Thoughts on the PEARUSA and ACNA Developments

IMG_4254
An earlier meeting of the Rwandan House of Bishops

PEARUSA is ending its formal ties to the Anglican Church of Rwanda. By June 2016, PEARUSA as such will cease to exist, its networks will transition to dioceses within ACNA, and a new entity, called “Rwanda Ministry Partners” will be created as a “ministry association” within the ACNA. As for clergy:

American clergy ordained in the Province of Rwanda prior to June 2016 may remain canonically resident in Rwanda or apply for canonical transfer to the ACNA. Those who remain resident in Rwanda will be licensed by the ACNA and under its singular authority.

The first thought that springs to mind on reading this announcement is: why not dissolve the PEARUSA networks into their local ACNA diocese? My guess is that PEAR still distrusts where the rest of ACNA is theologically and therefore does not want to be totally absorbed just yet. This distrust relates to women’s ordination and Reformed theology. For example, in the parishes that I attended in D.C. and Northern Virginia (sometimes called “RenewDC“) there was some distrust of the leadership of Bishop Guernsey, the Bishop of ACNA’s Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (DOMA). Bishop Guernsey is for women’s ordination, and the clergy of RenewDC are against it. For these clergy to have to report in to Bishop Guernsey is probably a bridge too far, so they will be able to remain in a “Rwanda Ministry Partners” diocese, and they overlapping jurisdictions will continue in the DC, Maryland and Virginia region with CANA, REC, ACNA and RMP (?) dioceses.

Rwanda’s Finances

In 2011, AMiA Bishop Chuck Murphy was reportedly:

…concerned about Rwanda’s dependence upon AMiA support. He mentioned that AMiA money given to Rwanda is now 2/3 of the provincial budget. He also said that the Kigali seminary is compromised due to its dependence upon AMiA aid.

One of the presenting causes for the AMiA implosion was that a huge sum of money from America went missing in Rwanda, with the implication being that Archbishop Kolini was the one controlling where the money was allocated. As one insider wrote:

In approximately 2009 it came to the attention of the Rwanda HOB that for several years the annual financial statements of the AMiA showed about $300,000.00 per annum being given to the Province of Rwanda under this 10-10-10 tithing arrangement. Unfortunately, the annual financial reports of the Province of Rwanda showed only $100,000.00 per year coming into the Province of Rwanda (spreadsheets available on request). Above the tithe was an additional $400,000.00 given to ‘the Province’ that never showed up in the Provincial Accounts. The total ‘missing’ monies seem to total at least 1.2 million US dollars.

I say all this because I believe one of PEARUSA’s intentions is to develop an even wider donor base for PEAR in Rwanda. I take some of the statements from ACNA’s press release to mean just that. For example, Bishop Breedlove says, “It’s exciting to think that clergy and churches all across ACNA that were not part of PEARUSA can now be part of Rwanda Ministry Partners.” Archbishop Beach said, “…Rwanda Ministry Partners will allow others in the Province who would like to be connected to Rwanda to do so. I look forward to more partnerships and deeper relationships with Rwanda for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and Bishop Quigg Lawrence said, “Rwanda Ministry Partners will actually enhance and expand what PEARUSA’s ministry and relationship have always been.”

The idea here seems to be of ACNA embracing PEAR at a greater level, providing more money to this financially strapped province. This idea has taken flesh in 2015 as PEARUSA’s “Provincial Sustainability Project” also known as “Walk with Rwanda.” 1)The website is here. According to the PEAR Strategy for Long Term Sustainability: “PEARUSA currently provides $70,000 – $80,000 to PEAR annually.”

Getting the Anglican Church of Rwanda to a place of financial self-sufficiency would be a good thing. Sending money to Rwanda without strict accountability is not. By this, I mean accountability about where the money goes and accountability about the relationship of the Church to the ruling RPF party. If you get on the wrong side of Paul Kagame, even if you are an insider, the consequences to you and your property are severe, as you can see in this recent example.

rwaje dictator

Any move away from formal affiliation with a Church that operates under a Police State and is not opposed to that State is a good thing. The Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR) lives under a dictatorship helmed by Paul Kagame, who rules through a Tutsi elite. There may be a range of opinions with PEAR about how to relate to Paul Kagame, but none of them are expressed publicly. In fact, publicly the Church sides very much with Kagame, which I believe to be sinful. One former missionary to Rwanda told me:

…no person in the Province can take a public stand against the regime without dire (and I mean DIRE) consequences… The only way they could would be to take a unanimous stand… which they won’t because many of them,while aware of the excesses of the Kagame government see it as far better than any alternative on the horizon. They also know that Kagame and crew are very hostile to criticism and only double down…

So, American Anglicans are wise to disconnect from this compromised Church.

