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Africa

2010-07-02

AFRICA/RWANDA - Divisions within the Rwandan military: an analysis

Kigali (Agenzia Fides) – "The recent arrest of General Jean Bosco Kazura and the attack on Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa (where he fled because he was wanted by the authorities of his country) show the divisions that are invading the military hierarchy," says a note sent to Fides by the "Network for Peace in Congo." The official reason cited for the arrest of Kazura is that he left the country without authorization and unbeknownst to his superiors. "This version does not seem credible," the statement says. "If he traveled with a diplomatic passport, he certainly had to obtain it from a worthy source. In any case, he had to apply for a visa for South Africa. Such practices would certainly have allowed the Rwandan authorities to be informed of the general's trip." For the Spanish justice system, Nyamwasa was the one who commanded the killing of Catalan missionary Joaquim Vallmajó in 1994 and three members of "Medicos del Mundo".
This latest removal of senior-rank army officials will lead to even deeper divisions within the group of Tutsi officers who lead the country.
1. Divisions between the officers who came from Uganda and those from other neighboring countries to Rwanda.
Since their conquest of the country in July 1994, it became clear that the officers who had come from Uganda, such as the current President Paul Kagame, considered themselves superior to others who have come from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. They believe that the initiative of the reconquest of Rwanda was taken by Tutsis who come from Uganda and the others have only come in support of an already assured victory.
Consequences: English speakers, who came from Uganda and Tanzania, have risen quickly through the ranks in the military hierarchy and several of them have found themselves named in a short time, colonels or generals, while the others (the French-speaking ones) were systematically sent into retirement. General Jean Bosco Kazura, born and educated in Burundi, is one of the few senior officers who did not come from Uganda.
2. Divisions between the officers who have attended college and those who have a low educational level.
The core group of officials closest to President Kagame, often adolescents recruited soon after the capture of Kampala, were all, after the capture of Kigali, promoted in rank, along with other officers who had entered the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) after the university. While the former have not earned higher degrees and owe everything to Paul Kagame, the latter are intellectuals who can show capability of critical thinking. Consequence: When the former reach the top of the hierarchy, the latter are forced into exile or are arrested.
3. Divisions between the Abanyiginya and Abega.
The antagonism between these two Tutsi clan is infamous. Paul Kagame, as Umwege, despises his Banyiginya rivals.
4. Divisions between the natural descendants of migrants and refugees of 1959.
Many Rwandan Tutsis moved to the Congo in the 30s in search of pasture for their flocks or in the context of population displacement determined by the authorities. In Burundi, Tutsi colonial officials were sent to the country beginning in the 1940s. In Uganda, some rich Tutsi families had bought land and pastures there, well before 1959.
Then, the refugees of 1959 arrived (the year of Rwanda's independence and the take-over of the Hutus).
They are the descendants of migrants and refugees, who have carried out the conquest of Rwanda in October 1990. No wonder in the management of the country they have conquered together, there are divisions appearing between these two components of the Rwandan Tutsi diaspora. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 07/02/2010)

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