Friday, May 30, 2014

DR Congo: FDLR surrender ? Maybe - Just maybe.

Reuters reports

Rwandan rebels begin to surrender, but demand talks with Kigali

A militant from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) squats near a pile of weapons after their surrender in Kateku, a small town in eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), May 30, 2014.

(Reuters) - Rwandan rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo began what they claimed was the first step in disarming their fighters on Friday, but warned that continuing the process would depend on the government in Kigali agreeing to talks.
Kigali needs to come to the table now. I agree with the Kigali line that you do not negotiate with terrorists and that is the only possible way to describe the FDLR. This partial surrender however changes the dynamics somewhat and if Rwanda is serious about cleaning this mess up now is the time to compromise.

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) said last month that they would "lay down their weaponry and consecrate themselves to political struggle."
About 100 fighters surrendered during a ceremony in North Kivu province, handing in weapons including some heavy artillery, according to a Reuters witness.
Charly Kasereka is on the ground in Bulessa Village‬ which may suggest that the surrender is gathering pace although I would take that with a grain of salt. Charly tweets:

Just 105 militiamen with 102 weapons present at much-touted #FDLR"surrender"

                                              Charly Kasereka in a bulletproof ( I assume ) vest second from right.

"With this act of good faith the international community is called to assume its responsibility to obtain a political dialogue among Rwandans," said FDLR president, General Victor Byiringiro.
Authorities in Rwanda have repeatedly rejected the possibility of negotiations with the FDLR, which Kigali considers a terrorist organization that espouses a genocidal ideology.
The ball would seem to be in President Kagame's court.

Composed in part of former soldiers and Hutu militia who fled into Congo after massacring around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, the FDLR has since sought to topple the government of President Paul Kagame.
They are regularly accused of human rights abuses, including civilian massacres. And this week FDLR fighters burned homes and schools in North Kivu's Walikale district during clashes with a rival militia group, according to United Nations-sponsored radio.
Their presence along the border has also served as a pretext for Rwandan military interventions in Congo, helping fuel nearly two decades of conflict there that have killed millions.
Friday's ceremony was attended by representatives of Congo's U.N. peacekeeping mission, known as MONUSCO, the South African Development Community (SADC), and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.
The FDLR has on previous occasions said it was ready to disarm, only to later backtrack. And most officials remained cautious, however, and shied away from making pledges to support talks with the Rwandan government.
"There will be no negotiations with the FDLR. They have offered to surrender, and we will see if this process is effective," Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said.
Over 25,000 FDLR fighters have demobilized since 2002, but those numbers have slowed to a trickle in recent years. The estimated 2,000 remaining rebels have hidden themselves among communities in Congo's dense forests.
Last year, bolstered by a special Intervention Brigade with a robust mandate to carry out offensive operations, MONUSCO launched a military campaign against the remaining armed groups operating in the volatile, mineral-rich borderlands.
"We hope that the commanders join this process (of demobilization), not just the militiamen, because we have a mandate to neutralize armed groups and want to see an end to the FDLR in Congo," said one U.N. official, who asked not to be named.
I will update this later. Hat Tip Charly Kasereka.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

DR Congo: Goma, Charly Kasereka blogs - " Can't you understand that the government left me out of work"

Charly Kasereka blogs. This is a Google translate translation cleaned up by me. All errors are mine alone and not Charly's. I have taken the liberty of retitling it with a Marillion quote for consistencies sake with my blog, below is Charly's work and hopefully not too many of my screw ups. 

In Goma young people create '' Jobs''. A Herculean effort to earn.

                                             A young shoemaker on a street in Goma (Photo credit Charly Kasereka )

There are many in Goma, young people aged 15 to 30 years, who spend their days and nights trying to find any kind of work, what they call '' Job'' to survive. Trade, labour of mind or manual, this is the daily grind of the youth Gomatraciens. 

