It was after the plane crash in which presidents Juvenal Habyalimana of Rwanda and Ntalyamira Cyprian of Burundi died, that the true colours of a well planned genocide came to surface.
Consequently, there have been a lot of controversial arguments on the relationship between the death of Habyalimana and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Most people have poorly associated the death and the genocide. This could have been out ignorance or intentional.
Under normal circumstances airplanes have what is known as a black box. And according to experts, a black box records information during a flight and should have therefore, managed to record much of what was happening when the plane was about to crash. Unfortunately we have not had any chance to hear the recordings of the plane that was carrying Habyalimana.
When one is trying to relate the death of Habyalimana and the genocide therefore, he/she should ask questions like; who shot down the plane? Where is the black box today? Who hid and why? Who had interest in getting rid of Habyalimana?
When you analyse some of these questions and balance the interests of RPF, those of Habyalimana’s cohorts and the interests of the French, in getting rid of Habyalimana, you will probably get enough clue on reality.
The former president of Rwanda died when he was coming from Arusha in Tanzania, to sign a peaceful agreement that involved among others, releasing most of his power. It was about power sharing among all political parties including the RPF. The cohort power (commonly referred to as Akazu) back home in Kigali, was not of course happy with the agreement and they knew that it made them loose what they had for long, fought for, i.e. leadership.
And some of them did not fear calling the agreement a ‘mere paper, which does hold any water as far as they were concerned.
By signing the agreement therefore, Habyalimana was going in bad books with the Kigali cohorts and they could have preferred to make him answer it with a big cost.
How about the French? It should be remembered that the RPF attacked from Uganda, a country that was colonised by the British and therefore regarded as Anglo-phone. The French were not at all pleased by the advancement of RPF to power as it threatened its stay in Rwanda. Furthermore, their worries were worsened by the knowledge that the British were the ones who were going to replace them. The enmity between the two European big powers can be traced in the 1194-1337 English-French wars. And above all the French still wanted to maintain their influence in this part of Africa and the leadership of Rwanda was offering this environment with maximum perfection. When Habyalimana signed the peace agreement in Arusha therefore, he was not only threatening the cohorts but also the French. The French had all the machineries and big influence in Rwanda to turn the tables, the way they wanted. They could have thus decided to get rid of Habyalimana in that way.
And no wonder, they were the first to arrive at the scene of the plane crash and chased away all other people who were trying to approach it, including the president’s guards.
This is when the black box must have been recovered by the people who took control of the plane wreckages and the surroundings. Who were those? They were French soldiers who were in Rwanda by then. The black box however, remains to be in place, not known to most Rwandans and hence much of the truths on the crash remain hidden.
Did the RPF have interest in his death? Habyalimana had signed a peaceful agreement that could see RPF join the government in Kigali. The agreement sent a positive sign in the RPF camp. By joining the government, RPF would have been saved the costs of a war it was fighting, both in terms of cash and human suffering. The death of Habyalimana was not so significant in the RPF’s win of the war. He was a single man and his colleagues would have continued the war especially that they still had a strong support of a super power on the ground. The RPF was not too naïve to understand the situation! And above all, it was not fighting an individual but a system.
It was later evidenced that his death did not mean the war ended, as it continued all over the country. There was only an out right start of genocide that made a difference.
What sparked off the genocide
It is very wrong and demeaning to say that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda started because of the plane crash. Rwandans are rational human beings and cannot just react like animals. However, the people were for long prepared and reduced to work as machines and that is why they acted the way they did. They were no longer rational, because they were indoctrinated and thus saw the victims as the only enemies in their lives. The problem was not what they physically did, but their minds. They had had their minds separated from the body. The mind under normal situations is supposed to direct the body on what is right and wrong. It helps the human body parts like arms, for example, not to pick machetes and kill babies. They were unfortunately working as machines and all that was needed was to switch them on, which they did and the genocide started. The cohorts with all obvious reasons had to use the plane crash as an escape goat. In addition, due to the fact that the Rwandan mind was already poisoned, it acted irrationally and started the genocide. This does not however reflect the nature of Rwandans, they are rational human beings and no body should use the history to insult them as some foreigners have been doing.