Obama take heed: French judge files charges against Kagame allies
By Ann Garrison
On Dec. 11, I was honored to stand in for Alice Muhirwa of Rwanda’s FDU-Inkingi Party, on WBAI’s Afrobeat Radio in New York City. Afrobeat producer Wuyi Jacobs and I both worried because Alice hadn’t answered the phone, but we later learned, in a round of phone calls and e-mails, that she had twisted her ankle and a doctor had just set it in a cast, leaving her flat on her back and unable to come to the phone.
Not good, but better than being in Rwanda’s maximum security 1930 prison, where Victoire Ingabire and Bernard Ntaganda remain behind bars after attempting to run against Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Rwanda’s 2010 elections. Kagame was re-elected on Aug. 9 by a 93 percent majority – implausible in any real pluralist democracy. Here’s Afrobeat:
Afrobeat Radio on Rwanda, broadcast on WBAI, New York City, Dec. 11, 2010
Alice Muhirwa, treasurer of Rwanda’s FDU-Inkingi Coalition of Parties
Four days after this Afrobeat broadcast, on Dec. 15, a French judge filed preliminary charges against six people close to Kagame, including Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe, for the 1994 assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Rwandan and Burundian presidents at the time, that triggered the Rwanda Genocide.
However, these charges and all the evidence of the Kagame regime’s crimes are nothing new.
Cynthia McKinney held Congressional hearings in 2001, producing evidence that Kagame had ordered the assassinations then joined Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni in invading and plundering the natural resource wealth of D.R. Congo, costing millions of lives. There have been more damning hearings since, including those held by Orange County Republican Congressman Ed Royce, who concluded that “the State Department didn’t want to hear any of this though, as Kagame sat on their pedestal, and largely still does.”
In 2006, Obama shepherded Senate Bill 2125, the Obama Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act, into law. It stated:
“(6) Despite the conclusion of a peace agreement and subsequent withdrawal of foreign forces in 2003, both the real and perceived presence of armed groups hostile to the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi continue to serve as a major source of regional instability and an apparent pretext for continued interference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by its neighbors [Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi].”
How many of Obama’s ardent 2008 supporters know the only Senate bill that will ever bear his name alone?
Paul Kagame in 1994 when this photo was taken was vice president of Rwanda and head of his Rwandan Patriotic Front. – Photo: Alexander Joe, AFP/Getty
The Spanish Audiencia Nacional indicted Kagame’s top officers for genocide. There have been many U.N. and other human rights reports documenting the Kagame regime’s atrocities and minerals plunder in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And, on Oct. 1, the U.N. Mapping Report documented Rwanda’s war crimes, crimes against humanity and civilian massacres in Congo, crimes that an international criminal court would be expected to try as genocide. How much more will it take?
When will Obama revisit his own 2006 Senate Bill, and take heed of the Oct. 1 U.N. report? And now, when will Obama take heed of the new French charges? How much longer will the U.S. back the regime sued on two continents, in three countries: France, Spain and the U.S.? How long will the U.S. back the president that Professor Ed Herman, co-author with David Peterson of “The Politics of Genocide,” and, with Noam Chomsky of “Manufacturing Consent,” calls “the worst killer on the planet”?