Saturday, January 4, 2014

Karegeya is Dead but should Many more Follow?

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The news on Colonel Karegeya's assassination was broken through a private message from my Twitter friend, Revi Mfizi (excellent report on Karegeya's death here). I was immediately astounded. Revi is a Tutsi survivor who is currently pursing a PhD in political science. The story of how our lives intersect is one that I will come back to in a different post.

Before he fell out with the Rwandan dictator in 2007, Karegeya, Tutsi, was a very powerful man in Kigali. A former classmate of Kagame, he followed him into the Rwanda civil war and was appointed his top spy after the fall of the genocide regime in 1994. He carried on his duty with unwavering but questionable dedication. According to several sources, Karegeya was responsible for a number of assassinations of Kagame's critics throughout his tenure--allegations he never made any effort to deny.

While I have always know that Karegeya was a shady character with a murderous past, I was largely unaware of his role in the Kibeho massacre where an upward of 4000 internally displaced people (mostly women and children) were hacked to death in the broad daylight on the weekend of April 22nd 1995. The revelation of his complicity in this macabre murder further heightened my disdain for this man. Still, I wished him no death.

Every man, regardless of how evil, should never be condemned without being offered a fair chance at trial. For that reason, Karegeya is still innocent before the law and deserved better than murder. In fact, it is probably because someone wanted to cover up these crimes that he was killed. In his interviews, Karegeya had suggested a desire to share information on Kagame's complicity into the assassination of former president Habyarimana--whose killing sparked the 1994 genocide. As someone who did Kagame's "dirty jobs", he takes lost of valuable secrets with him to his gave--the very hope of his killers.

Mr. Karegeya's colleagues in the Rwanda National Congress insists that the Colonel was killed by Kagame. "I can confirm that this is 100% by the government of Rwanda", Kayumba, a former Rwandan army chief and close friend of Karegeya said. But there are more ominous and obvious signs. Such as the fact that Karegeya's death closely mirrors that of other opponents of Kagame who have been unlucky to face a similar fate.

While Rwanda is often a country of sophisticated intrigues, there is little reason or motive to point fingers elsewhere. Indeed, Twitter accounts closely allied to the government have been mocking or joking about his death. Some have concocted ready made stories that seem desperately keen to influence the narrative: "Karegeya was a victim of business deals gone sour", some have said. Still in an effort to mislead, others have tied his death to an imaginary jilted lover or suggested that his colleagues in the RNC might have killed him. No reason is offered to back the claims.

Personally, I see no reason to suspect any other entity than the Rwandan government in whose direction the smoking gun seems to point. Kagame has a callous record of silencing former allies turned opponents through murder. In many ways, Karegeya lived in the shadows of death never failing to predict his own demise. He knew he was a marked man and presciently identified his potential killers. "Kagame wants to finish me off", he told a journalist two years ago. On his part, Kagame has never been shy about expressing his desire to kill opponents.

Ultimately though the bigger story is a fact that no one wants to face: that Tutsi elites have long gotten away with monstrous crimes--that include assassinations, mass murder and even genocide. This is due in part to massive US support for Kagame and his cable of killers. The US has protected Kagame from even the most verifiable allegations of genocide such as this one that occurred in 1995. In this case, the report was suppressed only to resurface a decade later. The take away lesson: murder can be addictive especially if individuals or states get away with it. Such has been the case of President Kagame who has abused US support to create a false sense of invincibility around himself that employs murder as if it were legitimate political weapon.

The killing of opponents has to end and the choices are clear. Either the international community takes a hard line on Kagame by exposing his crimes and demanding accountability or the monster that he is, continues to get out of hand and kills more people. Unfortunately, his pattern since 1994 has shown that he is unlikely to reform.

Soon, the US will be forced to account to the unpredictable consequences of supporting this heinous dictator. Crimes like this are much harder to conceal in this day and age of Twitter. The parting question is: Why risk unnecessary embarrassment by supporting someone who the majority of Rwandans do not want and who is easily replaceable?


Anonymous said...

Personally, I wouldn't be very comfortable having my country's president be a murderer.

Anonymous said...

