Imagine for one second the scenario that Fred Rwigyema was assassinated and Yoweri Museveni had to call Paul Kagame back from his nine month training in communist Cuba. Unthinkable. It underlines the fact that Paul Kagame's training at Fort Leavenworth purely served a PR purpose.
Exactedly three weeks before the april 27th 1994 ANC victory at the polls in South Africa both presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were assassinated by RPF revolutionaries under the command of Cuban trained Paul Kagame. A coincidence?
An extremely convenient coincedence while the Rwandan Patriotic Front and Umkhontho we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC, share a common history in Uganda. During the late eighties and nineties these revolutionaries were trained by RPF founder Fred Rwigyema. This common history resonates in a press statement by the ANC after a joint meeting with RPF SG Charles Murigande in 1999:
"The two parties shared “a number of commonalities”, including liberation struggles waged against discrimination, segregation and oppression and a strong commitment to national unity and reconciliation, the statement said. The ANC and the RPF agreed to promote “inter-party political, economic and social activities” and to influence their respective governments to achieve goals “recognised as mutually beneficial,”January 2011 ANC leader and South African president Zuma donated 7000.000 Rand to the Oliver Tambo Leadership School in Uganda. In march 2010 a new building of this school was opened by South African President Zuma and Ugandan President Museveni. A valuable blogpost by Leo Odera Omolo about this event states:
"The school, whose construction was funded by both the Ugandan and South African governments, will be a regional leadership and ideological training institute. It has been training UPDF, Police and Prisons officers.One of the revolutionary armies this school trained is the Rwandan Patriotic Front, as is clear from the statement by Museveni in that same blogpost:
Earlier, it had trained different African revolutionary armies, including the ANC’s military Umkhontho we Sizwe, (Spear of the Nation) and Uganda’s National Resistance Army."
"The first batch of 152 soldiers arrived in Kaweweta in 1989 and by 1994, the number was 3,000, making it the biggest concentration of Umkhotho we Sizwe soldiers in a single camp. He paid tribute to Maj. Gen. Fred Rwigyema (RIP), who he said, went beyond the call of duty to assist the South African soldiers."President Museveni said that same day that:
" he was happy with the struggle for freedom by the two countries. He said he and his fellow freedom fighters refuse to see tribes and sub-groups of Africa, but see Africans.In that context we read how Museveni claimed at that same inauguration of his Oliver Tambo leadership School:
“That is our ideology and that is the ideology of ANC,” Museveni said, adding that the ANC has had a great role in stabilising the security situation in the Great Lakes Region.
He enumerated the initiatives to broker peace in the DR Congo and Burundi by ANC leaders, including Zuma."
"that while Africans fought for freedom from colonialists, the continent’s problems are in many cases self-imposed. He said instead of working together to ensure development, wealth creation, transformation and integration, some Africans work for balkanisation."A (cynical) statement that refers to this common revolutionary history that plays a central role in great lakes political history. It explains why one of the early leaders of Umkontho we Siswe, ANC's central committee member and South Africa's communist party President Raymond Mhlaba was appointed Ambassador to Uganda and Rwanda from 1997 to 2001.
But it also explains why South Africa could play a role in the Burundian peace process. Jacob Zuma worked in Kampala as facilitator of the Burundi peace process along with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni. Current Ugandan Ambassador to Rwanda, Adonia Ayebare praised Jacob Zuma for his role in the Burundi peace process in 2002 in this report.