Oct. 14 marked the seventh anniversary of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire’s arrest shortly after she attempted to run for president against Rwanda’s military dictator, President Paul Kagame. The Brussels-based International Women’s Network for Democracy and Peace commemorates Oct. 14 as Ingabire Day, a day of solidarity with Victoire Ingabire and all political prisoners. I asked Claude Gatebuke, Rwandan genocide survivor and founder of the African Great Lakes Action Network, to explain Victoire Ingabire’s message.
Most Western press judged the African Union harshly for its refusal to send troops to Burundi without Burundi’s consent. However, the A.U. troop deployment was never an African solution to African problems. It was always a Western solution to the West’s problem with Burundi’s current government. Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford said that Western nations pay most of the A.U.’s bills, so A.U. troops often do serve Western interests, but this time the West had pushed too hard.
U.S. U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the U.S. State Department, the E.U. and Belgium have fiercely advocated for the deployment of 5,000 African Union troops in Burundi, whether Burundi agrees or not. Senegalese diplomat Ibrahima Fall, the African Union’s special representative to the African Great Lakes Region, told Radio France International that deploying AU troops without Burundi’s consent was “unimaginable.”
The Canadian Globe and Mail reports that the United States has warned former Rwandan military officer Robert Higiro that his life is in danger because of evidence he gave to The Globe and Mail, to the BBC and to a U.S. House Subcommittee about the Rwandan government’s alleged efforts to assassinate dissidents who had fled abroad. 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.
Earlier this week, in the northeasternmost province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, which borders Central African Republic, South Sudan and Uganda, the U.N.’s special combat intervention brigade, which includes South African troops, used South African helicopter gunships to fire on the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) militia.
The Congolese army, with the help of the UN Force Intervention Brigade, decisively defeated the M23 militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern Kivu Provinces this week, but many Congolese, Rwandans, and Ugandans, are asking why the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now engaged in peace talks with the M23, and not with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Rwanda’s M23 has finally been defeated in DR Congo, but what are we to make of DR Congo negotiating with M23, not Rwanda’s Kagame and Uganda’s Museveni? M23 was commanded by Rwanda’s top military officers and officials, but its collaboration with Uganda is clear to anyone who gives the Great Lakes Region any attention, as is Rwanda and Uganda’s collaboration with the Western powers.
This letter, signed by Diaspora Congolese women in the U.S., U.K., Belgium, France and South Africa, was delivered to Ambassador Carson on March 20. We are writing to you with regard to the current U.S. policy position on “Lasting Solution to Instability” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which you presented on Feb. 11, 2013, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
Amoeblog invited author, journalist, broadcaster and activist JR Valrey, aka the People’s Minister of Information, to be a guest contributor. The Oakland-based Valrey, who was interviewed and profiled on the Amoeblog last month, is known for his work on KPFA radio, the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and his book “Block Reportin’.” The book will soon be available for sale in Amoeba Hollywood’s book section.
On these days that mark the 2011 General Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we call on all Congolese leaders of political parties, members of political parties, members of the armed forces and the police to demonstrate their respect for human rights, freedom of expression and choices as well as respect for the right of Congolese to live in peace and human security.
Do you have a smart phone? A laptop? Then you play a role in the violence that occurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cell phones, laptops and other electronics don’t work very well without the mineral, coltan. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, poor farmers are gathered by armed gangs and enslaved to dig coltan out of the ground.
Mathaba has learned that the African Union is intending to pull out of the United Nations Organization unless NATO stops bombing fellow AU member, Libya.
Coltan is a mineral necessary for making electronic things work – like cellphones, ipods, PS3s and laptops. Over 6 million Congolese have been murdered to assure that the corporations and governments involved have a corner on the market for the minerals that the Congo produces. This is "Break the Silence" Congo Week. Check out the events and get involved!
“The basic cause of most of the trouble in the Congo right now is the intervention of outsiders — the fighting that is going on over the mineral wealth of the Congo and over the strategic position that the Congo represents on the African continent. And in order to justify it, they are doing it at the expense of the Congolese, by trying to make it appear that the people are savages. And I think, as one of the gentlemen mentioned earlier, if there are savages in the Congo, then there are worse savages in Mississippi, Alabama and New York City, and probably some in Washington, D.C., too.” – Malcolm X on radio station WMCA Nov. 28, 1964
The Congolese people continue to suffer staggering casualties in the ongoing African holocaust, which has cost between 5 and 6 million Congolese lives since 1996, and which continues to cost 45,000 lives a month.
2008 marked the 100-year anniversary of the removal of the Congo from King Leopold II of Belgium as his own personal property. Global outrage at the King's brutal rule resulted in his losing the Congo treasure trove on Nov. 15, 1908.