First, my sincere condolences to the Family of Karagaye. May his Soul Rest in Eternal peace.
Dictatorial government in Rwanda would stay in power as long as Kagama maintains his fake image on international level. Criticizing his government without immediate actions or solutions such as internal uprisings or holding of mass demonstration would only strengthen his grip on leadership. We also need to know that any possible attempts to remove Kagama by force would result in catastrophic consequences. He has outstanding financial and military support from the four corners of the earth, especially from the imperialists. He may not have enough men to fight any rebellions against his government but he surely could still be a winner at the end of it all because he enjoys international support. However, being great doesn’t guarantee he would never fall. We are left to question ourselves, us who think we could do better to free political prisoners who are detained without fair trial: what can we immediately do to help brothers and sister in Rwanda enjoy freedom? We have time and opportunity to act, in helping to speak for those who are unfairly intimidated in the cells. We have moral obligations to fight for victims of murderous government. We can help.
Greater price must be paid to topple his government. Simmering animosities would eventually burst into full-scale rebellion, in the near future. Possibility of civil war is inevitable, at least in a bid to overthrow Kagame and that’s the best solution if we were to remove kagame from the office.
Rather than encouraging national participation in nation building, he has deployed odious tactics that work against peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and healing. This is not a kind of leadership we need in the 21st century. Rwandese deserve better than what Kagame has to offer.
Kagama is typically a vengeful and vindictive leader who instigate divisive political ideologies, through brutal means as we witness throughout his presidency. Karagaye's killing is just but one of the many cases of systematic killings ordered by Kagame himself.
The world shouldn't be fooled to not believe political dissidents in Rwanda are systematically slaughtered to preserve Kagama's brutal administration. Criticism alone is not enough. Condemnation of the killings must be both forceful and peaceful. I envision great revolution that would see Kagame falls.

Anonymous said...

"Rise and Fall of Kagame" is inevitable

blaise said...

I'm quite taken aback by the fact that knowing he was a marked man he didn't take more steps to ensure his own safety given the fact that those network were his brain child.Obviously even a close friend who goes back and forth to the motherland would be under tremendous pressure from GoR to collaborate in whatever enterprise they were into.
Another thing I never get is why they don't put in writing whatever they know in case something happen to them.Sooner or later responsibilities will be assign. Justice is slow but retribution is swift

blaise said...

Btw, great rendering of the situation.

Unknown said...

referring to your last paragraph, you said that the US gov't supports someone that the majority of rwandans do not want. my question is, how would the US gov't know that the majority of rwandans do not want him when they can't even express themselves?

Anonymous said...

Kagame Is a lone Wolf who Murder Rwandese with Impunity. He has upper hand to carry on the killing unless something is done to stop him from masterminding his killings. We should not focus on blaming foreign governments that have enduring diplomatic and political ties with his ill government. This is the problem we should confront, and decide what measures we can undertake to stop more killings of this nature. I am saddened by Karegeya's killing but I think he surely got under-estimated dangers that faced his life. He received several death threats that should have shaped his personal safety instinct for good

Rwanda Speaks said...

Very chilling, and very true/

Anonymous said...

You meant it your self. Crimes like this are much harder to conceal in this day and age of Twitter and the US will not stain their international image.

Together we can bring Kagame and his clique down. personally i have been thinking of a strength in IT to do this using a twitter batallion tweetting at least everyone hour making Kagame ruthless killings known by everyone allover the world and i am sure the democratic people of America will get their goverment stop supporting Kagame.

I wont sleep a second, I have to find solutions and share them with people like you nkunda, you are doing a great job for the people of Rwanda.

Joel Wilhelm said...

As part of a church bound to a canon which states:
"God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and Clergy are called to protect and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death (Canon II.8.3)."
I have to hope that Anglicans in Rwanda will stand up and condemn this murder if it is indeed traced back to the Rwandan security organs, which seems likely.

Anonymous said...

I believe Kagame is innocent till proven guilty as well.why r u quick to cover up for others whom you clearly said were involved in mass murder but not kagame?all these are speculations with no proof.has any of you seen him do the said crimes or you are just talking out of imagination?I'm not rwandese but I feel like this is a mere campaign by his opponents to get the world's support,clearly he won elections and legitimately so.I know you might say he rigged them but that's the common song for sour loosers world wide.rwanda is way more developed than most countries and on the right track to being one of africa's success.I wish many presidents would be like him and champion africa forward