Rwanda: The Use of Genocide as a Weapon for Political Violence
During genocide commemoration, the Government of Rwanda is hiding behind Tutsi extremists to spread and reinforce the climate of hatred and terror.
It has become a habit in Rwanda that the stakes are raised as the commemoration of the 1994 genocide approaches. Newspapers, as well as some state and civil society groups use alarmist language to raise intense fear that genocide survivors are under threat, that the genocide ideology is still present, and that genocidaires are almost everywhere. Yet, in normal times, the Rwandan government keeps on claiming that unity and reconciliation of the people is done. How can this contradiction be explained?
The crux of the matter: an intolerant regime.
The regime of President Kagame is a violent and bloodthirsty dictatorship, ruthless, making a mockery of customs, rules, and laws. Its method of governance is based on brutality, terror, demonization, attacks, and physical elimination of any person (Rwandan citizen or foreigner) who disagrees with this policy or criticizes its actions. Thus, any person who is not sanitised by the regime is attacked first under different fake labels as:
- genocidal fugitive if he/she lives abroad;
- having and propagating genocide ideology;
- descendant of a genocidaire;
- enemy of the country or a traitor;
- plotting against the state and the authorities;
- an obstacle to the unity and reconciliation of the Rwandan people;
- propagating divisionism;
- a devil disguised as a democrat and human rights activist;
The method: publicly naming the target after having given it a defamatory name.
As a result of these labels and this demonization, the person attacked (real or supposed political opponent, civil society activist, etc.) is thus thrown into the popular vindictiveness by pro regime media outlets, by extremists and other groups formed intentionally on social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), as well as online newspapers and other unidentified blogs used by the regime for RPF’s vicious propaganda.
From then on, the public discourse becomes one of fighting against the spread of genocidal ideology, of pursuing, tracking down and arresting genocidaires, fugitives and enemies of the country. This is how the Rwandan government, through a game of phraseological and ideological manipulation, transforms any citizen into a logically attackable target who deserves punishment in the interest of the Nation.
This method of giving a defamatory name to a target ultimately makes it possible to publicly incite hatred by using various visible or invisible networks and by breaking the rules than underpin the rule of law. Thus, targets are globally designated by « genocidaire, enemy, fugitive, espousing genocidal ideology, … ».
Extremists Tutsi stir up hatred, the government lets it go.
- Ad hominem attacks in newspapers and on social networks. Extremists using pseudonyms or with their true faces (like Peter Mahirwe = Tom Ndahiro) attack by name anyone who disagrees with RPF discourse and policy. They do not hesitate to welcome the death of an opponent or anyone who disagrees with the vision and practices of the RPF; for example, the death of Kizito Mihigo, a genocide survivor and icon of true national reconciliation.
- Articles are published in the press close to the government (such as Igihe, Newtimes, Kigali Today, Rushyashya, The Chronicles, …) spreading hatred and falsely accusing any opponent, real or presumed.
- Representatives of subsidized associations [such as IBUKA, Association des Etudiants et Elèves Rescapés du Génocide (AERG), Groupe des Anciens Etudiants Rescapés du Génocide (GAERG)], state organizations [such as the Commission Nationale de Lutte contre le Genocide (CNLG)] and non-state organizations (such as Transparency International, Initiative UMURINZI) speak shamelessly and claim that they are organized and have a budget to go to hunt, destabilize, demoralize, kill their unwanted compatriots all over the world.
Planned and complementary interventions to go crescendo.
- General James KABAREBE, senior advisor to President Kagame, invited in November 2019 a group of young Tutsi genocide survivors who are members of associations like AERG, to attack young Hutu refugees, for the sole reason that they are succeeding in their schooling and integration in host countries.
- This success would, according to General KABAREBE, constitute a threat that will require that one day they will seek to return home by force as the young Tutsi refugees did from Uganda in 1990 which makes it necessary to prepare for several genocides. The general thus calls on young Tutsi youth to prepare for a confrontation with these young Hutus.
- Professor DUSINGIZEMUNGU Jean-Pierre, president of the Ibuka association, for his part, publicly declared, during the period of the 26th commemoration of the genocide, that it is necessary to draw inspiration from Jewish friends to go after the genocidaires with the triple objective of bringing them to justice, terrorizing them (gutesha – umutwe), mistreating and tormenting them (guhungeta) and using other undisclosed methods (implying killing them). Such a statement making innuendoes in the logic of the Rwandan government suggests a deliberate willingness to go after those designated as targets out of the justice system, up to and including kidnapping, abduction, and extrajudicial killings. Professor Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, who only acknowledges the judgments handed down by the Rwandan judicial system, which is completely subservient to the dictates of the RPF. He argues for example that these modern-day Rwandan crusaders should continue to hunt for a person who has been acquitted by international justice.
- INGABIRE Immaculée, representative of Transparency International in Rwanda, during a program with Diogène BIDERI, Deputy Secretary General of the CNLG, declared in May 2020 that an association (UMULINZI Initiative) has been formed to hunt for “genocidaires and deniers”, and that it is in the process of setting up a substantial budget to provide the financial means and information on the people to be hunted down.
- On May 7, 2020, the online newspaper IGIHE, the voice of the Rwandan government, published an article in which it gratuitously stigmatizes several political and civil society activists by accusing them of being genocidaires on the run, of having genocide ideology or belonging to the family tree of relatives considered genocidaires.
- As of May 10, 2020, another online newspaper THEGREATLAKESEYE, based in USA-Oregon, and probably opened and run by hit squads of the Kigali regime, published an unsigned article smearing another list of people as the IGIHE newspaper.
