Tag Archives: DRC

A Great Loss to the World

Floribert Chebeya Bahizire of the Voix des Sans Voix (Voice of the Voiceless) was a great human rights activist based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Abused, Jailed, and tortured by the subsequent governments over the last two decades but he persevered. To say that he will be missed in a major understatement. He was one of the people in the world that lived to ensure the well being of his fellow human beings.

Chebeya was found dead on June 2 in Kinshasa (DR Congo), in his car after he had been summoned for a meeting with Police Chief General John Numbi. Activists who saw Chebeya in the morgue say that he had blood in his face and was bruised.  General Numbi, well known for his human rights abuses, murder and for his association with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Rwandan General James Kabarebe was suspended from his duties with the Congolese police. It is unclear whether there will be an independent investigation into this, but the involvement of Numbi in his death would not be surprising given the general’s past and the multiple threats received by Chebeye from police and authorities over the years.

The Joseph Kabila clique in power cannot be trusted to carry out an impartial investigations as they are close to General Numbi. The government in Kinshasa will require enourmous amount of pressure to come close to carrying out a meaningful investigation. Surprisingly, there have been no demonstrations in Kinshasa demanding such investigation. Are Congolese people that terrified in Kinshasa. If this was in Eastern Congo where militias, and foreign governments troops and their proxy rebels continue to abuse the population, kill and rape women on a daily basis, it would be understandable. However, the lack of action from the masses in Kinshasa is surprising.

The human rights activist community and the world community at large has lost an excellent advocate at a young age of 47. In the activist community, there is hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. However, Chebeye cannot be replaced by any procedure. This crime was indeed a crime against the world.

The Rwandan Government May be Planning an Assassination of Peter Erlinder

This morning, reports from the Rwandan government mouthpieces claimed conflicting stories about professor Peter Erlinder’s health. Peter Erlinder is the American Law professor held in a Rwandan jail since May 28 under the accusation of Genocide Ideology; an ill defined law applicable to anyone who disagrees with the Rwandan government.  The police spokesman Mr. Eric Kayiranga claimed that Erlinder had attempted suicide by swallowing 45 to 50 prescription pills. The  New Times editor Edmond Kagire reported that Erlinder was faking his illness.

The Rwandan government under Paul Kagame has a history of assassinating opponents, dissidents, as well as regular Rwandan citizens using poison. Some prisoners have been fed broken glass causing them to die of illness resulting from consuming such. Former government officials such as Seth Sendashonga and Theoneste Lizinde have been killed by death squads outside of Rwanda. Consider that Rwanda’s general prosecutor Martin Ngoga refuted the reports of  suicide.  Martin Ngoga is not alone as Erlinder’s family, colleagues, and friends have all rejected the notion that he would commit suicide. They have all testified to his strength of character and mental toughness. Many Rwandan nationals especially on social networking sites such as facebook have raised the suspicion that the reports this morning are a prelude to an assassination by the Rwandan government. Notorious for various killing methods, Paul Kagame’s government is responsible for the death of 5 million innocent Congolese citizens who have been killed since Rwanda’s invasion of Congo in 1996.

It appears the US embassy as well as the larger US government have left Erlinder to the lions in Rwanda hungry for his blood. Silence on the part of the US State Department has been deadly. It seems as though the US government is happy to sit by and allow their citizen to rot in a prison where no developed country has ever extradited an individuals, including those suspected of genocide. The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, England, France as well as other countries have all declined to extradite anyone to Rwanda, citing an unfair judicial system. Yet, no word has been heard from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or anyone in the Obama administration.

Erlinder traveled to Rwanda on May 23 to represent opposition leader Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza who has been accused of Genocide Ideology as well.  Mrs. Ingabire Umuhoza plans to run in the upcoming Rwandan Presidential election, provided the Rwandan government finally allows her to run.  However, her efforts as well as other government opponents’ effors to register for election have been blocked at every turn by the Rwandan government. Dictator Paul Kagame is guaranteed to win an uncontested election this August.

Uganda’s Legalized Genocide

Although many governments around the world can be bold and in many cases delusional, the Ugandan government is taking audacity to a whole new level. The lawmakers in the East African country are drafting a law that according to Wikipedia:

If enacted, broaden the criminalisation of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, are HIV-positive, or engage in same sex acts with people under 18 years of age. The bill also includes provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex sexual relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited for punishment back to Uganda, and includes penalties for individuals, companies, media organizations, or non-governmental organisations that support LGBT rights.

