A WAKE-UP CALL FOR ALL RWANDAN PATRIOTS

President Kagame, First Lady Jeannette, former US President Bill Clinton and Israeli President Shimon Peres
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“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said: Here am I. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8.

This wake-up call is directed to:

  • All Rwandan compatriots in silent peril and pain;
  • All of you who are enduring injustices and hardships;
  • All of you, packed like bricks in concentrations camps they call prisons;
  • All families whose beloved ones are being tortured and silently killed under the watch and silence of the international community;
  • All of you that are living in constant fear and confusion;
  • All of you who are denied any form of basic justice, freedom and inborn rights;
  • All of you living in a protracted exile all over the world.

My fellow compatriots,

Fear not: Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with you all the time! Home is where the heart is.

It has been twenty-six years since our beloved nation fell into the hands of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF); a Tutsi-minority dominated political party led by President Gen. Paul Kagame. The RPF is a former rebel group that seized power in 1994 through a horrendous blood shedding that was never seen before in the Rwandan history. This rebel movement has established a military junta in Rwanda, led by a bloody clique from Uganda. As a result, our nation was seriously wounded and is bleeding. Therefore, our beloved nation is in need of an urgent liberation from tyranny. The struggle for liberation should be our passion.

As you be aware, Paul Kagame was trained, inspired, supported and equipped by former leaders of the superpower countries such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair in conjunction with individual business tycoons such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. With such enormous support, Kagame has emerged as a contemporary ‘führer’ disguised under what is frequently and widely portrayed and traded by these individuals as ‘economic miracle performer’ and as a ‘hero’ who stopped the 1994 genocide. However, little is said about his role as the catalyst of the 1994 genocide or as a person who triggered the genocide by manoeuvring or manipulating all criminal processes that ultimately investigate the causes of the country’s tragedy and the architecture of such tragedy. When the RPF invaded Rwanda on 1st October 1990, its aim was to seize power at all cost, while its supporters had in mind the intention to get their hands on the highly rich minerals of the neighbouring country, more precisely, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It was not a coincidence that subsequently to seizing power in Kigali, Kagame immediately unleashed war on DRC, stealing and looting large amount of the country’s minerals. Anyone who attempts to elucidate the matter to the international audience and international justice is immediately silenced.

Under the rule of this cruellest monster of the century wearing a human mask, millions of innocent Rwandan and Congolese people have lost their lives. Hundred thousand of Congolese people are physically or mentally injured and hundred thousand of them are internally displaced whereas others were forced into exile and are found in every country as refugees. Similar atrocities were meted out to Rwandans, especially Hutu population who were forced to flee the country. Inside Rwanda, thousands of Hutus are kept in number of concentration camps dubbed ‘prisons’ on the mere reason of collective guilt allocated to them by the RPF regime.

Inside those ‘prisons’ people are tortured every day. They are refused food as a means to force them to admit and confess to genocide related crimes they have never committed. Having admitted those crimes, these victims are presented to the world as perpetrators of the genocide. In the ends, they are subjected to long term of imprisonment and therefore become subjects of long-lasting hardships called “TIG”, an acronym of the French phrase “Travaux d’Intérêts Généraux”, implying in English, “correctional community work.” Prisoners of genocide are popularly known as “the tiggest”. This form of punishment was not imposed on them with view to reform offenders as persons, but with a view to avenge misdeeds of the Hutus through re-introduction of slavery known as “uburetwa” in Kinyarwanda. The TIG or legalised slavery is a correctional community work that involves building houses of genocide survivors or working in their farms. A Hutu or a Twa who was a victim of genocide cannot be classified as a genocide survivor as this is viewed by the RPF government as minimising the genocide against the Tutsi. Only Tutsis are genocide survivors. In addition to becoming servants of the Tutsis who survived genocide, they are required to work in the farmlands of both military and civil leaders from the Tutsi background. The “tiggests” work for long hours without any tea or lunch breaks. They work under severe conditions, which include beatings and those who show fatigue or disobedience to the extent that they can no longer be able to work, can be shot on spot.

Despite his autocracy, Kagame is widely known as “the darling of the West.”

