INTERNATIONALES AFRIKAFORUM, Weltforum-Verlag, Bonn (ISSN 0020-9430)
Vol. 40, Issue 3/September 2004, pp. 273-288.
CENTRAL AFRICA: 15 YEARS AFTER THE END OF THE COLD WAR.
THE INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT
The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 not only marked the beginning
of the end of the Cold War; it also heralded the advent of an opportunity for
Africa to emerge as an independent player in world politics for the first time
after centuries of external interference.
As a consequence of the Renaissance in the 14th century, Europeans began to
acquire technical skills that enabled them to discover and later conquer large
parts of overseas territories. At the same time, the former sub-Saharan
empires and kingdoms declined and their cultural exchange with regions
north of the Sahara diminished for reasons that have yet to be fully explored.
Consequently the arms technology gap between the North and the South
widened. Resistance to Christian and Muslim slave traders crumbled and the
global slave trade inflicted terrible losses on Africa. Following the gradual
disappearance of the slave trade in the 19th century there were some
successful efforts to build new nations, but they collapsed in the wake of the
European colonial invasion in the second half of the 19th century. Africa was
not in a position militarily to resist these conquests.
The Atlantic Charter of 1941 raised hopes when, in return for American
support against Hitler, President Roosevelt induced Winston Churchill to
promise the dissolution of the British Empire and the end of British
colonialism after the defeat of Nazi Germany. In 1947, the United Kingdom
left India and in 1949 the Netherlands gave up its colonies in south-east Asia
as a trade-off for the prospective benefits of participation in the Marshall Plan.
But the Cold War postponed sub-Saharan Africa’s decolonization to the 1960s,
when East-West détente appeared on the horizon. However, the establishment
of independent African democracies in the 1960s was still hampered by
rivalry between the Communist world and the Western world for influence in
The anti-Communist West soon lost confidence in democracy and
entrusted allied military regimes with the fight against the “Communist
threat”. Apartheid in South Africa also survived, being regarded as a tool to
halt any Communist encroachment in sub-Saharan Africa.
The “wind from the East” fanned by Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika was to
profoundly alter world politics, however. The most spectacular event was
Nelson Mandela’s release from prison on 11 February 1990, which signalled
the end of apartheid. The “battle for Africa”, which had been waged by both
sides over many years with the help of dubious proxies, lost its importance. As
a result Africa acquired increased scope for action. Namibia became
independent in 1990 and the conflicts in Mozambique and Angola triggered
2 by the Cold War were settled in 1992 and 19941.
Democratization also had a chance, but in Central Africa the democratic winds blew less strongly after
1993. The Pax Americana of the Cold War was replaced by cooperation with a
new generation of military rulers. But they have failed to fill the security
vacuum and chaos still prevails.
Almost 15 years have passed since the end of the Cold War. What follows is a
tentative balance of the outcome for the Great Lakes Region in Central Africa.
2. Africa and the “wind of change” 1990-1993
In 1990, François Mitterrand and George Bush Sr. engaged in unprecedented
cooperation to help Africa free itself from the – mostly military – regimes that
had been established during the Cold War.
Traveling to South Africa to greet Nelson Mandela, Secretary of State, James
Baker, accompanied by his “Mister Africa”, Herman Cohen, made a stop-over
in Kinshasa in March 1990. He announced to Mobutu Sese Seko that a new era
was about to begin in U.S.-African relations.2 In future there was to be no
place for Mobutu and other Cold War “cronies”. On 24 April 1990, Mobutu
complied with American wishes and resigned as President of the State Party,
which had hitherto been the legal basis of his power.
Speaking at the Franco-African summit held in the French resort of La Baule in
June 1990, Mitterrand declared the end of the special Franco-African relations
established by De Gaulle’s “Mister Africa”, Jacques Foccart, during the Cold
War. Mitterrand told his audience that moderate democratization would be
the precondition for further French support.
Thus in a “concerted” French-American action the train to democracy was put
under steam in sub-Saharan Africa. Some African leaders wondered where this
new “liberation” would end. One head of an African secret service foresaw the
significance of the new wind. In May 1992, he wrote: “Africans no longer have
a choice, for both the East and the West – and all states – have to become
reconciled with one another and speak the same language. (…) It is only a
matter of time and it all depends on the process adopted by each country to
initiate the inevitable changes.”3
Often acting under pressure from the younger generations, sub-Saharan Africa
started to introduce the inevitable changes4. Round tables and national
conferences mushroomed everywhere. America financed Zaire’s National
Sovereign Conference, for instance, which was designed to prepare the ground
for the democratic era after Mobutu. Even the Rwandan President, Juvenal Habyarimana, who had expressed doubts about the “new wind” during the
summit at La Baule in June 1990, announced on 28 April 1991 that his state
party MRND was ready to renounce its monopoly on power despite the civil
war that had been forced on him since 1 October 1990 by the Tutsi exile
organization, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
Democratization had become a part of the popular agenda. But by the time
President Clinton took office on 20 January 1993 the “wind of change” had
lost momentum. The Franco-American “entente” began to suffer when Herman
Cohen was obliged to leave office as Assistant Secretary of State for Africa.
Nevertheless, Franco-American cooperation in Central Africa did produce one
final result. France and the United States succeeded in arranging the Arusha
Power-Sharing Agreements5 of 3 August 1993 that were intended to settle the
Rwandan civil war. They stipulated that French soldiers were to leave Rwanda
after the establishment of a transitional government.
3. The Great Lakes Region and democratization after 1993
In late 1993, the democratic train got derailed somewhere between Sudan,
Somalia, Rwanda and Uganda. The Somalia disaster had transformed the U.S.
commitment in Central and East Africa. As Sidney Blumenthal put it, Clinton
“fled” Africa in October 1993: “On October 3, 1993 (…) gleeful crowds
dragged the corpses of American soldiers through the streets and burned
them before television cameras. Within days, Clinton announced a U.S.
withdrawal.” (BLUMENTHAL 2003:61)
Secretary of Defense, Leslie Aspin, was held accountable for the disaster and was forced to resign shortly afterwards.
Clinton promised the nation that he would only send American soldiers to
Africa if national interests were affected. The decision to rule out any military
intervention had serious consequences. For some the problem was how the
fight could be waged against the fundamentalist regime led by General Omar
al-Bashir and – initially - the philosopher Hassan al-Turabi, which had seized
power in a military coup d’état in Khartoum in 1989, if there was to be no U.S.
military involvement. From that point onwards, all the surrounding states
were assessed in terms of their usefulness in the battle against the Khartoum
The Bush administration had also been interested in Sudan, where oil reserves
had recently been discovered. However, George Bush Sr. had adopted a
different approach, since the exploitation of these resources was conditional
upon peace in the region and an end to the conflict between Northern and
3.1 Sudan 1990-2001
Most people expected that Clinton with his “leftist” leanings would pressurize
the Bashir-Turabi regime into a process of democratization in line with the
Bush-Mitterrand approach that had been adopted after the end of the Cold
War. But things took a different course. Clinton and Madeleine Albright,the 4
new American Ambassador to the U.N., considered Sudan to be a “rogue state”
and the number one enemy in Central Africa6. They therefore opted for a
proxy approach (“get others to fight your war”)7, a well known strategy that
had been applied during the Cold War.
