Friday, September 30, 2011

The Heart Of Central African Regional Instability

Finding a satisfying metaphore applicable to the role Victoire Ingabire plays in great lakes diplomatic chess is not easy. Rwandankunda compared her to Wangari Maathai. She has been compared to Aung San Suu Kyi , to Nelson Mandela , to the bee buzzing around Kagame's head. Sofar the bee-analogy was my favorite. But today it occurred to me there is another powerfull metaphore.

Shanda Tonme, a respected writer on international relations, stated in his memoires that diplomacy is:
"an independent method of protection and advocacy fluctuating according to time, partners, goals and influences"
Off course, give credit where credit is due, who says African diplomacy says Julius Nyerere, the iconic President of Tanzania and respected diplomat:
"schoolmaster by choice and politician by accident". 
Vital "magic formula" Kamerhe would probably consider Nyerere his "teacher" and certainly one of Africa's great "magicians.

Howard Wolpe's 2011 report "Making Peace After Genocide, anatomy of the Burundi process" gives us a glimpse of the behind the scenes diplomacy in the great lakes region:
"the conflict between Tutsi and Hutu in Burundi, as in Rwanda, is at the heart of Central African regional instability, producing massive refugee flows, insurgencies, and cross-border violence." 
For whatever reason (let's hope there is a strategy behind this), several high profile observers or "specialists" fail to integrate this important ingredient in their "Congo failed state" soup. Jendayi Frazer, someone who should know better, recently claimed:
"The problems in eastern Congo today are not Rwandan, they’re Congolese.”
In a recent article by former Dubya speechwriter Michael Gerson another example:
"In America, we are engaged in a debate about the size and role of government. But eastern Congo demonstrates the consequences of government's absence. A state of nature -- even an Eden of bougainvillea and natural wealth -- is ruled by the most ruthless. Resources become a curse, propping up corrupt elites. Houses are surrounded by barbed wire, potholes consume the streets, the electricity flickers and helplessness becomes a habit."
I suspect Gerson was thinking more about Ron Paul's campaign for the Repubican nomination then about the solution to instability in the great lakes region when he wrote that down.

Howard Wolpe's most interesting report gives us a lot of information on Nyerere's role in the peace process in Burundi between 1996 and 1999. For example:
"In explaning his approach to Buyoya, Nyerere used the analogy of a minister of finance who knows that tough decisions have to be made evne though others within the government may resist what is required and recruits the IMF to play the role of the bad cop, to make it clear that there is no alternative, no way out unless certain cnoditions are met. In Nyerere's view, sanctions were inteded not to box Buyoya into a corner, but to provide the "necessary shock therapy" to hard-liners around Buyoya."
Giving Buyoya the benefit of the doubt as to his professed commitment to negotiations, Nyerere argued that the burundiain president would need this external pressure so that the Tutsis around him would realize that they had to do something. Again, he compared the Burundi situation to that of South Africa: the sanctions against the South African regime were directed not so much at the reputed reformer De Klerk as they were at his core Afrikaner constituency whose resistance to change had to be overcome."
When reading about Julius Nyerere's role in Burundi's peace process, it suddenly occurred to me Victoire Ingabire is actually playing a similar role today. Her campaign was not so much about winning an election (allthough Gbago would say: "you don't intend to participate in an election to lose it"). Her's was a campaign to challenge those,  in Rwanda and abroad, that collectively closed and close their eyes to the crimes committed by the RPF. Or as Christophe Munzihirwa, Archbishop in Bukavu until his assassination by Paul Kagame's thugs in 1996, said at the time:
"The world is stopping its ears because a larger ideology has been put into circulation, compared to which everything else is relative. Genocide become ‘ideological’ then works like a blank check that the current US administration has issued to Rwanda and Uganda to do anything they want to all the communities around in total impunity."
Appointing Peter Erlinder as her lawyer confirms this reading.

Ingabire consistently denounces armed rebellion as a means to solve political problems. This criticism is directed at the RPF, but also at the many rebel movements in the region. March 21st she wrote in a letter to Paul Kagame:
"My political organisation, UDF-INKINGI has decided to take part in these elections in order to prove to all political contenders that political change in Rwanda is possible without resorting to violence as it has been the case up to now."
As the South African Daily Maverick observed quite well september 7th:
"Victoire Ingabire campaigned succesfully around the great unresolved issue from the Rwandan genocide: the atrocities committed by Tutsi forces on Hutu civilians, for which no one has been brought to justice." 
When she arrived in Kigali a sympathetic observer wrote that her campaign didn't have a prayer. She proved him wrong! Since she left the Netherlands january 16th her message has snowballed across the globe. After the Rwandan elections August 2010 several observers claimed a powerstruggle within the RPF or critical bloggers were the real threat to Paul Kagame's power and Victoire Ingabire was just some sideshow. In retrospect I think this is incorrect. Nyerere's strategy in the Burundian peace process created tensions between then President Buyoya and his own friends. Victoire Ingabire's return and message had a similar effect on the ruling RPF in Kigali (creating tension).

Off course Donor spokesperson and Dutch ambassador to Rwanda, Frans Makken, and Roger Meece, head of the Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, play their (important) roles, but who decided Victoire Ingabire became "the thirteenth floor" of great lakes diplomacy?

