Is the UN planting seed of another genocide in Rwanda?By RAY NALUYAGA | Monday, August 6 2012 at 11:03
Once again the Great Lakes Region is disturbed. The recurrence of this disturbance - war and rumours of war - is clear evidence that the real problem has not been tackled despite numerous efforts and billions of dollars spent.
As things stand, it is obvious that the UN, the international community and the DRC government cannot be exonerated from the loss of lives and the fighting currently going on in eastern DR Congo.
For decades there has been a desire by both the Congolese people as well as the Hutus to "deal" with the Tutsis who are also found in Rwanda.
Deliberately or for lack of understanding, the Congolese Tutsis are read as Rwandese and whatever they do in Congo is interpreted as the work of the Kigali government.
To understand the situation better, one has to draw examples from Kenya and Tanzania, among many others.
Both countries have citizens of the Maasai community with similar traditions and language, but this does not mean that a Tanzanian Maasai is Kenyan or vice versa and this has long been understood by the people of the two countries including the Maasai themselves.
The Congolese people's deep-seated concerns regarding the Congolese Tutsis was first evidenced when the then Mobutu Sese Seko’s government's issued a call to chase them out of the country.
The same has been repeated by the current Kinshasa government.
On July 11 some senior members of the ruling Parti Populaire pour la Reconstruction du Congo (PPRD) threatened to hunt down Tutsis and “send them back to Rwanda.” The message was broadcast on State TV without being interrupted.
Although the country’s minister for Information suspended the TV’s director the following day, the fact that the message came from the ruling party and State TV was used to deliver it uninterrupted, left a lot to be desired about the Kinshasa government.
The situation was further inflamed by hate speeches against Tutsis freely being aired by the Congolese people in and outside the country without a word against them from the DRC government.
YouTube aired a video of Congolese living in Belgium demonstrating in front of the Rwandan Embassy calling openly for the extermination of Tutsis.
Shouting outside the Embassy, the demonstrators - mostly youth - said they wanted no more of Rwandese in their country.
“Tutsis or Hutus are all Rwandan. They are dangerous viruses for the survival of the DRC; lets kill all Tutsis who are in Congo…,” the youth demanded and continued:
“All Congolese worldwide should kill Rwandese crossing their path.”We declare war against the Tutsis. Every person who will be affected or killed on the ground floor, we will avenge him with a Rwandan here in Brussels.”
On Twitter, Face Book and other social media networks, calls by Congolese to exterminate Tutsis have become the order of the day.
Also in this complex maze are the FDLR - extremist Hutus who were responsible for the 1994 genocide currently based in eastern Congo.
The group’s mission to date is to overthrow the Kigali government and exterminate all Tutsi. The FDLR have allied themselves with local communities in DRC to fight Tutsi.
FDLR does not distinguish the Tutsi of Congo from those of Rwanda. This has created an automatic alliance between FDLR and other eastern Congolese communities hostile to the Tutsi.
On the other hand there is M23, a Tutsi-dominated rebel group which the recent UN Group of Experts (GoE) addendum links to Kigali.
M23 acts as a buffer between Rwanda and the FDLR; it also protects the local Tutsi population from existential threats from FDLR and other Congolese communities.
In June, the GoE submitted its interim annual report to the UN Sanctions Committee followed by an addendum five days later which contains a raft of allegations to support the theory of "active involvement by the Rwanda government in the current armed conflict between the Congolese army (FARDC) and M23.”
Apart from Rwanda disputing the facts of the report on the grounds that it is a UN stamp of approval to a narrative that had been actively and deliberately propagated to portray the country as the villain, questions are already being raised about the credibility of the GoE chairman Steve Hege.
Among them is whether the UN Security Council was aware of Mr Hege’s views on FDLR and Rwanda prior to his appointment.
Witting in his 2009 article Understanding the FDLR in the DR Congo: Key facts on the disarmament and Repatriation of Rwandan Rebels, Mr Hege justifies the 1994 genocide committed by the group.
He says FDLR are better understood in relation to the massive revenge killings of Hutu refugees in the eastern Congo from 1996 to 1999 (subsequent to the destruction of the refugee camps in the Kivus) rather than associating them with the 1994 genocide.
According to Mr Hege, the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) systematically hunted down Hutu civilians, often baiting them with promises of humanitarian aid, and slaughtered over 300,000 of them.
“The survivors of these massacres constitute the young officer corps and rank and file of the FDLR today. These forgotten massacres strengthened Hutu extremists who provoked the genocide through inciting fear the RPF would be this brutal,” he writes.
He argues the FDLR must be viewed in light of the regional history of armed rebellions formed by refugees and/or political exiles who have eventually taken power back from undemocratic regimes.
“While Paul Kagame's Uganda-based RPF is the most notable example of this, both Joseph Kabila and Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi) reached the Presidency in their respective countries through organising rebel groups from Tanzania,” he writes.
Mr Hege reiterates that FDLR represent a threat to the Kigali regime only insofar as they follow this largely successful strategy of exile rebellions in the region.
He also criticised the joint operations between DRC and Rwanda which were intended to stabilise the region.
In his view, the FDLR felt deeply betrayed by the Congolese government’s new collaboration with Rwanda, adding that this this will continue to negatively impact their treatment of the local population.
On what basis do they assess that Mr Hege is still qualified to serve in a capacity that allows him to pass judgment on Rwanda on behalf of the international community?
At a time when the temperature is fast reaching boiling point, France which has historical tensions with Rwanda has taken over the UN Security Council presidency to which the GoE reports.
Notably, during the 1994 genocide, France is known to have supported the Hutu government that ordered the mass killing of Tutsis whose remnants form the FDLR today and finds sympathy amongst Congolese.
At the time when the UN failed to stop the genocide despite its presence in Rwanda, the current head of UN Peacekeeping Mission Mr Herve Ladsous was France's deputy Permanent Representative to the UN and defended the Hutu government responsible for the genocide and by extension the FDLR.
Is it a mere coincidence that Rwanda’s side of the story is being ignored by the GoE?
According to Rwanda’s response to allegations of the GoE addendum, opinion leaders are on record uttering the most virulent hate speech in DRC.
“A glaring example is [a] Bishop Elizee calling for a [total] war against Tutsis and urging Congolese to kill Tutsis everywhere in the world,” says the response.
In what can be seen as a direct link to this call, thousands of Congolese Catholics, Protestants and Muslims of Kinshasa staged a demonstration on Thursday, against what they called an attempt at balkanization of the DRC by neighbouring Rwanda through the M23 rebellion in North Kivu province.
The GoE report is full of statements from anonymous Congolese sources, intelligence officers and Congolese army implicating Rwanda in support of M23 but none or little from Rwanda.
“Reference is frequently made to the large number of testimonies gathered from these kinds of sources, but no or very limited effort is made by the GoE to collect corresponding amounts of testimonies from the Rwandan side where most of the alleged events occurred,” says Rwandan response.
The Rwandan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Louise Mushikiwabo, while in New York for other meetings, met Mr Hege for half an hour; two hours before the addendum was submitted in June and raised the issue about the Rwandan side of the story being ignored.
Responding, Mr Hege said: “Online statements by Rwandan officials on the matter were retrieved and referred to in the addendum.”
Looking at circumstances surrounding events during the 1994 genocide insofar as the UN is concerned, Mr Hege’s questionable integrity at his GoE post and how Rwanda is being treated today, it suffices to conclude that the UN is preparing the climate for another genocide in Rwanda.
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