The US warning to dictator Paul Kagame is a good step in the right direction

UDF-INKINGI welcomes the clear warning the US government sent to dictator Paul Kagame through Ambassador Stephen Rapp’s recent public comments over Kagame’s recurrent destabilizing activities in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and considers that unprecedented development as a good step in the right direction.

 

The fact that some US officials had previously interfered negatively with the publication of the Addendum to the UN Group of Experts report on the DRC containing overwhelming evidence of Paul Kagame’s aid to individuals and groups submitted to UN sanctions because of their role in commission of atrocities in that country had been interpreted by Paul Kagame and his entourage as yet another licence to kill and loot.

 

UDF-INKINGI also noted with interest the announcement of  the symbolic cut of 200,000 USD into the US government financial assistance to the regime’s defense apparatus but regrets that the regime continues to enjoy funding for its militia gangs through its participation in UN peacekeeping operations. UDF-INKINGI considers that an army whose main leaders and commander-in-chief are responsible of the worst crimes including  possibly genocide against a section of its own people and uses it to blackmail the International Community doesn’t deserve any role in maintaining peace abroad.

 

Moreover, US planned aid to Rwanda for 2011, 2012 and 2013 amounts respectively to 207,9 million USD, 196,4 million USD and 201,9 while 87,2 million USD, 86,4 million USD and 107,2 million USD were spent for fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. If our firm and repeated calls for immediate action to stop impunity had  been heard, clear public messages like this one would have prevented the regime from fomenting the current war of agression against our neigbors as well as helped stop its gross violations of basic rights inside the country or abroad.

 

UDF-INKINGI regrets that big amounts of US aid are allocated and spent on an inexistent democratic governance, a largely flawed and partial judiciary and, sectarian and anti-people defense and police forces. Clear signals should be sent to the regime so that it stops hunting opponent at home and abroad and all political prisoners including the Chairperson of our movement Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza are set free immediately and inconditionnally.

 

UDF-INKINGI awaits other steps in the same direction from the US government and reaffirms that the peoples of Rwanda and the United States of America need a fundamental shift in our bilateral relations from support to one individual and his cohort to that of the legitimate aspirations of our people for equal rights, democracy and shared prosperity. We believe that it’s possible to avoid a situation in the future where the present moves could be described as too little and too late.

 

We laud the decisions to cut aid taken by the governments of the Netherlands and Sweden and urge the UK government to give due attention and an appropriate response to the recommendation of MPs asking that British aid be frozen as well.

 

UDF-INKINGI doesn’t doubt that the US government can actively help end the impunity of those within the RPF government who are unrepentant perpetrators of the most serious crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda or abroad since 1990, especially those covered by the mandate of the International Criminal Court.

 

Done in Brussels, July 27, 2012

 

Dr Jean-Baptiste MBERABAHIZI

Secretary General and Spokesperson

 

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