General James Kabarebe, President Kagame Senior advisor on security matters, told members of the association of Tutsi students survivors of genocide, AERG (Association des Etudiants Et Éleves Rescapés Du Genocide) created on 20/10/1996, that there are more genocides being planned by Hutu outside and inside the country (See subtitles EN): “We are faced with problem of other genocides that can happen in the future” “Do we allow them (i.e. Hutu) to reach a level where they become a threat, or should we keep them in a position that they are useless and don’t pose a threat to us?” He called on survivors of genocide to “be always on standby, every day, day in day out” to be ready when called upon to fight. This is a sad reminder of the statement made by General Mubarak Muganga to two organisations of young survivors of genocide (AERG and GAERG) on April 1, 2017 that they should not be worried about unemployment because they would be the first that he would pick if there were to be an external military expedition. Youth in exile as the most dangerous elements because he feared that they could model the Tutsi youth, that he was part of, which took arms and overthrew the Hutu led government of President Habyarimana.
General Kabarebe was a key figure in both First Congo War and the Second Congo War as a commanding officer. An estimated 200,000 Hutu refugees were massacres by his army and an estimated 6 million Congolese died. In 2012, a report from a United Nations Security Council group of experts accused Kabarebe and other Rwandan officials of being the de facto leaders of the M23 militia accused of carrying out killings, rapes and other atrocities in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He is also accused of taking part in assassination of critics abroad.
We condemn unreservedly the demonisation of the Hutu community in exile and members of the genuine opposition inside Rwanda, the emotional exploitation of a vulnerable youth, (survivors of genocide against Tutsi), incitement to hatred and the cynical strategy of instilling fear about permanent Hutu threat in order to drum up support among the Tutsi community. The use of lies about an alleged control of the economies of countries in southern Africa by Hutu refugees, to demonstrate an imminent threat is dreadful.
We also condemn in the strongest terms possible the allegations made by General Kabarebe that demands for democracy and human rights by the opposition is hiding genocide ideology and abhor the use of state controlled organisation CNLG (Centre to fight genocide) to mudsling influential members of the opposition as a blackmail to stop them exposing dictatorship and the appalling human rights situation in Rwanda. We cannot rule out that the malicious campaign against Marcel Sebatware, Commissioner for External relations in FDU-Inkingi party and chair of the diplomacy commission of the opposition political platform is part of James Kabarebe’s idea of destabilising prominent refugees, thereby making sure that they pose no threat to RPF regime. We have no doubt that Mr Marcel Sebatware has become a target of the Rwandan regime because of his distinguished service to his party FDU-Inkingi and to the opposition political platform which represents the most serious threat as a credible alternative to the RPF regime. The opposition political platform wishes to renew its unreserved support to Mr. Marcel Sebatware and to express its sympathy to his family for all the negative effects that this malicious propaganda may have caused.
We would like to recall that up to this day the strategy of the regime has been to: disempower economically Rwandans critical of the regime by having them dismissed from their jobs or draining their resources through legal fees in defending themselves against false allegations, keep them in fear of being accused of genocide ideology, committing genocide, denying of or minimising genocide, constant fear of being extradited to Rwanda to be tortured, prison or murder. Tutsi critical of the regime are accused of embezzling money, undermining state security or inciting the public to rise against the government. Kabarebe has unveiled a new stratagem of instilling public fear.
Identifying the enemy
For fear of violating the rules of the game, which preach that there are no ethnic groups in Rwanda, Kabarebe refers to the threatening group as “they”as opposed to “survivors and us that stopped genocide”.
For the presidential adviser, the enemy is made up of Hutu refugees who left the country in 1994 and don’t pay allegiance to the RPF regime. The following statement makes it clear about the people that Kabarebe is referring to. “When you look at the time of 1994 when they were running all around in the Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and other places including Europe, they were disorganised for a time. But now they have stabilised. There are now new generations like you that have emerged”.