This law also has provisions that will produce a prison sentence for anyone found to have know about homosexual acts without reporting it. It will punish relatives and friends who are “accomplices” of homosexual activity.

While it is true that homosexuality is extremely unpopular in Uganda like the rest of the continent of Africa, lack of popularity has never been a reason for being subjected to the death penalty. If laws were made based on what is and what is not popular, the world would totally succumb to the elite, the crooks and the bully. There would be no room for cooler heads. You are wondering what does this have to do with genocide? Let us take a look at the definition of genocide:

Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The intent of this law can achieve any and everyone of the above except for D and E. Briefly, to be a genocide, one needs not have all of the above elements. In an inexplicable move, the Ugandan government is making strides to legalize of all things, genocide!

There is an estimated 500000 homosexuals in Uganda. Although much smaller than the number of people killed in the Congo genocide since the invasion of DR Congo by Uganda and Rwanda, it is still a large number. Even one homosexual killed for simply being homosexual is a crime of hate. When such crime is expanded to a whole group of people, it becomes genocide. While it is true that Ugandan governments have committed acts of genocide within Uganda, it has never been legalized. For much of president Museveni’s presidency, the Karamojong have been massacred and exterminated by government forces. However, this was done under cover of war and security.

President Museveni again with his student president Paul Kagame of Rwanda invaded Congo and committed genocide of at least five million (5 000 000) Congolese people and turned Congo into rape capital. Among the dead were over three million (3 000 000) children! In summary, president Museveni is accustomed to literally getting away with murder. He has gotten away with murder of thousands of Ugandans and millions of Congolese. It seems that it is now time to take it to the next level and legalize mass killings.

With Museveni’s history, political opponents will be accused of being homosexuals. This will make it legally easy to detain and kill homosexuals as well as political opponents. Therefore, such law should not be enacted. Thankfully, many people around the world have stood up and shown the folly of this law and will continue to protest its existence and application. This could also lead to raising the profile of the conflict in Congo and expose president Museveni along with his student Paul Kagame for who they really are, mass murderers.

MJPC Applauds Convictions of FARDC officers for crimes against humanity in North Kivu

Sacramento, CA – August 3 – Makuba Sekombo, Director of Community Affairs of  MJPC, released the following statement regarding the convictions of FARDC officers for crimes against humanity in North Kivu.

 “MJPC applauds decision by the Military courts to hold accountable soldiers who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity to end impunity widely believed to be contributing factor of the continued sexual violence against girls and women in the east DR Congo. While the military court’s decision is significant, it is important not to lose sight of fact that the Congolese criminal justice system simply remains in a dysfunctional state. The 3 convictions in North Kivu represent only a fraction of thousands uninvestigated and unprosecuted cases of sexual violence against women by men in military uniform in the same area.

 MJPC also reiterates its call on the Government of Congo and MONUC to act decisively to enforce the outstanding ICC arrest warrant against Bosco Ntaganda accused of orchestrating serious terrible abuses against Congolese civilians. He  has been given a leadership role in the Congolese army despite an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) since April 2008. He is co-accused in the trial of Thomas Lubanga. The congolese government must ensure that those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in DRC must be brought to justice”

 Click here to sign petition calling on the Congolese Government and MONUC to act decisively to enforce the outstanding ICC arrest warrant against Bosco Ntaganda accused of orchestrating serious terrible abuses against Congolese civilians: http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/24459.html

Paul Kagame Compared to Barack Obama

By Eric Brown
A child soldier in Bunia, Congo. A symbol of Paul Kagame's reign of terror in Eastern Congo.

A child soldier in Bunia, Congo. A symbol of Paul Kagame's reign of terror in Eastern Congo. Photo from Mwamba Family Foundation

Lee Slater is a professor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. She visited Rwanda for 10 days.  Her work in Rwanda was focused on development of community-building skills. However, her article titled “Rwanda’s Obama” that claimed similarities between Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame and US President Barack Obama was a downright insult to president Obama and to the American people at best.  The two men are like night and day next to each other as the differences between the two men and their personalities are major; even beyond measure. How do you begin to liken a tyrant who is a war criminal alleged to have a hand in the genocide of his people to the president of change and hope? How do you compare a peacemaker to warmonger?