President Kagame is a darling of the West because the Western imperial countries view Rwanda as a key military strategic point to cause chaos in the Great Lakes region in their efforts to loot the DRC’s natural resources. President Kagame was installed in Rwanda with a mission to destabilise all neighbouring countries of Rwanda, with a particular focus on the DRC. This is the main reason why he enjoys the superpower countries’ protection from criminal prosecution and is ironically praised to be a visionary leader in spite of his criminal culpabilities. Since he took power in 1994, he has been the country’s absolute leader. He revised the country’s Constitution to keep himself in power for as long as he wants to stay. On top of this, he committed countless electoral frauds through election manipulation and vote rigging. He instils terror and fear among the Rwandan population. He uses mass intelligence surveillance at all levels across the entire country. He arbitrarily arrests and detains leaders of opposition political parties and their supporters as well as journalists who are not loyal to the RPF. Even he hunts down and kills his dissidents, critics, and members of opposition who flee Rwanda to seek asylum in other countries. In fact, he has established an authoritarian rule that he enforces with an iron fist. Owing to the support of the most powerful individuals in the world, the international community has turned a blind eye to his fragrant violations of human rights in the Great Lakes region. They tend to praise the Rwandan economic progress which is based on donation of the Western countries and the rewards based on illicit activities of looting the DRC. Economic progress does not depend on the moral and decent work of Rwandan citizens or on the Rwanda’s natural resources. No. That is why all wealth in Rwanda belongs to the Kagame’s inner clique and his supporters in the Western countries.

Like the “guillotine” of the French Joseph Guillotin at the end of 18 century, Kagame has also introduced “Agafuni”, which is “an old hoe” as a weapon to execute his political opponents, dissidents and critics. The execution method of agafuni is used as follows: the hands of the victims are tied with a rusted flex. With an old hoe, they hit onto the skull of the victim with a heavy straight blow (one or several times) until the brain is out of the skull. On many cases the brain is kept in a tug by the highest present military or police officer for unknown reason. The psychological suffering before the execution is very haunting. The execution is usually done before those who will be executed in the same fashion so as to inflict psychological harm on them.  Can we, my fellow compatriots, continue to be killed in this cruel way?

Again, Kagame is absolutely applying the “Führerprinzip” where the Führer, Kagame himself, demands absolute blind obedience from all Rwandans including the so-called leaders below him. Kagame demands obedience and loyalty without allowing his subordinates to express their concerns over what is “right” or “wrong.” Supported by the West, in particular, the aforementioned individuals, Kagame has managed to parallel the functionality of military organizations with that of civil structures. He combined in his persona “executive power”, “judicial power” and “legislative power.” In Rwanda, there is no separation of powers. All powers are vested in the presidency in that any entity, be it sport clubs, schools,  universities, hospitals, businesses, courts of law, police, defence, parliament or any other type of profit or non-profit organization must be coordinated, monitored and report to an authority designed by the inner circle of President Kagame. Such authority has been carefully circumscribed to avoid any possible infringement of his orders. The public opinion has been completely suppressed across the entire country. There is no freedom of speech in Rwanda and no freedom to protest. My fellow compatriots, it is incumbent on us to speak out and to protest. It is us who are suffering. For how long can we be quiet about the totalitarianism? You keep quiet today, but tomorrow is your turn. What lessons can we draw from this?

Under the auspices of his partners in crimes, notably Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, Kagame has managed to mobilize international media to help him inundate lies all over the world that he stopped genocide in Rwanda. Using the token of the genocide against the Tutsi, he had won international support and sympathy.   The same token is used to suppress any person – whether a Rwandan or non-Rwandan, who criticise his authoritarian regime or who challenges the RPF’s official narrative that Tutsi are only victims of genocide. The RPF government refer to its critic as “genocidaires” or “genocide deniers” with a view to appeal to the sympathy of the international community. To put a stop to this, we must speak out.

Indeed, Kagame considers himself as the person who can make Rwanda prosper and does not view himself as a person who brought pain and suffering to millions of Rwandans.. Pain and suffering is imposed on majority of people through internment and impoverishment. The internment is a main machination of the RPF to accelerate annihilation of the Hutu population. President Kagame always resorts to concocting genocide-related crimes in order to keep as many as possible members of the Hutu community behind bars.  The impoverishment of Hutu is reflected in the socio-economic programmes that forbid Hutus from having access to self-reliance. These programmes include the destruction of their residential home and business structures as well as crops in their farms.

