case, moved from assuming and studying changes that occur to "Changing the Mind of a Nation". An Utopian project based not in reality but on theories that still remain to be proven.

In the context of this own utopian project, Michael Fairbanks therefore obviously states his own views when he quotes President Paul Kagame of Rwanda:
"We should be debating why so little investment is made in the continent, not where it originates."
It's therefore quite insincere when at the end of the article he claims "First, we need to value what Africans say".

When Shanda Tonme published his article "All Rock, No Action" in the new york times in 2005 he said:
"We Africans know what the problem is, and no one else should speak in our name. Africa has men of letters and science, great thinkers and stifled geniuses who at the risk of torture rise up to declare the truth and demand liberty."
However the debate on " aid or no aid" has increasingly become hijacked by individuals who have their own utopian agenda's. In this context Africa reminds me of Christ words
"When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. 44 Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation."

It would therefore be wise to heed Shanda Tonme's warning in this interview on France24 where he states words to this effect: We should be extremely carefull with theories that set Africa apart because of it's culture and traditions!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rwandan President Paul Kagame's London press conference

Demonstrators outside the Commonwealth Secretariat at Marlborough House in London, when Rwandan President Paul Kagame arrived to hoist the Rwandan flag, celebrating Rwanda's acceptance into the Commonwealth in November 2009, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.   Pro-Kagame demonstrators arrived with their signs as well.

On March 12th, the Black Star News published a partial transcript of Rwandan President Paul Kagame's press conference in London, "when the country's flag was unfurled to officially welcome the East African country as a member of the Commonwealth Club of Nations," as pro and anti-Kagame demonstrators lined up outside.  

Here's my own brief interpretation of His Excellency's remarks: 

1st question: ". . . set out for us specifically what you intend to do in order to meet criticisms of failings in the guarantees of human rights and media freedoms."

Answer:  Genocide.  The genocide sixteen years ago was the West's fault; there were no freedom or rights then and there's nothing we can do about freedom and human rights now.

2nd question:  Why hasn't Laurent Nkunda been turned over to the International Criminal Court in the Hague?  And, what about freedom of the press? 

Answer:  Over a year after we arrested our guy Nkunda we're still talking to the D.R.C. about extraditing him, even though there's a sealed warrant for his arrest at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.   Re the press, "as an honest observer," you have to look at both sides, even though 22 journalists have died in Rwanda since 1992, compared to 10 in the D.R.C., and even though it's one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world.   And besides: genocide.  We had a genocide sixteen years ago and Rwandan journalists were guilty, along with the West.

3rd question:  How confident are you that a French court will extradite Habyarimana's widow, and will she get a fair trial in Rwanda?  

Answer:  I like that question.  The widow's guilty.  France should have locked her up or handed her over a long time ago and, if they don't, we'll keep demanding they do.  We want thousands more exile genocide criminals too, even though our filthy prisons are already some of the most overcrowded in the world.

4th question:   Bombs are going off in Rwanda while you use the genocide excuse to keep anyone from challenging you in this year's faux presidential election.  What gives? 

Answer:  Everybody's got problems, and besides, ours are all caused by the FDLR in eastern Congo and some other people we've arrested, (including journalists), and more we'll arrest soon (including journalists). Only racist neocolonists care about democracy and human rights in Rwanda, where Rwandans all love my African ass and love taking orders from me and me alone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just what Haiti needs: Rwandan Police

In case anyone needed further evidence that President Paul Kagame's Rwanda is the Pentagon's proxy, 140 Rwandan Police are about to undertake special training before heading to Haiti, as reported in the Rwanda New Times, because, according to Rwandan Police Chief Edmund Kayiranga, "Rwanda wants to be involved in promoting peace in other countries and that if need be, they would send more peacekeepers to other countries."

Rwanda Police are off to Haiti to promote peace, even as: 

1) Grenades explode in Kigali in the run up to its 2010 presidential election, and two of three viable parties are still unable to register and field candidates. 

2)  A new list of the five most horrible prisons on earth includes Rwanda's Kigali Gitarama Prison, and describes it as the most overcrowded penitentiary in the world, so overcrowded that prisoners have no choice but to stand up all day while their feet rot in filth, often developing gangrene, which may require amputation.  (Amnesty International reported, in 200%, that Gitarama Prison was way overcrowded, with 7,477 prisoners in space for 3,000.) 
3)  Top military commanders and government officials flee the country, and journalists go into hiding to escape arrest
4)  Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Group, the Africa Faith and Justice Network, the Greens European Free Alliance, and Senator Russ Feingold, Chair of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Africa, call for human rights, an end to attacks on political opposition, and a free and fair presidential campaign and election, with polls scheduled for August 9th, 2010.