Perhaps it is time to work at officially presenting charges of Church-State complicity to the leadership of ACNA. I am not aware of a method to do this, but if ACNA wants to get even closer to Rwanda, it may be the only avenue available of shining light on the situation. ACNA should have a standing body that looks at all of its partner churches and can warn against grave abuses, such as those that led to complicity with the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

A few other thoughts:

  1. I find the option for clergy to remain canonically resident within Rwanda exceedingly odd.
  2. I wonder where this leaves CANA? I suspect that CANA will not make a similar move until the doctrinal direction of ACNA is clear.
  3. I don’t see anything about ministry associations within the Constitution and Canons of ACNA. I will be curious to see how this is fleshed out over time.

References   [ + ]

1. The website is here.

PEARUSA Ending Formal Ties with Rwanda

Quigg_Lawrence_Ordination_2

According to recent information, PEARUSA churches will end their formal ecclesiastical ties with PEAR in Rwanda and will become full members of ACNA.

This should result in approximately three new ACNA dioceses, each will be one of the former regions of PEARUSA. The PEARUSA churches will still have close relations with Rwanda, but not formal ecclesiastical ties.

I am told that this will happen sometime in 2016, probably in late Summer or early Fall.

This explains the presence of Archbishop Beach and Bishop Guernsey with the PEAR bishops on their trip to Rwanda in March, 2015 (see here). It also explains the silence on the PEARUSA website.

While this is a long overdue and welcome development, it is not enough, because PEARUSA will continue to praise Rwanda, not acknowledging the evil that the church is silent in the face of. Having said that, I’m sure it will be a relief to some clergy who do know what is going on in Rwanda and are uncomfortable with it.

{I’ve updated the post title to clarify that PEARUSA was always part of ACNA, but will end formal ties with Rwanda}.

UPDATE: the news is now official: see this link.

Bishop Mbanda: “So! What?”

Bishop Mbanda applauds Paul Kagame.
Bishop Mbanda applauds Paul Kagame.

In July, I published a brief post showing current Rwandan Anglican Bishop Laurent Mbanda appearing onstage with Rwanda’s dictator, Paul Kagame, and applauding him. 1)Much as he did at the notorious Prayer Breakfast where Kagame boasted about killing Patrick Karegeya. Bishop Mbanda apparently saw this post, and in a confusing turn of events, commented about it over on my old blog. His response was:

Yes I did. So! What?

This kind of response is astonishing and callous in its utter lack of Biblical awareness about how Christians are to respond to evil. I would say that it is a perfect illustration of the complacency and outright cooperation of the current Rwandan House of Bishops with a dictator who kills, murders and plunders innocents.

Although Bishop Mbanda’s support for Paul Kagame is fairly low-profile, it is there if you start digging. A great example is found in reading his book, which I reviewed at length here. As recently as 2013, Bishop Mbanda referred to Rwanda’s leadership (i.e. Kagame) as “visionary.”

American Anglicans should not be aligned with the Rwandan State, but they are through their own ignorance and apathy.

References   [ + ]

1. Much as he did at the notorious Prayer Breakfast where Kagame boasted about killing Patrick Karegeya.

Bosco Ntaganda’s connection to John Rucyahana

Bosco “The Terminator” Ntaganda

Rwandan-backed warlord Bosco Ntaganda began his trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague for war crimes today. You can listen to an overview of Ntaganda here or watch a brief video about him here.

I would like to remind folks that Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana supported this murderer and his faction as was documented in several highly-sourced reports; see my post about it here. The key takeaway from that post is that I was told by a confidential source that  Rucyahana’s own driver assisted Bosco Ntaganda to escape to the American embassy, proving how closely aligned the Bishop is to this monster.

