MUNYAKAZI’S FINAL JOURNEY HOME: Long overdue

Leopold Munyakazi, 66, the man who dodged justice for 12 years is finally home to face justice for his alleged active and vicious role in the genocide against Tutsi in 1994.

Hard as he tried, Munyakazi exhausted all appeals, and not even his powerful friends in academia could save him.

As if to pour salt on a gaping wound, Munyakazi landed at the Kigali international airport, ready for this, in a Lear jet, and wearing a Lacoste sweater. His alleged victims never had a chance, many meeting their deaths by way of Nyabarongo.

It is hard to guess what Munyakazi was thinking as he descended the jet’s stairs. But it matters not. His time is over, and Lady Justice will take over from here.

As he was finally handed over to Rwanda’s finest, RNP, Munyakazi had a sheepish look on his face as handcuffs were finally clasped on him, thus ending his long run from justice.  It was a sweet moment to watch as this alleged killer was finally apprehended in a land where his vicious acts are alleged to have been committed.

That he has been extradited back to Rwanda is of vital importance. Survivors of the genocide should witness justice in action. Justice should not only be done, it should be seen to be done.

This also sends a clear message to other genocidaires hiding in the U.S. And there are many. You can run, but you can’t hide. We will hunt you down and the long arm of the law will soon or later catch up with you. The U.S.will not be a haven for genocidaires.

As he was led through the corridors of the airport in the custody of two RNP Officers, Munyakazi is seen smiling. Whether it is a nervous smile or a defiant one is of no consequence. He will have plenty of time behind the walls of “1930” to think about his dastardly deeds in the company of the likes of Leon Mugesera.

Evidence against this genocidaire is overwhelming. The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) accuses Munyakazi of personally shooting dead one Felicien Ugirashebuja, in addition to openly inciting violence against Tutsi in broad daylight.

Munyakazi is a genocide denier per excellence. In a speech he delivered at the University of Delaware in 2006 he said, “There is a kind of international conspiracy to hide the truth about what happened. I refer to it as civil war, NOT genocide; it was about political power.”

Utter nonsense. A linguist by profession, Munyakazi knows well this is baloney, desperate words of a criminal mind.

Munyakazi goes on to say, “Ethnicity is not really understood about Rwanda; in Rwanda there are no tribes, there are social groups, they are one single people. It is quite wrong to say that GENOCIDE WAS COMMITTED by Hutus.”

These are insensitive and cowardly words of a killer trying to sound half educated, and Munyakazi knows it. Soon he will have his day in court, but such a plea would be foolish to advance.

This much is clear: Munyakazi will not be attending Rudasingwa’s up-coming conference on December 9-11 in Washington, D.C.to commemorate the alleged genocide against Hutu. He will be behind bars where he belongs.

WATCH THIS, and judge for yourself: http ://Youtu.be/-5xCPPPrR-Q

 

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RWANDA CULTURAL DAY: A Heritage worth dying for

This coming Saturday thousands of Rwandans from all over the world will descend on the City of San Francisco to celebrate our culture and heritage in the first ever held Rwanda Cultural Day.

It behooves every well intentioned Rwandan to come and welcome our President who will be the keynote speaker at this historic gathering; a celebration of who we are as a People, and bask in the incredible successes of the last 22 years since the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994. And what a journey it has been.

Under good leadership and sound policies, Rwanda has crafted an amazing form of government and democratic institutions that have turned what could have become a failed State to becoming the marvel of Africa.

Facts on the ground cannot lie,and those who claim Rwanda is not the success story we say it is are simply ignoring reality. There is much to celebrate;

– Vision 2020

– Education empowerment

– ICT development that has revolutionized banking for the benefit of all Rwandans

– Economic growth that rose from 2% in 1993 to 8.6% (1996-2014)

– GDP rose from $234 in 1994 to $690 in 2013

– Life expectancy rose from 51 years in 2002 to 64.5 as of the 2012 census

– And a whopping 64% of Rwanda’s parliament are women, the best in the world.

Rwanda continues to play a big role in peace-keeping missions all over the world. Whenever the RDF raises our flag at their bases, that Sun on our flag shines ever so brightly and gives every Rwandan reason to walk a little taller.