As Vital Kamerhe pointed out in this interview with Elie Smith, often in Africa we search for solutions elsewhere when actually we have magicians right under our noses. People like Julius Nyerere from Tanzania, Quett Masire from Botswana, Moustaphe Niasse from Senegal, Vital Kamerhe from the DRC and Victoire Ingabire from Rwanda.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Europe's Migrant Workers And Their Robin Hood: Donald Tusk

Migrant workers play a central role in Donald Tusk's election campaign:
"Minister Donald Tusk’s sudden visit to Lithuania on 4 September in order to express his support for the Polish national minority which had staged a protest rally on 2 September to protest against implementation of the new Law on Education. The visit is a rather rude gesture and it is mostly to do with forthcoming parliamentary elections in Poland, commentators think."
Free movement and migrant worker rights are at the heart of the European project, but still  they don't seem to get any respect . Who hasn't read the stories of abused and underpaid migrants. Supposed lack of integration gave room for populist politicians like Maxime Verhagen to claim "fear of foreigners is understandable". But this narrative might be on the verge of collapse.

Oh yes, there never was a shortage of initiative on behalf of migrants. Let me give you some examples. Radio 1812 and it's campaign to promote the protection of the rights of migrants worldwide, PICUM and it's lobbying on behalf of undocumented migrants in the EU, buitenlandsepartner and it's open source judicial knowledge network for Dutch citizens with foreign spouses, The European Diversity & Inclusion Congress in february 2012 in Vienna, the expat guide holland, in some way or another all these initiatives are related to free movement and migrant worker rights.

And yet real change and momentum could come from eastern European migrant workers and their "robin hood" Donald Tusk. Migrant workers from the new EU memberstates are emerging as a political force within the EU to reckon with. These Rodney Dangerfields are rewriting the script and claiming their place in public space as the ideal European citizens: Civis europaeus sum!"

Donald Tusk said beginning of July:
"Defending the fundamental rights of Europeans, suchs as free movement across borders is our paramount duty."
The Polish people know all too well how important free movement in Europe is to it's population now, but also how important it has been in the past! For example, Jan Vincent-Rostowski, Polish minister of finance, was born into a Polish exile family in London, England. During the Second World War his father, Roman Rostowski, served as personal Secretary to Tomasz Arciszewski, Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile and did not return to Poland after the war.

Poland is in the middle of a parliamentary election and migrant workers abroad and their families at home play a very important role in these elections. Interesting to read about a recent offshoot of Donald Tusk's civic platform, Palikot. Palikot is considered a liberal defector from the more christian-democrat Civic Platform. Palikot could become an important player after the elections, while it allready polls ahead of current coalition party, the  Polish Peasant’s Party, and Palikot could annihilate the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) which runs in the same [socially liberal] niche,” Prof. Edmund Wnuk-Lipiński, a sociologist and rector at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw told Polish Radio.

News is that Polish campaign video's are the bomb. Last week at the 21st Economic Forum in Krynica Zdrój Donald Tusk took another stab at the new Xenophobe eurosceptics in the Netherlands:
 "Let the determination and courage of Prime Minister Filat and the determination of the entire country of Moldova be an important sign for all those sceptics and grumblers who use the fact that they are living, operating and functioning within the European Community to question the very essence and foundations of the Union.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

What Haiti And Rwanda Have In Common?

I warned Paul that he should unfriend Michael Fairbanks, a guy who seems to blame culture (read hutus) for the lack of development in Rwanda. The solution was "Leadership" as parrotted by Rick Warren in his book "purpose driven nation". Leadership is a nice word for "dictatorship". 

Martelly, President of Haiti, claimed, in a panel discussion with Paul Kagame, that he could learn from Rwanda concerning development of Haiti. How should we understand this? Is Martelly just being nice to Clinton CGI and "his" pet project Haiti. And what is Clinton's history with Haiti?

Haiti's problems have been connected to cultural origin by Lawrence Harrison. Paul Kagame has used this idea, through Michael Fairbanks, to justify crushing opponents, killing opponents at home and abroad. Donor spokesperson and Dutch Ambassador, Frans Makken, justified this approach by parroting Kagame's statements in the run up to the elections:
"In a country in conflict, you see that socio-economic rights are given more importance than civil and political rights. Why? Because the important thing is that people have something to eat and to drink and are able to offer their children a futureYou do not want to endanger that by giving broad democratic rights, that also offer space for militant organizations, including the Hutu rebels responsible for the genocide, who are still active in Congo and in the diaspora in Europe."
It's interesting how all these politicians suddenly got some much "courage" when it doesn't concern criticising their own constituents. I much prefer Ron Paul's courage, as explained by Tom Wood in an interview with persian tv. 

If politicians want to lecture anyone, they should start at home. As Jim DeMint said recently:
"the U.S. has not had good results" when it has tried to set up democracies around the world and would be better off serving as a beacon for home-grown democracy movements and getting its own fiscal house in order. "I think the best thing we can do for the world is to be that 'city on a hill,"
Courage is often observed when politicians talk tough about supporters of the opposite party. We remember for example Vice President Biden who said he believes some Tea Party Republicans “acted like terrorists” during the debt talks.  Or Bernie Goldberg when toughing tough against liberals on Fox as Jon Stewart points out in the video below.

By the way, Ron Paul clearly is a fan of John Stewart, he allmost quoted this line from the video (John Stewart):
I haven't moved from the comedians box to the news box, the news box is "moving towards me."
Ron Paul in Ames:
"I haven't moved towards the mainstream, the mainstream is moving towards me"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dutch Coalition Agreement With Geert Wilders Blocks Accession Romania And Bulgaria

Five days ago Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov still thought a a fair discussion on September 22 could change anything. It shows he doesn't understand why the Netherlands blocked Schengen accession to Bulgaria and Romania.