Slate claims that “Both men are visionaries, forward-thinkers, striving for reconciliation (Obama in the politically fractured U.S. and Kagame in a post-genocide Rwanda) and both are calling for institutionalized dignity in governmental structures.” In Obama, the world has seen his vision of striving for an era of hope and peace where dialogue is used to resolve conflict and to mitigate future conflicts.  Obama has reached out to those who are known as America’s adversaries and is willing to talk to them. In contrast, Kagame has mastered the use of violence and Intimidation to maintain his political power.

While Obama is striving for negotiated solutions; Kagame meanwhile invaded the Congo and caused a conflict that has claimed over 5 million innocent children, women and men and still counting since 1998.  The Rwandan forces and their proxy militias and rebel groups have sent almost 2 million Congolese into refugee camps, amputated thousands, raped hundreds of thousands of women and used thousands of child soldiers. Obama sends message of take your destiny into your hands and earn an honest living. This is a far cry from Paul Kagame who has enriched himself, his friends and Rwanda through the plunder of Congo’s minerals. Kagame and his government in Kigali use Rwandan prisoners as slaves to work in the mines in the Congo as well as to clean Rwanda’s capital Kigali.

Rwanda's military dictator Paul Kagame

Rwanda's military dictator Paul Kagame

It is farfetched to compare Obama who deplores evil institutions such as slavery to General Paul Kagame whose government institutions in Kigali use slaves. On his recent trip to Ghana, President Obama said that:” history is on the side of the brave Africans and not with those who use coups or change Constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” By that account, history is not on Kagame’s side and neither is evidence. Kagame acquired power after fighting a four year guerrilla war that culminated in the Rwandan Genocide. He has since manipulated the genocide to maintain his grip on power and thwart and real opposition in the country. He runs a state under worse conditions than the former Soviet Union.

Contrasts between the leader of the world whose hopes for Americans is to reconcile the fractured U.S. political arena by focusing on what unites Americans rather than what divides Americans and Kagame who kills his own people can go on forever.  Furthermore Obama’s hopes for Africa are for a continent with strong institutions that rule by the will of the people. This again is a major difference from the ever cynical Paul Kagame who claimed that “you cannot make an omelet without breaking the eggs” referring to Tutsis who were killed during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.  A man who left a big mark in the region by taking part in massacres of millions of people, kills and imprisons opponents, uses prisoners as slave laborers, committed terrorism by shooting two former presidentshas no comparable qualities to President Obama. Any forward thinker knows that war is no longer a solution anywhere. It is true that college and university professors strive for creativity and thinking outside the box but comparing Paul Kagame to Barack Obama is thinking outside of the Universe.

MJPC blames the Congolese Government for the Deteriorating Situation in East Congo(DRC)

“There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in lawless eastern Congo for six months”

Following the deteriorating situation in east Congo, the MJPC called today for the Congolese Government to urgently pay the salaries to thousands of soldiers who have not been paid for over six months in eastern Congo, take swift action to enforce the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) warrant against Bosco Ntaganda and to hold accountable perpetrators of sexual violence against women for their acts.

“Failing to hold accountable individuals who commit war crimes and crimes against humunity continues to be the leading cause of widespread and systematic sexual violence acts against girls and women in the easten Congo” said Makuba Sekombo, Community Affairs Director of the Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the DR Congo (MJPC).

Mr. Sekombo again criticized the government of Congo for not only the continuing failure to protect women and young girls from sexual violence, but also for “encouraging conditions that create opportunities for sexual violence to occur”. “There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in the lawless eastern Congo for six months” said Sekombo. The MJPC has also renewed its call for the Congolese government to take urgent needed action to end human rights abuses in east Congo, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure reparation for the victims of sexual violence.

The MJPC has been urging the Congolese government to compensate the victims of sexual violence in order to also help combat impunity in eastern part of Congo where sexual violence against women and children has been widely used as weapon of war for more than decade. The MJPC online petition calling for help to put pressure on Congolese Government to compensate victims of sexual siolence in Eastern DRC can be signed at http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/26180.html

About MJPC

MJPC works to add a voice in advocating for justice and peace in the DRC particulary in the east of DRC where thousands innocent civilian including children and women continue to suffer massive human rights violations while armed groups responsible for these crimes go unpunished

For more information about the MJPC and its activities, visit http://www.mjpcongo.org. or call Makuba Sekombo @ 1-408-8063-644 or e-mail: info@mjpcongo.org. The online petition calling on the Congolese Government to put urgently in place a comprehensive program of compensation for the victims of sexual violence in eastern Congo can be signed at http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/26180.html