The warring parties in South Sudan’s 20-month civil war signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this week. Professor Horace Campbell says the recommendations of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, which include using the country’s oil wealth to benefit its people, must be implemented if there is to be any hope of lasting peace.
Two hundred delegates from African governments and institutions met in Kigali, Rwanda, yesterday for a symposium on “democratization and development.” Hailemariam Desalegn and Rwandan President Paul Kagame both spoke of the primacy of state power and African agency in development. Washington D.C.-based Ethiopian activist Obang Metho spoke to KPFA’s Ann Garrison about what was wrong with this picture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Loretta Lynch, Obama’s nominee for attorney general, has cited her service as special counsel to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda as a credential, unlike her controversial 2012 settlement with the HSBC bank after the bank admitted to facilitating money-laundering by Mexican drug cartels. Critics of the International Criminal Court and the dominant narrative about the Rwandan massacres dispute the account.
A widely feared and anticipated military attack by U.N. and Congolese troops on the FDLR has not materialized, despite U.N. Special Envoy Russ Feingold’s repeated urgings. Instead, this week, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo rose up in the streets to demand that their Parliament not pass legislation allowing Congolese President Joseph Kabila to extend his stay in office beyond constitutional term limits. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
In January 2010, Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza returned from The Netherlands to Rwanda to attempt to run against sitting President Paul Kagame. She said she knew that she would be either assassinated or imprisoned, and she is now entering the fifth year of a 15-year prison sentence. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Marie Lyse Numuhoza, the founder of Friends of Victoire, a new organization created to fight for her freedom.
Potentially catastrophic military operations, authorized by the U.N. Security Council, may lie ahead soon for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The U.N. Security Council has urged the Congolese army to join U.N. combat troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi in hunting down the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Rwandan refugee militia commonly known as the FDLR.
The First Congo War began in 1996, the second in 1998. The second war drew in all nine countries bordering the DRC, left millions dead, displaced millions more, and ignited conflicts that continue in the country’s mineral rich east, despite the peace treaty signed in 2003. Competition for Congolese resources can’t be stopped, but the massacre of Congolese people can and must, says Dr. Jean Didier Losango.
Former Wisconsin senator, now U.S. special envoy to the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Russ Feingold held an online press conference with members of the African press in Africa earlier this week. He said that the FDLR had not surrendered enough of its troops to satisfy the U.N. Security Council’s requirement and that military action was therefore required.