Dutch blogger in Bulgaria Koos Jan Schouten wrote this week:
"Karel van Kesteren, Dutch Ambassador to Bulgaria, confirmed Monday his country’s position and intentions to block Bulgaria’s joining of the Schengen zone. After a meeting with the candidates for president and vice president from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party, Rosen Plevneliev, and Margarita Popova, the diplomat reiterated the Netherlands government would not agree on lifting border control on the grounds of the conclusions of the European Commission’s July report under the monitoring and verification mechanism in the area of justice and home affairs."
Paavo Väyrynen the Finnish Centre party's future presidential candidate said today:
"We could have blocked [accession] together with countries like Germany and France but it was unwise to oppose it with the Netherlands alone."
To claim that the Dutch coalition government is held hostage by extreme-right PVV, as the Romanian government claims, is not a very smart statement. It's exactedly what the Dutch coalition likes to hear: blame Geert Wilders, not us.
The Dutch government's decision to veto the accession is backed by a parliamentary majority. The parliamentary majority which we are dealing with is the Dutch Coalition of CDA, VVD and the party PVV which backs the coalition on the condition of adherence to a "toleration agreement". This "toleration agreement" says about Bulgarian and Romanian accession to Schengen, as Dutch Foreign Affairs minister Uri Rosenthal quoted in parliament in december 8th 2010 in answer to questions by his own party MP's Van Nieuwenhuizen en Ten Broeke:
"As stated in the coalition, the government in fact that the Schengen evaluation of Romania and Bulgaria to the biennial progress reports on corruption and legal reform in these countries are involved. If these reports show that they do not meet the strict criteria, Netherlands does not support full membership of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen and the removal of internal border controls within the EU. Bulgaria and Romania are then - because the decision should be taken on the basis of unanimity - are not allowed to Schengen."
The Dutch newspaper volkskrant claimed last week that Part of the Dutch Coalition agreement is the statement that the Netherlands would veto the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen if a report on fighting crime and corruption would not show sufficient progress. This report came out this summer and stated that the two countries hadn't done enough. In line with the coalition agreement, the Dutch coalition vetoes the accession. This is not completely correct, it's the separate agreement with Geert Wilders' PVV that makes it impossible for the Dutch government to not veto the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen in this context.
D66, a small Dutch opposition party opposed the Dutch government's position in his questions to parliament september 15th. I have searched for a statement on this important matter by leading opposition party PvdA. The ChristenUnie's EU MP Peter van Dalen writes in support of the ruling Dutch coalition:

"These countries are joined too fast and that corruption has resulted in all the wrong pockets are filled with European money. So long as corruption remains stabbing at current levels, we can not conclude the negotiations with Croatia, it's that simple."
Judith Sargentini, GroenLinks member of the EU parliament commented on the Dutch veto:
"It is hard to see this veto by Finland and the Netherlands as anything other than cynical populist grandstanding. Bulgaria and Romania have fulfilled the conditions required for their membership of Schengen, going to great lengths to do so, so there are no legitimate reasons for refusing their entry to the border-free zone.
Jerzy Miller, the interior minister of Poland, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers stated yesterday:
Two member states today made it impossible for us to take a decision on Schengen enlargement,” Miller told a news conference. “This leads me to rather sad conclusions about mutual trust among member states.”
“Bulgaria and Romania were promised that if they fulfilled all the requirements they would be accepted, and since April this year we know that all these conditions have been complied with,” Miller said. “In my understanding, mutual trust also means keeping promises.”
“Today, the promise that was included in the accession treaty [of Bulgaria and Romania] has been broken,” Miller said. “I don't believe that this is what the solidarity principle is about.”
The leader of the European People's Party in the European parliament Joseph Daul denounced what he called "the populist attitude" of the Dutch and Finnish governments to block Schengen accession for Romania and Bulgaria.

Two Dutch CDA members, Wim van de Camp and Esther de Lange, members of this European People's Party in the European parliament criticized Romania for blocking trucks at the border, supposedly in retaliation for the Dutch veto.

A a former Dutch Christian Democrat CDA Youth President claimed that blocking the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU's borderless Schengen area was a good move referencing to a vote in parliament in 2006, when the CDA voted against accession of Romania to the EU.  Geert Wilders made the claim Bulgaria and Romania should leave the EU in the run up to the 2010 election.
The reactions by leading politican of the Polish governing party "civic platform" echo the previous strong clashes with the ruling Dutch coalition. Jerzy Burzek, President of EU Parliament, @jerzyburzek:
"I regret today's delay in and Schengen accession. I call for fairness and European solidarity."
On behalf of the Polish EU presidency, Interior Minister Jerzy Miller issued a strongly-worded statement, regretting the positions of the Netherlands and Finland:
"This evokes in me above all rather sad conclusions on mutual trust between EU member states," he stated. "We live in hard times, hard also for the EU. Such moments require that we support each other. Today, some lacked the courage to say that we want to do it together and not separately."
Bulgaria will reconsider its support for the reforms of the Schengen Agreement if it decides it is getting unfair treatment over its application for the visa-free area Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov announced in Sofia.

The Dutch Romanian Network has expressed its disagreement with the decision of the Dutch government regarding the refusal by veto of the entry of Romania into the Schengen zone, announced the network, speaking on behalf of the Dutch business community:
“We would like to ask all involved members of the government(s) to break the deadlock in the negotiations. We propose a more pragmatic path. In this scope we would like to draw the attention to the compromise of Germany and France, they proposed a two-step scenario”
Yesterday was the first tangible Geert Wilders victory in Dutch politics, but both CDA and VVD in parliament support this part of the "toleration agreement" just as much. They put it in the "toleration agreement" to be able to blame Geert Wilders while sitting in Brussels, claiming just as much credit for it at home, it seems.

The decision has been moved to the EU- summit. But I don't see how that summit can change anything, as Gerd Leers reiterated this week:

"I don't know what's going to happen at the October summit but as I said already for us the content is leading and if there is no new content and no new information regarding the progress of the content it's useless to discuss it again. So first we want to see results in a better performance and the next CVM report can show us."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Power Outages In Congo Lead To Creativity

Power outages can lead to genius, Sandrine Ngalula is the proof: She decided to study electric engineering during a power outage in Kikwit.