And why does Haiti need all these U.S. and UN Troops and, now, Rwandan Police "peacekeepers"?    
Even France accused the U.S. of occupying rather than aiding the former jewel of the French empire, but it's very difficult to interpret this as anything but the pseudo moral complaint of England and the Anglophone world's longstanding imperial competitor in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.  

Before the catastrophic Haitian earthquake on January 12th, 2010, Haitian lawyer and human rights activist Margeurite Laurent pointed to little known oil reserves and mineral riches to explain the already existing UN and U.S. occupation of her homeland, on, CKUT Radio, and the San Francisco Bay View. 

Sound familiar?  Where else do Rwandan troops, if not police, serve?  Wherever the U.S. wants to project military force in Africa, including resource rich nations, like oil rich Sudan, which the U.S. forever threatens to invade "to stop genocide,"  and now, resource rich Haiti, which much of the world perceives as a part of Africa, as much as part of the Americas. 

And, including oil and mineral rich D.R. Congo, where the Rwandan Army's constant invasions and mineral theft in the country's tortured eastern provinces, were finally, in January 2009, officially sanctioned, as the Rwandan Defense Force's collaboration with the Congolese Army (FARDC), the Rwandan CNDP militia, and UN Peacekeepers (MONUC), to go after the FDLR, the Rwandan Hutu refugee militia, and, the eternal excuse in eastern Congo.  

The Congolese FARDC and MONUC had been engaged in a fierce fight with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), backed, in stealth, by the Rwandan Defense Force up until January 20, 2009, when they suddenly joined forces, with the blessing, applause of the U.S. State Department, and the assistance of AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command.   Human Rights Watch  in May 2009, predicted that the consequence would be another human catastrophe in eastern Congo and by December 2009, HRW and major news outlets in the region reported that it had. 

But, so little of the world heeds or makes sense of Sub Saharan African news that only a handful of bloggers and dissident journalists and scholars noted, on January 20th, that D.R. Congo had suddenly become a violent D.R. Disneyland..  

This unlikely and unholy alliance emerged in eastern D.R. Congo, on January 20, 2009, Barack Obama's Inauguration Day, and all eyes were on Washington D.C., the first African American U.S. president, Reverend Rick Warren, celebrities swelling the streets of Washington D.C., and Aretha Franklin's hat.    

In December 2009, Keith Harmon Snow reported, in Dissident Voice and the San Francisco Bay View, that soldiers of the Rwandan Defense Forces were being flown all the way across D.R. Congo, from its eastern border with Rwanda to its Western border with the Republic of Congo, in oil and timber rich Equateur Province, to join AFRICOM, UN Peacekeepers (MONUC), and Belgian paratroopers, in suppressing the Dongo Rebellion.  

Why not Congolese soldiers?   They lack the discipline of the Pentagon's Rwandan proxy army, and, as Snow reported, many of them were defecting to join the group calling itself the Resistance Patriots of Dongo.

Now, with 140 Rwandan Police about to undertake training to serve as peacekeepers in Haiti, the first question is:  Why peacekeepers?  Didn't Haiti suffer an earthquake, not a war, aside from the arrival of 10,000 U.S. troops?  

And, why not 140 more Haitian Police?  Why Rwandans? If Haiti needs "peacekeepers within its own borders, shouldn't Haitians be best able to keep the peace in their own homeland?

Yes, but not the peace that those now managing the U.S. occupation of Haiti want

In February 2007, the New Times reported that the FBI was training Rwandan Police in modern interviewing and interrogating techniques, and, in counter-terrorism, criminal investigation, and cyber crimes investigation. 

Rwanda's overcrowded prisons and ideological crimes

Rwanda's Gitarama Prison, described on, on 03.10.2010, as one of the "Top 5 Most Horrible Prisons on Earth."  In 2007, Amnesty International reported that Gitarama Prison held 7,477 detainees, though its capacity was 3,000.

