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What is the picture of unity and reconciliation in our lives as we start the mourning week today? In order to answer this question, we should first take a brief look at conditions in the country’s everyday way of life. On every hand we find ethnic segregation, dehumanization, alienation and humiliation of a large proportion of the population. We find vast Tutsi organizations combining the value of the country and political influence but largely devoid of ubuntu. We find social castes and political sectarianism claiming legitimacy and the people’s mandate, yet presenting a heartless and erroneous patriotism. We find the caucuses of parliamentarians, heads of government departments and Chief Executive Officers affected by soul-deadening delusions of grandeur and occupied with hidden agendas offering the common masses shadows in place of light. We find paranoid fascist brutality which has reduced the average national to a shy yes-man if not a mere robotic puppet. At last, we find small and large communities in, near and out of Kigali City which have been corrupted with the leaven of hypocrisy, communities which have substituted wisdom with wiles and brotherhood with tribalism.
On the 24th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, there is one crucial thing we should keep in mind: In a way or another, we cannot walk to unity and bilateral reconciliation as long as the perpetrator of genocide, dictator Paul Kagame, is the President of our Republic. So far, there have been many instances when RPF/RPA under Kagame’s orders committed war crimes and genocide. In virtue of this, it’d be unpardonable naivety for anyone to sympathize with the Kagame regime’s pretentious self-image as a holy system of administration whereas its hands are stained with blood. From Abraham Lincoln, Kagame should learn that you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
Kagame violated the Arusha Peace Agreements, assassinated his predecessor Juvenal Habyarimana together with his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira, and triggered the genocide tragedy which befell our country in 1994. While justifying why he shelled Habyarimana’s presidential jet, Kagame said, “When you want to eat omelet, you break eggs.” However, it did not dawn to his mind that when power and fame are conquered enviously they bloom into the flowers of cowardly deeds. In fact, we are to admit no other cause of Rwandan genocide than the assassination of our Head of State on 6 April 1994 by Major General Paul Kagame aided by his friends in crime, especially Bill Clinton. There will be no end to our unrests as Rwandans unless all of us, Hutu and Tutsi, yield to this truth and substitute both compulsive lies and ethnic prejudice with mutual comprehension. Otherwise, the ongoing penalization of a people by a people with fellow citizens watching passively will finally impact everybody. We should not be like sycophants who chant nefarious victories of their bosses, refute the ideas of change and laud tyrants who in the end will leave them in doom.
Oftentimes when you point a finger on the the crimes committed by the incumbent President of Rwanda, his stalwart supporters automatically yell at you arguing that Rwanda is a tremendously resilient country and owes its progress to Paul Kagame. In this context, it remains to know whether all splendid buildings that are in Rwanda are precious enough to cover the cost of our people’s blood shed by Kagame. In the view of the RPF regime and its murky partisans, it is the number of infrastructures that is to be paid heed, not the gravity of offences they have committed. But is there a grain of logic in that argument? Evidently not any. Historical evidence doesn’t lend it credence. Even if we face titanic difficulties time and again, even if our history is being manipulated by those who want to change our poisoned condition into their bread and butter, we must not lose our infinite hope of seeing truth defeat lie someday. Positively we must affirm to ourselves that there are as many answers as there are questions. The newly published book “In Praise of Blood” by the Canadian journalist Judi Rever is a potent indicator that lie is on the wane. Professor Emeritus Filip Reyntjens recently wrote on his Facebook wall, “I have long thought that RPF Inkotanyi committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in 1994, not genocide. Book by Judi Rever shows irrefutably they did commit genocide. So, yes, double genocide happened.”
It was a grave error for the United Nations Organization to alter the naming of the Rwandan genocide to “Tutsi genocide” while it is a pogrom that took the lives of millions of Rwandans, both Hutu and Tutsi. I hope that facts about Kagame and his Armed Forces’ criminal record which seem tangible given the litany of the United Nations’ reports on Rwanda as well as on DRC will overpower the intrigue and stand forth in bare and meek truth. In the finality of the cause-and-effect cycle, the natural course of events acts more potentially than the will of the demagogues.
We are looking forward to a future in which Rwanda will match its three ethnic groups with its moral fibre. As we remember our Rwandan genocide, let us not forget that the noblest grandeur is not to remember but to forgive. It is a shame on the State of Rwanda how it brags about having sent a large contingent on UN peacekeeping missions around the globe while categorically it has failed to end the social differences of a tinny nation like Rwanda. After all, true charity should begin at home. We should learn from yesterday, question today and foresee tomorrow knowing that the important thing for us is not to be concerned with international affairs whilst at home we have settled for the status quo. If we don’t move together as a herd of bison, then we will die separately like moles.