Goma, a city more than 3,000 kilometers east of the capital Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is five o'clock in the morning, we are at the crossroads commonly called 
'' Roundabout '' in the heart of Goma. Already I see some selling donuts, bread, Chapati pancakes, taxi driver bikers, a little further on are those seeking customers for bus transit. The atmosphere is tense, screams, fights starting at dawn. The majority are young, under 30, and mostly women vendors. Some of these young people have  spent their night here.

                                View from the bridge at Roundabout revolution ( Instigo ) (photo credit Charly Kasereka )

The city of Goma is known to the world for the multiple wars and rebellions that have occurred during the past two decades. Nobody thinks about the youth abandoned to their own unhappy situation. 
Each of these young people have  lived this way through the two decades of disorder that have passed. Everyone has their own story to tell.

In the world of employment some are lost, others improvise and attempt anything

In this city, everything can seem wonderful for those who visit for the first time. The majority of the population is young and indeed this is the case throughout the country, according to the latest statistics from the CENI (Commission Independent Electoral) in 2011 before the election.

The Democratic Republic of Congo recorded an unemployment rate estimated at 80% in a country where nearly half of its 50 million people under 15 years.

" I am a graduate in International Relations, I applied several times to the NGOs based here in Goma, but nothing. Look at me a seller of telephone credits ", says Eric twenty, a former student. 

                                            A young shoemaker and a seller in Goma. (Photo credit Charly Kasereka )

There are many such as Eric, the others imagine and create small jobs.
Trading in various commodities, as rickshaw pusher's, resellers of mobile phone credits there is nothing else. 

Nobody makes fun of anyone. "Only the end justifies the means." 

For some, study has becomes less of a priority in their minds.One youth explains '' Mere formality and satisfaction for my parents''  during a break at the Lake Campus Goma. A slogan has even been developed:'' The French and diplomas do not buy the drink,'' it goes '' study a lot and knowing how to speak the French language is not synonymous with having a job.'' 
                                       Young graduates seeking employment in Goma (Photo credit Charly Kasereka )

Most job lookers are ashamed and await the day when they will be called for a proper job. They spend their days seeking job offers published by NGOs. They know all the physical addresses of the offices of local and international NGOs.

The ball is in the hands of the authorities to develop policies of job creation. The quality of the training in universities is also at stake. More theoretical than practical. And after college many do not have the practical skills to work in a production company. Many choose the theoretical courses to finish fast, however fast does not prevail.

                                        Young Masons on a construction site in Goma (Photo credit Charly Kasereka )

                                   A young man cleans vehicles and motorcycles Goma (Photo credit Charly Kasereka )

Young Shukudeurs Goma (Photo credit Charly Kasereka )

A driver helps keeping the truck on a street in Goma (Photo credit Charly Kasereka )

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DR Congo: Goma, " Three boats down from the candy, vacant deck chairs on a floodlit beach "

France 24 reports.

Goma residents up in arms about ‘privatised’ access to lake

Residents of Goma collect water from Lake Kivu. On the left, walls have severely restricted access to the water. Screen shot of a video below

Lake Kivu is known as a haven for residents of Goma. Some go there for a swim; others earn money by doing odd jobs there. However, a recent decision by the government to grant plots of land to deserving soldiers has greatly reduced access to the site.

Deserving soldiers ? This decision has the stench of corruption. It would be interesting to compare the list of soldiers receiving water front properties with their service records.  
At 2,700 square kilometres, Lake Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is one of the largest lakes in Africa. Goma residents go there regularly to do daily tasks: collect water and clean dishes, for example. However, over the years, access has been gradually restricted as hotels and homes were built along the shore, particularly in the rich Volcans neighbourhood between Goma’s city centre and the lake.

You have to feel for the local residents. Not so long ago, November 2012 Goma fell to the M23 rebels.  That came about as a result of what only can be described as one of the most cowardly displays by any national army I am aware of. The situation was made far worse by the behaviour of the retreating FARDC forces. 