For 1500 dollars (Solar panels) you won't be bothered by power outages any longer, Radio Okapi wrote september 15th.

She succeeded in transforming an electric car prototype into a hybrid car by integrating a fuel cell, has started developing a plan to electrify villages in Congo-Kinshasa. This plan is primarily designed around solar technology.

Crismy energie from Montréal has an office in Kinshas for solar energy equipment.

Solar cooking has a solar energy project in Kinshasa as well:
"The city of Kinshasa is working hand in hand with the local communities and sees the promtion of solar energy as the best way to put an end to the rampant destruction of the environment in Kinshasa. "
Somehwat related, the Dutch development  organisation SNV has a job opening for a Senior Advisor Renewable Energy (Kinshasa, DR CONGO)

Solar energy is also part of the project "Cinq Chantier".  Congo Energie solaire has a project in Kinshasa for those interested.

Bruno Mukuna Badibanga is also in the business of solar energy.

Matoko Kambulu wrote about  solar street light in Kinshasa in october 2010

Sylvain Kilmour is starting a business using the DIY Solar technique in Kinshasa, DRC.
He has interested other locals and expects to be able to get a KIVA loan.

African Energy is also involved in solar energy in Congo.

Jim DeMint Endorses Ron Paul's Non-Interventionism!

The interview with Marvin Olasky yesterday shows that Jim DeMint is aligning himself with Ron Paul on FOREIGN POLICY. Asked about America's role in world affairs, Jim DeMint said:
"the U.S. has not had good results" when it has tried to set up democracies around the world and would be better off serving as a beacon for home-grown democracy movements and getting its own fiscal house in order.
"I think the best thing we can do for the world is to be that 'city on a hill,"
This is 100% Ron Paul non-interventionist foreign policy :

"See the difference with me is I believe there is a lot of good traits and a lot of good qualities about America's belief in liberty, markets, freedom and sound money, but we should spread our goodness by setting an example, that's the difference, the idea that somebody would use force to make other countries to act like we do or make individuals act like we think they should rejects the whole notion of liberty, because we reject the notion of using force to mold peoples lives and change the world."

Interview De Jacques HOGARD Sur La Visite De Kagame En France interview de Jacques... door Eurosecu

Tensions In Paris After Kagame's Visit

Sos Racism accuses Congolese of racist attacks on tutsis in Paris, reported by Afrikarabia. This in turn led to a protest by Congolese activists at the office of SOS Racism The reason, a press release by Dominique Sopo, President of SOS Racism. Great way to discover new blogs focused on Congo or the Great lakes diaspora, focused on Kasai focused RD Congo. The blog by Roger Bongos, who took this video.

If these racist incidents are proven, it illustrates my point concerning the counterproductive strategy By Tshisekedi's UDPS when it instrumentalizes a Xenophobic discourse .

ACT II : SOS RACISME EST ELLE LE SUPPOT DE... door afriqueredaction

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prosecution stalls in Ingabire trial in Rwanda

Victoire Ingabire conferring with her British lawyer Iain Edwards in the
Kigali courtroom where she is on trial for terrorism and "genocide ideology."
Few outside the Kagame regime expect a fair trial.

KPFA Weekend News, 09.18.2011, Transcript:

KPFA Weekend News Host David Landau:  In news from Africa, the official accounts of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, the First and Second Congo Wars,  of 1996-2003, and the ongoing conflict in the Congo are being contested in the ongoing trial of Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, in Kigali, Rwanda. Ingabire is charged with terrorism, threatening national security, and promulgating so-called genocide ideology. This week Ingabire's family rescinded their appeal to stop the transfer of evidence obtained by Dutch authorities in a 2010 raid on their home in the Netherlands, where Ingabire resided in exile for 16 years before returning to Rwanda. Ingabire's family said they were doing so because the items taken from their home prove nothing, and because the prosecution is simply stalling, asking for postponements and adjournments to obtain evidence, until the international community turns away. KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Last year Dutch authorities, cooperating with the government of Rwanda, raided Victoire Ingabire's family home in the Netherlands searching, they said, for evidence. Dutch authorities from several parties reacted in outrage, asking why the Dutch Police were taking orders from Rwanda, but this week Ingabire's family rescinded their motion to stop the transfer of evidence, because they said, it proves nothing. Instead, the family says, they want the prosecution to move ahead with the trial.

Rwandan American legal scholar Charles Kambanda, a former member of Kagame’s ruling party, and now a professor at St. John’s University, says that the prosecution is stalling until the international community loses interest in the trial:

Professor Charles Kambanda:  So prosecution is only trying to create a situation where the Ambassadors, or these people representing foreign or international bodies, or what we call international community, get fed up with the case, because they have been attending sessions every day. Now, the prosecutor is aware of that, so they want these people to lose interest in the case, so they can bring their bogus evidence.

KPFA: The difference between Ingabire and her party and Kagame and his, is Professor Kambanda says, a fundamentally different telling of the Rwanda Genocide, and because Ingabire represents power sharing that Kagame will not tolerate.

Professor Charles Kambanda:  RPF is telling us the Tutsi were victims while the Hutu were perpetrators. FDU is saying no, both were equally victims and perpetrators. Another difference is power sharing. Victoire Ingabire is saying we must share power, among the Hutu, Tutsi, and the Twa. Kagame doesn't believe in that. Kagame believes in just handpicking a few Hutu, whom he's going to manipulate and put in power here and there, just to show people that there are a few Hutu in his system.