Kagame isn’t the right person to materialize our unity and solid reconciliation. All he does is to scapegoat the vanquished Hutu for crimes he himself committed while managing to fool the rest of the world that he’s an excellent leader. Today his limitless craving for life presidency seems to have met with something with which an unintelligent method is supposed to meet, namely the national silence, embedded in his divide and rule system of governance. To rule the people in the fashion of a police state infringing on their rights to utter their grievances freely, provokes both revolution and rebellion because as time passes, the oppressed realize that on the one hand there are costs and risks of campaigning against a ferocious government but which on the other hand are far less than the long-range costs and risks of overlooking it to perpetuate.
Many Rwandan intellectuals are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their petty ambitions of leading easy lives, that the deceitful Kagame still finds plenty who are ready to be used. Plainly speaking, we are to know that a people that continually produces gullible men ends up courting its own annihilation. No earthly regime lasts eternally except the Kingdom of God that is to come. Kagame and his junta have always abused the office and they continue to trample on people’s lives. They boast that their regime’s huge ordnance depots make it invincible and they count another thirty years of dictatorship ahead, yet history is about to bring in question the enormous absurdity of their rule. Those oligarchs equally dishonest, equally unpatriotic to their fatherland, are momentarily separated from the power of lucidity and cupidity has robbed them of their intellectual values. They are now proud of their opulence, and animally taunt those who don’t part company with them. I presume to say that it is out of the Anglo-Zionist Empire’s complicity that Kagame still exerts fascism on Rwandans. Today the same Empire seeks to promote democracy in our country. And then tomorrow it signs treaties with Kagame’s genocidal regime.
Perhaps the weakest point in the process of our unity and bilateral reconciliation is in the adoption of names that separate Tutsi citizens from other Rwandans. In the kingdom of Kagame, each Tutsi beginning by Kagame himself says, “I am from Uganda,” “I am from Burundi,” “I am from Tanzania,” or “I am from Congo.” This indignant pride in their foreign nationalities causes them to nullify other Rwandan citizens, and they actually don’t realize that this puts them in a dangerous exclusion. This caste system has now brought great evils. It has created artificial barriers to citizenship as long as it limits the movement of gifted men and women from the segregated ethnic group whose labor should be useful to the nation’s advancement. President Paul Kagame ignores that the bickering and contentions between Hutu and Tutsi over an equal share of the country’s economy have usually been one of the greatest hindrances to our social cohesion. Rwandans willed to achieve unity and bilateral reconciliation should cross the borderline of divisions and find it a great difficulty to persecute their fellow men, and at the same time maintain a loving attitude towards all of God’s children.
The regime of Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has divided the survivors of Rwandan genocide into two distinct groups: Tutsi survivors of genocide with the fullest privileges possible and Hutu survivors of genocide who are discriminated even denied the right to call themselves survivors. Any Hutu who claims to be a survivor of genocide risks twenty-five years in prison on the grounds of Tutsi genocide negationism. The vast majority of Hutu feels that one must belong to organized Tutsi cliques and carry some other names than those given by social and ethnic backgrounds. Any Hutu who refuses to be known as part of any Tutsi clique suffers reproach at the hands of other Rwandans and always is a conundrum in the community.
After war and genocide in Rwanda, the next grand step for the victors to take would have been to combine the pile of intense blows exchanged between Hutu and Tutsi with a spirit of forgiveness, mercy and love, not to propel hatred and barbarity forward into the greater cline. It is certain that our social climate won’t ever be fine as long as the epicentre of our endless tensions being lies isn’t dealt with definitively. The fact of President Kagame’s compulsive lies tends to turn things much nastier. Hence, this man knows how to get what he wants, not what the people want. It is always easy for Tutsi officials to see genocide ideology in their Hutu opponents. But surely these men’s ability to see genocide ideology in others is just a manifestation of it in themselves. The Hutu, either peasants or political opponents, are threatened even harassed at all possible levels of Rwandan society on the tokenism of genocide mass incrimination. Now I wonder if our current politicians lack in moral ethics to allow opinion diversity and rather seek to exploit it on an hegemonic basis, then where are we coming to?
