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Verdict pending: Victoire Ingabire and D.R. Congo

September 6, 2012

by Ann Garrison

KPFA Evening News, broadcast Sept. 1, 2012


Press surrounded FDU-Inkingi opposition leaders Bernard Ntaganda and Victoire Ingabire as Ntaganda met her at the airport in Kigali to welcome her back to Rwanda in January 2010. Both attempted to run for president against incumbent President Paul Kagame, and both were confined in Kigali's 1930 maximum security prison before the end of that year and have remained there ever since. – Photo: IGIHE.com, Rwanda
KPFA Weekend News Anchor: Imprisoned Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire and her supporters await a Kigali court’s verdict in her case this coming Friday, Sept. 7. Ingabire has been in prison for nearly two years, charged with giving financial support to a terrorist group, planning to cause state insecurity, and divisionism, a violation of Rwanda’s “genocide ideology” statute, which can mean disagreeing with the Rwandan government, disagreeing with the official history of the Rwandan Genocide, or even acknowledging ethnicity in Rwanda. KPFA’s Ann Garrison filed this report.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: In April, Victoire Ingabire called her defense to a halt, saying that she could not get a fair trial in Rwanda. The Rwandan prosecution then asked that she be sentenced to life in prison and the verdict was scheduled to be heard on June 29. On that date, however, it was rescheduled for Sept. 7.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s military dictatorship had, in the month of June, suffered a torrent of bad press and damaged diplomatic and donor relations when a U.N. report documented its support of the M23 militia in eastern Congo. The militia had resumed the war in eastern Congo, also in April, and once again with catastrophic human consequence.

This week the Democratic Republic of Congo asked the U.N. to sanction Rwandan Defense Minister James Kaberebe, Chief of Defense Staff Charles Kayonga and Gen. Jacques Nziza, a military adviser to President Paul Kagame, whom the U.N. report accused of being “in constant contact with the M23 militia in Congo.”

Ingabire has steadfastly maintained that there were extremists on both sides, Hutu and Tutsi, in the Rwandan Civil War. When Kagame’s army invades Congo, however, its invariable excuse is that it must hunt down Hutu militias responsible for the genocide against the Tutsi and protect a Congolese Tutsi minority.

In the street outside the Katinde Nazareen Church in Goma, Congolese women displaying a Congolese national flag demonstrate for peace following an ecumenical service for peace in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Civil society and church leaders called people together on Aug. 1 during a public holiday celebrating parents to pray for peace, saying their faith is stronger than war. North Kivu Province has been wracked by conflict in recent months as M23 rebels pitch themselves against the Congolese army. “We will pray until this thing is over,” said one member of the congregation. – Photo: Phil Moore, Getty Images
University of Michigan Professor Allan Stam describes the Kagame regime’s excuse for being in Congo in his lecture at the Ford School of Public Policy, “Understanding the Rwanda Genocide.”

Professor Allan Stam: From 1998 to 2000, the RPF [Rwandan Patriotic Front] gets control of the eastern Congo, all the way from Kisangani, or what was formerly known as Stanleyville. This is the last navigable point on the river coming up from the Atlantic Ocean. As the crow flies, Kisangani is 470 miles from Kigali. By the roads, it’s about 800 miles.

We interviewed the defense minister and the solicitor general of the Rwandan Supreme Court, and Christian and I asked these guys, “What are you guys doing in Kisangani? It’s kinda far. It’s sorta like going from Washington, D.C., to St. Louis.”

And he said, “Well, we have security concerns! There are Hutu militias in the jungle!”

And we said, “Yeah, y’know, we went there. And we saw ‘em. But, you don’t have to go to Kisangani to find them. They’re five miles over the border. So why are you guys 500 miles into the Congo?”

And there’s this long pause, and the solicitor general – he really lost it. And he says, “I went to the University of Chicago. I have a master’s degree in international relations. I’ve read Hans Morgenthau. I’m a realist. I know that the United States doesn’t give a – BLEEP – about what we do in this country, in this part of the world. We’re gonna do what we think we need to do to guarantee our security and wealth.”

Alexis Bakunzibake, first vice president of Social Party Imberakuri (PSI), a Rwandan opposition party, was kidnapped last week by armed individuals who took off in a jeep with tinted windows. The jeep was later escorted by a patrolling police vehicle. His whereabouts remain unknown. See the report by Boniface Twagirimana, secretary general of Victoire Ingabire's party, United Democratic Forces-Inkingi, in Black Star News, http://goo.gl/z11Yx.
They’re his words. Christian and I looked at each other. Christian’s just shakin’ his head like, “I can’t believe you just got this man to swear at you.”

And I was like, “Wow. This is great. I can’t believe this guy just admitted to occupying the eastern THIRD of AFRICA, to enrich him and his buddies.”

KPFA/Ann Garrison: That was University of Michigan Professor Allan Stam. Stam and his co-author and researcher, Notre Dame professor Christian Davenport, are persona non grata in Rwanda, where their passports have been revoked.

Stopping the next Rwanda Genocide has become an ideological pillar of U.S. foreign policy, despite the fierce dispute about its true history and its consequence in Congo. After NATO bombarded Libya, backing the overthrow and summary execution of Muammar Gaddafi, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice traveled first to Libya, then Rwanda, to say that the U.S. got it right this time.

