A few weeks ago, I watched with amazement the documentary, Rwanda's Untold Story, produced by Jane Corbin and broadcast by the BBC. I revisit this documentary because its ramifications are ongoing.
Jane Corbin, seen in the documentary, looks like a determined woman who does not hide her anger. She says that up to this day, the official version that the world knows about the genocide in Rwanda is wrong and that instead her documentary presents the true version. She relies on the testimonies of former allies of President Paul Kagame, who have since fled the country and are trying to overthrow the government.
They argue that it is President Kagame who shot down the plane carrying President Habyarimana, an act that triggered and aggravated the genocide which they already were aware of. They also state that President Kagame continues to kill his own citizens and the opponents. The documentary also presents the statement by Stam regarding the number of Tutsi in Rwanda when the genocide started and contend that it is not President Kagame who stopped the genocide. In the same documentary, we also see Prof. Reyntjens, a known negationist of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and an enemy of the Kigali government that he calls undemocratic.
For some time now, the RNC has promised to use a ‘’scientific method’’ to overthrow the Rwanda government without using weapons; certainly because they have realised that they could not achieve it by military invasion.
This method involves spreading lies, without shame of underestimating the judgement of the audience. A blatant example is from Theogene Rudasingwa, a founder-member of RNC, who says that during the war, the RPF infiltrated Rwanda with 2,000 armed officers and men. If that was the case, how many officers and soldiers did RPF remain with? Where were they located and what was their fate?
If they were discovered and decimated by FAR, the government of the day would have made a lot of noise about it. Alternatively, if they fought to save their relatives who were being massacred, the RPF would have boasted about it. In either case, it would never have passed unnoticed.
It is also by this “scientific method’’ that the RNC, assisted by their allies who are well-known for their stance against Kigali government, used this documentary based on four sensitive strategies to stir up segments of the population and to put off the super power friends of Rwanda.
Rudasingwa even had the impudence to predict the time of a volcanic eruption in Rwanda on the horizon.
After listening carefully to this documentary, I identified four strategies which I will try to elucidate:
1. The first strategy is to demonstrate that the RPF took power by force without complying with the Arusha peace agreements and therefore the current government does not have a democratic basis. “Kagame, knowing that he could not win elections democratically and having thirst [for] power, he chose to use bullets instead of the ballot box” (Reyntjens, Marsall and Nyamwasa).
Comment: The RPF was forced to undertake a long armed struggle during which it held several rounds of negotiations with the then government under the supervision of many witnesses. These negotiations resulted in the signing of the Arusha Peace Agreements relating to power-sharing.
The fact that RPF accepted this long process shows that the accusation that the current government does not have a democratic basis is false. Given the military superiority of the RPF, nothing would have prevented it from overthrowing the regime in Kigali well before and seize power without sharing it. When the RPF took power, it shared it with all political parties it found in the country that had not been involved in the genocide. In my opinion, there is nothing more democratic.
The accusation against the President is untrue for the following reasons: (a) After the overthrow of the genocidal regime in 1994, the RPF named another person to the presidency because Paul Kagame refused to take power. (b) When the then President left office, the RPF appointed Kagame to the presidency and immediately after, he organised democratic elections. (c) Subsequently, he was reelected democratically without using weapons and his popularity continues to grow.
2. The second strategy is to bring into conflict the genocide survivors and President Kagame, claiming that it was he who shot down the plane carrying President Habyarimana, without worrying about the lives of the Tutsi who were in danger.
Nyamwasa who claims to be aware of such as a plot, said that the genocide was planned well in advance, but that it started with the shooting down of the plane; while Rudasingwa says that it would not have reached the scale it did if the presidential plane had not been shot down.
Reyntjens recognises that the genocide was stopped after the RPF’s military victory, but he says that the real question is whether putting an end to genocide was the RPF’s main objective. He asserts that RPF was interested in military victory rather than in saving Tutsis. “Kagame wanted all of the country, not part of it’’, writes Reyntjens.
