Saturday, 1 June 2013

Rwanda's reaction to President Kikwete's statement shocking

On 26 May 2013 in Addis Ababa the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, convened the first meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and Region. It was at this important meeting where the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete made what many level headed commentators have referredto as candid and commonsensical remarks about the protracted conflicts in the Great Lakes Region. President Kikwete - a seasoned and consummate diplomat who has helped broker many peace deals in Africa - remarked that it was high time Rwanda and Uganda gave serious attention to peace talks with FDLR and ADFrebels respectively. He said, and correctly so, that it was evident the barrel of the gun cannot bring about the ultimateanswer as testified by the recurrence of fighting in our region. He never condoned the role that the FDLR rebels played in the 1994 genocide. He was being reasonable and pragmatic.
Rwanda should know better than any other country that there is no way Tanzania would condone or sympathize with the perpetrators of genocide. To make suchinsinuations is, quite frankly, demonstration of breathtaking ignorance about Tanzania’s enviable and unparalleled history - the history of speaking out against any forms of crimes and injustices. Moreover, for Rwanda to make such insinuations is to show just what a short memory span this country has.
Admittedly, genocide brought about painful and unforgettable misery to the people of Rwanda but its spillover effects were felt well beyond its borders. The effects of genocide were felt right inside Tanzania which had to shoulder the burden ofproviding for thousands of Rwandan refugees. By the way, Tanzania has a long history of taking good care of Rwandan refugees both before and after genocide.The sons and daughters of the Rwandan refugees benefitted from Tanzania’sgenerous education system by studying, for free, at the country’s Universities and many of them are now occupying high positions in the Government of their motherland.

So given the foregoing, I have to say that I have been taken aback by ourneighbors’ over-reaction to what was a completely innocuous statement byPresident KikweteIndeed, what the President said could (and should) have been said by other leaders a long time ago. What he said is a no-brainer!  It is commonsensical!  Negotiations have a much better chance of resulting into durable peace than the use of force. Thus, I find the reactions from Rwanda not only disturbing but also objectionable and utterly impudent! What is even more shocking is the discourteous behavior shown by the Rwanda’s Foreign Minister.  She seems to be getting too much big for her boots as to suggest that PresidentKikwete’s statement was absurd! She even has the audacity to ask that he should retract it. If anything, I think it is our Foreign Ministry which should summon the Ambassador of Rwanda in Dar es Salaam and ask him to clarify his Minister’s inadvisable utterances.
For far too long now the international community has adopted a softly softly approach with respect to Rwanda and this has meant that this tiny country getsaway with literally everything, even murder. Rwanda has become like a spoiled child - untouchable and overly sensitive to everything even the slightest suggestion of censure. Rwanda has a tendency of not taking kindly any form of criticism whether from within or without. And its leadership comes across as snobbish and delusional. May be the western countries’ plaudits about its so called success storyhave finally got into the heads of Rwandan leaders so much that they think they know it all.
For Rwanda to say that they cannot engage in talks with FDLR rebels because of their role in 1994 genocide is to allow themselves to be the captives of the past. History is replete with numerous instances of former sworn enemies burying their hatchets and extending an olive branch to one another for the sake of peaceful coexistence and future prosperity. This happened in South Africa where ANC and other progressive movements sat down with the perpetrators of one of the most brutal and inhumane policies in the history of mankind (apartheid) and agreed to work together in an inclusive and democratic society. Similarly, after many decades of committing some of the most heinous crimes against the people of Angola, UNITA is now part of the democratic government of that country. And in 2011, US and its allies initiated direct talks with some elements of the Taliban in Doha (Qatar), if my memory serves me well.
Rwanda should wake up and smell the coffee! Being delusional has not workedand won’t work.  It is now close to 20 yrs since the 1994 genocide and during all that time Rwanda has not been able to achieve its objectives visa vis FDLR rebelsthrough the use of force.  Any sane person in Kigali should see the wisdom of changing the tactic/strategy which is, for all purposes and intents, what our President said in the Statement. Rwanda should understand that by calling for direct talks, Tanzania does not suggest, by any stretch of imagination, that the architects and executors of genocide should go scot free. Not at all! Talks can, and indeed should, offer the mechanism of dealing with known perpetrators of genocide by isolating them from non-perpetrators such as those born after 1994.This is just one example of approaching talks. I am sure there are many others.
But talking of genocide, am wrong in recalling that even President Kagame himself was once found to be complicit in this crime by a French Magistrate? I recall that Rwanda’s reaction to this finding was, as we have come to expect, fast and furious to the extent of severing its diplomatic relations with France. Again, this goes to show that this “spoiled child” can’t stand any sort of censure or straight talking. I also recall that as recent as last year a UN report revealed that Rwanda’s Kagame had committed or assisted in committing genocide in DRC!
Despite all this compelling evidence, neighbors of Rwanda are still ready to engage that country in talks. Why can’t Rwanda show the same attitude? And lest he forgets, Kagame himself and his RPF henchmen come from a background of rebellion. They were rebels operating from Ugandan forests before taking over power in 1994. However, despite their “rebels” status they were invited and took part in the Arusha peace process of the early 1990s.  
Finally, I have a gut feeling that Rwanda doesn’t want FDLR rebels to go awaythat’s is why it is vehemently opposing the suggestion of talks which is one sure way of ending this conflict once and for allThis because, the perpetual presence of FDLR rebels in DRC gives Rwanda a convenient excuse to interfere in the DRC’s affairs thereby making the country ungovernable for its own economic and geopolitical interests. I read somewhere that Rwanda’s army – which is one of the biggest for a country of that economy and size - is mainly sustained by the exploitation of DRC’s natural resources. So, Rwanda goes into the DRC on the pretext that it is in hot pursuit of the FDLR rebels but in actual fact what it does is to plunder the resources.
And Rwanda is particularly angry with Tanzania because by being part ofMONUSCO in DRC, its misdeeds will be exposed and curtailed by our non-nonsense troops. So the over-reaction to our President’s innocuous statement should not be seen in isolation. It is part of the frustration born out of the uneasy situation which Rwanda finds itself in as a result of our troops being part of the UN/SADC intervention force in DRC.
I submit.
Concerned Citizen