No wonder then, as Rwandans congregate in the “City by the Bay” there will be reason to tell the world why we refuse to be defined by a single tragic event in our history. We have reason to celebrate our achievements and continued reconciliation and healing. We also have reason to acknowledge the man under whose watch all these things have happened: Paul Kagame. With a steady hand he has steered the ship of State through trying times and turbulent waters.

I hate to spoil the moment, however. The so-called New Rwanda National Congress under the misguided leadership of Rudasingwa and his cabal has convened a so-called “Rwanda Truth Commission” to meet in Washington, D.C.. On Decmber 9 – 11 to remember “the genocide against Hutu.”

Consider the source. Nothing from Rudasingwa is surprising or shocking. His continued relentless assault on the memory of the victims of the genocide against Tutsi and millions of survivors is the biggest cut of them all. Merciless. Crude and falls well below standards of decency.

Rudasingwa would not recognise truth if it stared him in the face. His lies and distortions about the events in Rwanda has come to define the man. The founding of the so-called New RNC speaks volumes about this shattering organization as well as those who seek to return Rwanda to the dark days. The in-fighting within the RNC and eventual split-up clearly shows the greed and mercenary character of its members.

Noteworthy, one of the co-founders, Kayumba Nyamwasa, is now listed by the New RNC as a genocidaire. There is no honor among conspirators, is there?

The sooner Rudasingwa returns to Rwanda to start his 24-year sentence, the sooner he can find peace with his Maker.

I am reminded of the saying that the higher a monkey climbs up a tree, the more he exposes his rear.

And how will Rudasingwa’s tombstone read? He has not asked for my advice, but I volunteer to pen it: Here lies Theogene Rudasingwa – Genocide Denier.

 

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RWANDA CULTURAL DAY 2016: Come one, come all

In what is slated to be the biggest and best well attended Rwanda Day gathering in the last ten years, Rwandans are ready to descend on San Fransicsco by the thousands to celebrate Rwandan culture and traditions, and  take stock in our  incredible achievements in the last 22 years since the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994.

And what an amazing two decades it has been.

I know no other country that from year to year celebrates its re-birth. But I also don’t know any other country that re-affirms its very existence from the first ever televised genocide in this century.

For the last ten years, each year Rwandans have gathered across the globe  in different cities in an effort to take stock of what achievements have been attained in the last 22 years since the genocide against Tutsi in 1994, but also to re-affirm our un-wavering commitment to building a united Rwanda. One Nation. One People.

In our hour of need, in those 100 dark days in Rwanda when the international  commununity closed its eyes to the genocide against Tutsi in which over a million lives perished, we found our resilience and fortitude. And so, we share..

In the words of President Kagame, addressing Rwandans at various Rwanda Day celebrations over the years, the  very essence of the Rwandan spirit and resilience, pride and self respect –  AGACIRO – “we have defied convention.”

Rwandans are meeting in San Francisco, the city where the UN was founded in 1945. Never mind that they kept a closed eye to the genocide against Tutsi in 1994, an act against the very foundation of this organization.

But San San Francisco is uniquely qualified to host this amazing come-together of a people seeking to errase their bloody past and create an environment that seeks to mend a bloody past. It  is a city that exemplifies that which is best in the humanity spirit: getting along. A city of incredible cultural divergence, a theme that is the very foundation and spirit  of the Rwandan State.

As Rwandans converge on this incredibly beautiful Peninsula, curved out of the earth by the shimmering Golden Gate Bridge on the entrance of the Wine Country, the iconic newly built Bay Bridge to the East, (alas! Oakland, a mere stone-throw away  is being gentrified at dizzying speed) they will realize we have a long way to go, but we are within reach.

This Rwandan Cultural Day is our way of saying to the world: in spite of being ignored, and watching us bleed to death in 1994, we are resilient and alive and well.

NTACYO TUZABA.

 

 

 

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ALAS! NO GOOD NEWS OUT OF AFRICA – ALMOST

Ever wonder why every time you turn on the news, or browse the Internet, listen to the BBC or CCTV all news from Africa is depressing?

Sadly enough, it all seems self-inflicted. And as always, we Africans have to blame our woes on outsiders, imperialists and their lackeys  (and this is really getting tiring and running out of steam) never on ourselves.