" I can't believe I am reading this bullshit. FARDC never fucking fought, they ran away. They looted Goma for three days until the M23 rebels started to arrive then  and only then did they piss off south to Minova to indulge in yet more theft and of course rape."

                              Several hotel complexes and luxury homes have been built along the shores of Lake Kivu.

Our Observers say that only around a hundred metres, comprised of five plots of land belonging to the provincial council, were still accessible in this area. But in November 2013, a North Kivu government decree granted the remaining plots to DR Congo army personnel (the FARDC) as a way to thank them for their efforts during the war against the M23 rebels, which the army had won a few days earlier.

There is of course the slight problem that it was not just a FARDC victory and can be attributed also to the UN MONUSCO force and more specifically the Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade. What really stinks is that the UN mandate requires FARDC along with the UN forces to clean up a few more problems such as the Ugandan ADF rebels and the genocidal FDLR not to mention the Mai Mai. Hardly a job done situation and time to hand out the medals or in this case water front properties.

                     The red circle is the place in the Volcans neighbourhood where the plots of land have been given away.

Micheline Mwendike lives in Goma, where she works for humanitarian organisations. She is a member of LUCHA, a non-political youth movement.

                                                                                               Micheline Mwendike

Since January, we’ve seen fences being built where people used to walk through to go swimming during the weekend. This wasn’t very problematic, as we could still go through. However, it started to become a real problem a few weeks ago when the military started to ban all passage, and threatened anyone who protested against the construction work. [Two journalists in Goma contacted by FRANCE 24 say they had been attacked by men guarding the construction sites they were filming].

For a while it seemed as though FARDC was actually becoming a credible national army, rather than a bunch of parasitic rapists.

Of course, the problems of the Congolese army are far from over. As argued here before, the real challenge of army reform lies in tackling the culture of patronage, racketeering and impunity that undermines military discipline and any sense of hierarchy in the armed forces."

A rather spectacular return to form.

                                                Construction has already begun. Photo by Magloire Paluku.

This was the only place we could still pass through. From a touristic point of view, it’s a catastrophe, because access to the lake is now totally privatised. But the greater problem is that the decision affects the most disadvantaged: a lot of young unemployed people use lake water to wash the cars or motorbikes of more well-off people, particularly those from the Volcans neighbourhood.

I would have said sanity but it is a minor point

" There is a saying in these parts: "Where logic ends, Congo begins."

These plots also gave people access to the lake during frequent water cuts [since the 2002 eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano, the water distribution network has been severely damaged by the lava, and has not returned to normal function]. A lot of people from the Birere neighbourhood [a very poor area of Goma] went there to collect water during the cuts. Now, the closest access point is four kilometres away, near the port of Goma. It’s revolting that political decisions have been made without considering the consequences.

I am sure the consequences were well considered, the corrupt bastards just didn't give a shit about the people of Goma.

After a call by civil society organisations in Goma, North Kivu politicians went down to the site on May 13 to see the blocked access to Lake Kivu. They are due to deliver a report soon.

                                                    North Kivu lawmakers on a fact-finding mission on May 13.

The governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, who signed the governmental decree, explained:

I signed the decree to compensate the soldiers and military officers who acted flawlessly during the war against the M23. This is not a public beach, because these were plots belonging to the North Kivu government, which has the right to decide what should be done with it. They were given away transparently and legally.

As I said above I would like to see lists of active front line personnel and compare that to the recipients of such munificence.  Goma is a very hard place to live, access to water is considered in most of the world a basic human right.

" Or, as Oxfam’s Reible put it, while aid workers “are paid well and can pay high rents, the poor are affected because they don’t have the money to cope with an increasing cost of life.”

“Housing has become very expensive because NGO staff pay high rents for decent housing, and the landlords know this. Some have removed people from their houses because they want to refurbish them to give out to those who can pay good money,” Jeanne, a local resident, told IRIN."

The governor Julien Paluku it would seem has decided that the Gomatricians need for water is of far less consequence than making friends and obtaining influence from the military.