My former pastor used to say, “If these things are true, they are a scandal in the Church!” Well, they are true, they are a scandal, and the Church (PEARUSA and ACNA) does not care.

Rucyahana_Kayizari

Here is an excerpt from that previous post on how Rucyahana fits in:

Rucyahana’s Bagogwe Connection

Where does Bishop John Rucyahana fit into this picture? In 2012, the UN said that Rucyahana was the “president of the Bagogwe community”:
John Rucyahana has been the head of the Anglican Church at Ruhengeri, president of the Bagogwe community from Rwanda, and President of the Rwandan National Unity and Reconciliation Commission.
Details about this role in the Bagogwe community are lacking, but Rucyahana’s fundraising and recruiting efforts for M23 were clearly in support of the Ntaganda faction, as subsequent evidence makes clear.
In late 2012, Rwanda decided that Bosco Ntaganda was unreliable and decided to eliminate his faction of M23 in favor of a faction led by Sultani Makenga:
…Rwandan officials who had previously supported Ntaganda, and who could no longer control his network in Rwanda or his actions in the DRC, decided to sideline him from M23 and to dismantle his support in Rwanda. In late December 2012, Rwandan authorities arrested RDF Col. Jomba Gakumba, due to his close ties with Ntaganda, according to former RDF officers and an M23 collaborator. A former Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) member, two former RDF officers and a politician loyal to Ntaganda, told the Group that Bishop John Rucyahana, a Ntaganda ally in Rwanda who recruited politicians and raised funds for M23, had to stop his collaboration (emphasis added). The Group has sought clarification from the Government of Rwanda on the matter and is awaiting a response.
A “civil war” of sorts broke out between the two factions within M23, with Bosco’s faction losing badly because Rwanda was determined to eliminate him. Anyone who helped him was arrested:
…on 10 March 2013, Rwandan authorities arrested Gafishi Semikore and Theo Bitwayiki, while they attempted to help Ntaganda from Rwanda by supplying him with small quantities of ammunition, food and medical supplies during the hostilities between the two factions in Kibumba.
With Rwanda hunting him, Bosco Ntaganda had to flee for his life. How he was able to do so is laid out for us by the UN and sources such as this:
Hailing from Northwestern Rwanda and from the reclusive Tutsi Bagogwe’s ethnics, generally hostile to the current Rwandan  government dominated by Tutsis from Uganda and Burundi, General Ntaganda could rely on a network of incorruptible clansmen. So he was moving from relative to relative, avoiding highly circulated areas and moving in trucks carrying staples to the capital city Kigali. While the DMI killing squad was looking for him in Gisenyi, the volcanoes and Masisi, he had already crossed Kinigi on his way to Kigali.
He reached Kigali late at night on Sunday, where a trusted relative was waiting for him. Early morning, the relative dropped him off close to the US Embassy (emphasis added), to where he walked in and asked for being sent to the International Criminal Court.
The UN’s account of Bosco’s flight says:
On 15 March 2013, Ntaganda clandestinely crossed the border into Rwanda using a small path in the Gasizi area, with one escort…he reached Kigali with the help of his family, and arrived at the United States embassy on 18 March where he requested to be transferred to the ICC, without the prior knowledge of Rwandan authorities. Subsequently, Rwandan authorities arrested an individual suspected of having aided Ntaganda’s escape, and interrogated Ntaganda’s wife and brother.
According to confidential sources, the situation of bishops Rucyahana and Kolini is bad because since (a) the escape of Bosco Ntaganda into the American embassy in Rwanda and (b) intense external pressure to end support for M23, Paul Kagame has abandoned the bishops. A sign of this abandonment is his open admission that churches support M23 as a Tutsi self-protection campaign. A source says that Bishop Rucyahana cannot travel outside Rwanda on orders of the Government (or without its explicit permission); and that in fact Rucyahana’s own driver assisted Bosco Ntaganda to escape to the American embassy. If true, this means that Rucyahana’s driver is or was a relative of Bosco’s all along.
In short, Rucyahana (a) had a driver related to Bosco Ntaganda, (b) was the President of the Bagogwe community in Rwanda, and (c) was sidelined when Bosco’s support network was eliminated as part of the M23 civil war.
The civil war between Bosco’s faction and the Makenga faction may have hurt Bagogwe support for M23, since many native sons of the Bagogwe were betrayed by Paul Kagame. The UN says:
The Group notes that M23 recruitment in Rwanda has decreased since the dismantling of Ntaganda’s recruitment network; community leaders in northern Rwanda who supported Ntaganda have ceased collaborating with the M23. […]
Demobilized Rwandan soldiers have been killed on M23 frontlines in the DRC. The Group obtained the identities and addresses of seven families residing in the northern Rwandan villages of Bigogwe and Mukamira, whose sons fought in the ranks of M23 as demobilized soldiers and died during the fighting between Makenga and Ntaganda.

