For Online E-newspaper
The East African : Apr 6th 2015
16 SUCCESSION DEBATE Kagame: I will respect Rwandans’ will The Rwandan p≥esident says he has no hand in the calls fo≥ constitutional amendment to hand him anothe≥ te≥m A JOINT REPORT The EastAfrican that has gained momentum over the past few months on whether Rwanda should amend its Constitution to remove term limits. The Rwandan leader has not been P categorical on whether he will step down come 2017 when his constitutional term comes to an end. For the first time this week, Presi- dent Kagame spoke extensively on the mostly one-sided debate, which is led by calls for a constitutional change. Several government officials and members of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Inkotanyi have intensified campaigns to amend Article 101 of the Constitution to remove term limits, a move that would allow President Kagame to run again. But President Kagame said he was for the preservation of the Constitution. “There are the two groups of people, or at least two schools of thought. One says there are term limits in the Constitution; come 2017, these terms limits should not be removed. The Constitution should be respected as it is. And they say that there is no reason whatsoever any change should happen, that is one group,” he said. “The other group is saying no, we think this Constitution is made by people, it can be changed by people. We think something else should happen other than what it suggests and we continue with the person we have in place for whatever reasons they may give. These are the two schools of thought. “You want to know where I be- long? I belong to the first one. So the debates are about these two schools of thought,” President Kagame said, adding that in a democratic envi- resident Paul Kagame has distanced himself from the debate OTHER LEADERS RESISTANCE: Several regional leaders including Presidents Pierre Nkurunziza and Joseph Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo are at the crossroads like Kagame, having served their constitutional mandates. Attempts by Kabila and Nkurunziza have been met with resistances. LEGACY: President Kagame has been credited for turning Rwanda from a country in shambles in 1994 to a a prosperous forward looking nation seen as an African model by Western countries. However, observers say his legacy hinges on what will happen in 2017. The Rwandan leader has in the past criticised African leaders who manipulate constitutions to cling on power. But now all eyes will be on him to see if he does not do the same come 2017. President Paul Kagame’s term ends in 2017. Picture: File ronment, a healthy political debate should thrive on what will happen come 2017. The Rwandan leader denied the term-limit debate was instigated by himself or his Cabinet members, saying the debate was kicked off by the media and people themselves who have been asking him to stand again. President Kagame said this de- spite senior government officials, including Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye, whose ministry will play a key role in the events that will unfold over the next two years, openly supporting calls to remove term limits from the Constitution. Minister for Local Government Francis Kaboneka, whose docket is seen as one of the vital institutions ahead of 2017, was also quoted by local media openly supporting calls to amend the Constitution to allow President Kagame a chance to run again after his constitutional mandate expires in 2017. Mr Kaboneka, a youth RPF mo- biliser, made the remarks at a rally in the Northern Province district of Musanze where locals vowed “to commit suicide” or “go into exile” if President Kagame does not continue ruling the country beyond 2017. Several other senior officials have “There are the two groups of people, or at least two schools of thought. One says there are term limits in the Constitution” written in favour of, or been heard on radio stations, supporting the constitutional amendment. At the press conference held on Thursday, President Kagame defended his officials, saying they also have a right to say what they want or think on national matters. The EastAfrican understands that RPF, the ruling party — with unlimited resources from its business ventures and contributions from wealthy members — has finalised plans to ignite a mass movement to trigger a constitutional change through a referendum, beginning at the grassroots level. President Kagame, who also serves as the chairman of the party, is expected to play an “outsider” role until mid-2016 where he will most likely be forced to respond to the growing public calls to stay in office. The EastAfrican NEWS APRIL 4-10,2015 Govt sets up t≥auma cent≥es By A SPECIAL CORRESPODENT Xinhua RWANDA HAS drawn up strategies to address trauma among genocide survivors during this year’s commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. Trauma has been highlighted as a common case among the survivors who lost their families during the genocide 21 years ago. During the commemoration period that falls on April 7 every year, many survivors experience trauma. Commemoration through mourning rituals brings the haunting memories of survivors out into the open. “Commemoration period has become a trigger for cases of trauma among genocide survivors because it brings the haunting memories to them. We have embarked on a campaign to set up referral health centres across the country where trauma patients will be given counseling lessons to overcome trauma,” said Yvonne Kayitenshonga, national director of mental health. Night vigils She noted that walks to me- morial sites, night vigils and visits to the grave sites bring traumatic experiences to survivors and non-survivors. “The trauma suffered by sur- vivors during commemoration symbolises how memories of the genocide remain fresh on their minds and that is why we have to be vigilant during this difficult period,” Mrs Kayitenshonga said. She said the Ministry of Health will deploy trained care providers to handle trauma related cases at village and health facilities. The commemoration week that involves activities like visiting and laying wreaths at memorial sites, according decent burial to retrieved bodies, giving testimony, public lectures and candle lighting. Lack of UN suppo≥t, ha≥sh te≥≥ain f≥ust≥ate clampdown on FDLR ≥ebels By FRED OLUOCH Special Correspondent LACK OF support from United Nations forces and harsh terrain have slowed down the military operations against Rwandan rebels in eastern Congo. Wilson Kajwengye, director of peace and security at the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), noted that the Congolese army is faced with the challenges of vast thick forest and lack the experience in routing the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels without hurting civilians. Mr Kajwengye said this kind of technical approach could have been provided by the UN Force Interven- tion Brigade (FIB) comprising Tanzanian and South African forces, who have stayed away from the operations due to differences with the Congolese government. The DRC government will now have to report to the ICGLR Extraordinary Summit slated for this month the territories it has captured and the weapons surrendered since Kinshasa launched the operations in late January after the expiry of the deadline for FDLR to surrender by January 2. There have been no recent sur- renders after December 2014, when about 300 combatants surrendered with smaller stockpiles of arms and ammunition. It is estimated that there are still about 1,500 hardened combatants in the forests of South and North Kivu. The military operation was not a joint one, as the DRC decided to neutralise the rebel group alone following a disagreement with the UN over the human rights record of two of the Congolese generals chosen to lead the operation. While Tanzania and South Africa were supposed to participate in the intervention, their engagement was to be done under the UN Force Intervention Brigade. Excluding the UN from the operation, effectively excluded Tanzanian and South Af- 1,500 rican Forces. President Joseph Kabila’s ap- pointments of General Bruno Mandevu to head the operational against FDLR and Fall Sikabwe as the new head of the 34th Military Region in Goma forced the UN to withdraw any form of support on the grounds that the two generals have records of war crimes. However, Kinshasa has main- Estimated number of FDLR fighters in eastern Congo tained that it is a sovereign nation with the supreme authority over its territory and is not willing to take orders from anybody. The DRC government forces had carried out their first attacks against FDLR in South Kivu from February 24, and in North Kivu from February 26, but only about 180 suspects were captured, among them dependents of FDLR operatives, and not actual fighters. Moreover, given that the Congolese army has retreated from captured areas and that FDLR have been able to return to some of their positions, observers have questioned the will and the capacity of the Kinshasa government to eliminate the FDLR. Dr Yolande Bouka, a senior re- searcher with the Institute for Security Studies in charge of Great the Lakes region and Central Africa, argued that some of the challenges faced by Congolese army are related to the variety of tactics used by the FDLR to avoid military defeat. These strategies include hiding their military identity and blending into the population, storing and hiding weapons.
Mar 30th 2015
Apr 13th 2015