I invite people who want to take advantage of Lake Kivu to go to the official beaches located around the port or near the governor’s residence [Editor’s note: about four kilometres away from the Volcans neighbourhood].

I would invite some top notch auditors to investigate. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Nigeria: " Wearing bracelets of smoke, naked of understanding "

The Guardian reports

Boko Haram claims responsibility for kidnapping Nigeria schoolgirls

Islamist militants' leader threatens to sell the more than 270 girls abducted in north-east Nigeria on 14 April

Screengrab from video obtained by AFP of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claiming responsibility for abducting the schoolgirls. Photograph: Ho/AFP/Getty Images

The leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has said that more than 270 schoolgirls snatched from their dormitories were "slaves" whom he planned to sell in the market.
"I abducted your girls," a man claiming to be Abubakar Shekau, the group's leader, said in a video seen by the Guardian. "I will sell them in the market, by Allah. I will sell them off and marry them off. There is a market for selling humans.
I can't wait for the day that Abubakar Shekau is given a chance to discuss this act of barbarity on a one to one level with Allah. Hopefully it will involve a particularly cruel and unusual form of punishment in the hours if not days leading up to that discussion.

"Women are slaves. I want to reassure my Muslim brothers that Allah says slaves are permitted in Islam," he added, in an apparent reference to an ancient tradition of enslaving women captured during jihad, or holy war.
This coward and that is a charitable description of him, conducts his holy war on school children I guess his band of madmen are unable to attract life partners in a conventional manner so in this instance he has targeted girls.

Speaking in northern Nigeria's Hausa language during a rambling hour-long speech, he threatened further attacks on schools and warned the international community not to get involved in Nigeria. Shekau has previously called western education "a plot against Islam" and urged his fighters to kill students and teachers.
The international community are already involved.

" The United States Department of State offered a $7 million reward and the Nigerian government offered a N50 million reward for his capture, making him the most wanted man in Nigeria and Islamist in Africa."  
I hope that the international community get more involved. This prick needs to be taken down fast, we have seen the damage that Joseph Kony has caused in the Great Lakes Region, this is the Nigerian equivalent. 

"I will marry off a woman at the age of 12. I will marry off a girl at the age of nine," he said at another point in the video.
Sub Saharan Africa has become the new battle ground between radical Islam and sanity. It is a fight that West must get involved insofar as it is our fight as well. One need only look at the Central African Republic and the religious insanity occurring there to realise there is a radical Islamic agenda at play.

The chilling message came as police questioned 'Gbenga Sesan – the activist behind the popular Twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls – and two women who helped organise protests calling for the government to do more to rescue the girls.
And to make matters even worse the Nigerian Government has taken to the path of blaming the victims. It would seem that President Goodluck Jonathan's  government has opted to fight insanity through even more fucking insanity.

Protesters call for the release of the missing schoolgirls at the state government house, in Lagos, Nigeria. Photograph: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images
Saratu Angus Ndirpaya and Naomi Mutah Nyadar were detained after attending a meeting with the president's wife, Patience, who, in a bizarre twist, suggested the mass abductions had never happened and were instead a conspiracy to derail her husband's presidential campaign for elections next year.
Yes no surprises there. Her husband being re-elected is far more important to the stupid bitch than the lives of 270 school girls. She is if nothing else a worthy member of the Crocodile Club.

At least 300 teenage girls were snatched in a dawn raid in Chibok, in Boko Haram's north-eastern heartland of Borno state, on 15 April. President Goodluck Jonathan did not publicly comment on the abductions for two weeks and the government's clumsy handling of the case has triggered protests across almost every major city.
Not just Nigeria. The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls is recording huge hits including some fairly serious players such as Hillary Clinton.

" Access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism. "

Jonathan pledged on Sunday evening that the government would return the girls to their families. "This is a trying time for this country. It is painful," he said.
Made even more painful for the victims by his wife, Nigeria's First Lady. If there was any justice in this world she would be sharing the fate of those school girls for her total lack of empathy and compassion.

