By Gad Ntambara.
NAIROBI, KENYA: Recent remarks by His Excellency Rais Kikwete of Tanzania at the AU summit in Addis Ababa for Rwanda to negotiate with a genocide linked group - FDLR and also listed by the US as a terrorist group, left many people speechless the world over.
FDLR comprises of Interahamwe militias and remnants of former government forces- EX-FAR who committed genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 by killed over one million innocent souls simply because they were Tutsi.
The group now based in Eastern DRC, has over the years organized attacks on the Rwandan territory and killed more innocent civilians, with an aim of completing the genocide, because in 1994, they were not able to attain their objective of exterminating all the Tutsi.
In 2012, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for FDLR top commander Sylvestre Mudacumura on five counts of crimes against humanity including murder, rape and mutilation plus nine more charges of war crimes.
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While serving as Tanzania’s Foreign Minister, on February 17, 2005, His Excellency Kikwete visited Rwanda and went to Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre, where over 250,000 remains of genocide victims are laid to rest. May their souls RIP.
In his own handwriting, Mheshimiwa Kikwete, wrote in the memorial book the following words, “It is horrifying, saddening and pitiful too. Let this be a reminder once again for such abominable things not to happen again. Let us say never again, and make sure it really doesn’t happen again.” After 8 years, has His Excellency Kikwete has forgotten that FDLR has only one agenda to carry on from where they stopped to complete the genocide against the Tutsi?
As defined in article 2 of the convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide of 1948, the act of genocide is not an ordinary crime and therefore, the perpetrators like FDLR, should not be dealt with in any ordinary form, manner or circumstance.
Raphael Lemkin, in his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe- 1944, came up with the word ‘genocide’ to explain the unimaginable extent and motive behind the killings that happened in Nazi occupied territories.
FDLR committed similar crimes in Rwanda and therefore, negotiating with such evil people as suggested by President Kikwete is beyond human imagination and a mockery to the genocide victims and survivors.
Foreign Minister Bernard Membe made matters worse by equating FDLR to ANC of South Africa and Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the Middle East.
Whereas ANC and PLO are liberation movements fighting for the liberation of their people, FDLR is a remnant of a government, Interahamwe militia and an army that committed genocide against the people of Rwanda, fighting to capture power, sanitize itself of the genocide label and re-establish a Hutu supremacist system in Rwanda.
This comparison of a genocidaire rebel outfit with credible world known liberation movements is either a manifestation of very poor analytical approach not befitting the chief diplomat of a country or is a deliberate political agenda of misinformation obscurantism, meant to assume duties of a spokesperson for the negative and genocidal forces.
It is difficult to believe that the newly created intervention Brigade in Eastern DRC meant to deal with armed groups including FDLR and being commanded by a Tanzanian Brigadier General James Mwakibolwa will not be influenced in its operation by President Kikwete’s position as an advocate of a group of genocidaire that killed over a million people in Rwanda.
Mheshimiwa Rais Kikwete is slowly but surely approaching retirement. However, Rwanda and Tanzania will forever share boundaries and the two countries should continue to enjoy free movement of people and capital for social and economic integration and prosperity of the Great Lakes Region.