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The African Capacity for Immediate Response (AICRC) to Crisis is adopted
Addis Ababa, 27 May 2013 – The Heads of State and Government of the African Union today took a decision of historic nature and scope when they adopted the African immediate Crisis response Capacity (AICRC). This decision was informed by the overwhelming dependence of the Union on funds provided by partners and which affects the implementation of African solutions to African problems. For instance, 100% of African Union (AU) Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is funded by partners. It represents an annual budget of 500 million USD. In the same vein, African leaders agreed in the case of the armed rebellion in Mali that Africa could have moved faster and made the French intervention dispensable if it had the appropriate tools and mechanisms. As Africa celebrates the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity and of the African Union, leaders of the continent felt it unfortunate that after 50 years of independence, African security is so dependant of foreign partners.
This statement was made by Ambassador Lamamra Ramtane, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security at a press conference held after the conclusion of the 21st AU Summit.
The AICRC “is to provide Africa with a strictly military capacity with high reactivity to respond swiftly to emergency situations upon political, decisions to intervene in conflict situations within the continent. The aim is to establish an efficient, robust and credible force, which can be deployed very rapidly, able to conduct operations of limited duration and objectives or contribute to creating enabling conditions for the deployment of larger AU and/or UN peace operations” says the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission. It is an interim tool as the African Standby force (ASF) is meant to be operational by 2015.
On a voluntary basis, Member States of the African Union will contribute troops and finance the capacity so as to act independently. So far, South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia have pledged to implement the decision on the establishment of the capacity. Command and control will be ensured by the AU Peace and Security Council upon request of a Member State for intervention.
During the press conference, Commissioner Lamamra also briefed the journalists on the state of peace and security on the continent. During the 21st AU Summit, Heads of State and Government reviewed the state of peace and security on the continent and the steps needed to hasten the attainment of the objective of a conflict-free Africa. 