Diplomats say the government is in talks with the UK and the US for assistance in bolstering the country's security.
This is bigger than the UK and the US, it is a crime against humanity and humanity needs to make it clear to those incompetent fools who are permanent members of the security council including the aforementioned states that we expect a resolution to this atrocity and the wider Boko Haram problem. If that solution involves killing every one of the pricks that is fine by me.

Mallam Mpur, whose two nieces are among the missing, said parents were reeling from reports the girls had been sold as "brides" to the extremists. He could not yet face telling the parents and relatives who gathered at his home for daily updates and support about the latest threats, he added. "In a few hours it will be exactly three weeks since our girls were taken away – we are counting every hour," he said.
"All I can say is, as parents we are desperate and begging. If the Nigerian government cannot help us, there is no shame in appealing to other African countries or the international community for help."
There is a huge amount of shame in the families having to appeal to the African and international community for help and that shame is our shame not the families. Boko Haram should have been destroyed long before now. We know their modus operandi, when they attacked the girls dormitories they should have hit heavily armed UN troops with an offensive mandate, it is clear that the Nigerian security forces are not up to the job. 

Some parents say their attempts to pass on information to the authorities have been fruitless. Farmer Dauda said his daughter called him from a forest training camp for militants last week. "One of the Boko Haram people came on the phone and told us not to worry; that our daughter is in safe hands," he told the Guardian. "The man told us, we have warned you not to send your children to school and this is the consequence. Then he told us that if we are patient and follow their orders, we will see our daughter again. But the government are not interested in hearing when we try to speak to them."
 It is also clear that the President Jonathan has failed in his most important role. He needs to go.
About 50 girls escaped in the confusion, some by jumping off trucks and fleeing for miles on foot through the dense Sambisa forest. Two girls have since died from snake bites, according to intermediaries in contact with the militants.

A demonstrator in London protests against the failure of the Nigerian government, to rescue the schoolgirls abducted by Boka Haram extremists. Photograph: Ruth Whitworth/Demotix/Corbis
Another Chibok elder, whose house was burned down during the five-hour raid by Boko Haram, said life was continuing in a state of terror. "Any little noise we hear at night, we all run out into the bush fearing for our lives," said the villager, adding that some households had resorted to organising their own night watch rotas.
The choice is simple deal with these Boko Haram scum now or later, it will cost a lot less to deal with them now.

The Christian Association of Nigeria published a list on Sunday of 180 Christian girls – about two-thirds of the total 276 – among the missing.
"Daughters of Zion taken captive, to be treated as slaves and sold into marriage to unclean people," the list was subtitled.
Understandable but not particularly helpful.

Its release has been widely criticised by Nigerians in a sign of how anger at the abductions has bridged the sectarian tensions that sometimes flare up between an evenly divided Muslim and Christian population.
Islam has a long tradition of scholarship something that I doubt the Boko Haram animals are aware of, it is no surprise that the muslim community is as horrified by this as the christian community, describing muslims as unclean is stupid.  

In a televised broadcast on Sunday, the first lady, who holds no official office, was seen alternately weeping and berating community members during a meeting to discuss the kidnappings. She warned against further protest marches: "You are playing games. Don't use schoolchildren and women for demonstration again. Keep it to Borno, let it end there," the official News Agency of Nigeria reported.
An official from the school who was at the meeting said: "She told us we were not patriotic; that we were members of Boko Haram ourselves and we wanted to disgrace the country."
Yes.. I have little to add to my comments above other than the first lady should just fuck off. The eyes of the world are watching Nigeria and it is clear who has disgraced the country.
The president's approval ratings have taken a battering as security has deteriorated in the runup to elections next year. In a weekly media chat late on Sunday, Jonathan denied that security had worsened, despite two bomb blasts on the outskirts of Abuja, the capital, which left 105 dead last month. "I believe we are succeeding" he said.
Really ?

" Nigeria was yesterday ranked the 16th most failed nation in the world, out of a total of 177 countries that were surveyed."