"Genocide ideology" became a crime in Rwanda in 2003, the same year President Paul Kagame officially became Rwanda's president, with that year's ratification of the new Rwandan Constitution, available online in PDF format.  The Constitution includes Article 13: 

Article 13
The crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes do not have a period of limitation. 
Revisionism, negationism and trivialisation of genocide are punishable by the law.

Article 13 criminalizes not only genocidal violence, but also disagreement with the received history of the Rwanda Genocide, which has become a major issue in Rwanda's 2010 presidential election.   Many academics, journalists, and human rights investigators, the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, and, Judge Fernando  Andreu of Spain's National Court, now disagree with the received history of who and how many died, who killed whom, who was most responsible, and how the tragedy unfolded, but Rwandan citizens who disagree must take care not to do so publicly.  

University of Michigan Professor Allan Stamm, concluded, with University of Notre Dame Professor Christian Davenport, that the vast majority of people who died in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide were Hutus.  Stamm presented his findings at the University of Michigan's Coming to a New Understanding of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.   Professor Stamm's passport to Rwanda has been revoked, but he remains safe in the United States.   

An additional 2008 statute, named "the genocide ideology law," was passed by Rwanda's Parliament and published in Kinyarwanda, English, and French, in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda, also in PDF.

This enthusiastic  article, "Rwanda: New Law to Fight Genocide Ideology," published in the New Times, and then republished, as always, on, says: 

Kigali — Recently, lawmakers voted in a new law aimed to tackle cases of genocide ideology. The draft law was last Friday forwarded to the Senate for scrutiny. Legislators said the law was necessary to help fight the deadly ideology which plunged the country into the 1994 Genocide. The Bill is introduced months after damning revelations that showed cases in which school children demonstrated predisposition to the genocide ideology. The Senate had also found rampant genocide ideology in families, schools and some individuals which sparked the House to react immediately to stop the vice.

The damning revelations of genocide ideology in schools by the lower chamber of Parliament caused an uproar in the House which decided to uproot the vice and save the young generation from contamination.

Under the new law, children under 12 years found guilty will be sent to rehabilitation centres for not more than 12 months.   

This highly critical 10.13.2009 Human Rights Watch report, "You will be punished," says:

Largely aimed at the Hutu population, such offenses permit, among other measures, the government to send away children of any age to rehabilitation centers for up to one year—including for the teasing of classmates—and for parents and teachers to face sentences of 15 to 25 years for the child’s conduct. The government has repeatedly accused the Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation and other media outlets, as well as Human Rights Watch, of promoting genocide ideology; accusations these organizations deny.

Rwanda's rate of incarceration, which is the third highest per capita in the world, second only to that of the United States and Russia, according to the King's College 2009 World Prison Population List, .  The report  includes a brief with this summary chart saying that Rwandan prisons hold 58,311 people, 593 per 100,000, and that roughly 37,000 of these are "awaiting trial or serving sentences for crimes associated with the genocide of 1994." 

Prison population total
(including pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners)
at October 2008 (U.S. State Department human rights report - includes about 37,000 awaiting trial or serving sentences for crimes associated with the genocide of 1994)
Prison population rate
(per 100,000 of national population)
based on an estimated national population of 10.0 million at mid-2008 (from United Nations - if the genocide prisoners were excluded the prison population rate would be 223)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rwanda: correspondent Godwin Agaba blames government for Kigali bombings and seeks asylum

KPFA Radio News Update on Rwanda, 03.07.2010:

Run Rena Run!

by Ann Garrison


Haaretz headline, 03.07.2010:

Report: DNA tests support Zimbabwe tribe's claim of Jewish roots

Yarmulkes, abstention from eating pork, ritual animal slaughter, circumcision, and Stars of David on gravestones reported among the Lemba people of Zimbabwe and South Africa. 

Rena Ali responds:  "Uh-oh. . . now Zimbabwe is the Israel of Africa?  Kagame's gonna be pissed." 

I keep trying to persuade Rena, who is a few hundred thousand times more conscious of Africa than most Americans and their Congressional Reps to reconsider a run in Indiana's Third District, against Republican Mark Souther, especially now that Senator Russ Feingold, D-WI, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Africa, may lose his Senate seat to former Illinois Governor Tommy Thompson.  

On March 2, 2010, Senator Feingold read the Feingold Statement on the Fragility of Democracy in Africa, addressed to President Barack Obama, into the Congressional Record.  