Hugo Swire: Global economic standards must be maintained

Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP intervened at the OECD and said UK has put “tax, trade and transparency at the heart of our G8 presidency.”

Speaking at the OECD in Paris today Minister Swire said:
OECD’s role in the system of global economic governance could not be more important than it is today. As discussed yesterday, global economic prospects remain uncertain. We are all working hard to make sure that the systemic weaknesses of the last crisis do not cost the global economy again. But that alone isn’t enough. The rules that support economic activity such as competition policy and trade agreements are also crucial. The UN negotiations working towards a global climate change agreement by 2015 is an important example of how global rules matter in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges, and how we can all benefit from shared commitments.
That’s why we should all be pushing for wider uptake of our standards. Without a common commitment to global standards, the rules-based system of economic governance risks reaching a tipping point, creating a race to the bottom which ultimately leaves everyone worse off. We should be united in our determination to ensure that this does not happen.
Today the OECD members represent 65 percent of global GDP. If we do nothing to bring in new members, then by 2060 that number will drop to around 40 percent. That’s why we – as OECD, Russia and our Key Partners of Brazil, China India, Indonesia, South Africa– need to deepen our partnerships, as well as relations with South East Asia, MENA, Latin America and other important regions.
At the same time, it’s important that we recognise that key values – openness, transparency, free markets and free trade, underpinned by the rule of law – are as important to the growth of the emerging economies as they have been to OECD members’ economic development.
It is for this reason that the UK has put tax, trade and transparency at the heart of our G8 presidency.
The decision by our Prime Minister, David Cameron, to pursue this agenda is no accident: tax, trade and transparency – the ‘3Ts’ – are all critical issues for global prosperity, for jobs and for sustainable development. They are closely linked, mutually reinforcing and they all require us to work towards common international approaches. And the OECD should be congratulated on all the preparatory work it has done on tax base erosion and profit shifting.
As we free up the world economy, we must make sure openness delivers the benefits it should for all countries, regardless of their level of economic development. That means consistent and fair rules for the global economy. When countries open up to cross-border trade and global supply chains, they need to know that they will see the benefits in jobs, fair tax revenues and economic growth. So we need global rules that prevent tax evasion and aggressive avoidance, and enable governments to collect the taxes they are owed. This is an ambitious, practical agenda, which will support prosperity, business, investment and growth. It can benefit everyone – in both the developed and the developing worlds.
And here as we have seen from the update on the OECD’s Strategy on Development important work is underway In this context, I welcome in particular OECD work on Global Value Chains, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, tackling illicit financial flows, mobilising developing country resources for development, and others such as PISA that support “jobs, equality and trust”. The work of the OECD/UNDP’s joint Support Unit to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation is a test case for how the OECD’s expertise in this area can offer support to global and UN-led development processes.
Top of the list is, of course, the successor to the Millennium Development Goals. The High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Agenda, which our Prime Minister co-Chairs, will publish its report at the end of May. The UK has worked to ensure that this has been an open and consultative process, covering the full range of issues such as governance and tackling the underlying causes of poverty. OECD reactions to the report will be very welcome.

Michael Adebowale arrives court in a Police van amidst tight security
Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court this morning - charged with murdering the soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London last week.
The 22-year old Adebowale who was released from hospital on Tuesday, was remanded in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey next Monday.
Yesterday, a post-mortem examination ruled that Drummer Lee Rigby died of "multiple incised wounds" after the Woolwich attack.
His suspected co-attacker - Michael Adebolajo, remains under arrest in hospital. They were both shot by armed police at the crime scene to effect arrest.
Adebowale, who has also been charged with possession of a firearm, appeared in court with a bandaged hand and flanked by police officers.
He limped as he approached his position in the glass dock, holding his right hand close to his body.
Wearing white baggy trousers and a grey sweatshirt, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle told Adebowale he did not need to stand up in the dock as "I understand you've been injured."