These articles were quickly relayed by their partner sites, without any journalistic ethics.
In the end, we are witnessing a succession of events, over a short period of time, targeting political opponents and human rights activists using a term that borders on incitement to hatred and persecution, without any state authority intervening to appease, reprimand and call to order the offenders. Such a situation indicates that the Government of Rwanda is well behind this orchestrated plan to:
- spread hatred among Rwandans;
- instil terror;
- set the stage for acts of violence and terrorism;
- eliminate potential opponents (real or perceived);
- assure the government to continue its totalitarian dictatorship unhindered and unchallenged.
Sadistic practices that play with the feelings and suffering of Tutsi and Hutu survivors.
In a climate of repeated calls for hatred and manhunt, the survivors of the various crimes, all ethnic groups combined, are the main losers.
Those in power seek to sadistically exploit the feelings of vulnerable groups in order to lead them into hatred and violent confrontation:
- They exploit the grief, and of course the anger and fear of the survivors of the genocide against the Tutsis (through a teaching that suggests that the genocide is not over).
- Similarly, they exploit the grief, and of course the anger and fear of Hutu survivors of the RPF massacres in Rwanda and the crimes of genocide in Congo DRC, by demonizing, slandering, and humiliating them.
To this day, the murder of gospel singer Kizito MIHIGO, a survivor of the genocide against Tutsis, remains an emblematic example of this sadism. Tutsis are used to physically eliminate other Tutsis on the grounds that the latter are open to dialogue and reconciliation between Rwandans, the assassins being the followers of the perverse theory that true reconciliation would endanger the survival of genocide survivors and that of Tutsis in general.
An agitation that is a sign of the decadence of the regime and a nightmare of losing power.
Being aware of the seeds of self-destructive seeds inherent in the political system, including internal divisions and the Stalinist purges that follow, the proponents of power are forced to create a permanent external enemy.
Destitute and illiterate people who have become billionaires are scared to death of losing ill-gotten wealth, while others are afraid of losing their immunities by losing power, with the consequent risk of being brought to justice.
Naming the enemy is therefore a diversionary tactic, as they believe that the best defence is attack. No matter how clearly and loudly you condemn the genocide against the Tutsis, those in power and their cronies will say that there is always a hidden agenda to always put the target groups on the defensive.
The extremist group is a serious danger to the regime and to lasting peace in Rwanda.
If we are not careful, either knowingly or because of this self-defence mechanism, the group of extremists will inevitably lead the country to hell.
Professor Gregory H Stanton, Founding President of Genocide Watch, has identified 10 steps that lead to genocide. It should be noted that the first 5 stages are remarkably like the activities currently being carried out by RPF extremists.
- First stage: classification of the people; example: Hutu villains and alleged Tutsi collaborators on the one hand and « good Tutsis and Hutus » who have espoused the gospel of the RPF on the other hand;
- Second stage: symbolisation; example: Hutu power – genocidaires – negationists harbouring the genocidal ideology, interahamwe, CDR, inyangarwanda (enemy of Rwanda = all those who criticise the RPF) etc.
- Third stage: discrimination against a targeted group; example: lack of fair justice for all, discrimination of victims based on ethnicity; legitimisation of the victimisation of the politically weakest groups by an arsenal of laws (Penal Code: arts. 194, 204, 233, 236, Official Gazette no. Special of 27/09/2018, Law no. 68/2018 of 30/08/2018 determining offences and penalties in general);
- Fourth stage; dehumanization of excluded groups; example: genocidaires – genocide deniers – killers; They are automatically excluded from a moral consideration, i.e. Hutus and Tutsis, who preach reconciliation; They deserve prison or even death;
- Fifth step: polarisation of the population; example: a policy of political, social, and economic exclusion.
It is therefore in the interest of the regime and the Rwandan people as a whole to stop the Machiavellian plan of the RPF extremists, even if this seems “mission impossible” given the nature or essence of the RPF that has become a Party-State and a prisoner of its own dialectical contradiction.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The FDU-INKINGI party denounces:
- The use of genocide as a weapon to silence and even eliminate opponents and human rights activists;
- Hate speech by some State officials, other personalities from State and non-State institutions and even by some independent extremist individuals. This discourse aims at creating confrontation between Rwandans, which would allow the government to play on violence and chaos to pose as a saviour. This practice has always been successfully used by the RPF and its leaders since the October 1990 war;
- The government’s laissez-faire attitude and on the contrary calls for restraint, respect for the laws on public freedoms, the presumption of innocence and the protection of individuals because it is the duty of the government to promote peace instead of undermining it.
The FDU-INKINGI Party calls:
- The Rwandan opposition and the Civil Society to unite their efforts and not to be intimidated by the extremist and threatening discourse they are victims of;
- The living forces of the Nation to relentlessly pursue the fight for human rights in Rwanda and for public freedoms.
The FDU-INKINGI party requests:
- All Rwandan citizens and friends of Rwanda not to fall into the trap of those who use racist and hate speech that the government is maliciously allowing to flourish. We must all work, without any distinction whatsoever, for the advent of a new era to put an end to its 30 years of terror that the RPF exercises on the Rwandan people;
- The international community, and in particular the countries that are friends of Rwanda, to put pressure on President Paul Kagame to get out of the logic of violent confrontation and agree to engage in dialogue with his political opposition, and finally to create a climate of peace, unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, which is a prerequisite for security, stability and sustainable development in the Great Lakes Region.
Done at Rouen, May 15, 2020.
Commissioner FDU-INKINGI in charge of Information and Communication
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