Mitterrand was unlikely to comply with the intended “regime change” in
Khartoum. He was apparently not informed about Washington’s Sudan policy
and could not understand the effects this new policy had on the Rwandan
problem. After the Somalia disaster of 3 October 1993, Madeleine Albright
used all the tricks in the book to minimize a U.S. contribution to the UNAMIR
peace keeping force envisaged in the Arusha Agreements. These activities were
the first signs that the U.S. wished to reduce its commitment in favour of
power sharing in Rwanda, help Museveni and his friend, Paul Kagame, to win
the Rwandan war, and find other anti-Khartoum allies.
After the RPF victory in Rwanda in 1994, UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali
was considered in Washington to be a “French and Sudanese sympathizer”. He
became a prominent victim of the approach to Sudan. Richard Clarke reveals a
strange deal: “Albright and I and a handful of others (Michael Sheehan, Jamie
Rubin) had entered into a pact together in 1996 to oust Boutros-Ghali as
Secretary-General of the United Nations, a secret plan we had called Operation
Orient Express (…). The entire operation had strengthened Albright’s hand in
the competition to be Secretary of State in the second Clinton administration.”
(CLARKE 2004:201/202). This pact was forged after an attempt – attributed to
the Khartoum regime – to kill Egypt’s President Mubarak during a conference
of the Organization for African Unity in Addis Ababa in June 1995. “Following
that event, Egypt and we (joined by other countries in the region) sought and
obtained the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions on Sudan.” (CLARKE
Unfortunately, all the neighboring countries ready to fight Bashir had bad
democratic records, thus ruling out any “democratic option”. The U.S.
government decided to support the rebels in Southern Sudan. “The war was
reinvigorated by the Clinton Administration’s support for the SPLA faction led
by John Garang, and by Washington’s encouragement of several of Sudan’s
neighbors to assist the rebels” (HOILE 2000:110)8.
As will be shown below, all the wars that took place in the region (Rwanda,
Burundi and Congo/Zaire) were influenced by that option. Before coming back
to these tragic events we will first follow the “Sudan line” in 1998.
Sudan 1998: A war that did not happen
Between 1994 and 1998 the strategic setting for the battle against Khartoum
underwent a complete change. In 1994, the former rebel leader, Paul Kagame,
had been installed in Rwanda with the help of Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni and financed by Western allies. In Burundi, former President Pierre
Buyoya had returned to power thanks to a Western-sponsored coup in July
1996 and Laurent Kabila had been “enthroned” in the renamed Democratic
Republic of Congo in May 1997. France’s military forces had left the region.
Given this new “rapport des forces”, it was foreseeable that there would be an
attempt to oust the Khartoum regime.
In December 1997, Madeleine Albright
publicly encouraged John Garang to prepare for the conquest of power in the
Sudanese capital.9 On 25 March 1998, Clinton attended a strange meeting in Entebbe. The key participants (Afewerki/Eritrea, L. Kabila/Congo-Kinshasa, Kagame/Rwanda,
Museveni/Uganda and Zenawi/Ethiopia) were military rulers who had no
intention of introducing a genuine democratic order. Clinton was joined by
these leaders in signing a communiqué on a “U.S.-Africa partnership to
promote human rights, democracy and stability”.
Rather than promoting democracy the meeting was intended to prepare for war against Khartoum with the help of this so-called “new generation of
African leaders”. But the war never took place. Shortly after Clinton left Africa,
an absurd war broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Laurent Kabila, whose
anti-democratic record – according to different reports in the press – had
made Clinton feel very uneasy in Entebbe, used this war as an excuse to leave
the anti-Khartoum alliance and try to get rid of his Rwandan “protectors” in
late July 1998. As a result the anti-Khartoum alliance collapsed.
The bomb attack in Sudan in 1998
While the planned war failed to materialize, the joint U.S.-U.K. policy initiative
to topple the Sudan government continued.
Although Richard Clarke (CLARKE 2004: 180 ff) would like to make the world
believe that the bombing of a chemical plant in Khartoum on 20 August 1998
in retaliation for the Al Qaida attacks on the American embassies in Nairobi
and Dar-es-Salaam was a success story, in fact it was a failure10. This attack
only exacerbated anti-American feelings, because the Sudan government had
apparently not supported Osama bin Laden after he left Sudan in 1995. The
failed attempt to kill bin Laden the same day in Afghanistan reinforced his
belief that he was protected by “providence” and so he stepped up the fight
against the “American devil”.
Despite the improved relations between Sudan and Egypt, there was no
change in the policy to bring about a regime change in Khartoum before the 6
end of the Clinton era. Even Jimmy Carter, who cannot be suspected of
excessive sympathy with Muslim fundamentalism, disapproved of this
inflexible approach in 1999. “The people in Sudan want to resolve the
conflict. The biggest obstacle is U.S. government policy. The U.S. is committed
to overthrowing the government in Khartoum. Any sort of peace effort is
aborted, basically by policies of the United States. Instead of working for peace
in Sudan, the U.S. government has basically promoted a continuation of the
The crusade against the Islamic regime in Khartoum was designed to deter
Arab opposition to a peace settlement with the Palestinians, but it proved
abortive. Indeed, it destroyed the positive impact of America’s intervention on
behalf of Muslim groups in the Balkans.
3.2 Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi 1993-2001
As explained above, the wars that took place in Rwanda, Burundi and
Zaire/Congo after October 1993 were largely the result of an attempt to oust
the regime in Khartoum by force but without American soldiers.
The first allies to understand the significance of that strategy were Ugandan
President Yoweri Museveni and RPF leader Paul Kagame.
Before autumn 1993, the U.S. government had favoured power sharing
between the Rwandan government and the RPF exile groups that had tried to
fight their way to power since the first invasion of 1 October 1990. The “tricky
twins”, Museveni and Kagame, were therefore obliged to accept the Arusha
Agreements in August 1993. But given the obvious weakness of the Rwandan
Army after the RPF attack on 8 February 1993 and the clear indications made
during the Arusha negotiations that France wished to extricate itself from the
Rwandan bourbier (quagmire) as soon as possible, Museveni and Kagame
contacted their Anglophone friends to convince them that a full RPF victory
would be in their own best interests, too.
A new Rwanda might also be useful
in transporting supplies to the border between Zaire and Sudan in support of
John Garang’s SPLA. Museveni had offered to help fight Khartoum on
condition that his military-controlled system of “democracy without parties”
be protected from democratization. For Museveni, cooperation with the U.S.
and U.K. against Khartoum had the additional advantage of presenting the
rebellion of the “Lord’s Resistance Army” in Northern Uganda as part of the
activities pursued by Khartoum.
Lynda Chalker, the long-standing
conservative Head of the Overseas Development Administration and Minister
for Overseas Development (1986-1992), had introduced the former Marxist,
Yoweri Museveni, to the “good society” after his military victory in 1986,
which had been achieved with the help of Rwandan Tutsi exiles living in
Uganda since the 1960s. Museveni suggested to his new allies in London and
Washington that they should help him solve the “Tutsi problem”. If they
would support him in sending his Tutsi exiles back home to Rwanda, he said,7
his regime would be stabilized12 and in return he could concentrate on the
In addition Museveni and Kagame managed to convince their partners of the
crucial need to get rid of “Mitterrand’s friend”, Juvenal Habyarimana, who
was the main obstacle to military victory. The stage was thus set in the
autumn of 1993. Decisions were also taken on who should be held
accountable for the inevitable “collateral damage” that this operation would
On 6 April 1994, the Rwandan presidential aircraft “fell” from the sky
in what is still presented as a “mystery”. As a result President Habyarimana,
his Burundian colleague Ntaryamira and the most important Rwandan
military leaders were killed. Within a period of just six months, therefore, a
second President of Burundi had been killed following the murder of Melchior
Ndadaye on 21 October 1993.
