Washington DC, January 1, 2014
The Rwandan opposition is deeply saddened to announce the assassination of Colonel Patrick Karegeya today in Johannesburg, South Africa. His body was found in a Hotel where he went for a meeting. The South African authorities are investigating the murder.Â Patrick Karegeya was a former head of intelligence in Rwanda. After being twice thrown in jail over alleged indiscipline, desertion and insubordination, he was stripped of his rank of Colonel in 2006 and went into exile in 2007.
Education: Makerere University
Colonel Patrick Karegeya was a key figure in the Rwandan opposition and a founding member of the Rwanda National Congress. Rwandan opposition key figures have been a target in South Africa and other parts of the world. We all remember our colleague General Kayumba Nyamwasa who survived two assassination attempts in Johannesburg on June 18, 2010 and June 20, 2010.
Investigations have found overwhelming evidence of the involvement of Rwandan Intelligence operatives in those attempts.
By killing its opponents, the criminal regime in Kigali seeks to intimidate and silence the Rwandan people into submission. The regime is hugely mistaken. Such criminal activities make Rwandan people more emboldened to struggle to remove the dictatorship.
Colonel Patrick Karegeya was a courageous soldier who died on the battlefield. We are determined more than ever before to carry the torch of struggling for freedom, for which he died. We shall win.
We extend our condolences to Mrs. Leah Karegeya and the children, and pray that they find strength in these difficult times.
May the Almighty God grant his soul to rest in peace.Â Further details will be communicated later.
On behalf of the opposition Platform RNC, FDU-INKINGI and Amahoro People’s Congress.
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
Rwanda National Congress.
Interview with Patrick Karegeya, former Rwandan Chief Spy and Army Spokesman.
The Rwandan authorities and President Paul Kagame denied having had anything to do with the attempted murder of Nyamwasa. What do you think?
It is not an assumption, it is a reality. He is fully involved. Not that I’m creating it. I know Kagame is having great difficulty in explaining some of the issues that [Nyamwasa] has uncovered, for him there is no possibility for debating issues, he just shoots.
How do you interpret the attempted murder?
For someone from my country, it is no surprise. We expected it. We ignored the time but we knew it would happen. It is the way Kagame acts. We receive information daily and know that they are trying to hunt us down.
Do you fear for your life?
What would be the reasons for Kagame wanting to get rid of you?
He cannot stand that anyone would think differently. All dictators constantly perceive people around them as enemies . Their mission is to perpetuate themselves in power by surrounding themselves with family members or people that protect them from any country that can remove them from power. And for that, critics are accused of genocide.
How is the opposition within Rwanda?
The pressure is terrible because there are no basic freedoms: not human, not political, or expression. There is only one man, what he says is law. If you open a question, you are accused of insubordination. The country is being governed under the wheels of fear. There is manipulation at all levels. Within the country, it is very difficult for the opposition to organise. Opposing Kagame’s agenda is to risk jail. The games have been painted with a single idea. He defines who will be the candidate and what percentage are going to get in the elections. There is no real opposition. But fortunately, people are starting to wake up.
And the opposition in exile?
It’s growing. The exiles are realising that the differences between them are only helping Kagame. At first, Kagame killed Hutus, but Tutsis now too, Hutus and Tutsis are realising they have the same problem.Â This is not the image we have overseas about RwandaÂ He has been sold as a saint, there are certain lobbies advertise it very well, but this image can fly with the facts. When the truth is revealed, the picture fades. It is not the first dictator that the West has supported so strongly. Amin [in Uganda] Saddam [in Iraq], Mobutu [in Congo] all had their friends in the West. Perhaps he has been sold better, and whenever there is any doubt, get the letter of “good but, after all, he managed to end the genocide.” I wonder: I can not deny that fact, because there was a genocide?
What do you mean?
The genocide was unfortunate, should never occurred and the guilty must be punished. But it’s not a license to deny rights. Pressing the press because he was responsible for mobilising the population against genocide is like asking people to stop eating because it can cause obesity.
Patrick Karegeya, has told the BBC that he knew of a series of political killings ordered by President Kagame.
“He believes in killing his opponents, that is the problem I have with him, there is a long list of people that have died politically,” said Mr Karegeya.
“I was in a position to know so I think I am talking from a point of knowledge.
TESTIMONY ON KAGAME’S DEATH SQUADS:Â GACURABWENGE Group
Her name is UWAMUTARA Claire. She is Tutsi. She was married to Colonel Danny NDAHIRO of the RPF. She fled Rwanda after the assassination of her husband and her 9 year-old son, Magnifique NDAHIRO, on July 1, 2009.Â In April 1994, UWAMUTARA Claire took refuge at St. Paul Parish in Kigali. She was evacuated by RPF soldiers and was later taken back to Mount Rebero. She served as a nurse and took care of RPF wounded soldiers. She became acquainted with Danny NDAHIRO who was then Lieutenant, commanding the Bravo Unit. They got married in December 1996.The story of her husband’s murder and other crimes by RPF soldiers makes one shudder.
