Saturday, July 31, 2010

KPFA News, 07.31.2010: Obama and the Militarization of Africa

Related links:
Black Star News: Will Obama Administration screw Africa, like all the rest?
San Francisco Bay View: Africa advocates to Obama: don't recognize Kagame's election

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Africa advocates to Obama: Don’t recognize Kagame’s election

Support real freedom and democracy in Africa

by the Africa Faith and Justice Network, Friends of the Congo, Hotel Rwanda/Rusesabagina Foundation, International Humanitarian Law Institute of Minnesota, Institute for Policy Studies, Mobilization for Justice and Peace in Congo, Africa Action, and Chicago Coalition for Congo

President Obama said, in his 2009 speech in Accra, Ghana, that America should support strong institutions and not strong men. However, in the case of Rwanda, this has been no more than rhetoric. Rwandans, like most Africans, cheered Obama’s election, hoping that it might signal a new, more peaceful and cooperative relationship between the U.S. and Africa, but Obama has expanded AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, and now he remains silent as Rwanda’s strongman, President Paul Kagame, prepares a sham presidential election to retain his brutal grip on power.

On Aug. 3, in Washington D.C., we, Africa advocates, will gather at the National Press Club to call on President Obama and the U.S. State Department not to recognize the legitimacy of Rwanda’s upcoming Aug. 9 election results and to stop militarizing Africa and supporting repressive regimes.

“The U.S. policy has been to support strongmen,” says Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of the Congo. “And at the head of the class is Paul Kagame, who has received military support, weapons, training and intelligence and as a result has been able to invade its neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and sustain proxy militia fighting there to rob the Congolese people of their natural resources. He has contributed to the death of over 6 million people in Congo and to the destabilization of Africa’s whole Great Lakes region.”

Sunday, July 25, 2010

KPFA News, 7.24.2010 on Kagame, Rwanda, Congo, and the Great Lakes Region of Africa

Voices of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Aimable Mugara, and Maurice Carney.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Defense lawyers condemn assassination of ICTR lawyer Mwaikusa

The Association of Defense Lawyers have condemned the murder of International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) lawyer and University of Dar es Salaam Law Professor Jwani Mwaikusa, who was gunned down outside his home on July 14.

Professor Mwaikusa had recently prevented the transfer of ICTR defendants to Rwanda on “lack of fair trial" grounds, and announced the appeal of his client, Yusuf Munyakazi's July 3 conviction.

Read more at Digital Journal,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

KPFA News on Rwanda, Mwaikusa assassination in Tanzania, ICTR lawyers, and Kagame protest in Spain, 07.18.2010:

Jwani Mwaikusa, human rights lawyer, ICTR Defense Counsel, and Law Professor at the University of Dar Es Salaam (USDM), Tanzania, was buried on Saturday, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.  The gunmen who killed him outside his home there on Tuesday stole his briefcase and legal documents.  The San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper published Charles Kambanda's memories of Professor Mwaikuza, and Tanzania's "The Citizen" website reported on the funeral and the ongoing investigation, quoting retired UDSM law lecturer, Prof Issa Shivji, who said:

"The circumstances of his death are very difficult to explain. It does not appear to have been an ordinary robbery. I think it was calculated and definitely had a motive. This is a brutal killing we would want our investigators to work on and give us an answer.”

KPFA Radio News reported the Association of Defense Lawyers' response:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rwanda Green Party leader assassinated

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda's First Vice President Andre Kagwa Rwisereka was found dead, his head almost completely severed from his body, in the wetlands of the Makula River near Butare, Rwanda, on the morning of July 14, 2010.

His body had been left approximately 3 kilometers from Butare, where his car had been dumped.  He was 61 years old and is survived by four children.

Read more at Digital Journal.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

KPFA Radio News, "Election Observers" in Africa, 2010

Text of what Rwandan American lawyer, former RPF member, and former Makerere University professor Charles Kambanda said about the US and UK's "election observers" on their way to Rwanda for the August 9th polls:

"When we talk about a free and fair election, we are not talking about the election day. We are not talking about a few hours after the election or before the election. We are looking at the entire social political environment before, during, and after elections. Anyone who has been observing events in Rwanda knows that it is impossible to have free and fair elections, so why do people seriously think of going there to observe elections? Which elections are they going to observe? There is nothing to be observed because what we have is a one man show. What we have is a situation where they have created the so-called opposition. RPF has kicked out all the potential political opposition leaders; they are either in prison, or, they are already dead, or in exile."

