Esteemed readers of my blog, I wish to extend my apologies to each and every one of you for not fulfilling my unwritten obligation to provide two columns a week for your enjoyment, or displeasure. I had been travelling around the country all week and I barely had time to catch my breath and gather my thoughts. So instead of giving you all half-baked arguments and broken English prose I kept my peace; thankfully my editors have been understanding and allowed me to get back on the proverbial bicycle and ride again.
While I was moving around my country, meeting and talking to Rwandans from all walks of life (that trip will be the topic of my Wednesday column) and learning more about my country, one of my fellow citizens had what I call a ‘brain fart’. I don’t know whether to call Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa’s letter to Steven Harper, Prime Minster of Canada, the work of an addled once great mind or simple awful politicking. The subject matter of the letter makes me believe that he left aspects of his sanity on the wrong side of the Atlantic. I’m not one for insults and degrading statements but if ever one person had it coming, it is he.
Let me share with you various excerpts from the letter. “
The Rwanda National Congress (RNC), petition the Government of Canada to cancel a program of the Government of Rwanda to recruit Canadian citizens and Rwandans living in Canada into a Rwandan militia group. In the early 1990s, elements of the Government and party that were in power at the time established, trained and armed militia groups, known as Interahamwe and Impuzamigambi.
Members of these militia groups, comprising mainly the youth, were indoctrinated to violently defend the agenda of the dictatorial regime that was in power at that time, by harassing, hunting down and killing government critics, especially members of opposition political parties. They degenerated into murderous gangs that became very instrumental in carrying out the genocide against the Tutsi.
Over the past several years, the current Government of Rwanda and President Kagame have established, two new militia groups, known as the Local Defence Forces and Intore. The modus operandi of these new militia groups is similar to that of the Interahamwe and Impuzamigambi militia. The objective of Local Defence Forces and Intore is to harass and, if necessary, liquidate all political opposition to the regime, including critics of the government living in foreign countries such as Canada.
The objective for the establishment of a Canada branch of the Intore militia is to persecute Rwandans living in Canada and the United States of America. It is also likely that some of the members of the Intore militia trained at the Canadian camp may in future be deployed in Rwanda where they are likely to be involved in torture and extra-judicial killings of political opponents of the Government of Rwanda and to commit war crimes, war against humanity and other offences against innocent civilians in Rwanda”.
I often feel that the gentlemen of the RNC don’t think that people here in Rwanda get the opportunity to read some of the summations that they make. Because if they did they would feel embarrassed to be spreading such outrageous lies. What, I must ask you Dr. Rudasingwa, is the point of all this? If you are fighting for leadership in Rwanda don’t you think that the electorate is laughing uproariously at you? Do you seriously believe that the neighborhood Local Defence chaps are part of some Machiavellian plan to kill Rwandans in North America? How many of them have even stepped on a plane?
Humor aside, how dare you compare Interahamwe, people who brutally did the work of a genocidal government, to the Intore, who Rwandans from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds learning about their civic responsibilities? It’s not even like comparing apples and oranges but rather like trying to compare life and death, literally. How sir, did you become a useless card (ikigarasha) when you were once a leader we all aspired to? I cannot fathom a reason other than senility. Anything else is too confusing for my puny intellect t grasp.