On July 1, 2009 at 4:00 am, a police vehicle with a plate tag A980R got in front of the couple’s residential home. Among those on board was among others an officer named SHAMAMBA Faustin. Frightened, the woman escapes through the back door and hid among the neighbors with her three children, leaving her disabled husband and 9 year-old son in the house.
A few minutes later the woman heard her son crying in agony. Faustin SHAMAMBA is a hired killer who does not digested NDAHIRO Danny because he opposed RPF plans aimed at eliminating Hutus.
According UWAMUTARA upon arrival in Rwanda, Paul Kagame has created a military group of professional killers called GACURABWENGE and instructed to remove unwanted people among the Hutu majority. The group is commanded by Captain Fred KATABARWA. Danny NDAHIRO and Lieutenant GAHIMA were approached to join the group whose mission was notably to eliminate Hutu intellectuals inside Rwanda and in refugee camps abroad.
The group was ordered to kill Faustin TWAGIRAMUNGU (former Prime Minister) and Pasteur BIZIMUNGU (former President) but Danny NDAHIRO objected. Danny NDAHIRO also received the mission to visit Kenya and assassinate Seth SENDAHONGA and Theoneste LIZINDE but refused. SENDASHONGA and LIZINDE were murdered respectively by KAJOLITE and Sergeant Thomas a.k.a MUNYANEZA LUKAMAYITI, currently employed at Rwanda’s Ministry of Defense.
A meeting of the GACURABWENGE Group was held at Novotel Hotel on June 4, 2004. The meeting was attended among others by President Kagame, Titus RUTAREMARA Rose KABUYE and Tony KURAMBA. UWAMUTARA had also been invited to the meeting as a nurse close to Kagame’s regime as a mission would be given.
Assigned to the hospital Kimironko, she was asked to inject poison or infectious agents to Hutu patients and their children or make them die from overdoses and cut their legs or arms of any Hutu slightly injured. She absolutely refused to comply. She was transferred to Kigali prison known as 1930. Again the idea was to contribute to the killings of prisoners. She refused and was accused by his fellow Tutsi TRIFONIA in the associations of genocide survivors. She was transferred to the Health Center of Kicukiro. Again, the GACURABWENGE group gave her the following directions: reduce the number of Hutu babies and ensure that in 100 cases admitted to the maternity, at least 30 mothers and 20 newborns are killed.
The GACURABWENGE group had established other targets including Pierre Celestin RWIGEMA then Prime Minister and a European named RICHARD, then employee at International Amnesty in Kampala, Uganda.
After the meeting at Novotel Hotel, Danny NDAHIRO, who had asked sensitive questions, was arrested. During his detention, he revealed to his wife that Paul Kagame personally invited him to ask him why he opposes the RPF killing plans. During this conversation they were joined by Police Commander, Ephraim RURANGIRWA. A delegation of the Associations of genocide survivors, IBUKA and of widows of the genocide AVEGA came in to convince Danny NDAHIRO to cooperate with the RPF killing plans but without success.
After his release for prison, Danny NDAHIRO was assigned to the Commission for Unity and Reconciliation and ordered to change his name to SEBERA Damascus. He was replaced in the group by a renowned killer by the name of RWAKA Simplice. Danny NDAHIRO was rearrested in 2007 after Colonel Patrick KAREGEYA failed his mission to assassinate Felicien KABUGA in Kenya because it was thought that Danny NDAHIRO had influenced him. Patrick KAREGEYA, currently in exile, had in the past successfully managed to kill a multitude of people on Kagame’s request.
Danny NDAHIRO was held in prison until March 2009 in the “G2-Prison” in Kimironko, a secret underground prison in the plot of a villa belonging to Dr. GAKUBA. His wife joined him in that prison with daily torture consisting in drops of burning plastic. Claire UWAMUTARA was released on the intervention of Colonel Charles KAYONGA but she had a broken arm. Dr. Alfred, a Hutu, who performed the arm surgery, was in turn put in prison. Due to repeated tortures, Danny NDAHIRO, became crippled and thus unable to escape. He was murdered in his house with his son on July 1, 2009.
Many other people have been killed because they opposed the killings of innocent Hutus. These include, but are not limited to, Major RUSAGARA who refused to endorse the plan to eliminate the population of Byumba.
The GACURABWENGE group of killers also includes Pio MUGABO, Major Rose KABUYE (current Chief of Protocol), James KABAREBE (current Chief of General Staff of the Rwandan Defense Forces), etc.