According to General Kabarebe, “the enemy is busy organising, some are inside the country, under the cover of the opposition”.” And he adds, “anything positive that they say hides genocidal ideology”adding a chilling revelation: “I see one million people in one person with genocidal ideology. Even if you want to kill him you must use the most lethal weapon to be sure that he/she is really dead”. He then warned the audience: “There are extremists among us (inside the country), one goes to prison in the morning and comes out the same person and even when you send him/her back, he/she comes back with the same attitude”. This is said as if to justify extra-judicial killings.
Alleged strength of the enemy.
According General Kabarebe, the strength lies in the stability of the refugees, their growing economic power, the brain power and access to technology by a dynamic emerging youth which cannot be accused of planning genocide. Sadly, Kabarebe has no qualm of conscience to accuse this youth of having genocidal ideology. Unhappy about the brilliance of refugee children in education, General Kabarebe pointed out: “It would be no problem if these were normal children who have good ideas. The problem is that their way of thinking is similar to the thinking of their parents that is to destroy the country”.
Drumming up fear
To prove the level of the threat , General Kabarebe shamelessly tells blatant lies that Rwandan refugees control all the economy, business and agriculture in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and all over southern Africa and that they even have strong economic power in Europe to be able to support a forceful return to Rwanda. “All this time they have been reorganising. Now, they have new blood, they have a new thinking, new ways of doing things, they also have access to the new technology that you have”, he told his audience. We are seriously concerned that, after Gen. Kabarebe’s statement that Hutu refugees are busy organising themselves in refugee camps of Nakivale and Toro (Uganda), the Rwandan army could attack those refugees camps as it has done in the DRC.
Strategies of the RPF system
1. Instill fear among the Tutsi community about a permanent Hutu threat to come back to power and commit genocide.
2. “Keep them (Hutu) in a position that that they are useless and don’t pose a threat to us”;
3. Keep the Tutsi feel guilty of criticising the regime.
4. Keep the Hutu feel permanently guilty and that Kagame is the only Tutsi capable of protecting them from Tutsi intent on taking revenge for genocide.
5. Use the most lethal weapon against those who fail to convert to RPF narrative.
The speech of General Kabarebe leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind about the true colours of the RPF regime. Its policy of national reconciliation is fake; its commitment to democratic values is a sham. The speech of Kabarebe demonstrates alarming signs of moral depravity of a regime that exploits the vulnerability of young survivors of genocide and setting them against the Hutu youth, as well as by using a national grief, genocide against Tutsi, to crush critics through false accusations, arbitrary arrest and detention, assassination and enforced disappearances.
These strategies will only lead to political violence and even genocide. Political violence in Rwanda has not been due to congenital hatred between Hutu and Tutsi but political and social exclusion and lack of democratic mechanism for a peaceful competition for and transfer of political power.
Our political platform, which is composed of people from all ethnic groups and regions of the country are determined to put in place legal and institutional mechanisms that protect and promotes the rights and freedom of every citizen and ensure peaceful competition and transfer of power.
We call on all Rwandans from all ethnic groups and particularly the youth to reject conspiracy theories and fascist ideology of power-hungry politicians who are ready to use any means to maintain a grip on power.
We invite all Rwandans to avoid being drawn into sectarian politics of General Kabarebe and other extremists. We are one people and injustice to one is an injustice to all of us. We call upon President Kagame to distance himself from the fascist ideology of his top security advisor.
We call upon the international community, particularly donors to ask the government of President Paul Kagame:
- To put an end to the cynical policy of using survivors of genocide and particularly vulnerable young people for political survival.
- To refrain from recruiting forcefully or by deception young survivors of genocide.
- To stop all the sectarian policies or statements used to elicit the support of survivors of genocide, which make them a target of hatred by other young people who feel excluded.
Unconditional support to a fascist regime is tantamount to being complicit in its repression against its citizens.
Done in London January 28, 2020.
Chair of the Opposition Political Platform