KPFA:  The history of the Congo Wars, in which well over six million people have died, is also at stake in Ingabire’s trial because Kagame has invaded eastern Congo and taken control of much of its mineral wealth, while saying that his army is there to hunt down Hutu militias who killed Tutsis in 1994 and now threaten regime from the jungles across the border.   If it were established that not only Hutu but also Tutsi extremists, including Kagame’s army, massacred members of the other ethnic group in 1994, Kagame would lose the justification for his rule in Rwanda and his presence in Congo.
President Obama, in the Obama Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy  Promotion Act of 2006 wrote that Congo’s neighbors, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, were using the presence of real or perceived hostile militias as an excuse to interfere in Congo, but two weeks ago, Obama requested immunity for Kagame in Habyarimana v. Kagame, a civil suit in a U.S. federal district court demanding damages and a jury trial fin which Plaintiffs promised to prove Kagame’s culpability in the Rwanda Genocide and Congo Wars.

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

To hear audio, go to

Rwandan Attempt To Smear Vital Kamerhe

Today Igihe, a Rwandan pro-Kagame website, claimed this wikileaks cable is proof that Vital Kamerhe is not telling the truth concerning his knowledge of the Umoja Wetu operation in Kivu.

US Ambassador William J. Garvelink interpretation of Kikaya Bin Karubi's words is the exact opposite:

"his remarks about the ineffectiveness of non-violence, glib remarks about Kamerhe's safety, and matter-of-fact dismissal of transparency vis a vis Parliament, likewise provide an enlightening, if disconcerting, glimpse into what are probably common views about the nature of politics among the political elite in Kinshasa, although most would never dare to speak so bluntly about these issues to us"

However, when a pro-Kagame website is trying to smear a Congolese politician who is considered the peace-maker in Eastern Congo it says something. Vital Kamerhe should be happy.

09:00 of this video Vital Kamerhe explains that the Congolese parliament should have been informed before Umoja Wetu took place. This did not happen, a clear violation of article 213 of the Congolese constitution.

Bar Shooting Bujumbura Exposes Bad Governance

Patrice Faye's appeal has started monday and was interrupted. Fabien Segatwa, his lawyer asked for provisional release.
@africahand tweets today:
"My Burundi source reports Bujumbura is tense and rumors flying - hospitals overwhelmed security heavily visible downtown"
September 7th we could read that a human rights body accused Burundi government of a surge of extrajudicial killings (documented 125). Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, chairman of the Association for the Defence of Human Rights and Prisoners' Rights, reported these acts:
"We have pictures of the victims, and most of them were executed for political reasons"
Yesterday he was summoned!!

Ban Ki-Moon can claim progress is being made in Burundi, the reality is much more complex. Belgian foreign affairs Minister Vanackere makes a declaration.

Beginning of  july the German ambassador Joseph Weiss left Burundi and was declared "persona non grata" by Burundi's vice-president Térence Sinunguruza, a long time power broker in Burundi who served under several Burundian Presidents. Germany later demanded excuses for this statement by Sinunguruza. The reason for this bizarre declaration, that was later denied, was Joseph Weiss' support for sketches by Patrice Faye, who is in jail in Burundi on false charges. Bizindavyi Jean Marie wrote about developments in Burundi in july:
"After having attacke civil society, human rights organisations, the meda, the CNDD-FDD now takes on diplomats and foreigners living inBurundi"
About 10 days  ago two of Agathon Rwasa's supporters were assassinated in Kikindo Bujumbura, Burundi. Léonce Ngendakumana, leader of Burundi's opposition party Democratic Alliance for Change was arrested today , Pierre Claver Mbonimpa (mentioned previousy), another member of the same party was summoned by police yesterday. The house of Léonce Ngendakumana FRODEBU leader, was searched today and after a four hour search he was interogated at a police station, report by Domitille Kiramvu who herself was accused by the mayor Evrard Giswaswa of Bujumbura october 2010.
Jean-Marie Ntahimpera, who has written many great blogposts about Burundian politics, wrote about governance and Burundi last week in which he quotes Pierre Calame who gives this definition of good governance:
"the art of constructing in human society more unity, more liberty and more diversity"
Another interesting quote from this excellent blogpost:
"The goal of governance is to give strategic orientation, to insure that objectives are met, that risks are managed well and that resources are used in a spirit of responsability. Governance watches carefully that priorities interests of stakeholders (citizens, state authority, foreign stakeholders) are respected and makes sure that their voices are heard in the mangement of things"
 The bomb attack in Bujumbura seems to be a direct response to a press release on Nkurunziza's website, that stated september 7th 2011:
"At the end of a-two-month intensive work to raise awareness in their respective municipalities, the assessment of the security situation on the province was made by the municipalities’ mayors, eye witnesses of the evolution of the security situation on the field. (Mayors’ accounts are attached herewith). The Head of the State assumed that the pacification campaign in Bujumbura "rural" was successful at 95%."
Diplomats seem to disagree with the effectiveness of this campaign.
Jeffrey Gettleman writes down what anyone who follows Burundi knows is true:
"Diplomats and human rights groups say the Burundian government has embarked on a campaign to methodically eliminate opposition supporters.
"The government has been slaughtering them like rats," said the African diplomat, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
The attack on Sunday, he said simply, "was payback."
Cara Jones writes on texasinafrica:
"I tend to agree that the violence comes as result of CNDD-FDD and FNL tensions"
President Pierre Nkurunziza visited the scene and vowed to bring those responsible to justice.He said he was cancelling this week's trip to New York, for the UN General Assembly.

Agnathon Rwasa, exiled opposition party leader (FNL) said in a statement, two days before the attack:
"Unacceptable massacres, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, cruel acts of torture, intimidation, death threats and extra-judicial executions are carried out every day,"
 He posted a long letter to his website on monday, just a day after the killings. I haven't yet found much of interest there, to be honest.

