Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two senior military officials arrested

I interpret the arrest of both Lieutenant General Charles Muhire and Major General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake on allegations of corruption and immorality, respectively, as cracks in the facade of RPF power. See the BBC article here.

In his speech in commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the genocide, President Kagame issued a thinly veiled threat against his political opponents, saying that there would be "chaos" if they continued to call for democracy in the language of genocide ideology. It is not at all clear that they are using the language of genocide ideology, not only because the law is unclear and arbitrarily applied, but also because the opposition is choosing its words carefully, in efforts to respect the law. Kagame is using the word "chaos" as a substitute for violence, that the RPF would be perpetrating. Anyone who represents a challenge to Kagame's power in seen as a threat, and must be dealt with harshly.

Muhire and Karake are two long-standing, loyal and senior military men. Is their arrest a sign of a coup? I don't think so; but it does call into question the extent to which Kagame is willing to go to protect his political power, and is perhaps even a sign of unrest in the military.

There is at present not enough information at present to assess accurately the situation on the ground.


  1. So Victoire has been released from jail, though she is being prevented from leaving Kigali. It is easy to see these types of events as being a major blow to non-violent, political resistance to Kagame, but I want to urge you to not completely abandon the ideas that (1) non-violence can succeed and (2) violence will never succeed.

    What I see in a regime like Kagame's is the ultimate failure that violence produces -- not only must he rule by a fear which must be cultivated by the constant use of force but he himself must live in fear. Resentment will only grow amongst a continually repressed population and there will be reached a breaking point...the question is not if, but when and in what form. The question we must ask ourselves is how can we channel this explosive resentment and anger and fear in a non-violent but by no means passive way.

    Of course, violence is all too likely. Indeed, when the dam breaks, is it not inevitable that everything will be swept away? What will hold the people back from taking revenge? Will not a new order, born in blood, resemble the old? These are the challenges we face as a repressive government steps closer and closer to that line, tempting the breaking point.

    So, fighting Kagame militarily will not work, or, at least, such an approach simply means a bloodbath with a tainted, if not certain, 'victory.' The established political routes also lead to nowhere - how can one win elections which are organized (read: staged) by a dictator? Non-violent protest - by no means an easy approach - requires the willingness of people to put themselves in front of ruthless soldiers with government weapons and biased journalists with government pens.

    These protests may begin with a few, including myself, and, if we survive, our example might inspire more to stand firm while refusing to strike back. Some media sources will take notice and they may be kicked out of the country. Crazy? Absolutely. There is indeed an insanity necessary to never stop in the face of such odds. That is at least part of Kagame's own success, though his insanity justifies slaughter. Mine justifies sacrifice.

    Nkunda RWANDA

  2. well said. thanks for your post.