Bishop Rucyahana calls Karenzi Karake a Hero

ruc 2015 jan

Bishop John Rucyahana (retired) has a long track record of defending Rwanda’s wicked dictator Paul Kagame. He did so again recently. For background, see this post about how he spoke up for Rose Kabuye when she was arrested. Kabuye is now an enemy of the state and I’m sure Rucyahana wouldn’t speak two words in her defense now, because he only speaks up publicly when the Rwandan regime is denouncing the latest enemy.

Lately, Rucyahana is outraged by the arrest of Karenzi Karake, a regime insider with blood on his hands. Karake was indicted in 2008 by a Spanish court on charges of genocide and the killing of three Spanish nationals working for Medicos del Mondo. These Spanish nationals were “shot through the head at close range” in a murder that was then blamed on Hutus. 1)http://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/20/world/hutu-militiamen-kill-3-spanish-aid-workers-in-rwanda.html
Hutu Militiamen Kill 3 Spanish Aid Workers in Rwanda
Published: January 20, 1997
RUHENGERI, Rwanda, Jan. 19— In what appeared to be a calculated attack against foreign aid groups here, Hutu militiamen shot and killed three Spanish aid workers and seriously wounded an American in an overnight raid in northwestern Rwanda, survivors said today.
Three Rwandan soldiers were also killed in the attack, aid workers said.
The Spaniards, shot through the head at close range, were members of the Spanish branch of the international charity Doctors of the World. In Paris, the parent group announced that it was suspending all aid activities in Rwanda pending further information about the killings.
The American, identified by aid workers as Nitin Madhav, 28, of the Pittsburgh area, was a program director for the organization. He was shot in the leg, which was later amputated at the local hospital at Ruhengeri, about 140 miles northwest of the capital, Kigali.
Mr. Madhav was later flown to the capital and evacuated for further treatment. The bodies of the three Spaniards — two men and a woman — were still in the aid workers’ house today.
»These people were executed, » Javier Zuniga, the director of the United Nations Human Rights Operation in Rwanda, said.  »Clearly these attacks were aimed at aid workers and expatriates generally. »
The attack occurred weeks after six workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross were slain in their beds in Chechnya, a secessionist region of southern Russia. Those killings reverberated deeply in the network of international aid groups, prompting the Red Cross and others to begin re-examining the ways they protect vulnerable workers in conflict areas.
In the attack here, Hutu militiamen stormed into the house and first demanded the Spaniards’ passports, an American diplomat said. The attackers were then disturbed by gunfire outside the house, and began shooting the three aid workers.
Mr. Madhav, the American, was shot in the leg as he dived behind a table in an effort to escape.
In Madrid, Doctors of the World identified the dead as Dr. Manuel Madrazo Osuna, 42, of Seville; Maria Flores Sirera Fortuny, 33, a nurse from Lerida, and Luis Maria Valtuena, 30, a photographer from Madrid who was working as an administrator here.
The killings spurred most other expatriate aid workers in the Ruhengeri area to leave for the capital.  »Most of the expatriate in Ruhengeri have already reached Kigali, » a Western diplomat said.  »The mood is very somber. »
In Kigali, the United Nations, international relief groups and the Government will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to decide whether the aid groups should formally suspend work in parts of Rwanda on security grounds.
»U.N. people have been told to stay put and not go out, » a United Nations official said.  »And as soon as we have talked to the army we will be discussing whether or not to suspend operations. »
The United Nations had already warned on Saturday that intensifying violence in Rwanda could force the suspension of humanitarian operations in some areas.
The attack was the latest in a series involving expatriates in the area, which is near the border with Zaire. The house was in a compound also used by the French branch of Doctors of the World and by workers for Save the Children.
»These attacks are deliberately mounted to scare away expatriates, » a senior Rwandan military officer said.  »We know these people are now operating from inside Rwanda. They think if they can drive out the expatriates now working here they can mount such attacks more easily. »
He said the gangs responsible for recent attacks on aid workers had returned from neighboring Zaire with other Rwandan Hutu refugees late last year. They were now becoming bolder, he said.
»The fighting appeared to have started in the slum areas of town among returnees who have come back from Zaire, » a senior United Nations official said of the overnight attack.  »There were two other incidents during the night during which a grenade was thrown into an aid worker’s house. »
$(The attack was apparently coordinated with three others in the area, in simultaneous raids by Hutu militants on the aid agency compound, the home of an appeals court judge and a police station, The Associated Press quoted Mr. Zuniga as saying.
$(It said the three Rwandan soldiers were killed when the troops responded to the attacks.$)
Hutu militiamen, Government army troops and mobs killed about half a million people, mostly Tutsi and moderate Hutu, in a genocidal campaign here in 1994.
Many of the militiamen along with more than a million refugees fled to neighboring countries after Tutsi rebels seized power and ended the three-month killing spree.
Nearly a million Hutu refugees, including some militia members, returned from eastern Zaire and Tanzania at the end of last year. Their return has once again heightened ethnic tensions in many parts of the country.