Thierry Vircoulon, central Africa project director at International Crisis Group (ICG):
"Last year's elections were a political failure and since then the violence has just been increasing, ..
"Talk of a new rebellion is not exaggerated. We have a real escalation in the fighting and it's getting closer to Bujumbura."
Burundi cannot afford to have the leaders of the opposition out of the country and the opposition totally marginalised,"
August 5th Willy Nzisabira, along with some genocide denial  claimed in a blogpost on the website of the Royal African Society:
"The concept of democracy: The rule of the majority”, understood by the average Burundian as the wish of the majority to be the absolute law of the land, is easily perceived in the minds of the people in ethnic terms – thus widening the gap between the interests of the Hutus emphasizing rights and seeking for more control of the nation’s life, and the interests of Tutsis emphasizing competence and seeking for more security for their lives. 
Since 2005, in the name of democracy, all the countless leadership abuses – corruption, assassinations, and many other human rights abuses by the current government led by President Nkurunziza "
Not a very helpfull analysis. The failures of the Nkurunziza government can certainly not be blamed on one ethnic group. The fact that Nkurunziza is a hutu doesn't tell us anything about what is going on behind the scenes. Using a hutu president as figureheads is nothing new in Burundi or Rwanda. Who doesn't remember Burundi President Ntibantunganya , one of his successors Domitien Ndayizeye or Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu?

September 11th Thierry Ndabahagamye wrote:
"Chers Burundais , nous avons encore un long chemin pour accéder a la démocratie et pouvoir exprimer librement nos opinions et positions : soit tu es avec les plus forts soit tu fermes ta bouches, sinon la mort te guette,…"
I am not convinced ingredients for war are all met, as some suggest. One of the most worrying developments has been the creation of "Imbonerakure"a gang or militia created by the ruling party in order to take out opponents in a campaign called "Opération Safisha". Edouard Madirisha thinks the party in power is not lead by it's civil leadership, but by the (former rebel) military leadership. He thinks the situation as it is now doesn't help the civil government, the opposition and even less the people.

Fabrice Tshibaka Mutiga, representative of Congolese students in Burundi made a declaration september 19th because University in Burundi threatens to no longer accept Congolese diplomas. For those who prefer Miss Burundi, here are the twelve candidates. Advocacynet fellow Walter James blogs on the attack. Mamadou Bah is mourned as one of the architects of peace in Burundi. If you prefer art, an exhibition by Clovis Mwilambwe Ngoy et Sengele Diya in Bujumbura till september 30th.

September 5th Paul Kagame met Pierre Nkurunziza in the border town Kirundo. September 10th Burundi soldiers  7th Batallion completed duty as part of Amisom. September 12th a tripartite meeting took place between Rwanda, Burundi and Congolese military and defense representatives. Nkurunziza is also involved in EAC negotiations on the Sudan EAC bid. His wife is a pastor.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Am Troy Davis

Why Carnegie Mellon University Invited Kagame: Jendayi Frazer

September 3d Jendayi Frazer @JendayiFrazer tweeted:
" thanks Kwame, CMU is doing lots in Africa. Will open an IT campus in Kigali nxt yr & CMU students in Arusha, Liberia, & Ghana"
Jendayi Elizabeth Frazer is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, heading the Bureau of African Affairs. She currently serves as a Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College and Department of Social and Decision Sciences.

This weekend she claimed:
"that the problems in eastern Congo today are not Rwandan, they’re Congolese"
When Stephen Rapp, Susan Rice, Pierre Prosper and Bill Clinton defend Paul Kagame it's pure self interest. Jendayi Frazer and Bill Clinton invited Paul Kagame to the US this week, after requesting immunity in the civil trial against Kagame in Oklahoma, in a clear attempt to regain the initiative against critics in the debate surrounding the mapping report:
This weekend Jendayi Frazer said:
"that though many Congolese believe that Rwandans are to blame for the instability in their country, the issue is more complicated than that.
“There are a lot of different groups that have been fighting in the Congo,” Frazer said. “There are Rwandan genocidaires in the Congo, there are Congolese militias. Those guys in eastern Congo that are Rwandan used it as a base to attack Rwandan villages along the border. Then there are the Congolese armed forces themselves; some of them are very undisciplined. The problems in eastern Congo today are not Rwandan, they’re Congolese.”
Jendayi Elizabeth Frazer's view is inconsistent with Vital Kamerhe's explanation of the dynamics of the peace process in eastern Congo, inconsistent with the views of former MONUC commander Patrick Cammaert and seems inconsistent with the views of current UN special envoy to Congo Roger Meece. It's inconsistent with what Tony Gambino said concerning the Crisis in Congo:

"In Congo after the 2006 elections, oddly, the international community had the opposite reaction: "Wow, now's the time to disengage," at least politically -- aid flowed -- but in terms of high-level political engagement, which had characterized the previous period."
It's also inconsistent with her role in negotiating a peace deal in eastern Congo between Congo and Rwanda.

The real debate on Rwanda and Congo is not about Paul Kagame, it's about policy makers in the US that are unwilling to reflect on their own mistakes.

 As Stephen Sackur asked Jendayi Frazer november 2008
"You spent 4 years dealing with some of the worsed problems in Africa and frankly, it looks as though they are getting worse, not better"
"why is it that the mechanisms don't seem to be able to deliver peace nor stability"
In that same interview Jendayi Frazer claimed that she didn't have intelligence that Rwanda was supporting Laurent Nkunda. Two weeks later the Netherlands blocked budgetsupport to Rwanda.

In the second part of that interview in 2008 Jendayi Frazer claimed that the FDLR was "the" problem in eastern Congo at that time.

