Saturday, 4 January 2014

Rwanda and South Africa

On 29 December I listened to a good sermon. The preacher said something about good and evil taking place at the same time in our context but we usually only focus one of the two. She gave an example: the Rwandan genocide, which took place while South Africa celebrated its first democratic, general election. (Over 500 000 Tutsis were killed between April 6 and and mid-July 1994. Close to 20 million South Africans went to the polls on 27 April the same year.)

Yesterday South African media reported that Patrick Karegeya, Rwanda’s former intelligence chief was found dead, allegedly strangled, in a hotel in Johannesburg. BD live describes him as
a brilliant spy who appears to have fallen foul of the assassination tactics he once reportedly practised on others
According to the Sowetan Gauteng Police is hunting his killer. The Independent has a suspect: Paul Kagame. In an article online one can read:
Patrick Karegeya knew Paul Kagame well. The pair went to school together, worked alongside each other in Ugandan intelligence and then fought to free their country from the genocidal gangsters who unleashed horror in their native Rwanda. When Kagame became president, Karegeya was put in charge of foreign intelligence services.
But after a decade, their disagreements, including over human rights and attacks on neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, became too strong. He was relieved of his duties, stripped of his rank as colonel and jailed. Once free he fled, later joining forces with three other prominent exiles to lead opposition to Kagame’s government.
Obviously a friend of Karegey, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, was shot in the stomach in South Africa in 2010. According to the Independent Karegey  said last year  that the
… Rwandan government can no longer tolerate any dissent. There is a deliberate plan to finish us off.
Ian Birell, who writes the article in the Independent has a point:
For despite the murders, the abuse of human rights, the locking up of political rivals, the ceaseless and now well-documented stoking of carnage and conflict in the Congo, Kagame remains a leader lionised in Washington and Westminster.
He continues:
The world’s foremost scholar on Rwanda has described him as “probably the worst war criminal in office today.” Another leading academic concluded he was running “a very well-managed ethnic, social and economic dictatorship”.

But Bill Clinton calls him “one of the greatest leaders of our time” while Tony Blair, who works closely with him and has borrowed his plush private jet, hails him as “a visionary leader”. There is similar adoration on the right among many Tories and Republicans; Rwanda was even welcomed into the Commonwealth four years ago.
South Africa and Rwanda. Dissidents are allowed to live and work in South Africa. I am not a fan of President Zuma. I think he is a corrupt leader and last week it was claimed that people were booing at him again, according to Mail and Guardian. But as far as I understand he is not killing his opponents. 

Let's hope and pray this year that South Africa will have a free and fair general election - just like in 1994 - and that Rwanda will see, not only economic growth, but also real democracy! 

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