As the strict and uncompromising nature of truth tends to spare no man in the normal course of history, we all should seek the expansive power of resiliency to shake hands with those we used to deem as our enemies in order that in the eyes of God Most High the sourness of our sins may be diluted. The regime of Kigali tells the world that reconciliation has been achieved at 92,5%. They propagandise this through the agency of “NDI UMUNYARWANDA”, a depraved policy that aims to coerce all Hutu citizens into officially pleading guilty of genocide and genuflect before the Tutsi. This tends to seal the guilt of genocide on Hutu ethnic group’s citizens and their descendants like the consequences of Adam and Eve’s original sin to mankind. Such threats pose humiliation in the stead of reconciliation because they are measures applied to one party whereas both parties have given each other blows since the beginning of the gradual conquest of Hutu petty kingdoms by Tutsi monarchs in 1090 A.D. Normally, the visible reconciliation of Rwandans should not be advertised by governmental institutions like CNLG and IBUKA about which so much ethnic bias is said today.
To meet the demands of justice about the perpetration of genocide, the government of Rwanda resorted to Gacaca Courts in 2003. This was a sort of justice of the peace in which judges were semiliterate peasants without notion of the rigor of law. At first, the episode of Gacaca promised to be a fair arbiter in the determination of who participated in genocide and who did not. Right away the RPF interfered with the jurisdictions of the Gacaca courts. Barbarity was added, covetousness and vindictiveness took over. The idea of bilateral reconciliation was quenched, and the Hutu suffered severe injustice. The Gacaca courts closed in 2011 after leaving a wide gap between us while they were expected to belabor the strife that had torn the strand of our oneness. We might well pause to ask ourselves what it would be like if truth and justice were actually depended upon to be the leitmotiv of our society.
Honesty, straightforwardness and empathy should be mandatory in the process of reconciliation. Yet in the Kagame-initiated reconciliation none of these essential prerequisites for reconciliation ever figured at all. Only revenge, cruelty and greed of filthy lucre were the driving impulse at the heart of the victors. No one showed concern for the defendants’ right such as legal counsel and allowance to bring one’s discharging witnesses to the court. In most cases, the defendants faced double jeopardy without the right to appeal for the decision of the court in the trials where they risked the capital sentence. It was clear that the Gacaca came to implement the ideological plan of the RPF to exterminate the vanquished by humiliating infliction of prison and its miseries. The minds of the plaintiffs were set on accumulating the possessions of the defendants. They became so obsessed with this passion that every other effort to make peace with their fellow Rwandans was made subservient to it. Many Gacaca judges wanted to give justice as it ought to but they had no freedom of discretion else than that of adhering to the evil doctrine of the RPF and do the notorious will of Tutsi extremists. Members of the ruling RPF Party, like medieval landlords, love to reap where they never sowed. That’s how the ill-famed Gacaca courts did nothing than furthering the feuds. Kagame and his political upstarts drowned out the voice of their conscience and made shipwreck of justice.
How can we free ourselves from the bondage of a deceitful regime that finds its strength out of our social disunity? Obviously we must not have accepted the perpetrator of genocide as eternal Head of State after violating article 101 of the 2003 Constitution. Most Rwandans today have seen the folly of this naive compromise, yet in somewhat subtler forms the terror has infiltrated into almost all social categories of the country. In Kagame’s Banana Republic you need to let yourself be deceived and then appear so stupid in order that you may get the minimum security. Interestingly enough, many visionary members of our society are separating themselves from the current terrorist regime in Rwanda. They are finding the safest and strategic position outside the camp. They have appraised the kingship of Kagame and found it lacking in patriotic standards, and made up their minds to vomit its untruths. They seek in sincere partisanship the humane unity and effective reconciliation of Rwandans formed and maintained by the historical truths, and they are content that it should be so.
It is possible that soon or late, we are about to see an unprecedented popular revolt led against a genocidal regime in Rwanda. I can safely bet that in Rwanda it is a short time before the seething patterns of injustice explode into a people’s revolution. Kagame with all those oligarchs revolving around him and depending on him cannot stop his decline day after day. Candidly speaking, it is the long silenced societies that make the most brilliant revolutions in history. They don’t utter a single word, they humbly eat the crumbs from the table of the merciless aristocracies. Buy later on they make their oppressors pay dearly. If the current regime cannot serve the many who are badly off, will it be able to serve the few who are well off when the moments of crisis knock on the door? The first requisite for the possibility of unity and reconciliation in Rwanda is the overthrow of Kagame. Frequently, Kagame and his courtiers compare RPF to a ship that’s cruising on the vastness of calm sea. Yet once the people rise the tide, they will lift the ship and drown it.
May those who love the country Rwanda give their contribution in the materialization of solid unity and bilateral reconciliation!
A London-based independent activist
Saturday, 7 April 2018