July 26, 2015
The Burundian army has been engaged by troops near its northern border with Rwanda and this week Aljazeera reported that young men in Rwandan refugee camps are being recruited to join a rebel force to fight in Burundi. Burundian Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe, speaking to The Voice of America, said that the Burundian government had asked the Rwandan government to prevent any action threatening Burundi’s security.
July 22, 2015
As Burundian voters went to the polls on Tuesday, the U.S. State Department warned that “elections held under the current conditions in Burundi will not be credible and will further discredit the government.” It also said it planned to suspend partnerships that it hasn’t already suspended with “anyone promoting instability in Burundi through violence.” Will those “promoting instability through violence” include the renegade Burundian military officers who staged a failed coup attempt in May, then fled to Rwanda and declared war on Burundi? Will it include Rwandan military and political support for a rebel force?
July 13, 2015
A new 25-foot mural in the City of New Orleans reminds residents that Albert Woodfox, the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, has been in prison and in solitary confinement for 43 years. On Friday, July 3rd, artist-activist Brandan “Bmike” Odums, put the finishing touches on the portrait of Angola 3 prisoner Albert Woodfox on the side of a stucco building near the Poydras Street intersection. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
July 2, 2015
Rwandan intelligence chief Emmanuel Karenzi Karake was arrested last Saturday in London on a European arrest warrant. The warrant was based on a Spanish court’s 2008 indictment of Karake and 39 other top Rwandan officials for genocide – that is, the massacre of Rwandan Hutu civilians and refugees in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
June 27, 2015
Attorneys filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts this week on behalf of prisoners who say they’re being denied new lifesaving treatment for Hepatitis C because of the cost of the drugs. Gilead Sciences manufactures two versions of the cure, Harvoni and Sovaldi. Abbvie Pharmaceutical Limited, formerly Abbot Labs, manufactures another, Viekira Pak. The cost of any one of the three is roughly $90,000.
June 22, 2015
Dr. Charles Kambanda’s essay, which was first posted to the Facebook forum Friends of Reason brought reason to the discussion of presidential term limits in Burundi, which had been overwhelmed by propaganda and fearmongering about the renewal of ethnic violence between Hutus and Tutsis in the tiny East African nation. KPFA’s Ann Garrison, who studies and participates in the Friends of Reason Facebook forum, spoke to Dr. Kambanda.
June 12, 2015
The new U.S. policy toward Rwanda, opposing constitutional change to allow President Paul Kagame to stay in power, has garnered wide attention. Friends of the Congo’s Maurice Carney warns that it might well change if Hillary Clinton becomes the next U.S. president.
June 5, 2015
The U.S., the E.U. and Western media continue to castigate Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza for seeking a third term in office, despite violent street protest and a failed coup détat. Nkurunziza, who was elected by Burundi’s Parliament in 2005, claims that the Burundian Constitution gives him the right to run for election twice by universal suffrage.
June 4, 2015
Rodney F. Ford, spokesman for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs, has said, in no uncertain terms, that the U.S. will not be supporting a third term by sitting Rwandan President Paul Kagame: “We are committed to support a peaceful, democratic transition in 2017 to a new leader elected by the Rwandan people.”
May 28, 2015
Earlier this week, California Congresswoman Karen Bass and New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith heard testimony and queried witnesses in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on U.S. relations with Rwanda. The central question under consideration was whether or not the U.S. should be supporting the Rwandan government with foreign aid and military assistance despite allegations of egregious human rights violations.
May 24, 2015
On May 21, 2015, David Himbara told a U.S. Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing on U.S. relations with Rwanda that “the smallest administrative unit is 10 houses, and every 10 houses is watched by one individual, and as you move on, the whole state machinery driving fear is very well established.” KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to David Himbara, a Rwandan exile in Canada, who addressed the House subcommittee about how this climate of fear is created.
May 22, 2015
During the first week of May, President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC) Advisor Susan Rice met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in New York City. NSC spokesperson Bernadette Meehan then released a statement about their conversation. Ugandan American journalist Milton Allimadi, writing in the New York City-based Black Star News, called the NSC release “newspeak on steroids.” This is a conversation with Milton Allimadi.
May 19, 2015
A coup attempt prevented Burundi’s President Nkurunziza from flying home from Arusha, Tanzania, earlier this week, but Nkurunziza now seems to be firmly back in control. The U.S. has called on Nkurunziza to step down and not seek a third term in office, but they do not appear to have supported the aborted coup. On Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that it continued to recognize Nkurunziza as the country’s president.
May 5, 2015
Rwandan and Ugandan troops have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the past two weeks, but reporting is scant and neither the U.S., the U.N. Security Council nor any other members of the international community have spoken to this, the latest Rwandan and Ugandan violation of Congo’s sovereignty. The international community has instead been focused on the constitutional crisis in Congo’s neighbor, Burundi.
April 28, 2015
Instability and political repression are increasing in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, as the presidents of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda seek to remain in power beyond constitutional term limits. Rwandan and Ugandan troops crossed into the Democratic Republic of the Congo this week, sparking fears of another catastrophic regional war. Burundi is another pressure point further destabilizing the region.
April 27, 2015
This week marked the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Kibeho Massacre in Southwestern Rwanda, where an estimated 8,000 Rwandan Hutu people were killed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army. The same number of people were killed in Bosnia, also in 1995. Professor Ed Herman explains the politics of genocide manifest in media coverage of the 1995 massacres in Kibeho and Srebrenica.
April 23, 2015
On April 22, 1995, 4,000 to 8,000 Rwandan Hutu people, maybe more, were massacred at the Kibeho Camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Southwestern Rwanda. The Kibeho massacre is one of many committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army in Rwanda and DR Congo, but it is one of the most shocking because it was witnessed by U.N. Peacekeepers and well documented by at least two photographers, but no one was ever prosecuted for the crime.
April 20, 2015
Three presidents in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Burundi’s Nkurunziza, DR Congo’s Kabila and Rwanda’s Kagame, are all doing their best to stay in office beyond constitutional term limits. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, however, doesn’t have to overcome term limits because Uganda’s Parliament abolished them in 2005. He has already announced that he will run again in 2016, his 30th year in office.
April 8, 2015
In a recently published open letter to 60 Minutes, the CBS TV news magazine, former New York Times Africa correspondent Howard French expressed concern about the program’s “frequent and recurring misrepresentation of the African continent.” Dr. Edmund Lubega says, “As Africans, it would be good if we could organize ourselves and try to find means by which we can share and broadcast our stories in our own way, in our own words.”
April 2, 2015
Rwandan exiles in Canada and their Canadian allies, all of whom are well-known critics of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, held a press conference earlier this week in Montreal to call on Canadian authorities to protect them from attacks by Rwandan government agents. The dissidents said they’d been warned by allies within the Rwandan government that so-called diplomats assigned to Rwanda’s embassy in Canada were actually there to intimidate or assassinate dissidents.