A few positive signs this mourning period

The season has caught up with us again– for the nineteenth time. As usual, unwelcome strangers will try to upstage our mourning with ridiculous reports and conferences that do more to glorify perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Kennedy Ndahiro
Kennedy Ndahiro

The season has caught up with us again– for the nineteenth time. As usual, unwelcome strangers will try to upstage our mourning with ridiculous reports and conferences that do more to glorify perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

In the next few weeks, expect to find the media inundated with expert reports and new findings, recycled theories that have failed to pass the test of time and a few wanabee “experts” of this region who will be on their usual prowls. It’s an old story.

But a couple of positive outcomes have helped douse the gloom, they might seem unrelated to the uninitiated, but history has shown that few things in Rwanda happen in isolation. First, Rwanda this week took over the presidency of the UN Security Council.

When this country was brought to its knees in 1994, it also had a seat on the council. It was definitely not a coincidence that the world, especially the Security Council, kept mum as millions were taken to the gallows, Rwanda seat on the body must have influenced the lethargy with which the world reacted to the slaughter.

Rwanda’s first action when it was elected to the current council was to mobilise support to bring back peace to Mali that had fallen into the grips of fundamentalists. In the memorable speech, President Paul Kagame galvanized his peers, especially those in west Africa to  act decisively, albeit half willingly. That was a seat being put to good use.

The second positive outcome was the announcement that France would at last bring a suspect of the Genocide to face justice.

Pascal Simbikangwa, the notorious former army officer rose to fame for all the wrong reasons. The celebrated torturer under President Juvenal Habyarimana’s regime was uncovered in the French island of Mayotte in September 2008, not for Genocide, but for trafficking in fake documents.

His Genocidal past caught up with him at last after 14 years basking in an island paradise. But Simbikangwa is just a drop in the ocean, many of his peers and accomplices continue to roam free and it is every victim’s wish that maybe, one day, justice will run its course.

Speaking of justice, a recent assessment on the recent UN Group of Experts (GoE) report on the DRC has done just that.

Howard G. Buffet Foundation, a US nonprofit organization, commissioned the study that analysed the controversial report and came up with – not so much as a surprise– glaring omissions and questionable methodology.

“While prior GoE reports focused on a broader range of interactions, the 2012 Final Report reads as a prosecution of Rwanda and to a lesser extent Uganda, largely ignoring the other significant factors contributing to unrest in the DRC. Again, the breakdown in diplomacy combined with the GoE’s legitimate desire to focus on findings of highest impact appears to have led to this skew,” reads the report in part.

It diplomatically says its wish was not to apportion blame, but points at glaring shortcomings:

“The contents of the 2012 GoE Interim Report Addendum and the Final Report (i.e., that Rwanda and Uganda were systematically supporting M23), in addition to several media leaks of the reports’ findings, created a frenzy of negative sentiment toward Rwanda’s and Uganda’s purported roles in the conflict, as well as counter-charges of bias against the UN and GoE”.

What Rwanda had always pointed out, that the bias, unprofessional methodology and outright speculation, would not serve any purpose other than relegating the Congolese problem to a second tier instead of seeking the real sources of the conflict.

“It is not clear if policymakers who relied on the GoE report to suspend aid to Rwanda recognised that the November 2012 report, unlike prior years, was focused on demonstrating Rwandan and Ugandan involvement in M23 and not the multiple, broader contributing factors to instability in the region. It is also not clear if these same policymakers recognised the deterioration of cooperation and diplomacy that preceded the 2012 Final Report”.

The above three developments will at least give people something positive to muse about as we go about commemorating our loved ones.

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