Friday, November 16, 2012

Koert Lindijer's Smear Campaign Against Rwandan Diaspora

Dutch journalist Koert Lindijer was given airtime on Dutch public radio NOS just after the verdict in the case against Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. In that interview october 30th he claimed that the Dutch government
 'can be satisfied both because the evidence gathered against her in The Netherlands was used only to build the case of terrorism against her and because the Dutch government is helping to build Rwandan justice.'
 He added that
 'according to western diplomats the process has been reasonably fair, Ingabire had access to her lawyers and she was treated well in prison. These western diplomats do have confidence in the Rwandan justice system.'
The next day, october 31st he wrote an article in Dutch newspaper NRC which likely had the same message that the Rwandan justice system had won with a mild sentence. Not one word about intimidation of witnesses, the comments by President Kagame on the case, the way her lawyer Peter Erlinder was treated.  The unverifiable claim that 'western diplomats' considered it sofar a reasonably fair process could be just as well spin by Dutch diplomacy or a very free interpretation by a biased journalist.

But that Koert Lindijer has a bias against Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is not unverifiable. Let's take a closer look.November 28th 2008 he claimed the accusations of Rwandan support for Laurent Nkunda were just Congolese seeking a scapegoat:
'Rwanda zal in Congo nog lange tijd als zondebok dienen.'
A week later Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza wrote, in that same Dutch newspaper NRC, that evidence of Rwandan involvement in supporting Laurent Nkunda did exist. Two weeks later a UN expert report forced the Dutch government to cut budgetsupport to Rwanda. Koert Lindijer was spreading bullshit, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza was telling the truth.

Three days after Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza's arrest in Kigali, april 21 2010, Koert Lindijer launched a vicious smear campaign against the Rwandan diaspora in the Netherlands. His article was entirely based on 'research' by Rakiya Omaar. Rakiya Omaar's 'research' is paid for by the RPF regime. Lindijer (of course) fails to mention this. The individual, Pierre-Claver K., named in the article, was given the opportunity to respond to the allegations april 26 2010. Pierre-Claver K, through his lawyer Jan Hofdijk, sued the organisation African Rights of Rakiya Omaar and the newspaper in which Koert Lindijer wrote the article may 2010. In the ruling in this case the judges decided rectification of Lindijer's original article was not necessary because Pierre-Claver K. was given sufficient opportunity to respond in the article of april 26 2010 (wederhoor).

However, these allegations made by someone who works for the Rwandan government, were aimed not at Pierre-Claver K. but aimed to destroy the reputation of Rwandan opposition party UDF-Inkingi leader Victoire Umuhoza who had been arrested three days prior to this despicable article. The article by Koert Lindijer aimed to create the 'right' environment in which dutch diplomacy could justify their support, as vice-chair of the Rwandan national electoral commission, for rigging elections. The recent NRC article and NOS interview about the verdict in the case against Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza are aimed at creating the 'right' enviroment in which Dutch diplomacy can claim the process was sufficiently fair.


Vincent Harris said...

'A smear campaign, smear tactic or simply smear is a metaphor for activity that can harm an individual or group's reputation by conflation with a stigmatized group.'

Koert Lindijer aimed to smear Victoire Ingabire & the Rwandan diaspora in the Netherlands by conflation based on 'research' by someone who is paid by the Rwandan government.

Ann Garrison said...

Well-spoken, Vincent.