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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.
Rwanda Day-San Francisco was a bad day for identity politics. Rwandan President Paul Kagame stepped to the podium and said that he was happy to be in San Francisco because it’s so diverse, seeming not to understand that his guest speaker, Rev. Rick Warren, champion of the 2008 Prop 8 ballot measure banning same sex marriage, wouldn’t appeal to San Francisco’s diverse population.
Both Rwandan and Congolese Americans and other members of the Rwandan and Congolese diaspora have for years asked the United States to stop supporting the military dictatorship of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Earlier this week U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power called on Kagame to step down at the end of his term in 2017. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame was sworn in to serve another seven-year term on Sept. 6, 2010, 11 days after the explosive Aug. 26 leak of a U.N. report documenting genocide committed by his army in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On Monday, May 26, Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, fondly known as Bishop Christopher, spoke to a circle gathered round him at San Francisco’s African American Art and Culture Complex. He explained his counseling work with LGBT youth, his advocacy for LGBT rights and his opposition to Uganda’s infamous proposed Anti Homosexuality Act.
The December 2008 United Nations report is the latest in a series of U.N. reports dating from 2001 that clearly documents the systematic looting and appropriation of Congolese resources by Rwanda and Uganda, two of Washington and London's staunchest allies in Africa.