In spite of all this, Kagame and his Western supporters are not invincible. We cannot sit and watch them destroying our beloved nation and annihilating our Hutu community or suppressing the Tutsi critics and dissidents. In this dire situation, we cannot merely be passive participants or stand-byers or just cross our arms. History taught us that “dictators never step down; they are brought down.” I call upon you, my fellow compatriots, to employ one single weapon on our disposal that has been used by many to chase dictators. That single weapon is the “UNITY.” All of us – regardless of our race/ethnicity or our region must come together and unite behind ONE COMMON CAUSE. That common cause is: LIBERATION STRUGGLE.

My fellow compatriots inside Rwanda, let’s join hand and support our liberation.

My fellow compatriots in exile, let us not waste any more time.

I have this message to tell you:

Let us not be blinded by those jobs, small businesses or permanent residences you so desire and cherish. You should keep in mind that asylum is transitory. It is a temporary shelter which is not guaranteed. The temporary protection can be revoked anytime. If my memory servers me well, I remember that the UNHCR has, in 2011, advised our host societies to revoke the protection extended to us. No doubt that the revocation can be done within one minute. In case the protection is cancelled, we will be returned to our tormentor, President Kagame.

That said, let us put aside  our personal interest or selfishness that flows from regionalism and racism (i.e. ethnicity) and embrace ourselves as Rwandans.

And let us unite against one common enemy and one common goal of liberating Rwanda from tyranny.

This is not a time for blames and criticism based on errors committed by previous leaders of our country. Of course, there were political errors that were made, in which lessons should be drawn. All of us learn from our mistakes. Lessons drawn from past experiences serve as a basis of establishing a good harmony in relations and consolidating a social cohesion. This is the time to tell the dictatorial regime, “enough is enough”, instead of spending a day and night fighting one another. All fights should be directed to defeat our common enemy.

The law that governs the liberation struggle is natural and simple: Consider a soccer team of eleven (11) players. If each and every player wants to play his own game, to score his own goal, to be the captain of the team or feels that he is better than any other teammate; in the end, such team can never win any game as unity is lacking in various respects. This is exactly the game most of us have been playing all the time, since we become refugees in foreign lands. The key rule of our liberation movement should be unity; united behind one Captain.

Absolutely, there is a need to self-evaluate and bring about changes in strategies and how the game should be played. The changes in our attitudes and behaviours are necessarily important if we really want to liberate ourselves from exiled life and liberate our people from the same ill-treatments that compelled us to flee in the first place.

I have been asked this question on several occasions: Why can not we have ONE AND ONLY ONE LEADER?  This can however be possible if there is respect among us. I believe that if you cannot respect others and listen to others, you have no qualities and personalities of a good leader. In that context, you can never be a leader, who can lead this liberation struggle.

God has never chosen two leaders. We can morally draw lessons from biblical chapters and verses. We find that God chose, for example, Moses. Then Joshua. Then Gideon. In the exiled Rwandan community, everyone wants to be a president! How many Rwandan leaders do we have? What did they achieve?  Honestly speaking, if all those vying for presidential position (that is, all leaders of political parties operating outside Rwanda) can put aside their ego and personal interest, then we could have an opportunity to choose a new leader across the entire exiled community of all of us worldwide, with one single political party that has representatives at national levels, with the support of all of us.  This can be done. We can re-strategize our liberation struggle.

B.Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” We all lived many similar examples on a daily basis.

My fellow compatriots, it is the time to come together and fight for our rights and freedoms. For so long, some are scared of engaging in liberation struggle for the fear of death. Look, Covid-19 is here anyway, those who are scared of dying for a good cause may or will die for a bad one. The Covid-19 had claimed so many lives, including those who fear to die.  How many years do you expect to live in this world? How many years left for you to depart this world? What have you achieved since the day you have been living in exile? What are you going to achieve in a foreign country?

Death is an inevitable and indispensable ingredient of the bread of freedom. Should one not be prepared to die, then let slavery and injustices be their daily bread.

Rights and freedom are fought for. They are not there to grab freely. Justice is expensive. There is no free justice. Accordingly, there will never be a better time to put everything aside and fight for freedom or there will be no good conditions in which the liberation struggle can be launched. Similarly, there will be no free life-threatening struggle for any freedom fighter. Ever.

Why?

First, liberation or freedom fighting is not an option nor a choice. Rather, it should be an unavoidable duty of any reasonable living individual to engaging in. For now we may thank God that we are breathing; we can stand up and walk (even though we are locked-down in our homes), but I do not think we are alive in its true sense and meaning of the word. In foreign countries, we are given derogatory names, which aim at degrading us as human beings. We are called “aliens” or “Makwerekwere.” We are indeed “foreigners,” and this implies a sense of not belonging in the host societies, which welcomed us as “refugees”.  Another concern is that we are no longer viewed as genuine refugees, but as economic migrants, who escaped, not from tyranny, but poverty.

