Friday, January 3, 2014

On Karegeya's Assassination: Dying by the Sword

Quite a few people (activist bloggers, and journalists based in Nairobi and Kampala) have been asking for my opinion on Patrick Karegeya's assassination.

My position is quite straightforward. It is too early to accuse Kigali but it is also too early to think that Kigali is not involved. It is possible that folks within Karegeya's inner circle killed him; it is also possible that Kagame or someone close to him ordered the killing. At this stage, there is a sizeable lack of independently verified information. I look forward to learning more about the circumstances as well as the individuals involved in Karegeya's death in the coming days and weeks.

I also want to make this clear. I do not think Karegeya is a Rwandan hero. While is always a moment of sadness and reflection when a life is lost, particularly one lost to violence, it bears mentioning that Karegeya lived by the sword. He has blood on his hands from the early days of the (then rebel) RPF drive into Uganda in the late 1980s. Yes, he fell out with Kagame in 2007, but he was the head of military intelligence in Rwanda from 1994 to 2004. Karegeya oversaw the killings in Kibeho in April 1995 (which the UN tried to report in the Gersony Report but the US had its publication suppressed), among others including in a second report the US tried to suppress - the UN Group of Experts reports on DR Congo, published in 2010. Most recently, in 2013, the UN GOE published another report, which details the M23 rebellion and Rwanda's role in financing it. Many Rwandans, of all ethnicities, died at the hands of RPF/A soldiers. This is but one example of the brutality that those in the RPF ordered or directly perpetrated.

It is also important to keep in mind that men like Karegeya operate in service of other elites like him. The majority-- some 85% of the population are rural Rwandans who make their living as subsistence farmers-- are subject to the machinations of political and military elites.

Karegeya was a founding member of the Rwandan National Congress, along with other once-close allies of Rwandan president Paul Kagame. The political goals and aspirations of the RNC, for those who wish to carefully read its policy platform, is not significantly different from the current policy programs of Kagame's ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front. My analysis suggests that many of the men like Karegeya, who have fallen out with Kagame and the RPF, did so because they questioned the ways in which Kagame began to hoard political and economic power, not because they had deeply held moral views about the heavy-handedness of the RPF leadership, but rather for economic reasons.

Rwandans who have lost their lives, or their loved ones to the violent machinations and/or complicity of Karegeya, deserve better than to have him lionised as a Rwandan hero.

1 comment:

  1. You have no idea what you are talking about!!!! Your analysis contains several factual errors that lead you to draw wrong conclusions!!!
    You state that "He has blood on his hands from the early days of the (then rebel) RPF drive into Uganda in the late 1980s." Karegeya was not involved in the RPF's drive to Kigali in the late '80s! He was deployed in the Uganda Revenue Agency Anti-smuggling unit in those days & only went back to Rwanda after the genocide!
    I read the Gersony report & nowhere is Karegeya mentioned so I don;t know where you got that! The other reports you mention - have no relation to him because he had already left Rwanda!