Congo: What’s Rwanda got to do with it?

by Ann Garrison

KPFA Weekend News broadcast Dec. 25, 2011

Transcript

KPFA Weekend News Host: Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire is spending her second Christmas in Rwanda’s maximum security prison. Her ongoing trial, on charges of terrorism and genocide ideology, has implications not only for Rwanda, but also for the entire Great Lakes Region of Africa – most of all, for the Democratic Republic of Congo. KPFA reporter Ann Garrison has more.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Victoire Ingabire’s daughter Raissa Ujeneza is studying international and European law at The Hague University in the Netherlands. She told KPFA why she believes her mother is spending her second Christmas behind bars in Kigali, Rwanda:

Raissa Ujeneza: My mother has been accused of genocide ideology, collaboration with a terrorist group, divisionism, spreading rumors aimed at inciting the population to rise against the regime and creating a rebel army in Congo. These are all just political motivated accusations. All oppositions that have tried to go against the government in Rwanda have been prosecuted and murdered and this case is not any different from the others.

KPFA: Raissa Ujeneza also explained the significance of her mother’s challenge to the Rwandan Kagame regime in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo:

Raissa Ujeneza: Rwanda has played a huge role in the conflicts going on in the Great Lakes area. As long as there is no democracy in Rwanda, this will influence the issues going on in that Great Lakes area, for those countries also collaborate together. And also in Congo, as we have seen, democracy is far to be found.

KPFA: At a Senate Foreign Relations hearing last week, speakers from the International Crisis Group, a group of capital managers and highly placed government officials and lawyers, and Mvemba Dizolele, a Congolese fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, warned that the Democratic Republic of the Congo could be on the brink of civil war after a massively fraudulent election which incumbent President Kabila claims to have won. Many Congolese now protesting the election fraud, both in Congo and around the world, have been chanting, “Send him back to Rwanda.” They believe that Kabila is a Rwandan named Hypolite Kanambe, who is pretending to be Congolese while collaborating with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in plundering Congo.

Maurice Carney, executive director of Washington, D.C.-based Friends of the Congo, says that Kabila’s national origin is not the real issue:

Maurice Carney: The issue is not so much whether Kabila is Rwandan or not but rather the destructive collaboration with Paul Kagame and the Rwandan government – a collaboration that is devoid of accountability or justice especially in light of the 17 years of U.N. reports documenting Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s atrocities and illegal minerals trafficking in the Congo.

KPFA: Kabila’s leading challenger Étienne Tshisekedi, like many of his supporters, refers to Kabila as “the Rwandan.” Tshisekedi claims that he in fact won the election. On Friday, he held his own inauguration ceremony in Kinshasa, even though Kabila’s security forces prevented him from leaving his house to take his oath of office at Kinshasa’s Martyrs Stadium. The security forces also fired tear gas and arrested many Tshisekedi supporters who had gone to the stadium to meet him.

The presidents of the African Union, including Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, have acknowledged Kabila’s victory, but neither Barack Obama nor any other presidents of NATO countries have.

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. This story first appeared on her website.

NTV-Kenya’s report on talks between Democratic Republic of the Congo President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame in the city of Goma, North Kivu Province, Eastern Congo, in August 2009

Troops stop Tshisekedi from stadium swearing-in