Africa’s newest nation, South Sudan is fast falling apart with their embattled first Vice-President Riek Machar promising to bring hell to President Salva Kiir Mayardit if he does not accept his terms on sharing power. Here, there is nothing but ancient tribal grudges at play. A few months ago the President’s office was riddled with bullets by Machar’s troops but President Kiir escaped.

Oh! Africa.

Eritrea, there in the Horn of Africa is not doing much better. Eritreans are fleeing the motherland for Europe in record numbers escaping tyranny and drowning on the high seas in staggering numbers. And Africa looks on helplessly.

This is all reminiscent of the slave trade over two hundred years ago when Africans were forcibly removed, shackled in chains and enslaved in Europe and the Americas, and millions died in similar manner on the high seas as we are witnessing today.

Where have we gone wrong, Africa?

Genocide is ripe in Burundi, and neither Africa nor the so-called international community gives a hoot.

Wherever he is, Madiba is turning in his grave.  The Rainbow Nation that he suffered for in prison for 27 years and left behind is distegrating before our very own eyes under Jacob Zuma masquerading as a leader. Corruption has consumed institutions and mediocrity and ethnicity are threatening to destroy Madiba’s legacy.

Further south in Zimbabwe, under 92-year old Robert Mugabe, once Africa’s breadbasket is now a basket case. Zimbabwe is the only nation in the world without a national currency and its population is on the run for greener pastures. But whenever Comrade Robert shows up at AU gatherings he is given a standing ovation. In Harare the only noise Zimbabweans hear is the Blues.

And as if this was not bad news enough, in the Central African Republic there is nostalgia for a nightmare. Citizens of this poor and mismanaged country are reportedly missing Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the devilish monster of man who declared himself Emperor, and from time to time fed his enemies to lions and crocodiles.

Bokassa died in 1996, but he is now enjoying a surge of posthumous popularity in his homeland. Even his bejeweled throne is being restored for the museum. See, the present is so nasty that many think the past must have been better.

My, my, Africa.

I was blown away this past weekend when a group of about 88 Ugandan MPs, led by none other than the Speaker of Parliament and her deputy descended on Boston to attend a two day conference of the Uganda North American Convention at a reported cost of $500,000. I wish I could have seen the childish delight of some of these alleged honorables, most of them on their maiden flight in the friendly skies.

Meanwhile, roads in Uganda are in terrible shape, hospitals have no drugs, and corruption has become a way of life.

Africa, something has to give. We cannot continue in this manner, and this foolishness of blaming others has to stop. It seems we are our own enemies.

 

 

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ESDRAS BIRASA:His passing is our loss

This morning, Esdras Birasa answered the final call and passed away, after a short bout with cancer.

Rwanda has lost a true patriot, an intellectual in his own right.

Words pale in shadow of grief.

What I write here is only an inadequate expression of what we, especially in the diaspora carry in our hearts. Birasa’s passing has hit us like a ton of bricks. Why do the good die young?

The man was passionate about Rwanda, and he eloquently, even though sarcastically at times, said what he had to say in a way only Birasa could muster.

Most of Birasa’s family was lost during the genocide against Tutsi in 1994. His pain and sorrow did not ever silence or dilute his thoughts on where Rwanda is and where it ought to go.

Birasa was a walking encyclopedia of useful information; be it the stock market or African politics, or international affairs. He was a joy to listen to. A sharp and quick mind. He was never afraid to offer a different version of how things ought to be. Damn it, it was as if everybody was entitled to his opinion. We all listened.

Birasa’s pride in Rwanda and who we are as a People is legendary. And decades living in America did not dilute or compromise his love for the land of his forefathers.

The best we can do is remember Birasa — remember how he lived, bringing life and joy to those who knew him and pride to Rwanda.

We will always cherish his presence among us. I know today Rwandans all over the world who knew him are reaching out, holding hands, and finding comfort in one another.

In the loneliness of my heart, his passing is a sharp and sad affair. But I am the luckier for having called him my friend, and my brother.

In the words of a poet;

“Heaven has called upon you today,

leaving so many words left to say.

But now it’s too late, for your time has come,

words unspoken; I am sure everybody has some.

Regrets and wishes are there too,

but lasting forever are memories of you.”

Birasa, my brother, you were a class act. Rest well.