The elimination of the Hutu presidents and the
chaos it created were regarded as supplementary security measures for the
resumption of the civil war in Rwanda. Nobody seemed concerned by these
assassinations. They were a consequence of the long tradition of impunity that
had prevailed in Burundi since the 1972 genocide against the Hutu elite13.
On 7 April 1994, just a few hours after the the shooting down of the
presidential aircraft, Paul Kagame, who was never short of the necessary
military supplies via Kampala, launched the aggression that was ultimately to
take him to Kigali on 4 July 1994. After driving the Rwandan army, followed
by millions of Hutu refugees, out of the country, the RPF set up a new
government on 19 July 1994. Between 6 April and 17 July Rwanda had been
witness to a fully-fledged massacre.
Rwandan troops twice invaded neighboring Zaire/Congo. During the first campaign 1996/1997 thousands of Hutu refugees driven out of the camps in Zaire were killed in the Congolese forests. The “missing link” between the aggressive policy towards Sudan and the events in Rwanda was Roger Winter, the long-time head of the state-sponsored U.S. Committee for Refugees. Winter had long-standing ties with the Rwandan Tutsis in Ugandan exile. He was one of the organizers of the Washington conference in 1988 at which the “liberation war” of the RPF was discussed confidentially for the first time.
But Winter was also a friend of John Garang. In Washington he interpreted
Garang’s rebellion as a liberation movement15. Like Museveni, Garang had
found a British “sponsor” after the defeat of his friend, Mengistu, in Ethiopia
in 1991. The conservative Baroness Caroline Cox, currently President of the
NGO “Christian Solidarity Worldwide”, was very interested in fighting the 8
Islamic fundamentalists and welcomed John Garang as an ally, overlooking his
“dirty Marxist past”. Along with Museveni, Garang, Zenawi and Afewerki, the
military victors in Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1991 were happy to be protected
from the “wind of change” by joining the new anti-Khartoum alliance.
3.3.1 The first “Albright War” and the “enthronement” of Kabila I
In addition to the Tutsi population in Rwanda and the unknown numbers of
Hutus killed to satisfy the RPF’s lust for revenge after its victory, the Rwandan
Hutu refugees in Eastern Zaire and the Congolese population at large became
the victims of the RPF’s triumph.
The two Congo wars undertaken by Rwanda and Uganda with foreign support
can be characterized as “Albright wars” because of the Secretary of State’s
major involvement in their planning. The first war aimed at ousting Mobutu
and preventing Etienne Tshisekedi from succeeding him broke out shortly
after President Clinton’s re-election in November 1996. At that time Madeleine
Albright was nominated for the position of Secretary of State, to be assumed
in January 1997.
Together with her new Assistant Secretary of State, Susan
Rice, and Gayle Smith, who was responsible for Africa in the National Security
Council, she formed a “triumvirate” 16 that prepared a “new African order”.
The aforementioned Roger Winter helped to broker the Congo “liberation
war” that was aimed at bringing Laurent Kabila to Kinshasa.17
Kagame had succeeded in convincing his allies, who were soon “driven by an
acute guilt syndrome after the genocide” (REYNTJENS 2004:179), that
Rwanda’s security was endangered by the refugee camps which had been set
up in Eastern Zaire.
In the beginning, the Pentagon told the Congress that
these refugees would soon be returning to Rwanda.18 When this did not
happen and the American public subsequently tired of spending vast sums of
dollars, the “final solution” materialized.
The fate of the Rwandan refugees
during the “long march to the West” has been documented by several
participants19. The most recent publication is by Antoine Mpayimana
(MPAYIMANA 2004). In 2000, Beatrice Umutesi, a former NGO employee in
Rwanda, issued a haunting report on what she suffered when fleeing through
the Congo forests. (UMUTESI 2000). Gaspard Musabyimana has written the
best documented book on the fate of the Rwandan refugees (MUSABYIMANA 2004). Maurice Niwese provided testimony of his sufferings in the form of a
narrative and a novel (NIWESE 2001; NIWESE 2003).
But the destruction of the refugee camps in Eastern Zaire and the death of
their inmates in the Congo forests was not the principal aim. Laurent Kabila, a
long-time American foe, was given a U.S.-hired aircraft with an American pilot
to organize the seizure of power in Kinshasa by the Rwandan and Ugandan-led
coalition, AFDL. On 17 May 1997, Laurent Kabila was “enthroned”, while
Etienne Tshisekedi, the leader of the most important democratic party, UDPS,
could not understand why he was being prevented from succeeding the
moribund Mobutu Sese Seko.20 He had been elected prime minister by the
National Sovereign Conference on 15 August 1992 but prevented from taking
office by a Mobutu intrigue.
When the U.S. became aware in 1996 that Mobutu’s days were numbered, they
hurried to find a successor who would be ready to continue supporting John
Garang in Southern Sudan from Zairian territory. The nationalist Tshisekedi
was unlikely to play that role. The Anglophone world preferred an ally who
would be fully dependent on them. Kagame and Museveni proposed Laurent
Kabila and their suggestion was accepted. As described above, he was due to
play his part in the “war that never happened”.
3.3.2 A war to enthrone Kabila II (“little Jo”21) in Kinshasa
When Laurent Kabila broke with his Rwandan “godfathers” on 2 August 1998
he became an enemy of Madeleine Albright, who just 18 months earlier had
been his fervent supporter. Susan Rice and the Pentagon helped Kagame to
organize the second Congo military intervention. This was initially successful
but then ended in failure because Kabila was able to forge a coalition with
Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia to support him. Nonetheless, Rwanda and
Uganda were able to occupy vast parts of Congo. Running out of time after
George W. Bush had won the presidential elections in November 2000, the
“triumvirate” must have been happy that somebody was ready to kill Kabila I
on 16 January 2001. Three days before leaving office on 20 January 2001
Madeleine Albright – together with a strange coalition of supporters including
Kampala, Kigali, Luanda22, Harare, Paris, London and Berlin – succeeded in
“enthroning” a certain Joseph Kabila23 in Kinshasa. At that time Kabila II was
almost unknown to the rest of the world. He spoke only Swahili and English but neither French, the official language in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
nor Lingala, the widespread lingua franca.
3.4 Clinton and Africa
Sidney Blumenthal is probably correct when he writes: “For Africans there was
never before an American president like Clinton – given his commitment to
Africa’s progress in economic development, the conquest of AIDS, and the
advancement of human rights. On his trip to Ghana, more than one million
people greeted him24, the largest outpouring he had ever seen.”