The government has launched a massive security operation in the capital this week as it prepares to host the World Economic Forum, at which dignitaries and heads of state will discuss Africa's positive growth story.
The glitz of the meeting will elude most ordinary Nigerians. Sitting forlornly on a plastic chair outside an Abuja police station, one woman who had travelled from Chibok to protest said: "We don't know why the government is treating us like we are less than animals. It is just really painful."
It is interesting to note that Nigeria is one of the MINT nations. It would seem that that was a wildly optimistic bit of wishful thinking.

Hat tip No Right Turn

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rwanda:" While his generation digests high fibre ignorance "

Think Africa Press reports

"Let's Wait and See What Happens": Kagame Hints at 2017 Election Run

At a recent event, Rwanda's president Paul Kagame suggested he might change the constitution to allow him to run for a third term in 2017.

President Paul Kagame speaking at the World Economic Forum in 2013. Photograph by WEF/Sebastian Derungs.

Speaking at an event at Tufts University yesterday, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame gave one the biggest hints yet that he may alter the constitution in order to run for a third term in 2017.
Kagame's third term has been a subject of a lot of speculation Kagame himself has made it clear on several occasions he has no interest in a third term.
" President Paul Kagame has reiterated that he is not interested in third term in office and will respect the constitution or what Rwandans will decide in the interest of continued progress and stability in the country after 2017."
I have taken that statement on face value and concluded if that is the case then Kagame must be looking for a third way the Russian tandemocracy model springs to mind.

" Kagame has become delusional, his inability separate his administration from the the nation state that is Rwanda. He assures all that he will not alter the constitution to extend his tenure as Rwanda's President but the reality is that he has created a situation where he will be forced to remain in office. Expect an African version of the Putin / Medvedev  tandemocracy. There is very little available in the way of attractive retirement options available for autocratic dictators after they lose power. Ask Gaddafi. "    

In response to a student’s question concerning what role he would play in the country after his current term ends, Kagame responded: "I have been asked when or whether I am going to leave office right from the time when I started. It is as if I am here just to leave. I'm here to do business on behalf of Rwandans…I don't know what else I can give you on that, but let's wait and see what happens as we go. Whatever will happen, we'll have an explanation."
And that explanation it would seem is already in the process of being crafted.

And from the same article that has had the copy function disabled.

Kagame has led Rwanda since 1994 when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took control of the country and ended the genocide against the Tutsis. For the first six years, Kagame was a de facto head, but he officially took presidential office in 2000 after his predecessor resigned. He then won elections in 2003 and again in 2010.
Under Rwanda's constitution, presidents are limited to two seven-year terms, but ever since 2010, there has been speculation over whether Kagame would hand over the reins of power come 2017.
Clearly there are many who view Kagame's ambitions extending far further than 2017. On the above evidence the tandemocracy option would not appear to be on the table. Radio Netherlands worldwide reports:

" Twagirimana said Kagame was determined to rule for as long as he could. He was responding to a pledge by Kagame that he will step down in 2017 after serving a second term in office.
"Maybe they will change the constitution so he can continue. I think he would like to rule for 20, 30, 50 years like Robert Mugabe," Twagiramana said."
Recently in Rwanda, the media, which is heavily monitored and censored by the government, has published a number of articles in support of a constitutional amendment that would allow Kagame to run again.
These articles tend to frame the issue as a matter of democracy. One letter to The New Times, for example, advised fellow citizens to remember that “a constitution isn’t a straitjacket but a living covenant with built-in rules for amendment as the polity requires. As long as the necessary minimum proportion of Rwandans required by the Constitution want a revision to that sacred document to cater to fundamental change in national need, then we should all be prepared to accept such change."
Kagame spent his formative years as a refugee in Uganda and was part of the Ugandan President Museveni circle. Museveni has been very clear on the tendency of African leaders to cling on to power well after their used by date.

“The problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the people but leaders who want to overstay in power.” He promised Uganda a new constitution that would empower the people and limit the powers and the time a president can serve.