Recently, Claire UWAMUTARA fled Rwanda. The RPF death squads wanted to kill her. Even in her current exile, she still fears for her life.Â Exiled army officers Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa and Col Patrick Karegeya have vowed to “redouble efforts to cause internal change” in Rwanda.Â Rwandan opposition members after the Johannesburg meeting
In a five-day joint meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa on February 19, it was agreed among opposition parties FDU-INKINGI and Rwanda National Congress (RNC) that members commit themselves to “pursue their efforts in order to empower the structures and reach the goal to transform the country.”
Members further concurred to “reinforce information dissemination and to enlighten our people about the precarious situation in the country.”
According to resolutions of the meeting, the opposition groups further agreed “to continue and deepen our diplomatic outreach and coordinate resource mobilization inside and outside the country (Rwanda).”
This is the latest meeting of the main Rwandan opposition groups seeking to remove President Paul Kagame from power.
Kagame has in the past accused Kayumba and Karegeya of indulging in subversive activities.
Speaking at a press conference in Kampala in 2011, the Rwandan leader said he had information linking Kayumba to rebel activities in Congo.
“If Nyamwasa decides to pick up guns, because there are such signs, we have medicine for him,” Kagame noted.
Nyamwasa, who survived an assassination attempt in South Africa in 2010, has denied any involvement in subversive activities.
Kagame said “the likes of Kayumba have a loud mouth but time will come when they will shut up.”
The President further clarified reports that Rwanda masterminded the plot to kill Kayumba in South Africa were untrue and baseless.
Speaking to Time Magazine last year, Kagame noted: “This one in South Africa, [dissident General] Kayumba [Nyamwasa, former Rwandan army chief of staff, now living in self-imposed exile in South Africa, where two attempts have been made on his life] is saying in the press in South Africa, actually I was trying to make a coup happen.”
“If you have somebody out there saying ‘I wanted to carry out a coup,’ and later on he is shot, maybe he deserves it,” the President added.
Nyamwasa was recently quoted by City Press admitting he was involved in plans to topple President Kagame.
“Because a coup means he wanted to kill people here. You are really indicting yourself by saying ‘I wanted to kill people in order to make a change happen.’ It’s like you are really declaring war on a country,” elaborated Kagame.
And speaking during a Citizen Outreach programme in Gicumbi last year, Kagame warned: “Those in exile who may intend to destroy what we have achieved should know that we will not accept this. When you build something, you have to ensure it lasts, and guard it against destruction.”
Members of the coordinating committees of FDU-INKINGI and RNC who attended the Johannesburg meeting were Nkiko Nsengimana, Charles Ndereyehe, Sixbert Musangamfura from FDU-INKINGI and Condo Gervais, Kayumba Nyamwasa, Patrick Karegeya and Paulin Murayi of RNC.
The participants expressed their gratitude to the coordinators of the joint platform for the tremendous work accomplished within two years since its inception and the signature of the joint memorandum of understanding in Montreux, Switzerland on 25 January 2010.
They agreed to strengthen the partnership; set up a joint working committee after internal consultation within the components; appoint members of the joint task forces as soon as possible and enhance cooperation with other political parties.
“To this end, to put in place a mechanism to hasten the process of their subsequent participation in the activities of the platform; to reaffirm our commitment to struggle for democratisation and civil liberties in our homeland that have alluded us for decades but more so under the RPF government and are determined to mobilise Rwandans to fight for the independence of those crucial institutions,” the opposition members resolved.
The meeting further “condemned in the strongest terms possible the current manoeuvres by President Paul Kagame to amend the constitution allowing him to stand for a third term and continue exacting human rights violations in Rwanda and in the Great Lakes region.”
During recent Citizen Outreach tours, Rwandans have called on Kagame to seek another term in office after 2017. Kagame has previously said he has no intentions to stand for president again.
But recently, he directed top leaders of RPF to reach out to the people at the grassroots to seek their views on the matter.
The Johannesburg meeting called upon all Rwandans, all neighbouring countries and the international community to “roundly condemn the efforts by President Kagame to endlessly perpetuate himself in power in Rwanda.”
The meeting also supported the efforts by SADC countries for their contribution to the international force in the DRC to “safeguard the lives of our Congolese sisters and brothers, and to halt the bloody conflict perpetuated by Rwanda under the pretext of M23.”
The RPF has won international admiration for radical infrastructural programmes, increased access to medical care, uplifting of economic status of millions of Rwandans and halting the 1994 genocide that cost over one million lives.
But the government has also equally come under pressure from western countries for allegedly backing M23 rebels, a charge Kigali vehemently denies.
RIP COMRADE PATRICK KAREGEYA
EDITOR’S NOTE: While Kenya Today believes there are instances of human rights violations in Rwanda, the contents of this article are not necessarily the policy position of Kenya Today and its dedicated team of freelance bloggers. This article and more on Rwanda can be followed here.