(BLUMENTHAL 2003:654) But this globally positive assessment fails to match
his administration’s poor democratic record in Central Africa. With American
help the democratic movement collapsed in 1993 – with fatal consequences
for the region. Democratization was given no further impetus during Clinton’s
period in office. In a much-acclaimed article Peter Rosenblum draws a very
critical balance of the African policy pursued during the Clinton era
The main points are:
• the price paid for the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front’s seizure
of power by military force in Kigali and its disregard of the Arusha
Agreements was twofold: the genocide against the Tutsis and the deaths
of thousands of RPF Hutu victims;
• Pierre Buyoya was given the support that enabled him to take power in
Bujumbura by military means in July 1996;
• Rwanda was allowed to kill thousands of Rwandan refugees in the Congo
forests in 1996/1997;
• the leader of the democratic party UDPS, Etienne Tshisekedi, was
prevented from becoming Mobutu’s democratically elected successor;
• the choice of Laurent Kabila soon proved to be a mistake;
• the democratization process was hampered – or at least slowed down –
in Uganda, Eritrea and Ethiopia;
• U.S. policy towards Sudan was ideologically motivated and very
ambiguous as regards the peace process (even the Nobel Peace Price
winner, Jimmy Carter, was very critical); and
• only days before leaving office the Clinton administration opted to
bring Joseph Kabila “to power” in Kinshasa, even though he was
absolutely powerless and far from being legitimized.
There is no doubt that Clinton profoundly regrets not having saved the Tutsi
population in Rwanda in 1994 and having been one of the “bystanders to
genocide” (POWER 2001). Regrettably, he fails to explain in his recent book
My Life why Washington opted for an RPF victory that was to trigger the
4. Excursus: Present knowledge of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda in
1994 and the Kagame regime 24 On 23 March 1998.
In large parts of the world the initial explanation given for the Tutsi genocide
is still the “official doctrine”. According to this explanation, some extremist
groups within the Hutu-dominated Habyarimana state planned the
extermination of the Tutsi minority once and for all and they took the civil
war as a pretext to put their plan into practice. In the first years after the
assassination of the two presidents on 6 April 1994, these extremists were
held accountable for the shooting down of the presidential aircraft.
As this version became more and more unlikely following many testimonies by RPF
dissidents to the effect that the RPF leader, Paul Kagame, was responsible for
the attack, there was a shift in the line of argument. From then on it was
asserted that the genocide would have occurred even without the terrorist
crime. The fact that the genocide had happened was taken as evidence that it
had been planned in detail. Hard facts to prove it appeared unnecessary.
People who asked for verifiable evidence risked being blamed as sympathizers
of those who had committed the genocide. Leave none to tell the story, the
most comprehensive work (DES FORGES 1999) on the Tutsi genocide, has been
published by the Human Rights Watch consultant, Alison Des Forges.
Her assumptions about the planning of the genocide before the assassination of
Habyarimana are based mainly on anonymous documents. Alison Des Forges
helped to model the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
(ICTR) on the Nuremberg Tribunal of 1946. Nuremberg was rightly based on
the hypothesis that a limited number of “planners” had conceived the
holocaust. In contrast to the protocols of the Wannsee Conference held in
Berlin on 20 January 1942 there is no document to prove that the genocide
was planned. The Tutsi genocide, however, was much more spontaneous than
the extermination of the Jews by the German authorities. Hence the ICTR
structure is inappropriate to the Rwandan case and things are not proceeding
Irrespective of whether it was planned in advance or not, the outcome of the
Rwandan Tutsi genocide was monstrous. However, the lack of any irrefutable
evidence for the planning theory results in different analyses of the Rwandan
case. The genocide happened because it “proved feasible” when the United
States, the United Kingdom and Belgium made clear that they would not
prevent the killers from spreading out in the country and doing “their job”
after an initial phase of political killings perpetrated mainly by the
Presidential Guard. The first sign that the militias might transform these
killings into full genocide against the Tutsi population came on 12 April 1994,
when the Belgian blue helmets left the compound of the ETO vocational
training school and looked on as a waiting mob killed some 2,000 people,
most of them Tutsis.
The next signal was the withdrawal on 15 April 1994 of
the well-equipped European soldiers after they had evacuated all the “whites”.
The ultimate “permit to proceed” resulted from the decision taken by the UN
Security Council on 21 April 1994 to reduce the contingent of UN blue
helmets to the symbolic number of 270 poorly equipped soldiers.
Linda Melvern’s first book A people betrayed (MELVERN 2000) provided extensive
evidence of how the international community had consciously abandoned the Rwandan people.25 In fact, the Tutsi were sacrificed in order to facilitate the
military victory of the returning nephews of the former Tutsi nobility. As
already outlined above, the interests of the “sponsors” of that victory are
linked to the “Sudan syndrome”.
The “official version” – that the Tutsi could not have been protected because
of the ruthless determination of the supposed planners to carry out their plan
come what may – has been treated extensively in the literature. Rakiya
Omaar’s Rwanda. Death, Despair and Defiance (OMAAR 1994), which may
rightly be termed the unofficial presentation of the RPF version of the events,
was the first book “on the market” 26. Other important protagonists of the
“official reading”, such as the Belgian journalist, Colette Breackman, and the
French researcher, Gérard Prunier, “a one-time active ally of Museveni’s
NRA” 27, who initially welcomed Paul Kagame as a “liberator”, later became
very critical of his “new order” and revised the content of the books they
published in 1994/5. Even Alison Des Forges, while fiercely defending the
theory that the Tutsi genocide was planned, recently blamed Rwanda for
ignoring fundamental rights by banning the much-respected human rights
organization LIPRODHOR.28 The author of the idea that the mere use of the
words Hutu and Tutsi was a sign of racial thinking is the French historian,
Jean-Pierre Chrétien, who spent most of his professional life in Bujumbura,
where the Bagaza regime made this interpretation part of the state ideology.
As indicated in its title, the OAU Report A preventable genocide drawn up by
Ketumile Masire (MASIRE 2000) provided an affirmative answer to the
question of whether the international community could have protected the
Tutsis. But, 10 years after the events, this response is contested by the
American researcher, Alan Kuperman, for instance, who maintains that the
speed of the killings made an intervention impossible.29
Kuperman’s assertions contradict the assurances given by the UNAMIR
Commander, General Roméo Dallaire, and the findings of his Deputy
Commander, Colonel Luc Marchal, who emphasised the availability of some
5,000 well-trained troops on 12 April 1994 during the evacuation of
foreigners. If they had been deployed to stop the non-armed youth militias,
Marchal says, a part of the Rwandan army would have been ready to join
them (MARCHAL 2001:251/252). In that case more than 10,000 soldiers
would have been on hand to halt the incipient genocide. Under these
circumstances the RPF would no longer have been in a position to embark on
the decisive conquest to seize power in Kigali and to ignore the provisions of the Arusha Agreements. In other words, the genocide would not have
But the European soldiers left Rwanda and on 21 April 1994 the Security
Council allowed the RPF to continue its conquest of power.
In his book Shake hands with the devil General Roméo Dallaire fiercely
accuses the international community of having adopted a racist attitude in
abandoning the Rwandan people (DALLAIRE 2003). (The concurrent events in
Bosnia-Herzegovina were considered to be far more important for the “white
world”). Dallaire’s book is a touching document of the suffering felt by a
soldier who failed to shield the people he was supposed to protect.