What Rwandan exile, writer, blogger, and activist Aimable Mugara, as quoted in Digital Journal and the San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper

“Rwanda’s electoral commission has certified only four candidates,” says Aimable Mugara, a Rwandan exile, writer, blogger and activist now living in Ottawa, Canada, who survived Rwanda’s 1994 massacres. “The candidates are Gen. Kagame and three of his political friends, who have never ever criticized the ruling party for anything. This means that the people of Rwanda have no choice whatsoever. No choice means no election."

“Therefore, foreign election observers planning to go to Rwanda to observe the ‘election’ this August are wasting time and money. I would recommend that they stay in their countries and write their reports based on all the insane actions Gen. Kagame’s ruling party has taken since the beginning of this year, actions that make this so-called election null and void.”

I'm now collecting quotations, what Rwandans in country and out, have to say about these "election observers" from the US and the UK, a.k.a., in this case, the Commonwealth, though I know that most Rwandans in country are less than free to speak their own minds. 

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and the FDU-Inkingi Party are urging Rwandans to boycott the August 9th elections as the US and UK, a.k.a., Commonwealth, prepare to send "observers." 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oakland outraged by Mesherle verdict: involuntary manslaughter

Ex-Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cop Johannes Mehserle at work, January 2009.  

Oakland - Riots broke out in Oakland, California, on the night of Thursday, July 8th, after a Los Angeles jury in the Johannes Mehserle case reported a verdict of "involuntary manslaughter, with a gun."

Involuntary manslaughter calls for a 2 to 4 year sentence, "with a gun" seems to add 1, 3, 4, or 10 years, but reports of sentencing possibilities still vary widely, as attention turns to the upcoming August 7th sentence hearing, in Los Angeles.

Mehserle, a 28-year-old white ex-Bay Area Rapid Transit policeman, pulled his gun and shot Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old African American apprentice butcher and father of a four-year-old daughter, in the back, in the early morning hours of New Year's Day, 2009.   Video records show that Grant was prostrate on the BART platform, with hands restrained behind his back when Mehserle shot him.   The defense argued that Mehserle had mistaken his gun for his tazer.

Read more at Digital Journal,

Kagame arrests another journalist, UK defunds its Media Council

07.09.2010 - Two weeks after the murder of Rwandan journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage, following his criticism of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Rwandan Police arrested Agnes Uwimana, the director of a privately owned newspaper.

Uwimana, prior to her arrest this week, served a one-year jail sentence for defamation and promoting division, a crime equivalent to "politics" in Rwanda, attempting to challenge President Kagame's power or version of the tragic 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

Read more at Digital Journal,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Voice of the Cape Drive Time/South Africa Interview on Rwanda, Congo, and AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command

On July 6th, I spoke to Shanaaz Ebrahim on Voice of the Cape Drive Time about Rwanda, eastern Congo, and AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, and why I, as an American, feel compelled to study, write, and speak out about this:

--Ann Garrison

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kagame tortures opposition, arrests Ingabire's Rwandan lawyer

Rwandan President Paul Kagame 

Rwandan opposition leaders Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and Frank Habineza report ongoing torture of opposition party members arrested in Kigali on June 24th, 2010, as they attempted to protest exclusion from this year's presidential election.  Ingabire is the presidential candidate of Rwanda's FDU-Inkingi Party, Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda.

Ingabire also reports that her new lawyer, Mr. Theogene Muhayeyezu, has been arrested, tortured, and detained incommunicado. Yesterday her former U.S. lawyer, Peter Erlinder, and his Kenyan lawyers Kennedy Ogeto and Otachi Gershom, addressed the Chicago Chapter of the National Lawyers' Guild, about the meaning of his three weeks incarceration in Rwanda after traveling there to defend Ingabire against charges of "genocide ideology," which he called "trumped up charges" and "thought crime." Rwanda's genocide ideology statutes ban disagreement with the official version of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, or, many say, disagreement with sitting President Paul Kagame.

Read more at Digital Journal,