Jendayi Frazer thinks a legitimate discussion on US foreign policy in Africa should be drowned in generalisations and distortions against it's critics. I hope students at Carnegie Mellon University will continue to ask questions also concerning the propaganda against the Rwandan diaspora in the US and Europe and the clear aim to push the "Kagame success story".

Jendayi Frazer and Pierre Prosper have also demonstrated hostility towards Occampo and the ICC, june 28th concerning the Occampo six:
"Very strange can only seem to bring cases against leaders in Selective indictments undermines ICC "
june 21st:
Agree that we need to prevent 2007 repeat but action hasn't stopped violence in --not Sudan, not DRC, not Uganda.
yes cause they want end to impunity but he is undermining that w/selective indictments focused on

I blame him for not prioritizing . is a wonderful country & why only indicts Africans? No IRA?
Interesting and disturbing to see that Jendayi Frazer (is buying into or) helping spread this populist anti-Ocampo message. What does this tell us?

Moreno-Ocampo maintains that the allegations that he is singling out Africa are unfair (september 3d 2010), noting that most of his African investigations have been launched at the request of the governments where the crimes occurred.

Further reading:

Jendayi Frazer, former University of Denver Prof, Implicated in 2006 Ethiopian Invasion of Somalia , the wikileaks cable referenced in that article can be found here.

In 1998 Jendayi Frazer claimed there were no Rwandan troops in Congo.

Jendayi Frazer and The War in Somalia

Jendayi Frazer recently interviewed Jean Ping in which she ganged up against Ocampo again. Jean Ping had an interview with Roger Bongos recently too.

Jean Ping questioned on the Congolese elections september 8th by Serge Welo.

Jean Ping irritated against NATO.

If you want to understand Jendayi Frazer's worldview, read this 2009 article in the WSJ.

"Carnegie Mellon Univ. seems to still have its head in the sand when it comes to restricted academic freedom in #Rwanda."
I disagree, this is not some accident.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rock Star Ron Paul @ California Republican Party Convention

If the Republican race for the White House is between two candidates, 'it's Romney and me... That’s OK.'

The Republican Liberty Caucus of California
Ron Paul is very patient:
"We should always be cautious about the unintended consequences of our policy ... that it could come back to haunt us," he said. "People want to twist it and say because I'm critical I blame America. And they're not fair ... because I blame its policies."
Judge Napolitano, a staunch supporter of the campaign for liberty, says it more poignantly:

Ron Paul september 15th on the antiwar blog:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ron Paul: Our Foreign Policy Narrative Sucks

Rick Fisk writes in Liberty United today:
"In 2010, the neocons suffered an arguably fatal blow when top spokesmen for the movement came out against Rand Paul’s primary bid in Kentucky and he won handily in spite of it. It was a stinging defeat and it has emboldened GOP hopefuls like Romney and Michelle Bachman to stray from the neoconservative talking points without consequence. This would have been unheard of 4 years ago."
It's a persistent myth that Ron Paul is speaking in tongues when he challenges the effectiveness of the US foreign policy narrative:
"Yes, the attacks of 9/11 deserved a response. But the manner in which we responded has allowed radicals in the Muslim world to advance a very threatening narrative about us"
Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that the US foreign policy narrative is losing ground: during a U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities committee meeting in march she argued that the State Department needs more money because the US military-industrial complex is:
 “losing the information war"
We remember the propaganda campaign in april 2010 by a member of Clinton's policy planning staff, Jared Cohen, that aimed to shore up the image of Paul Kagame ahead of a crucial visit to New York in the run up to the August 2010 elections.

We remember former Obama New Media Campaign manager Mary Joyc's critical article on Hillary Clinton's “21st century statecraft” july 2010 in which she said:
"What more can be done by those in US government? First: listen more. Instead of engaging with billionaires and titans of tech"
We remember Africa specialist Tony Gambino's interview with Jason Stearns december 2010 in which he said:
"During the Cold War, US foreign policy globally had clear priorities. That clear lens, however, disappeared with the end of the Cold War in 1990"
We remember Ron Paul asking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton some pertinent questions on the inconsistencies in US foreign policy (march 1 2011 transcript):
"But a lot of people in this country have come to the
conclusion that our policy overall has been inconsistent; that
sometimes we support the bad guys and the bad guys become our
enemies. For instance, you know, we worked with Osama bin Laden
when he was fighting the Soviets. We were allies with Saddam
Hussein when he was fighting the Iranians. We certainly propped
up the Shah of Iran for 26 years, and that bred resentment and
hatred that ushered in an age that now you are dealing with
because we have radicals, you know, in Iran. So it goes on and
    We now have propped up Saudi Arabia for a long time, sold
them a lot of weapons, and yet 15 of the Saudis were part of
the 9/11 disaster, and even the 9-11 Commission said that our
presence there had a lot to do with that.
    We keep supporting Algeria and Morocco and Yemen and all
these dictators, and yet we pretend that as soon as it looks
like the dictator might fall, oh, we are all for democracy and
we are for freedom and we are against these dictators. I don't
think the people there understand. I don't think our people in
this country quite understand either.
You mentioned in your comments about Libya, that nothing
should be taken off the table, which is to me a little
frightening, because the previous administration would say that
when they would be asked questions about first strikes,
preemptive war, nuclear first attacks. That scares the living
daylights out of me when nothing is taken off the table, and I
dread the fact that we might be considering military activity
in Libya. "
Ron Paul is certainly not the only one who sees these obvious inconsistencies, just watch this interview between Richard Downie and Jennifer Cooke who both work at the Center for Strategic And International Studies in which they argue that:
"Perhaps US needs to focus less on kind of the individualities, the personalities in charge of these governments, the Paul Kagame's, the Museveni's and really look more at the institutions and building up that institutional strength in these countries"
The answer by the Obama administration has been to hang on to the interventionist narrative, go low profile but continue the support for dictators (spoiling over into legal battles in the US!) and let donors like the Netherlands and France take a more visible role, while ignoring the African Union.