Unfortunately General Dallaire doesn’t reveal all he knows in his book. In
January 2004, Dallaire supplied very important additional information when
testifying at the Arusha Tribunal. He said Paul Kagame had been warned by
sympathizers about the consequences of the strategy he was pursuing. He
confirmed the answer Kagame had given, i.e. that the Tutsi victims within the
country were the necessary prize that had to be paid for his victory.30
The most comprehensive book documenting the “critical version” of the
background to the Rwandan catastrophe has been written by James Gasana
(GASANA 2002). This book – though critical of the long-standing state party
MRND – satisfies high standards of research in refuting the global planning
theory. (Unfortunately no publisher has been willing to print an English
translation.) A very detailed and valuable description of the RPF aggression
from 1990 onwards has recently been published by Gaspard Musabyimana, a
former civil servant during the Habyarimana era (MUSABYIMANA 2003). A
very readable short analysis of post-independence Rwandan society has been
written by Eneas Gakusi and Frédérique Mouzer (GAKUSI and MOUZER 2003).
Léonard Nduwayo describes the events in the Giti Commune, where the Tutsis
were protected by the Hutu population. Nevertheless, the RPF committed
massacres against the Hutu population when conquering the region
The book published by the Paris-based journalist, Charles Onana, who hails
from Cameroon, and the Rwandan RPF dissident, Déo Mushayidi (ONANA and
MUSHAYIDI 2001), proved a sensation. They were the first to point to Paul
Kagame as the person mainly responsible for the assassination of the two
presidents31, although Marie-Roger Biloa, the publisher of the Paris-based
monthly, AFRICA INTERNATIONAL, had pointed out much earlier that she did
not believe Habyarimana had been killed by “Hutu extremists”.32
Non-Africans, in particular Robin Philpot33 and the author of this article, have
always maintained “That’s not the way things happened in Kigali“ 34 – the title Robin Philpot gave to his book (PHILPOT 2003). The publications by Strizek35 –
mostly in German and issued by Alois Graf von Waldburg-Zeil, the co-editor of
INTERNATIONALES AFRIKAFORUM – were among the first (in 1994) to dismiss
the notion that the downing of the Rwandan presidential aircraft on 6 April
1994 had been the work of “Hutu extremists”. None of them could have had
any interest in killing the very important Hutu passengers on board. On the
contrary, their death paved the way for the military victory of the RPF troops.
Many authors36 do not exclude the possibility that extremist circles may have
planned the mass murder of Tutsis, but they criticize the international
community for its lack of activity in preventing the genocide. They also stress
the refusal of the RPF to save the Tutsis and condemn the killings that took
place in the zones it controlled. Most interesting in this respect is the
conclusion recently presented by the French university professor, André
Guichaoua, after 10 years of intensive research. While upholding the assertion
that members of the former Habyarimana regime planned to commit genocide
37, Guichaoua states that the RPF decided at the end of 1993 to eliminate
Habyarimana. Kagame was fully aware of the consequences for the Tutsis. He
knew that the assassination of Habyarimana would “liberate the most fanatic
elements within the enemy camp.” 38 Guichaoua confirms that the RPF used
terrorist methods, killed the most important politicians in the Habyarimana
opposition and attributed the crimes to Habyarimana. Guichaoua points, in
particular, to the cases of Emmanuel Gapyisi and Félicien Gatabazi and reveals
the names of their RPF murderers39. (Up to now most observers have believed
the RPF version that they were murdered by “Hutu extremists”.)
Some French authors (Verschave, Hatzfeld, recently Patrick de Saint-Exupéry
and others) still pretend – as Paul Kagame does – that the genocide was
prepared with the help of France, despite the fact that the French soldiers had
left Kigali for good before Christmas 1993 and that the genocide was mainly
executed with machetes. French soldiers were not “trained” to teach the
militias how to handle such “arms”.
Further scrutiny is needed of the role played by the mass media irrespective
of the findings of the ICTR mass media trial. After gaining victory, the RPF
succeeded in hiding the recordings of its propaganda station, Radio
MUHABURA, and in blaming only Habyarimana for having produced
dangerous political propaganda with the help of the RTLM radio station.
Initially, in July 1993, RTLM was merely the “regime’s answer” to MUHABURA,the propaganda station founded by the RPF. As Jean-Marie Biju-Duval40 has
pointed out, prior to 6 April 1994 RTLM engaged – in strictly legal terms – in
the broadcasting of political propaganda, although its message may be
interpreted as extreme. Only after the assassination of Habyarimana did RTLM
became the non-legal voice of hatred and incitement to mass killings. At that
moment, Radio RTLM objectively helped Kagame to convince his friends that
he could no longer cooperate with the Hutu partners of the Arusha
Agreements. How was it possible that RTLM only called publicly for an end to
the killings of the Tutsi41 in June 1994 when it became aware of the
counterproductive effect of its radio propaganda? In the light of the Ruzibiza
testimony some people feel that the RPF could have infiltrated undercover
agents into the RTLM crew.
In fact, the public testimony given by Abdul Ruzibiza (RUZIBIZA 2004), an RPF
dissident now living in Norway, has provided an astonishing account of
Kagame’s strategy. Ruzibiza, an offspring of the Nyiginya, the former royal
family, grew up inside Rwanda and joined the RPF, subsequently rising to the
rank of officer. After the victory, when becoming aware, firstly, that his family
could have been saved by the RPF and, secondly, that the Rwandan-born
Tutsis were being “tossed aside” by the returned exiles from Uganda, he left
the country and became one of the most important witnesses for the French
judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière. On 10 March 2004, the French daily Le Monde
revealed the findings of the judge’s long-prepared investigation. Bruguière
concludes that Paul Kagame must be held accountable for shooting down the
presidential aircraft on 6 April 1994 and thus of triggering the Tutsi genocide.
The following quotations indicate the thrust of Ruzibiza’s accusations:
“I am convinced that the genocide was the result of the problems caused by
the war started in 1990, especially by the behaviour of the Rwandan Patriotic
Army RPA in the areas it had conquered. (…) I am convinced and I affirm that
the RPA massacred people of all ethnic groups with the objective of sowing
anarchy to facilitate its seizure of power, even if the price was the
extermination of a whole people. (…) I believe from the bottom of my heart
that the allegations that President Paul Kagame was responsible for giving the
order to shoot down Habyarimana’s plane are true. (…) I am convinced that, if
the RPF had so wanted, the genocide would not have taken place. I am also
convinced that, even if the government and Interahamwe had planned to
exterminate Tutsis as part of the genocide, the RPA had already acquired the
necessary power to reduce the damage from a million dead to less than one
hundred thousand. This means that the RPF did not give any assistance to the
threatened people even though it had the means to do so.”42 In an interview with Voice of America on 2 May 2004 Ruzibiza explained that
Kagame disdained the Tutsis in Rwanda and justified his policy by saying that
Tutsis living inside Rwanda had actually become like Hutus under the
Habyarimana regime. He reveals also that a lot of Tutsis had been infiltrated
into the Interahamwe militias to help them to organize their “work”.43
Only a few weeks later a former RPA Lieutenant, Aloys Ruyenzi, submitted a
similarly surprising testimony (RUYENZI 2004). A long-term employee
together with Kagame in the Ugandan Directorate of Military Intelligence and
one of his bodyguards after the victory, he was a key eye-witness of many
crucial events. Among his most important statements are:
• “Major-General Paul Kagame personally ordered the shooting down of
President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane. (…) I attended the final
meeting at which the plan was hatched. I was there physically and I
even know the names of those who carried out the shooting.
• Before the plan to get rid of Juvenal Habyarimana was hatched,
meetings had been going on to prepare the final assault on Kigali. (…)
• All the reports unanimously stated that the Tutsis would be wiped out if
the war resumed. (…) Major-General Paul Kagame did not care at all
about those threats.(…) It is sufficient to recall that Kagame himself
used to say that the Tutsis living in Rwanda were opportunists and
reactionary elements who had refused to flee [after 1959].