As for Stam, he categorically denies that it is President Kagame who stopped the genocide.(Nyamwasa, Rudasingwa, Stam).
Comment: Logically, the RPF that had won a resounding victory by signing the power-sharing strategy had no reason to shoot down the presidential plane knowing that it could jeopardize the implementation of the agreements for which it had fought for four years.
The accusation by Nyamwasa and Rudasingwa that President Kagame shot down the presidential plane is contradicted by the following four points:
(a) How is it possible that Nyamwasa, who was a high ranking officer in charge of intelligence never discussed with President Kagame his plan to shoot down the plane nor did he attend the meeting which prepared the plot?
Is it normal to make such a statement without backing it with evidence?
He declared that he had been informed of the preparation of genocide long before the presidential plane was shot down but he didn’t reveal when it would have started and what would have been its magnitude if the plane was not shot down.
(b) The extremist radio RTLM announced long before that ‘’there would be something in the city of Kigali’’. On April 06, towards 15h00 PM, the entire city of Kigali was under tight surveillance and the population was ordered to go home. The plane was shot down the same night.
(c) Ngwanda, Adviser of President Mobutu in charge of security, talked about a discussion he had with President Habyarimana the day before he was assassinated. He portrayed him as a man who felt the death looming without knowing how to avoid it: “I’m disturbed, I believed that the Westerners love us, I fear for my people, I know that they want to kill me, but after…”. Ngwanda made this statement during a conference on the Great Lakes region organised in Paris on April 4, 2002 at the French Senate, room Minnerville.
(d) Finally, is it not ridiculous that this statement was released against President Kagame after 20 years of silence when Nyamwasa was no longer having good relations with the President?
Despite all this, Reyntjens continues to believe that there are serious indications of RPF’s guilt, without giving any of them.
When Reyntjens says that Kagame wanted the whole country; not part of it, he intentionally ignores the fact that France had cut off a part of the country called “Zone Turqouise sure’’ which was called “Hutu land’’. If Kagame had accepted to stop fighting, “Hutu land’’ and ‘’Tutsi land’’ would have been created. One can guess what was going to happen after.
By the end of April, considering the genocide means put in place, there were no longer Tutsi still seen in public.
The Tutsi survivors were else hidden in the marshlands or in the forests even by the Hutu. So, Kagame had two concurrent and urgent objectives: to quickly defeat the genocidal government in order to save the lives of those who had not yet been killed and to unify the country.
The fact is that President Kagame did not shoot down the plane, and this was ascertained by independent research findings of French ballistic experts who confirmed that the plane was shot from Kanombe airport. This, however, does not absolve the two RNC men fighting to lead our country as their lie does not give them any political credit.
The failure of not disclosing in time “President Kagame’s alleged plot” that would result in the extermination of the Tutsi does not only amount to a crime for failing to assist people in danger, but also reveals the cowardice of two officers who claimed to have risked their lives to free their relatives that political regimes in Rwanda had oppressed.
The claim that President Kagame did not stop the genocide is more of a deliberate attempt to distort history than a casual analysis. Starting by 300,000 Tutsi survivors as Stam contends, there is no doubt that they would have been exterminated if President Kagame had been defeated. The Tutsi scattered in neighboring countries and living in a very tense climate would also have suffered the same fate. Anyhow, no one can forget the commando operations by the RPA that saved many people in imminent danger throughout the country. It was clear that the ferocity of the genocide had engulfed the whole country and no one could predict how it was going to end. There is no doubt that the genocide was stopped by the military victory of the RPF led by Kagame.
3. The third strategy is to stir up the Hutu saying that there was a “double genocide”. Stam declared that he used accurate figures showing that the number of Tutsis was so small that it could not justify one million of Tutsis killed. This led him to conclude that the number of Tutsi killed was 200,000 and that instead the number of Hutus killed was 800,000, totaling the one million officially recognised. Contradicting Stam, Nyamwasa recognizes that there were isolated cases of revenge against Hutu, not to be attributed to the RPF.