Feingold called on donor nations, including the U.S., to insist on political and civil rights in Rwanda, now, in the runup to Rwanda's 2010 presidential election, in which only one of the three viable opposition parties have, as yet, been allowed even to register

Re the Feingold statement, see Black Star News: Political Heat as Election Nears

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rwanda's domestic press corps

My favorite quotes from East Africa's Independent Media Review article on the Rwandan Press:

There are more than 60 registered print and broadcast media houses but less than 20 of these are active. A close analysis indicates that almost all are either owned by the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) or are godfathered by very top spy chiefs. 

Rwanda has only one English language daily, The New Times, which is fully owned by the ruling RPF. On its board sit senior RPF cadres and close aides of President Kagame. The chairman of The New Times is Rwanda’s spy chief, LT Col. Emmanuel Ndahiro, the Executive Secretary of National Security Services. Ndahiro was among founders of the government mouthpiece and is widely said to be the invisible strong force behind Rwanda’s political scene as he is very close to the President.  He runs the affairs of The New Times like his office and hand picks the top management.

But sources tell ET that Rwanda Dispatch has been wholly bought by the RPF and its content is closely monitored by State House. With presidential elections scheduled for later this year, anything is possible and Kagame and the ruling party will do anything to get all positive media attention to counter the acidic reportage of tabloids like Umuseso and Umuvugizi or international media like BBC and VOA.

"What do you people call press freedom? Is it the right to abuse others or the right to express your opinion and access information without hindrance?”  . . .  Katende [owner of the Rwanda Dispatch] says.

Rwanda News Agency, the national news service, is also said to be owned by the ruling RPF and its board is chaired by Ndahiro who monitors its content on a daily basis.

“At first we [Rwanda News Agency] wanted to stand out as an independent media house that is professional and not like the New Times. But this seems not to be working as we are receiving lots of pressure from the owners who want us to sing the RPF song. Though we are owned by the system, some of us find this very difficult as it compromises our professional ethics,” the source, pleading for anonymity, added. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

KPFA Radio News update on political violence in Rwanda, and endangered journalist Godwin Agaba

Godwin Agaba, a correspondent in Rwanda, has gone into hiding since incumbent President Paul Kagame's government ordered his arrest for alleged links to Lieutenant General Kayumba Nyamwasa. 


Political violence and anxiety continue to trouble Rwanda, in its 2010 presidential election year, with polls scheduled for August 9th, but only one of the three viable opposition parties, the Parti Social-Imberakuri registered, and its registration threatened.  Neither the FDU-Inkingi Party nor the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda  have yet been able to register.

Godwin Agaba, a correspondent in Rwanda, has gone into hiding and applied for asylum, after incumbent President Paul Kagame's government ordered his arrest for alleged but highly improbable links to General Kayumba Nyamwasa.

My 03.07.2010 news update, includes a brief conversation with Mr. Agaba, who answered the phone from an undisclosed location, on March 7, 2010, for KPFA Radio News, in Berkeley, California.  He said that he has contacted Reporters without Borders and other organizations to protect journalists and applied for asylum.  
The radio archive can be played at this hot link:

KPFA Radio News: Political Violence in Rwanda and endangered journalist Godwin Agaba, 03.07.2010,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Should Obama Visit Congolese Cinquantenaire?

In the run up to the celebration of the Congolese Cinquantenaire we have now seen three Belgian ministerial visits to Congo. Both visiting vice-prime, ministers have declared the Belgian King should attend the Congolese celebrations. The president of the government of Wallonie has allready said he will attend the celebration of Congolese independence. It's obvious the king of Belgium cannot stay home, allthoug some pretend it's still uncertain. More interesting off course is wether US President Barack Obama will show his face at the Congolese Cinquantenaire in june.

In the meantime Anthony Holmes, Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities United States Africa Command , told journalists in Belgium that "under Obama Congo has become the top priority for American Africa policy".

The US has a lot of backlog in showing the world it's genuine commitment to peace and security in the great lakes region. After years of uncritical support of Uganda and Rwanda's military dictatorships which resulted for example in the RPF's killing campaigns in eastern Congo, the pentagon has apparently decided on new priorities.

Too bad we don't get to know the reasons behind this change. US military are pretty active in forums and blogs on the world wild web (who doesn't remember the great blog "killing time in iraq"). Sofar I haven't found anyone commenting on this major priority change. Have you?