• What he does will inevitably lead to a new wave of ethnic conflict and
Tutsis will again be the main victims.”
Ruzibiza and Ruyenzi are not the only dissident RPF witnesses. Before them
Christophe Hakizabera, Jean-Pierre Mugabe, Deus Kagiraneza, Major Furuma,
Joseph Sebarenzi, Valens Kajeguhakwa and others had revealed details of
Kagame’s inhuman strategy.44
The most important “black hole” still concerns the decisions made in
Washington and London regarding support for the RPF victory and the
knowledge these two capitals had about the preparations for the assassination
of the two presidents on 6 April 1994. They did all they could to prevent an
investigation. And why doesn’t the French government publish the Bruguière
Report? Regarding the UN Security Council’s decision of 21 April 1994 to
withdraw the UNAMIR, Madeleine Albright stated in an interview on 25
February 2004 that she merely called in the aforementioned Richard Clarke to
the National Security Council but not the National Security Adviser, Tony
Lake. Why? “I think he probably was busy. I don’t know.” This answer is not
very convincing for a person who affirms: “I wish it had been possible for us
to do more. (…) I have reviewed the record a lot, and I don’t think actually
that we could have done more. (…) It was a secretly planned genocide …and
then a volcanic explosion of this horror. This is my firm belief; that even if we
had been able to get anybody there, it could not have been stopped because it was just so – volcanic is the only word.” 45 After 10 years she just repeats the
The number of Hutus killed in the area conquered by the RPF during and after
the war still remains a secret. Charles Karemano has described in a very
touching way how the RPF systematically killed even those Hutus who had
demonstrated their neutrality or sympathy for the “new order” (KAREMANO
2003). Seth Sendashonga, a Hutu and long-standing member of the RPF, was
the first Minister of the Interior in the new government formed on 19 July
1994. When he realised that these killings were intended to systematically
discourage the return of the refugees from Zaire, he left the government
together with Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu in August 1995 and
sought exile in Kenya, where he was murdered on 16 May 1998.
Research is also needed in respect of the role played by General Dallaire, since
Jacques Roger Booh-Booh, his “political boss” in Rwanda, severely criticized
his policy. Before 6 April 1994, Dallaire was accused of not having passed on
to New York the information provided by Booh-Booh concerning the RPF’s
preparations to resume the war. After the downing of the presidential aircraft,
Booh-Booh blamed Dallaire for having interfered politically in favour of Prime
Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, although he had no mandate to do so46. Was
her death a few hours later the result of Dallaire’s lack of wisdom in urging
her to speak to the nation on Radio Rwanda?47
The whole truth about what happened in Rwanda before and after the Tutsi
genocide cannot be established as long as all the powers involved in the UN
Security Council decision of 21 April 1994 to abandon the Tutsi population
are determined to keep the main documents and evidence classified for as
long as possible.
5. The George W. Bush administration and Africa since January
When he took office in January 2001, President George W. Bush inherited a
very unpleasant situation in Central Africa:
• Rwanda and Uganda occupied a large part of the re-named Democratic
Republic of Congo;
• the war between the North and the South continued in Sudan;
• Burundi was still ruled by a military regime;
• Joseph Kabila had just been installed in Kinshasa, where he depended
on military support from leaders such as Robert Mugabe, Sam Nujoma
and Eduardo Dos Santos who, when seen through his ideological glasses,
were very unpleasant; • in Southern Angola the U.S. still was covertly supporting the anti-Dos
Santos rebel, Jonas Savimbi.
The new administration was especially unhappy with the ongoing wars in
regions where only peace would serve U.S. interests in the supply of oil.
Africa was accorded new significance in American foreign policy decisionmaking
when two conservative Afro-Americans were appointed to important
positions in Washington: Colin Powell as Secretary of State and Condoleezza
Rice as National Security Adviser.
Only ten days after coming to office, Colin Powell took the occasion of the
annual Prayer Breakfast48 with the U.S. president to invite Paul Kagame and
Joseph Kabila to discuss the “Congo file”. As a military man, he was quite
aware that the ongoing occupation of large parts of Congo territory by
Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe was likely to trigger a guerrilla war. Like
others, he may have suspected his predecessor of promising that the two Kivu
provinces in Eastern Congo would become part of the Rwandan state by way
of compensation for the proxy war to bring Laurent Kabila to power in
Kinshasa on 17 May 1997. Colin Powell was opposed to such a transfer and he
therefore declared publicly on 1 February 2001 that the integrity of Congolese
territory must be respected. At a meeting in New York on 13 September 2002,
he succeeded in persuading President Bush to force Kagame to withdraw from
Congo, as had been agreed between Kabila II and Paul Kagame in Pretoria on
30 July 2002. Kagame complied in October 2002, and on 17 December 2002 a
global political agreement on the sharing of power between the prevailing
forces in Congo, the setting up of transitional institutions and the holding of
presidential elections in June 2005 was signed in Pretoria.
Shortly after, with the Iraq war looming, Kagame found new supporters in
Washington by declaring himself to be a part of the “coalition of the willing”.
Ignoring the promises he had given in September 2002, Kagame attempted to
use this cover to maintain his military influence in Eastern Congo, but was
forced to withdraw by the French-led Artemis operation in Bunia in June
2003. In May 2004, Kagame sought to exploit the troubles in Darfur and thus
thwart the peace process in Congo by supporting a rebellion within the new
Congo army. The rebels failed and Kagame had to allow Colonel Mutebesi and
300 of his mutineers to cross the Rwandan border.
Colin Powell has tried hard to find a solution to the problems in Congo.
Unfortunately, he cannot be sure when he leaves office in January 2005 that
the presidential elections scheduled for June 2005 will actually be held. In
Rwanda he had to accept “Soviet-style” presidential elections in August 2003.
He cannot be happy with that “democratic performance”.
Sudan: Danforth Report, peace agreements and the Darfur crisis
From the very beginning the Bush Jr. administration took a new stance on
Sudan. The country was no longer just an Islamic fundamentalist foe. The U.S.
needs peace between the North and the South if it is to participate in the exploitation of the Sudanese oil resources that are to be found in both parts of
the country. The Sudanese government responded positively to the new
approach and used the situation after 11 September 2001 to confirm that it
did not support bin Laden and was ready to cooperate with the American
secret services. Bush nominated former Senator John Danforth49 as his special
envoy to Khartoum. On 14 May 2002, Danforth presented a remarkable report
(DANFORTH 2002). He did not unilaterally blame the Khartoum government
for the stalemate in the peace process. He also blamed the Christian extremists
for blocking an understanding. He said the prerequisite for peace was an
agreement on how the oil revenues should be distributed between Khartoum
and the South. The new American approach facilitated negotiations between
the government of Sudan and the SPLA. But when a global peace treaty was
ready to be signed, a rebellion suddenly broke out in Darfur province in 2003.
The resulting repression spawned refugee movements into Chad. The whole
peace process was once again at stake. Colin Powell and Kofi Annan hurried to
Khartoum in late June 2004. Both clearly stated to the government that it had
to assume its responsibilities and prevent the pro-government militias from
plundering and killing. Only if the refugee problem is solved can the global
peace agreement between the government and the SPLA be saved and signed,
as foreseen, in Washington.
