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The Block Report speaks with our correspondent Claude Gatebuke, also of the African Great Lakes Action Network, about the politics in the African Great Lakes region. We discuss Rwandan President Kagame attempting to extend his reign for a total of 40 years, Rwanda working for Western powers, tension between Burundi and Rwanda, political prisoner Victoire Ingabire, the role Tanzania has played as a stabilizing factor and more.
Over the weekend the organization Friends of Victoire hosted an international webcast to strategize about how to free Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. Ingabire has become an icon of freedom, democracy and peace since returning to Rwanda in 2010 to attempt to stand for the presidency against incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
As a coalition of Africa-focused human rights and peace organizations representing a broad range of individuals, we write to express our dismay at your decision to welcome President of Rwanda Paul Kagame to your universities. We regret to inform you that your invitation of Paul Kagame to your institution co-signs his repressive practices inside Rwanda and his aggressive interventions in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Twenty-four years after the Ugandan invasion of Rwanda in October 1990, both the history of the four-year war that followed and realities of life on the ground in Rwanda today are fiercely disputed. Claude Gatebuke survived the violence and founded the African Great Lakes Action Network (AGLAN) to promote truth and reconciliation in Rwanda and the rest of the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
Over the last 16 years, more than 6 million lives have been lost in Congo – and the major perpetrators of those atrocities have been U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda. The majority of victims have been children under the age of 5. Subsequent U.S. administrations have provided aid to the Rwandan and Ugandan regimes. The U.S. remains one of the top two donors of aid to Rwanda today.
The State Department announced today that the U.S. “has cut this year’s planned military assistance to Rwanda amid concerns that the government in Kigali is supporting rebel movements in neighboring Congo,” according to the Washington Post. A three-year campaign by advocates for peace in the Congo and an end to the plundering of its mineral riches culminates successfully in today’s announcement. They have been pressing for implementation of the only law sponsored by then Sen. Obama allowing denial of aid to Congo's neighbors that destabilize the Congo.
On May 12, Sonoma State University awarded honorary doctorates in humane letters to former Citigroup CEO Sanford Weill and his wife Joan, paid for with a $12 million “donation.” On the same day, William Penn University awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, despite his army’s atrocities in Rwanda and Congo.