ON July 21, 2010, the New York based organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a communication urging the “government of Rwanda to allow independent foreign experts to carry out an autopsy on the body of André Kagwa Rwisereka” who was murdered on the night of July 12-13, 2010.
On July 24, 2010, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) endorsed the same accusations without any further research about what it called “a wave of killings and suppression of press freedoms in the run up to the presidential elections.
The Executive Director of Human Right’s Watch, Mr. Kenneth Roth, reaction on the death of Rwisereka is biased and not objective to have concluded that “Events leading up to Rwisereka’s death indicate that the murder may have been politically motivated”. So is the CHRI to insinuate “RPF and security service involvement in a number of different incidents”.
The death of Rwisereka is still under police investigations, the police is holding a suspect who has been brought to court and the case is far from being closed. It would therefore be more prudent to wait for the full police report after completing investigations.
Dismissing the story by witnesses that the deceased was carrying a lot of money on the evening he died, Kenneth Roth presents his own version of facts and alleged that “the police initially stated to the media that Rwisereka had been the victim of a robbery, and that people who had seen him on the night he disappeared claimed that he was carrying a large sum of money.
However, further investigations by Human Rights Watch and others revealed that he had left some money with a relative on the evening of July 14, but had been carrying little money and no valuables at the time of his death”.
Apart from distorting facts – actually the police never stated that the man has been victim of robbery but rather that it could not rule out such an eventuality considering the circumstances, while a similar distortion is made by the CHRI about the assassination attempt against Lt Gen Nyamwasa where it states that “the involvement of Rwandan security agents is strongly suspected,” It is my conviction that Human Rights Watch, from which the CHRI’s own information is apparently sourced, doesn’t have the capacity to investigate a murder case.
Indeed, there is only one HRW officer who works like a spy and the officer’s capacity to carry out investigations is doubtable. The organization should prove the contrary here in the media and show that it really can and is invited to give free of charge evidence it has gathered to help the police hasten the murder’s clarification.
The very inconsistencies in the mentioned communication seem to indicate that the organization’s executive secretary is not conversant with the real facts.
Thus, in the second paragraph, he states that “Rwisereka was last seen late in the evening of July 12, 2010. His body was found near the southern town of Butare on July 14”.
A few paragraphs later, he sustains that “investigations by Human Rights Watch and others revealed that he had left some money with a relative on the evening of July 14”.
Kenneth Roth’s witnesses are either so careless to confuse the dates and circumstances of the death, just distorting facts or else they exist only in the author’s imagination.
This also goes for their testimony that the deceased “had been carrying little money and no valuables at the time of his death”. Were they present at the time of his death to know how little money he was carrying?
Distortion of facts seems to be a pattern of these rights organizations. Thus, the CHRI alleges that frank Habineza, the yet to be registered Green party president is a presidential candidate. But how could he be while his party has not yet been recognized? As for Bernard Ntaganda, the reality is that he has been thrown out by the party’s members and is currently being investigated for various crimes including terrorism. One wonders where the CHRI got the story that Ntaganda was currently the only independent registered candidate for President.
The current party president, Christine Mukabunani told the Independent of July 23-29, 2010 that “the party took the decision to withdraw from contesting in the elections due to internal problems, which they wanted to solve before thinking of fielding a candidate”. She said the deadline for submitting a candidate passed before they could not sort out their internal problems.
Talking about Victoire Ingabire failure to register her FDU- Inkingi party, the CHRI skips the issue of her being investigated by the judicial and waits to answer several charges in the court of law.
The institution also fails to mention that some of those “members of her party who have been imprisoned…” have actually been convicted for genocide crimes to which some have confessed. This was the case for her personal assistant, Ntawangundi Joseph who confessed to have killed Tutsi in Rukira sector.
The CHRI’s alleged “rapid increase in violence and constriction of political space and human rights in Rwanda” is totally contradicted by the many awards that Rwanda’s President has been receiving for bringing peace and stability to his country, his visionary leadership in reconciling his people including the most recent Transparency International’s revelation that “Rwanda was by far the least corrupt country in East Africa”.
And according to the TI analysts, “sixteen years after the 1994 genocide in which Hutu extremists orchestrated the slaughter of more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, with the treasury looted and corpses stuffed down the wells, Rwanda is now the safest, cleanest country in Africa, with no slums and virtually no begging or street crime”.
Last year, Rwanda emerged as the top reformer in building in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2010’ report. The country also emerged as the most consistent reformer, moving from 143 to 67 in the rankings followed by Mauritius, which is 17th overall, from 24th position in the previous report.
It is quite contradictory that a country can register such successes while at the same time repressing and killing its people.