6. Who wants democracy in Africa?
The democratic principle is universal and does not apply only to certain types
of societies and continents. The 21st century will be the “true century” of
democracy, whereas in the 20th century it was only verbally accepted in the
communist part of the world. In Africa, the democratic principle was applied
in a formal manner during the first wave of independence in the 1960s. Even
the West lost faith in it, though, when fighting the “communist threat” and
committed a “democratic sin” in favouring allied military regimes. The end of
the Cold War enabled a democratic wind to blow once more in Africa, but a
second democratic sin was committed when new setbacks – mainly in Central
and East Africa – were accepted without any resistance.
“For they know not what they do…”50: A new revolutionary romanticism
In “old Europe” some people seem to regret the good old days when solidarity
could be demonstrated with wars of national liberation. In those times it was
still possible, despite the numerous victims of these wars, to be inspired by
Frantz Fanon and feel that one was on the side of “the wretched of the earth”.
This tradition has meant that up till now most rebellions have been
considered as just, regardless of the fact that after the end of the colonial
regime in Southern Rhodesia in 1980 and the independence of Namibia in
1990 there is no longer any room for “liberation from colonialism”. During the Cold War this phenomenon could be observed on the anticommunist
side of the political spectrum in the case of Renamo in
Mozambique and the Savimbi rebellion in Angola. The sympathizers with
those movements were not really concerned about the victims. The same
applies to the “progressive” supporters of so-called “national liberation”
rebellions. The Rwandan Patriotic Front provides a good example.
Objectively it is a right-wing movement. As is now blatantly obvious, the
refugees merely wanted to regain the power their parents had lost in a
democratic referendum in September 1961. But the RPF was in a position to
revive older traditions stemming from the late 1950s when the Soviet Union
attributed the “social revolution” in Rwanda to the work of backward
Catholics and neo-colonial interests. In line with that tradition, the RPF
employed “anti-colonial” rhetoric and succeeded in mobilizing left-wing
supporters by exploiting the mistakes – and sometimes crimes – of the
Habyarimana regime, which was on the point of being ousted in democratic
elections. But that outcome would have been less “revolutionary”.
The same applies to Congo. Instead of helping the democratic leader, Etienne
Tshisekedi, to follow Mobutu, the “rebels” – led by the old revolutionary,
Laurent Kabila, and inspired, as they claimed, by the ideals of Lumumba –
succeeded in convincing the “right believers” of the need to conquer the
country. Jean Ziegler and Claire Short may be quoted pars pro toto. Jean
Ziegler, the famous Swiss professor, politician and human rights advocate,
suggested that the African anti-colonial rebellions, for which he expressed his
admiration in his famous book Les Rebelles first published in 1983, justified
the wars waged by Kagame51 and Kabila.
Claire Short served as the “left-wing fig leaf” for the two Congo wars inspired
by Madeleine Albright. The Congo interventions were justified as providing
necessary help for the rebellion staged by the oppressed Banyamulenge
people living in Eastern Zaire/Congo. The harm the Congolese population
were forced to suffer and the systematic killing of the Rwandan refugees did
not appear to be a cause of concern to the “right believers”. Up to now
nobody seems really concerned about the non-democratic system established
by Museveni in Uganda or about the breakdown of the democratic process
that followed the civil war in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The prestige earned as
military winners of the “national liberation war” was sufficient to gain their
diplomatic approval. To many the establishment of democracy would appear
to be a “neo-colonial” enterprise.
The sympathy for the uprising launched in 2003 by the Darfur rebels of the
Sudanese Liberation Army SLA and the Justice and Equality Movement JEM in
Western Sudan “in response to frustration about what they claim to be
decades of political oppression and economic neglect by the Sudanese
government” 52 is the most recent example of this “revolutionary nostalgia”.
The rebels had no chance of winning and knew that Khartoum would react fiercely. The civil population has had to pay the price of this new type of
In France, Jean-Pierre Chrétien and the representatives of the left-wing
organization, SURVIE, have never ceased to admire the revolutionary
approach of the “new generation of African leaders”.
In Germany, Uschi Eid of the Green Party (who was once a student member of
a communist group) adopted Ziegler’s view when working in Eritrea after the
FPLE victory in the 1990s. She is still the most fervent supporter of the RPF in
Germany. In his capacity as Director for Africa at the Federal Foreign Ministry,
Harald Ganns, a social democrat, established a link between American rightwing
positions and the German “progressive” community. These two extremes
had a joint interest, albeit for diametrically opposed reasons, in not sending
soldiers to Rwanda in 1994. Ganns is said to have persuaded the Liberal
minister of Foreign Affairs, Klaus Kinkel, to accept the military victory of Paul
Kagame and to give him unconditional support. The German (leftwing/
Green) daily TAGESZEITUNG (TAZ) and its African desk editor, Dominic
Johnson, provide evidence of an astonishing phenomenon. This paper has
often written in advance about actions taken at some later stage by the
Clinton Administration with respect to Central Africa. TAZ has sometimes
played the role of the “Voice of Kagame” in Germany.
Africa aspires to democracy, as do many people in many parts of the world.
The populations – not the established rulers – in Central Africa welcomed the
“wind of change” that began to blow following the end of the Cold War.
Democratic parties sprang up like mushrooms after a summer shower. Apart
from the UDPS in Zaire, perhaps the most promising example was Melchior
Ndadaye’s FRODEBU, which won both the parliamentary and presidential
elections in Burundi in 1993. Ndadaye was killed shortly afterwards by the
military. As was the case in Burundi, people in other countries have been
deeply disappointed at seeing their efforts thwarted by the “new generation of
African leaders”, encouraged in particular by the Anglophone world. The
promising democratic movements and parties have had no chance to recover.
Nobody effectively supports the democrats in exile. The EU has maintained a
“democratic discourse” but de facto it has accepted the Museveni model of
“democracies without parties”. France disagreed with the Clinton
Administration’s policy on Sudan but did not dissent on the matter of
democratization. President Chirac cannot be considered a fervent supporter of
democracy in Africa.
The history of post-Cold War developments in the African Great Lakes Region
would appear to confirm the pessimistic saying attributed to the ancient Greek
philosopher, Heracleitus, that “war is the father of all and the king of all”. War
had a chance, democracy did not. Warlords dominate the transitional
government in Congo and real power lies with the military in Rwanda,
Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda and Sudan. There seemed to be prospects
for peace and democracy before the Iraq war, but a stalemate ensued in the
Great Lakes Region when Rwanda and Uganda were compensated for lining up with the “coalition of the willing”. In Burundi, groups with links to the army
are endeavouring to postpone the elections scheduled for November 2004. If
that happens and if the presidential elections planned for June 2005 in the
Democratic Republic of Congo fail to take place, “Africa’s first world war”53
The end of the Cold War put an end to apartheid in South Africa and
strengthened democracy in a couple of African states. For the time being,
however, and at least until a peaceful stabilization has been achieved in Iraq,
the prospects for democracy in the African Great Lakes Region remain bleak.
1 Peace agreements were signed between the Angolan government and the pro-
Western Unita in 1994. In 1998, Unita resumed serious fighting against governmentheld
positions in the south of the country with the covert help of the Clinton
Administration. In fact, the Angolan civil war not fully terminated until the Unita
leader, Jonas Savimbi, was killed on 22 February 2002.