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

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News, the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, Weekend News on KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at ann@afrobeatradio.com. If you want to see Ann Garrison’s independent reporting continue, please contribute on her website at anngarrison.com.

 

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7 thoughts on “Verdict pending: Victoire Ingabire and D.R. Congo

  1. Muyango

    Some of opposition parties are to be done as such because they are bringing a lot of trouble to Rwanda .They indeed participated in the Genocide and are also murderers.
    H.E President Paul Kagame was elected democratically.

    Dr Muyango Emile Karama
    MDR-Movement for Democracy in Rwanda,President.

    Reply
    1. therisingcontinent

      Dr Muyango Emile Karama, if you are really who you say you are, you sound like someone who voted democratically H.E President Paul Kagame. If this is the case, I don't see the reason you give yourself the title of president of a different party instead of acknowledging to be a supporter of Kagame's RPF.

      Reply
  2. Brother John

    All that is said about Mr. Kagame may not be ruled "accurate" . There is a need to think twice. He's done a lot of good things and there are bad things he's done too. However, as far as Africa has come, politically, economically and even judicially, Kagame is not all that a bad guy. In fact Kagame is a such great Rwandan leader who deserves recognition not only from Rwanda or Africa but also from else where in the world. Africans know that better.

    Think about about it! after only 17 years since genocide happened, Rwandan Government, under Mr. Kagame has achieved much: Reports by UN, World Bank, African Bank of Development, Global millennium Goals, Information Communication Technology, UN Security council, International Universities, Come on! What else did you expect for this gentle man?

    We must admit that Africa is so, but a strange continent to the rest of the world and therefore, whoever comes from there and becomes extra ordinary distinguishably HERO, also becomes extremely attacked by African less friends.

    Brother John.

    Reply
  3. Johnny

    All that is said about Mr. Kagame may not be ruled "accurate" . There is a need to think twice. He's done a lot of good things and there are bad things he's done too. However, as far as Africa has come, politically, economically and even judicially, Kagame is not all that a bad guy. In fact Kagame is a such great Rwandan leader who deserves recognition not only from Rwanda or Africa but also from else where in the world. Africans know that better.

    Think about about it! after only 17 years since genocide happened, Rwandan Government, under Mr. Kagame has achieved much: Reports by UN, World Bank, African Bank of Development, Global millennium Goals, Information Communication Technology, UN Security council, International Universities, Come on! What else did you expect for this gentle man?

    We must admit that Africa is so, but a strange continent to the rest of the world and therefore, whoever comes from there and becomes extra ordinary distinguishably HERO, also becomes extremely attacked by African less friends.

    Brother John.

    Reply
  4. johnny Johnie

    All that is said about Mr. Kagame may not be ruled "accurate" . There is a need to think twice. He's done a lot of good things and there are bad things he's done too. However, as far as Africa has come, politically, economically and even judicially, Kagame is not all that a bad guy. In fact Kagame is a such great Rwandan leader who deserves recognition not only from Rwanda or Africa but also from else where in the world. Africans know that better.

    Think about about it! after only 17 years since genocide happened, Rwandan Government, under Mr. Kagame has achieved much: Reports by UN, World Bank, African Bank of Development, Global millennium Goals, Information Communication Technology, UN Security council, International Universities, Come on! What else did you expect for this gentle man?

    We must admit that Africa is so, but a strange continent to the rest of the world and therefore, whoever comes from there and becomes extra ordinary distinguishably HERO, also becomes extremely attacked by African less friends.

    Brother John.

    Reply
  5. therisingcontinent

    Brother John, only three points I want to comment about related to your post above.

    1) I don't understand why you have to write several times the same text. Are you applying Louis Mushikiwabo, or Goebbels techniques of propaganda to hammer certain "truths"? I would refer you here to the persistent denial of Kigali government on its support to the Congolese rebellion M23. It has convinced no one and it will never, no matter how many times it will be repeated;

    2) That Kagame is a great president for some like you, it is their right to see him that way. That I see him as the worst president Rwanda has ever had, and may never have in the future, why would you deny me my right of considering him that way, while I leave you to yours. Please be assured that if I had to list the reasons of seeing him as the worst leader Rwandans will ever have, I won't need to repeat myself or post several times. I would have to write books;

    3) Your claim that Africa is a strange continent and because of that anyone from there becoming distinguish-ably HERO gets attacked by those who are not friends of Africa is unfounded at its core. Your argumentation supposes that for example those among Rwandans or other Africans who don't praise your HERO are too enemies of Africa. Look at all 500,000 Congolese people that M23 your HERO is supporting has displaced from their villages, are they pleased with the HERO, are they enemies of Africa?

    Reply
  6. Jean-Pierre Papin

    LONG LIVE AGACIRO DEVELOPMENT FUND. That's the ultimate answer to genocide deniers like Ann Garisson and co. The day will come (and it's not a distant future) when there will not be any need for us to comment or reply to this kind of vitriol or garbage laden forums like this one. ALUTA CONTINUA!!

    Reply

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