What has defeated so many people is understanding why this man has successfully managed to escape justice for this long. For sure, unless you know how powerful he was in the government that organised the Genocide, you will not know why he makes headlines.
Félicien Kabuga, who is now 73 years old, is an extremely rich businessman who was and still is closely allied to the family of the late Habyarimana Juvenal. He took part in the creation of the National Defence Fund’s Acting Committee (FND) of which he became president. He was also the president of the RTLM’s Ruling Committee.
Kabuga too, was the main financial contributor and silent partner of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) and CDR, an extremist Hutu party inside the MRND, which was fiercely opposed to Tutsi existence. He is a man who wielded command over all extremist groups that killed the Tutsis in the 1994 genocide.
At long last the Kenyan government has threatened to freeze Felicien Kabuga’s assets. Should we attribute the move to the newly established alliance of Odinga and Kibaki?
Mr. Odinga must have brought in new ideas that are going to distance the Kenyan government from the international fugitive, who is wanted by Rwandan and the international courts for the gross human atrocities he committed in Rwanda. The idea thus brings in more optimism that the fugitive will possibly be captured.
To the dismay of many including Rwandans and non-Rwandans, the Kenyan government has been so reluctant to react to allegations that the number one suspect enjoyed good life in their country.
In fact some businessmen, who move a lot, openly discuss it (both in Rwanda and Kenya), that he cannot be apprehended because of his lavish attention to some leaders in Kenya. This is what has rendered the Kenyan police suspicious!
Furthermore, it is no longer news that Kabuga has mansions and trailers in the region that he operates daily. What is missing is the political concern and will on part of the governments harboring him and his assets. Otherwise, he should have faced justice a long time ago.
Nonetheless, a move to freeze his assets and push them forward to help the few survivors who escaped his knife, is of paramount importance. Most survivors have had court rulings, ordering culprits to compensate them, but unfortunately most of the accused own no property. They are equally poor.
The perpetrators of the Genocide had all the economic power in their hands. They are the ones therefore, with the property to pay some compensation in terms of property. The millions Kabuga has could be given to orphans and survivors of the Genocide.
These (survivors) are the people who still lack a lot in terms of basic needs like food, shelter, clothes, and other necessities. It is a group of people who suffered all the atrocities under the command of the likes of Kabuga. They are then vulnerable as a result of the Genocide and the perpetrators should not be allowed to go scot-free, just because they have the money.
If the parents of today’s orphans we have in Rwanda were alive, they would be living a decent life. They were denied the chance, and the cheapest thing any sensible person can do is to compensate them with some basic needs. The ‘Kabugas’ assets should thus serve this purpose whether they are in the arms of justice or not.
What is not clear to me, however, is if real, the threat is going to be put into practice and not a mere campaign to create a good image of the country that has been seen as a safe haven for Kabuga. They should be guided by moral restraints so that they do not only freeze the assets of the fugitive, but also arrest him so that he may face justice.