Secondly, the manner in which we are treated by host societies illustrate the fact that we belong somewhere else. We have no say in any affairs of the host countries – simply because we do not belong in its political community. We are just refugees who were temporarily offered shelter. We do not enjoy a sense of belonging. That is why members of the political community (that is, citizens) always tends to ask us the following questions: “Which country are you from?” or “What are you doing here?” or “Why can’t you go back in your home country?”. Sometimes citizens will comment as follows: We fought for our own freedom, but you came here from your country to enjoy our freedom and you think we will accept to share with you the fruits of our freedom. That is why a person is called “a foreigner” implying that you do not be belong in a community in which you were welcomed as a refugee. Surprisingly, I have seen many people who get angry because they are called or referred to, as foreigners. I want to remind you that they do not call you foreigners because they hate you or because they do not want you to stay with them, but, because, actually, you do not belong in their political community that vote for their own government. When they call you a foreigner, they are not being xenophobic. They are rather reminding you that everyone has his or her own root or fatherland, which is termed “gakondo” in Kinyarwanda. They are simply communicating to you that this country is not your “gakondo.”  It is not your roots. It is your own responsibility to risk your life and liberate your “gakondo” from tyranny as they did the same thing, when they liberated their “gakondo” from imperial and colonial powers. Freedom is a fruit of liberation struggle as without the struggle there will be no freedom. There is a saying that: every generation will fight its own battle to liberate themselves from any form of oppression or tyranny or colonialism.  In addition, locals or citizens consider it disgusting and cowardice when asylum seekers do not manifest any effort to wanting to return back to their countries or at least, to regaining what they have lost. It is disgusting to fight to have a share from the fruits of freedom of others. Surely, you can now realize how moral betrayal it is not to love your fatherland, especially, when they share among themselves the humanitarian relief and assistance during the lockdown.

Thirdly, you might not realize the sense of betraying your country, immediately, but the enemy is working tirelessly to exterminate you, no matter how far you can go to turn your back against your country or no matter how you try to forget about your country and focus on full integration in the society that offered you safety and security as a refugee. As President Kagame once said, you will never know what hits you or exterminate you and your family. He is absolutely not sleeping. He knows he will one day kill you, before you wake up and realise that you need to fight your way back home. President Kagame knows he morally and legally owes you freedom and your country, today and tomorrow. That is why you hear murders here and there, for example, in Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, etc. You reconcile with yourself by stating that: “Ah! Kagame is  after shop owners. He is after political Hutu leaders. He is after political Tutsi dissidents and critics. He is after the educated people, etc. Or  yeah, you know that one used to work for him; that one is sell out; that one was spying on us; that one returned to Rwanda and came back, and many others arguments to support the killings of ones of your people.” It might be some sort of ‘régulation de compte‘.

Wake up from your sleep, get out of your coffins; the enemy will never relent his cruelty till he achieves his mission. Do not act or behave like when the war was still in Byumba alone. We are no longer in 1991. I referred to Byumba because, I recall, people from other regions (or prefectures) were used to behave indifferently. Thus, they were behaving like such war was none of their business. Today, those who were fortunate to flee Rwanda or who are still living until this day can be witnesses to this. Many Rwandans never understood that they shared a common enemy. Until this day, some people understands that it is a common enemy, but erroneously, they fight the enemy through the lens of regionalism and racism. Once we understand that Rwanda belongs to all of us and that previous mistakes should be used to bring us together and not as tool to divide us, we will soon walk as conquerors in our “gakondo”.

My primary school teacher used to say, “You have a brain but you never use it to think. You have eyes, but never use them to see; you have ears but you never use them to hear.” We, Rwandans, especially refugees, do not want to come to our senses and do the right thing, that is liberation from tyranny, as our common cause.

“Help thyself and God will help thee.” We are advised.

#Ingoma-NgomeMustFall should be our focus, our desire, our dream, our vision, our commitment. Let us come together, my fellow compatriots, and do the right thing befitting the true self-determination. Let us all be ready to say – oh yes, send me – to the battle field for the peace and security to prevail in our land.

Long live Rwanda! May you live long Rwandans!

Your fellow compatriot in the liberation struggle

Ntiruhungwa Mugabo

Nairobi, Kenya

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