Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On the Anniversary of Rwanda's One-Man Show: the Re-election of President Paul Kagame

Rwandan President Paul Kagame

August 9th, 2011 marked the anniversary of Rwandan President Paul Kagame's one man show, otherwise known as the Rwandan presidential election, which he won with 93% of the vote. Here's what St. John's University Law School Professor Charles Kambanda, a former member of Kagame's ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front party, told KPFA News last year, when it was announced that election observers would travel to Rwanda from the U.S. and the U.K., the dominant Western powers in the region:

Charles Kambanda
"We're not talking about the election day. We are not talking about a few hours after elections or before elections. We are looking at the entire social, political environment before, during, and after the elections. Anybody who has been following involvements in Rwanda knows that it is impossible to have free and fair elections, so why do people seriously think of going there to observe elections?  

Which elections are they going to observe? There is NOTHING to be observed because what we have is a one-man show, what we have is a situation where they have created the so-called opposition. RPF has kicked out all the potential political opposition leaders.  They are either in prison, or, they are already dead, or in exile."  -Charles Kambanda

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of Rwanda's FDU-Inkingi coalition of opposition parties, was not quite in prison by the time of the August 9th, 2010 election, though she had been under house arrest since April 21st, forbidden to leave Rwanda's capitol city Kigali to speak with the country's majority rural, subsistence farming population.  She was finally imprisoned on October 14th, 2010, two weeks after the release of the UN Mapping Report on Human Rights Abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1993-2003, which documented Kagame's army's atrocities in Congo and said that an international court of law might rule that they included genocide---the ethnic massacre of Rwanda Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutus.

No such international criminal tribunal has been convened.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza remains behind bars, charged with terrorism and "genocide ideology," which means challenging President Paul Kagame, the Rwandan government, or the official version of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

Opposition leader Bernard Ntaganda, who was arrested on June 24th, 2010, remains behind bars, sentenced to four years for organizing an illegal gathering, "threatening state security," and inciting ethnic divisions, although he told Pacifica Radio last year that, "The problem is not Tutsi. The problem is not Hutu. The problem is a small group of people, a small group of people who have between their hands all power, government power. They have the wealth. And they have the majority of Rwandese, who are very poor."

Imprisoned Rwandan journalists Saidath-Mukakibibi,
left, and Agnes Uwimana, right. 
Rwandan journalists Agnes Uwimana, Umurabyo Editor, and Saidath-Mukakibibi, Umurabyo Deputy Editor, remain behind bars, after being sentenced, on February 11th, 2011, to 17 years and seven years, respectively, for “threatening state security,” “genocide ideology,” “divisionism,” and “defamation" in a series of articles written ahead of the election, which criticized President Kagame and other government officials, and challenged the official version of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

There has been no convincing investigation of the June 25th, 2010 murder of Rwandan journalist Jean Leonard Rugembage, or of the July 14th, 2010 murder of Rwandan Green Party Vice President Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, whose body was found beheaded, by the banks of Rwanda's Makula River.

Nor has there been any Web accessible report of any investigation into the July 15th, 2010 murder of International Criminal Defense lawyer Jwani Mwaikusa, another challenger to the official version of the 1994 genocide.

On April 21st this year, the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda sanctioned William Mitchell Law Professor Peter Erlinder for refusing to return to Arusha, Tanzania, to defend his client because he feared assassination by operatives of President Kagame, who had imprisoned him in Kigali, Rwanda, in May and June 2010, after he had traveled there to defend Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

On April 23rd, 2011, Rwanda's government newspaper The New Times published Deniers of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi On Rampage, accusing Professor Charles Kambanda and myself of denying the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, though neither of us has ever denied it. The New Times was outraged by our WBAI-N.Y.C. AfrobeatRadio broadcast and Global Research publication of a more complex history that included Hutu genocide.

Professor Erlinder published his documented challenge to the history of the Rwanda Genocide, and to the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, which he describes as a court for victor's justice, controlled by the U.S., in the De Paul University Journal of Justice in May, 2011.  

On May 22 this year Rwandan Youth for Change posted their video, "House of exile in the eyes of Rwandan Youth For Change" to the Youtube:

First posted to, 08.09.2011.

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