20th January 2012
Three Rwandan generals and a colonel were suspended from duty and placed under house arrest on 17 January 2012. The defence spokesman, Colonel Joseph Nzabamwita, confirmed the suspensions, arrests and detentions of Lieutenant General Fred Ibingira (Chief of staff of the Reserve Force), Brigadier General Richard Rutatina (Chief of Military Intelligence), Brigadier General Wilson Gumisiriza (3rd Division Commander) and Colonel Dan Munyuza (Chief of External Security Service). According to the official statement of the military authorities, the four senior officers stand accused of having had illegal business dealings in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The suspensions, arrests and detentions of the officers has generated widespread speculation, with some citizens and foreign analysts speculating that the officers may have been involved in a plan to carry out a coup d’état against the dictatorial regime of President Kagame.
We issue this statement to clarify the situation and to offer our opinion on the implications of this significant development for the people of Rwanda and the region.
According to our investigations, the suspensions, arrests and detention of the four officers have nothing to do with any imaginary failed military coup d’état. Neither do the suspensions, arrests and detention have anything to do with the alleged illegal business dealings in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The truth behind the suspensions, arrests and detentions instead relates to the Rwanda Government’s long standing policy of aggression aiming to perpetually destabilize and exploit the Eastern part of the DRC. This policy is implemented by arming and supporting proxy rebel groups and installing compliant civil authorities in the region. The rationale for this policy is to keep the DRC militarily weak and vulnerable to manipulation and blackmail, and to facilitate the illegal exploitation of its resources. As the proprietor of the major Rwandan business enterprises involved in business in Eastern DRC, President Kagame is the primary beneficiary of the Rwanda’s policy of subversion in Eastern DRC. Instability and volatility in the Eastern DRC serves the personal business interests of President Kagame and the strategic interests of the current dictatorship in Kigali. The maintenance of a chaotic, unstable and volatile atmosphere in the DRC makes it possible for President Kagame to maintain a military presence in Eastern DRC against the will and legitimate wishes of the people of the DRC and to operate freely in the areas as if Eastern DRC is not sovereign territory.
In furtherance of the policy to continue to destabilize and exploit the eastern part of the DRC, President Kagame have over the recent past deployed large numbers of senior Rwanda Defence Forces personnel, including the above named four officers, on multiple missions into the DRC to organize the rigging of elections of local and regional government authorities. The four officers were jointly responsible for the plan. Unfortunately, the subversive activities of the Rwanda government and the frequent visits of RDF officers in particular came to the knowledge of DRC’s President Kabila. Armed with overwhelming evidence of the above mentioned subversive activities, President Kabila reportedly confronted President Kagame over the presence and activities of RDF officers on DRC territory.
The alleged suspension and detention of the four officers aims to simply create a diversion because President Paul Kagame approved the operations and deployment of the four and many other members of the Rwanda Defence Forces in the DRC beforehand. The activities of the four officers on DRC territory would otherwise be an indication of Kagame’s loss of control over the army. The allegations of the officers’ involvement in business dealings with civilians in the DRC are a cover-up. The civilians (such as Mr. Safari, Mr. Mabati and Mr. Muzungu) who have been arrested alongside the military leaders are local administration officials and not businessmen. If anybody ought to be held accountable for crimes relating to smuggling from the DRC and the illegal exploitation of the resources of the DRC, it should be President Kagame, the employees of his personal businesses and his close business associates. Private companies owned by President Kagame or by very close business associates of General Kagame are still operating between Rwanda and the Eastern DRC. We have no doubt that the suspended military officers will, in conformity with past practice, be quietly released and reintegrated into the military as soon as international attention towards the illegal activities of the Rwanda Government in the DRC wanes. General Ibingira was similarly put under house arrest in 1995 after the Kibeho massacres of internally displaced persons for which he was responsible.
We take the opportunity of these recent developments to reiterate our opposition to President Kagame’s use of the institutions and instruments of the state to promote his personal business and financial interests. We also once again draw to the attention of the people of Rwanda, the peoples and governments of neighboring states and the wider international community to the grave consequences of the Rwanda Government’s campaign of destabilization and exploitation of the DRC. We call upon the international community to condemn President Kagame’s policies of subversion against the DRC. These policies perpetuate instability and suffering in the DRC, continue to poison relations between the peoples of both countries and future generations and are such counter to the long term interests of the people of the Great Lakes region as a whole.
Dr. Nkiko Nsengimana
FDU-Inkingi Co-ordination Committee
Washington D.C., USA
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
RNC Interim Committee