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RWANDA’S MOMENT IN THE SUN

The 27th African Union just concluded in Kigali is indeed a milestone in Rwanda’s amazing record of recovery, good governance and overall performance in the region, nay in Africa.

One thing is certain: if Rwanda was not stable, well governed and her infra-structure lacking, this summit would have taken place elsewhere. But this was indeed a vote of confidence in Rwanda’s governance, ability to host a mega summit and execute same flawlessly.

In typical no-nonsense Kagame style the president reminded the delegates right away on opening the summit that this time they were there to discuss serious business.

“As we begin our different deliberations let us take a moment to reflect together on the meaning and purpose of which is the first principle of our organization” President Kagame told delegates.

He went on to say, “Belief in the healing power of unity is the defining virtue of African political culture. Indeed in an increasingly divided world by upholding this principle Africa has a lot to offer.”

For Rwanda to have hosted over 30 Heads of State and several heads of international organizations is testament that something beautiful and envious is going on in Kigali. For sure it is testament that Rwanda’s security is intact, and Rwanda has risen and is shinning again.

Eyebrows were raised when Sudanese President Al Bashir showed up, even though he is a fugitive from justice having been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) charged with crimes against humanity that took place on his watch in Darfur.

President Kagame however reminded the press, Rwanda was not about to arrest Bashir because having never signed the Rome Statute it was under no legal obligation to apprehend the Sudanese.

Rwanda’s critics and haters have been mum. What else could they have said, in good conscience, except they have none, having witnessed a well planned and executed first class summit? Their deafening silence is an indication that the engine of vermin is running out of juice and is dying a natural death.

The delegates who marveled at the beauty, cleanliness and security of Kigali will be our greatest bearers of good news. They will surely tell our story in the tone we want it told, truthfully, and they will in the end silence the empty vessels across the continent who tell all sorts of lies and spread their hatred against our Motherland.

President Kagame said it succinctly, “Twent two years ago this country was nearly erased, a history that will forever serve as a testament to the consequences of divisionism.”

“National unity was the starting point for the transformation we have undertaken here in Rwanda with good progress.”

With nerves of steel, a steady hand, foresight and vision, President Kagame deserves our appreciation. But for his leadership, commitment and sacrifices, Rwanda would be defined by her tragic history instead of our resilience.

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HAPPY LIBERATION DAY

Today marks the 22nd liberation commemoration since the Liberation of our Motherland, a day that will forever decide who we are as a People.

It is not only a day that marks the fall of the genocidal regime, when Kigali fell to the RPF, but a day when good triumphed over evil.

It is a day that succinctly defines that which is good and right. The very essence of the Rwandan spirit.

Men and women of the RPF gallantry put their lives on the line and said enough is enough to evil, and a new Nation was born. But this change did not come cheaply: millions lost their lives, and Rwanda’s sons and daughters paid the ultimate price to curve an island of peace and tranquility in a sea of blood. We must never forget or let their names fade into history pages.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” Our fighting men and women proved this philosophy valid.

Much as this day is etched in blood, with it came the birth of a new nation where all Rwandans realized that we are one and the same, and mayhem and bloodshed is no way to resolve our differences, political or otherwise.

Liberation Day (not independence) reminds us the we all bear collective responsibility for Rwanda’s prosperity and tranquility, and never again shall Rwandan blood be shed by small thinking and evil minds across the lush and beautiful land of a thousand hills that our forefathers called home.

The international community, that amorphous entity, idly stood by and watched us perish. Liberation Day then surely must rudely remind us, if you will, that never again shall we put our salvation in the hands of others. But it also must remind us that Rwanda’s future lies in our hands, and we will never abdicate this awesome responsibility. Future generations would never forgive us.

This day must remind us of our kith and kin who needlessly perished because of an accident of birth. To them we owe a duty to make sure that “Never again” is not empty rhetoric.

Like it or not, Liberation Day summons us to do that which is not easy: forgive. Our humanity is challenged, but if Rwanda is to rise and shine again, forgive we must.

But, we must never forget.

We are collectively assigned a heavy burden of challenging our minds and soul to not let our past define our future. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “the present is an edifice which God cannot rebuild.”

Indeed, “the present is the living sum-total of the whole past.” The future belongs to those who live intensely in the present.

Happy Liberation Day.

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