Congolese Diaspora Pilot Project Excellencis

During the recent visit of Belgium's minister of public health, Laurette Onkelinx, "possibly the most powerful woman in the world", to Kinshasa, the pilot project excellencis by the congolese diaspora organisation ASBL TSHELA was presented.

This pilot project intends to be a sustained learning program for on- and offline collaboration in medecin and nursing initiated by Rachel Azizaw and other healthcare professionals from the Congolese diaspora in Belgium. The initiative received warm support of both the national governments in Congo, Belgium and .... Bertin MAMPAKA, Congolese diaspora alderman in Brussels (and before Bertin Mampaka, alderman Bruno de Lille). Tele matongé reports (in French):

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Diaspora Involvement In Peacebuilding

Africom just recently posted an article about the influence of the civil rights movement to it's blog. I asked myself the obvious question? Why would they post such a piece on diversity to their website? Is it because so many American soldiers are African Americans? Is it because General Ward is African American? Is it because American soldiers in Stuttgart are immigrants? I don't think so. The reason has to do with the increased interest in policy making circles concerning the role diaspora can play in peacefull and democratic development both at home and abroad.

Let me give you two examples. Alex Engwete, a great blog by the way, writes:
"An interface between the Congolese diaspora and American and world policymakers will be facilitated by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) at their headquarters in Washington DC this March 18"
. Another example I recently discovered is the initiative UgandansAbroad by Rebecca Harshbarger, a former student of the father of all bloggers Jeff Jarvis, focusing on serving the Ugandan diaspora in the US and the UK.

Having followed the political developments in Congo and Rwanda closely i have seen diaspora bloggers from all across Africa popping up to give their two cents on developments in the Great Lakes Region. Today for instance a Congolese (former French colony bloggers seem to love Kagame) blogger gave his view on Rwanda's President: "a man of steel on which Africans should put their bets", similar tothe view of Bruno Ben Moubamba opposition politician from Gabon.

I also discovered postcard junky, who is very well informed on what is going down in Kigali, Bujumburu (the beach), Goma and probably Lububumbashi and all. Make sure you follow him. Another diaspora blogger you shouldn't miss is Rwanda info where innocent nsengiyumva clears up some inconsistencies in Andrew Mwenda's assertions.

All this illustrates diaspora engagement through new media is deepening, and this is just the beginning.

Free speech in Rwanda

Former New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer, writing in the London Guardian, on March 2, 2010, paraphrased "Rwandan leaders" when comparing free speech in the African Republic of Rwanda to yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

Kinzer is the author of "A Thousand Hills, Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed it," the story of how former General, now incumbent President, Paul Kagame seized power in Rwanda during the Rwanda Genocide of 1994.

Critics characterize him as Kagame's biographer, apologist, and publicist.

Full text at Digital Journal,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Election Rwanda 2010: party leaders remain in Rwanda, despite threats

by Ann Garrison

On Friday, February 22, 2010, independent Rwandan newspaper Umuseso reported an assassination plot against Frank Habineza, leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, who is now a member of the Permanent Consultative Council representing the three major opposition parties in Rwanda. Habineza responded, however, that neither he nor Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, of the FDU-Inking Party, nor Bernard Ntaganda, of the Parti Social-IMBERAKURI, intend to leave the country in fear, because they feel they are not only more effective but also safer in Rwanda, where their assassination would be an international incident. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both called for an end to political repression and human rights abuse in the run up to Rwanda's August 9th election, and Reporters without Borders has called for an end to repression of the press, particularly Umuseso, the newspaper that reported the assassination threat against Habineza.

On March 2nd, Frank Habineza was summoned by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Rwandan Police, which released him after interrogation. 

Monday, March 1, 2010 Rwanda's Ambassador to the Netherlands flees to Ireland

In a 02.28.2009 KMEC radio update on the Rwanda 2010 election closely followed here on Colored Opinions, Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda said that the government of Rwanda has "long arms," and that "you can run but you can't hide," so he and the other party leaders of the Permanent Consultative Council, feel safer staying in Rwanda, but former Rwandan Ambassador Jean Pierre Bizimana seems to have tried running, after, refusing to help assassinate FDU-Inkingi leader VIctoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, according to  Ingabiré, and/or, helping her obtain travel documents to return to Rwanda, according to sources unnamed by