death of Juvenal Habyarimana, ex-president of Rwanda accused of
helping orchestrate the 1994 Rwanda genocide, is once again in the
plot of "Who killed Habyarimana" would probably make a
great movie one day. In the meantime like Shakespeare's Macbeth,
Habyarimana is back to haunt current Rwandan President Paul Kagame
and perhaps other " guilty" people in the Great Lakes
begun when a report compiled by a French Judge, Jean-Louis
Bruguiere, based upon a police investigation of the plane shooting
that killed Habyarimana and President Cyprian Ntaryamira of
Burundi, surfaced in a French newspaper, Le Monde, pointing at
is accused of personally ordering the shooting on the 6th of April
1994. There are claims that officers of the Rwanda Patriotic Front
who witnessed the purported command by Kagame on that fateful day
have either disappeared or gone underground with the truth of what
makes the Habyarimana saga particularly interesting is the list of
interested parties and their association to past and present
events in this region. Take the United Nations for instance.
Evidence linked to the plane crash that killed him surfaced two
weeks ago at the United Nations. The world body admitted that a
black box believed to be from the plane had been
"discovered" somewhere in their stores.
clumsy UN was one of the agencies caught in a slumber as the
genocide swept across Rwanda. Now it is once again in the awkward
position of playing surrogate to the truth of the dead men.
the black box revelations have led to a public "quarrel"
between the French who supported the then Rwandan government and
President Kagame. In return for the French accusation that Kagame
did order Habyarimana's killing, Rwanda accused French soldiers of
participating directly in the genocide. Rwanda has also rejected
any new information on the black box. Sources in Rwanda government
said these claims on Habyarimana's death were nothing new, but
constantly revised claims by the same people.
can be said that placing Kagame in a tight spot just weeks to the
tenth anniversary of the genocide is one of the results, whether
desired or not, of the return of Habyarimana's ghost to its
one allegation that the Rwandan government will aggressively fight
is claims over the years that RPF took part in counter genocide.
And perhaps the negative press over Habyarimana's death is
intended finally to blame the Kigali regime for triggering off the
genocide and carrying out more killings.
the 10th genocide memorial approaches, the moral victory for
Kigali would be to sail through these allegations by suppressing
them or diverting attention from them. Already, besides
accusations against the French, the deadline for confessions for
genocide suspects has been extended, scores of common law
prisoners released (to decongest the prisons) and there is the
promise that more genocide prisoners will be set free.
But these olive branches notwithstanding, Habyarimana's
reappearance will rattle more than Kagame's internal politics of
reconciliation after his recent re-election.
It might extend to Uganda, now directly cited in Judge Bruguiere
report. An American reporter has written that the missiles that
shot down Habyarimana's plane were the property of Uganda,
purchased by her from the former Soviet Union.
could Uganda come under some form of international inquiry for her
role as "midwife" in the genocide? Or could Rwanda be
compelled to answer questions about the handling of the genocide
as it was unfolding? And what impact will this have on Rwanda's
image as a victim of a truly grave crime? And so on.
in the matrix of the political and military movements in this
region, there are real consequences for this kind of talk.
Suspicions are raised, swords could be unsheathed, old hatred's
the ground, action has already returned to the common border
between Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Rebels of
the Allied Democratic Front seem to have risen from the dead (they
were announced defeated by the government) from the jungles of the
Congo prompting National Political Commissar Dr Crispus Kiyonga to
visit the area to urge the population there to cooperate with the
for the eastern Congolese hinterland, it is home to feuding tribes
of the Lendu and Hema fame who pledge alliances on whosoever
advances their interests. This area if unsecured continues to
breed mercenaries, murderers and genocidal maniacs.
Interahamwe militias reportedly slaughtered villagers in Uvira
recently. This former mostly Hutu Rwandan army soldiers from the
old regime are blamed hugely for the genocide.
major area of diplomatic hopes for regional peace built around the
United Nations report on the plunder of DRC is also being shaken
around this time. A case brought against Uganda, Burundi and
Rwanda by the DRC is being revived.
Joseph Kabila's government had agreed to set aside the case in
which they are accusing the three countries of plunder, massacre
and looting Congo. The decision to let the case be followed
efforts by US President George W. Bush who brokered a temporary
peace between Kabila and Museveni in November last year. The
United Nations Security Council around the same time also agreed
to withhold a report by a panel of experts that named specific
government officials in Uganda and Rwanda for their participation
in the looting of Congo, ostensibly to allow for an out of court
settlement of the matter.
a British development organisation is heaping more pressure on
this pile of conflicting interests. Last week, the Rights and
Accountability group said the companies and individuals named in
the Congo plunder have gone unpunished in their own countries and
are urging swift action, now if possible from the UN.
Koffi Anan is convinced to release the recommendations of the
panel, it will most certainly destabilise the leadership in the
accused countries, all this at the sensitive time when Rwanda
prepares to mourn its dead and Uganda is sitting on a powder-keg
of a political transition.
ghost has certainly come to relive exciting times. One wonders
though, what would happen if the mystery of his murder were indeed