Comment: The authors of the documentary committed two serious errors:
a) They failed to ask themselves the following question: “If in the genocide seven people were supposed to be killed per minute, 400 per hour and 10,000 per day, couldn’t it have exceeded ‘the small number’” of Tutsi to be killed?
b) They omitted the truth that the Hutus were in all RPF organs, political and the army, which is the reason why the RPF could not have had a plan to exterminate the Hutus.
Returning to the point made above (bullet a), an important reminder shows that the approximate number of Tutsis was known by the planners of the genocide.
1) The distribution of the Rwandan population as 15 percent Tutsi and 85 percent Hutu dates from the colonial time.
The percentage of 15 percent of Tutsi was what the colonial power estimated based on the number of cows per family.
This arbitrary estimate separated many poor families who had not the requisite number of cows. It was proven later by a census that they were more than the 15 percent who had cows. It is thus clear that if the count had been properly done, the percentage of the segment “labeled Tutsi” would have exceeded 15 percent as the following point shows:
2) A census was conducted in Rwanda in 1978 and the result was not published.
Tutsis living in Rwanda have always been regarded as constituting 15% of the population which was the raison d’être of the policy of “iringaniza” (so-called “equal opportunity”).
If the population of Rwanda was estimated to be 8 million people during the genocide, the official number of Tutsi could be estimated at (8,000,000 x 15 percent)=1,200,000. If you deduct the 300,000 survivors given by Stam himself, the total number of Tutsi killed would then be 900,000. This doesn’t only contradict the 200,000 figure of Tutsis killed given by Stam, but it is also a proof that after 100 days, the prediction of 10,000 people killed per day made at the beginning of the genocide was correct.
In 1978, a census conducted in Rwanda revealed that the Tutsi were nearly 30 percent of the population. As the criterion of the number of cows was no longer applied, a large number of those who were separated from rich families were registered in the Tutsi ethnic group after their family ties were disclosed by their neighbours.
It is on record that President Habyarimana refused to publish the result of that census.
It is also known that during the four years of the liberation war, many Tutsi negotiated identity cards carrying the Hutu ethnic label to avoid harassment while many others fled the country. Rwanda’s current vision is to eradicate ethnic divisions; there is no reason to maintain divisions for which the people would continue to pay the price for generations.
4. The fourth strategy is to blame world powers; Americans and British, so that they stop supporting ‘dictator Kagame’ whom the RNC compares with Gaddafi and Sadam Hussein, because he continues to kill his citizens and opponents and that he does not practice genuine politicalreconciliation (Nyamwasa, Rudasingwa, Reyntjens, Ruyenzi, Higiro).
Comment: During the massive repatriation of Hutu refugees by the RPF, the FDLR took civilians as hostages to be used as human shields inside forests in DR Congo. Many have since returned home and more are still coming. The documentary shows images of civilians in extremely bad conditions.
Here they omitted to say that the RPA forces were always mixed. Before and after the capture of Kigali, FAR officers and soldiers deserted to join the RPA, which incorporated them into its ranks. Therefore, no one can claim that President Kagame, planned to kill his citizens while in RPF military and political ranks, Hutu and Tutsi worked hand in hand as they still do today. If such a programme ever existed, it would be known and condemned by Rwandans at home, not the RNC.
It is also important to note that ambassadors, NGOs and foreigners living in the country; and even tourists visiting all corners of the country, are in a better position to inform the world about what is happening in Rwanda. There is no doubt that they do it.
Finally, it is worth noting that in the face of attacks and deadly conspiracy that threatened Rwandans and foreigners, President Kagame could not keep quiet. His first duty is to ensure safety of the people as is the practice all over the world.
While the RNC is dreaming to explode Rwanda inciting the population, President Kagame is steadily offering the same population a dream of a united Rwanda that is prosperous and respected.