HARASSMENT GIVES BIRTH TO CHALLENGE AND NOT SUBMISSION!
In its harassment tactics aimed at weakening opposition so it could rule unopposed, the authoritarian regime in Rwanda sabotage every activity involving exiled Rwandans especially the Hutu community living in various countries have been targeted. The campaign against FDLR and the downfall of Burundi’s Hutu led regime are but few of these campaigns while there some individuals, groups and foreign governments who blindly support this without considering the actual motivation behind the bite of ‘rabies’ and make us wonder whether the thought concerning ‘where those who are being tortured should go’ ever cross their mind.
If the international community is serving this evil plan of authoritarian regimes to harassing oppositions and the Hutus wherever they are in Rwanda, DRC, and Burundi and in exile, a critical analysis wonders whether this is to help regional security, creating safe communities or incubating endless conflicts.
Those who blindly support this harassment without taking into accounts its serious consequences I am sorry to say that they are as naive as those who carryout these operations to the extent that they cannot see its negative implication on the communities of this region.
The question of whether Hutus in FDLR are all criminals or animals like is true or not, there is one undeniable fact and that is ‘they are Rwandans who belong Rwanda’. If the authoritarian regime is motivated by clinging into power using all possible means and always in workshops to invent sins that would support its reason for harassing anyone in opposition with the support of some individuals in regimes of strong nations whose interests are not yet very clear to all us, are directly or indirectly denying them fundamental rights on the basis of their past crimes. My argument is then that before you could proceed with rendering your hand of support to Rwandan regime; ask yourselves, ‘to which other state should these people be sent’? Isn’t time to check our attitudes to see if we are not the reason why the armed groups exist and have become as wild beasts that will devour whoever trespasses their vicinity?
The following questions will help us evaluate if our motive is indeed to help in rebuilding a free, safe and reconciling Rwanda:
- Should we dig a hole and ask the suspect to fall in? Certainly they will not!
- To whom then should they disarm and go?
- If FDLR renounce violence today, what would they become as former criminals and when their conscious still accuses them?
- The accusation is that ‘they continues to operate as an illegal armed group in eastern Congo’, which is very true, but how would they survive without arms?
- ‘It continues to have a racist ideology’. It will continue to have that ideology as long as no one reaches out to them with a counter ideology since this is uniting factor that binds them together.
If we are out to punish crimes, let us not exempt some for there isn’t a better criminal. This will cause fear in all blood mongering individuals and guarantee vindication to all survivors.
As a Tutsi, I wouldn’t be here advocating for extremist Hutus with their known crimes, but I understand that in the beyond animosity in these people, there is also ‘humanity’ that is continuing to be undermined or denied and this might lead to an even bigger catastrophe than the one we anticipated in 1994. Therefore, it is better we punish guilty without prejudice of political manipulation to neutralise animosity in those who were with animal hearts them by offering better option which is ‘fair justice’.
When the Rwandan government pursued and forced some Hutu refugees in Zaire in 1998, thousands of them were killed in the process. After these undocumented crimes, the regime turned its bayonet into Tutsis survivors of genocide, opposition members, business people, skilled and gifted individuals to cripple Rwandan society and create a country in which only one individual is heard. That is why even the high ranking government officials, military men and moderate Hutus who helped to defeat genocide, if they are not in exile and are being hunted by the regime, are in prison. Those who insisted on not to go to exile again, their bodies are picked in rivers and roadside in Rwanda on daily basis. If this government has failed to guarantee security to innocent citizens and threatened those in exile, how can it guarantee justice to criminals who desire fair hearing?
No one would want to advocate or say a word favouring murders like those who committed genocide in Rwandan, but in the name of humanity and fair justice, where should they go? My opinion is not to associate with this group, but I find nowhere else they can be abandoned either! If we cannot afford them a neutral hearing environment in which they can receive fair justice and after safe sanctuary, where they could serve their sentence without interference of Rwandan government, then we must ask ourselves ‘who do we want them to become after they surrender’? Are we saying that justice for them have ceased they must hand themselves over to be killed or we can do everything in our power to afford them opportunity of fair hearing for the justice’s sake? Condemning them before judgement does not only risk making them victims before they are sentenced, instead we are manufacturing them into dangerous animals which we might fail to curb in the future while on the other hand raising the scale of victims caused by this manhunt.
If FDLR, as alleged is a criminal group of Interahamwe remnants which is guilty of their violent past, we should understand that it is standing in a distance calling for whoever cares to offer them justice that will prove them guilty or innocent, but due to the prevailing political repression in Rwanda, those who are hungry for regime change use this group in their effort to overthrow the regime by promising them establishment of a system in which they will live un-condemned.
Let us help to bring fair justice in Rwanda by removing biasness to the suffering of all Rwandans on either side or one group at the expense of another as doing so is to fuel endless retribution among regional ethnic groups as it is today in Burundi.
Here are couples of things I would suggest to friends and well-wishers of Rwanda who are willing to help in ending criminal politics in that country and foster peace in the whole region while creating long term partnership necessary that will benefit long-term partnership in the future:
- a) Stop funding injustice in Rwandan dictatorship government, by conditioning your funding to serious redress of civil and political rights in that country.
- b) Encourage threat free dialogue with opposition groups can achieve lasting political solution and the rule law.
- c) Paying attention to complainants of all tribes and opposition without prejudice could lead to achieving a lasting solution on both frontiers.
- d) Discouraging Rwanda’s interference in the matter of independent states such as Burundi, DRC and extra judicial operations would help to reduce appetite for war in the region.
- e) Seeking long lasting partnership with a community of a particular state than falling in intimacy with a reigning regime should be the end means in bilateral cooperation.
Anything that can be done to achieve peace and liberty in Rwanda should create a neutral environment in which Hutus and Tutsis speak freely to find a common consensus for helping them to confess to each other their past ills to receive healing and restitution than helping the powerful to torture for admission of guilt. Take some time to picture scenarios of a country where no opposition is allowed to exist, the people inside that country are forced to echo with ‘yes’ to every cruel policy made out of master’s art of intimidation, where those who escape are pursued and if not set against authorities in their sought freedom, the leaders of opposition murdered or smuggled back to Rwanda where they are tortured and killed. No Hutu is allowed to become prominent or live safely in exile where they are, no Hutu allowed to freely stay in DRC, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya or any other country. The government of Burundi being controlled by Hutus considered a threat even if they haven’t said any evil word against Rwanda, what do you think is motivating such individuals who make you believe that their self-assumed fears are true?
In conclusion, I wish to say that the ‘buy-in’ to peace and freedom of individual choice by Rwanda government depends on donors’ understanding that “Might isn’t Just”, and begin to enact conditions on their funding which should direct the decision and freedom of people in 2017 general elections.
Richard R. Kayumba