Getting rid of the superficial and counterproductive francophone/anglophone foreignpolicy animosity in Africa is certainly a step forward. I also admit that moving away from the "strongmen narrative" is a delicate process. However, that doesn't mean there should be no critical self reflection at the highest level of the State Department and Pentagon. The lack of clear foreign policy focus since the end of the cold war which led to blind support for - and unhealthy focus on supposed enlightened strongmen is at the heart of the foreign policy conversation among policymakers from both parties. This conversation should not be drowned in superficial rhetoric and propaganda.

Ron Paul said about this conversation:
"it is very tempting to simply believe what we would like to hear. But listening to lies does not make us safer, even though it might make us feel better about ourselves."
He might not have all the answers, but  Ron Paul certainly has been asking the right questions! 

Republican Strategist Jack Burkman on freedom watch:
"This guy could come from behind as the horses turn for home, to win the nomination"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Protests In France Against Paul Kagame's Visit To Paris

A congolese activist succeeded in creating a scene at a pressconference. A picture of the anti-Kagame protests made it to the ABC News website.

Jambonews  and Dutch journalist Anneke Verbraeken are in Paris and report on the different protests in Paris against Paul Kagame's visit. Mariann2 interviews Gérald Gahima, cofounder of the Rwandan opposition party RNC on the visit.

Roger Bongos, Congolese journalist in Paris (Video from the Rwandan diaspora meeting and his acount), has been expelled this afternoon from the conference of Rwandan minister at the "maison de la presse" in Paris at the request of the Rwandan "authorities"(via @loudjaro).
Article in le Parisien about the demonstration on the peripherique. Several Rwandan bloggers have allready written on the visit, Ambrose Nzeyimana adds his voice to the choir:
"Paul Kagame in Paris: A case of racial prejudice towards African victims of state terrorism"
At about 14:30 @anneketanneke tweeted:
"3 heavily guarded busses with friends of just arrived in Paris. They're gonna demonstrate against visit  "
Pictures of a the demonstration that followed. Today on RNW UDF-Inkingi's Secretary general in Rwanda,Sylvain Sibomana sums up a long list of political prisoners in Rwanda.

French member of the European parliament and former vice-president of MoDem (Francois Bayrou's party), Corine Lepage (who was appointed as minister in 1995 by Allain Juppe), @corinnelepage tweets on Kagame's visit:
"#kagame. Un dictateur à Paris. Rappelons la réception de khadafi et de sa tente en 2008. Est ce opportun? Est ce légitime?"
The best analysis i have seen sofar of  Nicholas Sarkozy's reasons and strategy by Franck Petit in Slate Afrique.  Good analysis also by Yan Yec'han.  Sarkozy will meet Tshisekedi this week, seems to me Sarkozy is taking center stage in great lakes donor strategy, while US stays low profile (but are no doubt closely involved in donor strategy). Interview on Robert Bourgi's revelations and comment by Survie on Kagame's visit. Today also a blogpost by Olivier Mathieu on the mapping report  in which he claims that planification of the Rwandan genocide is beyond doubt. This is incorrect as Peter Erlinder points out in the article Rwanda: No Conspiracy, No Genocide Planning ... No Genocide? :
 "The real news was that ALL of the top Rwandan military officers, including the supposedly infamous Colonel Bagosora, were found not guilty of conspiracy or planning to commit genocide."
Candide Okeke, Apareco, gives her view. Roger Bongos, Afrique Redaction, tells about his experience in Aubervilliers. He also interviews several Rwandans at the meeting in Aubervilliers.


For those who prefer bloggers from rural Rwanda, here is one I just discovered.

Update september 13th:
Protest outside Ritz Hotel Paris against "press predator" Paul Kagame. Police were rapidly on the scene and began removing about 25 protesters who had staged a sit-down protest in front of the Ritz. Among them RSF head Jean-Francois Julliard. Jean-Francois Julliard wrote a report on the Gacaca case against Belgian Catholic Father Guy Theunis in 2005. Four Rwandans played important roles in the accusations against Guy Theunis: Antoine MUGESERA (worked at central planning commission of the RPF), Marie-Immaculée INGABIRE (president of Rwandan journalists at the time which usually means propaganda, Lindsey Hilsum seems to have played a role in spreading RPF propaganda long before her propaganda piece last year on the mapping report), Tom NDAHIRO (remember his desinformation in the Lazare Kobagay case!!!) et Jean Damascène BIZIMANA, who wrote a letter against Jean-Francois Julliard in that same year on the Guy Theunis case.

Allain Juppé comments today on Kagame's visit:
"my convictions haven't changed concerning Rwanda"
Paul Quiles interviewed on the outcome of the visit:

"Le président rwandais Paul Kagamé ne demande pas "d'excuses" à la France pour son rôle au Rwanda en 1994. Qu'en pensez-vous? 
"S'il ne demande pas d'excuses, il nie, de ce fait, la véracité du rapport Mucyo, qu'il avait lui-même commandé et dont l'objet était de prouver l'implication de la France dans le génocide. Dans ce rapport, on disait que la France et son armée avaient participé à l'exécution du génocide et que les soldats de l'opération Turquoise [opération humanitaire de la France pendant le génocide] étaient venus au Rwanda pour tuer des Tutsis. S'il ne demande pas d'excuses, c'est signe que ces allégations tombent."

blogpost on RPF actions in Congo in 1996. Storify collection by VOA reporter on this visit.