The new constitution came into effect in 1995. Under this constitution, elections for members of parliament and the president should be held every five years and a president can only serve for two terms each of five years."

That was some 27 years ago and Museveni remains in power. Kagame will be with us for somewhat longer than 3 more years it would seem.

Meanwhile, an article last year which followed Kagame’s annual Citizen Outreach programmes, in which he meets with communities across the country, described how “residents appealed to the Head of State to remain in office and pledged to vote for him.” The author, a legal scholar based in the capital, concluded: “In many democracies, it is totally justified to amend the constitution principally to advance the broad shared interests of the citizens or in response to nation’s exigencies at hand. It even befits more when the amendment is steered by the people themselves.”
" The author, a legal scholar based in the capital,..."  I assume it was published anonymously to save the so called legal scholar the derision of the rest of the international academic community .

Repression in and out of Rwanda

To critics of Kagame, such talk of democratic principles is disingenuous. They claim that Kagame's regime has long been characterised by repression, violence and human rights abuses, all sheltered by a silently complicit West.
In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, for example, RPF forces are believed to have killed around 35,000 Hutus in reprisal attacks. These “military campaign style mass murders” were catalogued by the UN, but the report was never released, allegedly because of Kagame’s close relationship with the US and the guilt the international community felt for not intervening in the genocide.
The Kigali regime has turned the 1994 genocide into its justification for some of the greatest human rights abuses the world has witnessed in the last 20 years, rivaled only by the Israelis and their appalling behaviour with regard to the Palestinians. Six million people have died in the the DR Congo. Genocide can never be forgiven but you can't justify a subsequent genocide on the grounds of a previous one and that it would seem has been the position of the west to date.

Kagame's army has also committed large-scale abuses in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The motivation for Rwanda's incursions into the DRC, the first in 1996, was to root out Hutu g√©nocidaires who still posed a threat, but the RPF went well beyond this. According to 600-page UN report, the Rwandan army killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of Hutus, including women and children, in what some claimed could amount to genocide.
Not just Hutus, anyone who stood between the Rwandan army and the mineral wealth of the eastern DR Congo was killed, somewhat unfortunate if the eastern DR Congo was your home.

Domestically, Kagame has also been accused of violence and repression. Although the country holds elections and claims to be democratic, Freedom House classifies Rwanda as 'Not Free'. Dissenting newspapers and journalists are not tolerated and claim to be harassed and intimidated. Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire is currently languishing in jail on what many believe to be trumped up charges. And there have reportedly been several cases of extrajudicial killings. This January, for example, the exiled former intelligence chief, Patrick Karageya, was found murdered in a hotel in South Africa. In the aftermath, Kagame did little to dispel suspicions that the Rwandan government was responsible when he commented, "You can't betray Rwanda and not get punished for it."
The truth is you can't oppose Kagame and not get punished for it. The West is slowly waking up to that simple truth.

Over the last two decades, Western governments have largely turned a blind eye to Kagame's repressive tendencies. Many believe this partly because of a sense of guilt at their failure to prevent the 1994 genocide, though as Rwanda specialist Catharine Newbury has pointed out, Kagame is also “extremely adept in speaking a discourse that Westerners want to hear."
Recently, Rwanda's status as an aid darling has started to slip, especially after evidence emerged of its alleged support for the M23 rebels in the eastern DRC, but it remains to be seen how donor countries would respond if Kagame announces he will be running again in 2017. Similarly, while government-backed Rwandan media paint a picture of widespread support for the strongman, it also remains to be seen how the broader Rwandan population would feel about their president's twenty-year rule being extended by a further seven.
The broader Rwandan population will not get a say. We have created another Mugabe and as the economic screws start to tighten, as the West increasingly appalled by the brutality of the Kigali regime closes the aid tap, Kagame will brutalise any opposition within Rwanda. Expect more incursions into the eastern DR Congo, Rwanda has very little in the way of resources.