2 Confirmed by Herman Cohen in an interview in French on 16 October 2002 with the
website Congopolis (www.congopolis.com).
3 Confidential document. Name known to the author.
4 Lazare Ndayongeje rightly states that “democracy is taking hold in Africa“ ,
Internationales Afrikaforum, Bonn, 2/2004, p. 157.
5 The Arusha procedure is described in JONES 2001.
6 In late 1997, for example, John Prendergast, then the National Security Council
Director for Eastern Africa, stated that the government of Sudan was viewed as "the
principle threat to U.S. security interests on the continent of Africa today". (Quotation
in: HOILE 2000:18)
8 David Hoile’s European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council (ESPAC, London) is blamed
by some NGOs for being partisan towards the Sudanese government. His political role
cannot be analyzed here. At any rate, his writings give a different picture of what is
normally considered to be “politically correct”.
9 „It was Madeleine Albright’s trip to Africa in December 1997 that first signaled a
major change in the administration’s priorities.” (ROSENBLUM 2002:197).
10 The German Ambassador to Khartoum, Werner Daum, wrote: “Within a few days it
was established that the factory belonged to a private businessman who was not a
fundamentalist. On the contrary, he was found to be a prominent opposition figure.”
(See: Daum, Werner, “Universalism and the West: An Agenda for Understanding”
Harvard International Review, Vol. XXIII, 2/2001.)
11 ‘Carter, Others Say U.S. Has Faltered in Africa’, The Boston Globe, 8 December 1999.
(Quoted from HOILE 2000:125/126).
14 But Winter was also a friend of John Garang. In Washington he interpreted
Garang’s rebellion as a liberation movement15. Like Museveni, Garang had
found a British “sponsor” after the defeat of his friend, Mengistu, in Ethiopia
in 1991. The conservative Baroness Caroline Cox, currently President of the
NGO “Christian Solidarity Worldwide”, was very interested in fighting the
12 See especially MAMDANI 2001: Chapter 6.
13 For the genocide against the Hutu intelligentsia in 1972, which was never officially
investigated, see especially LEMARCHAND 1996. Daniel Kabuto (KABUTO 2003)
recently published a short novel describing the fate of a victim of the 1972 events.
14 MUSABYIMANA 2003:30.
15 HOILE 2000:118.
16 Susan Rice and Gayle Smith recently acknowledged: “As U.S. officials (…) we helped
plan several subsequent military interventions in Africa.” (Quoted from: www.
allafrica.com; 6 June 2004).
17 Roger Winter explained at a House hearing on 4 December 1996 how he organized a
meeting between Kabila and an American delegation in Kigali in November 1996.
18 Vincent Kern from the Pentagon said in a hearing in the Senate on 25 July 1994:
"We think that, while there obviously are certain dangers in people returning, Rwanda
is safe to return to.”
19 The first critical book was written by Jean Pierre Godding, a Belgian aid worker:
Réfugiés rwandais au Zaire. Sommes-nous encore des hommes? Paris, L’Harmattan,
20 In a conversation with the author in Leuven on 5 August 2000 he held the Bishop of
Kisangani Monsengwo accountable for plotting against him. In fact, Monsengwo had
acted as an envoy on behalf of the United States, France and Belgium in 1993/1994 to
maintain Mobutu in office in view of the coming tasks.
21 Quotation of a student leader in Kinshasa. In: AFRICA INTERNATIONAL, No. 378
(July/August 2004), p. 7.
22 President Dos Santos, in particular, quickly lost sympathy with Laurent Kabila’s
method of government.
23 On 15 April 2002, a man identifying himself at a press conference in Pretoria as
Etienne Kabila, son of Laurent Kabila, affirmed that Joseph Kabila is only an adopted
son of Laurent Kabila. Who knows if that is true?
25 For a short analysis of this book cf. STRIZEK 2002. Unfortunately in her second book
in 2004 Linda Melvern yielded much more to the pressure exerted on her to line up
with the “official version”.
26 Published by the London-based organization African Rights. A part of its
headquarters later moved to Kigali, proving that it was already part of the
international RPF network before the military victory.
27 JONES 2001: 43.
28 Alison Des Forges as quoted by the Press Agency AFP on 2 July 2004.
29 “In Rwanda, halting genocide is easier said than done.” International Herald
Tribune, 25 June 2004.
30 Hirondelle Press Agency, 28 January 2004.
31 Kagame initially resorted to a Paris court in an attempt to get the publication
banned, but later gave up when he realized that he would be unsuccessful.
32 In 2004 she wrote: “Nous étions bien seuls, il y a dix ans....” (We were quite alone
ten years ago...), Africa International, No. 375/ April 2004, p. 3.
33 The articles on Rwanda by Peter Molt from Germany also deserve mention in this
34 Original title: “Ça ne s’est pas passé comme ça à Kigali”.
35 Two books published by Weltforum-Verlag (Cologne/Bonn), one booklet on behalf
of missio Aachen and a series of articles in INTERNATIONALES AFRIKAFORUM (Bonn),
especially STRIZEK 2002 and STRIZEK 2003.
36 cf. STRIZEK 2003 for more detailed information on this literature.
37 There is cause for doubt as to whether this position is still consistent with his
findings on the role played by the RPF.
38 Interview with Stephen Smith, LE MONDE, 7 May 2004.
39 According to Stephen Smith (LE MONDE, 7 May 2004) their names are Lieutenant
Godffrey Kiyago Ntukayajemo and Sergeant Eric Makwandi Habumugisha.
40 Jean-Marie Biju-Duval, Defence Counsel for Ferdinand Nahimana, has analyzed the
verdict of the Media Trial of 3 December 1994 in public conferences. (Document
made available by J.-M. Biju-Duval).
41 RTLM on 25 June 1994: “As for us, we must ensure that no one is victimized
because of his appearance or regional origin, but rather for his acts.“ (Quoted from §
419 of the Media Trial verdict of 3 December 2003).
42 Translated from Kinyarwanda by Rwandan National Forum (RNF), Washington, D.C.,
31 May 2004
43 On the basis of a translation into French of the interview with Phocas Fashabo in the
44 For a more detailed list of RPF dissidents see REYNTJENS 2004:181/182
45 Ghosts of Rwanda. 1 April 2004. Downloaded from:
46 “L’ONU savait tout et n’a rien fait” [“The United Nations knew everything and did
nothing”]. Interview with AFRICA INTERNATIONAL, May 2004, pp. 22-23.
47 The barely considered testimony given by Colonel Aloys NTIWIRAGABO in Nairobi
on 20 May 1997 on the death of 10 Belgian blue helmets on 7 April 1994 suggests
that the Prime Minister had no desire to deliver a speech on the radio but merely
wished to be protected.
48 This meeting, organized by the ultra-conservative protestant Prayer Breakfast
Network, is a big event in Washington’s annual political calendar. The group is
especially interested in fighting the Islamic regime in Khartoum.
49 He became the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations when John
Negroponte was appointed Ambassador in Iraq on 1 July 2004.
50 Translation of Denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun, the German title of the James
Dean film Rebel without a Cause
51 In order to support the RPF state Ziegler launched a campaign against James Gasana
that was rejected by a Swiss court. He later interfered to prevent the publication of
James Gasana’s book (see Ramon Arozarena in GASANA 2002:4/5).
52 MANS 2004:292
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53 Madeleine Albright used this term at the UN Security Council meeting she attended
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Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch
Welcome to Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library