Later, Karake was in charge of forces invading the DRC that lobbed artillery into population centers, as this article says:

“It’s a period during which the Rwandan army killed hundreds if not thousands of civilians in both Rwanda and the Congo (DRC), particularly in the late 90s. He (Karake) was one of the key figures and many victims and witnesses and often cites his name in serious crimes,” says Carina Tertsakian, a senior researcher on Rwanda at Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch said of the crimes:

In this letter, we wish to focus particularly on the killings of civilians in the city of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo in June 2000. Press accounts identify General Karake as the commanding officer of Rwandan troops who fought against Ugandan army forces at Kisangani during that period. His own comments make clear that he had command of those forces at that time.

During that conflict, both sides acted with blatant disregard for the lives of the civilians present in Kisangani, Congo’s third largest city. According to a UN inter-agency assessment mission, more than 760 civilians were killed and 1,700 injured during four days of battle. Heavy artillery was used in a populated area of the city by the belligerents resulting in the destruction of schools, health centers, and churches as well as hundred of homes.

Karenzi Karake

Whatever crimes Karake committed do not phase Rucyahana, who considers Karake to be a hero, as he said about the arrest:

“Those people who walk and eat with killers of our people do not arrest those Genocide perpetrators, but have the guts to arrest our heroes who risked their lives to stop the Genocide. They are exercising Genocide denial.
We Rwandans, knowing where we are coming from, have to jointly fight that arrogance,” he said.

Rucyahana has no objectivity towards Rwandan evil and is certainly not operating on the basis of any moral reasoning deduced from the Bible. He dances to the tune of Paul Kagame, but still finds a willing audience with gullible Christians in the West.

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/20/world/hutu-militiamen-kill-3-spanish-aid-workers-in-rwanda.html
Hutu Militiamen Kill 3 Spanish Aid Workers in Rwanda
Published: January 20, 1997
RUHENGERI, Rwanda, Jan. 19— In what appeared to be a calculated attack against foreign aid groups here, Hutu militiamen shot and killed three Spanish aid workers and seriously wounded an American in an overnight raid in northwestern Rwanda, survivors said today.
Three Rwandan soldiers were also killed in the attack, aid workers said.
The Spaniards, shot through the head at close range, were members of the Spanish branch of the international charity Doctors of the World. In Paris, the parent group announced that it was suspending all aid activities in Rwanda pending further information about the killings.
The American, identified by aid workers as Nitin Madhav, 28, of the Pittsburgh area, was a program director for the organization. He was shot in the leg, which was later amputated at the local hospital at Ruhengeri, about 140 miles northwest of the capital, Kigali.
Mr. Madhav was later flown to the capital and evacuated for further treatment. The bodies of the three Spaniards — two men and a woman — were still in the aid workers’ house today.
»These people were executed, » Javier Zuniga, the director of the United Nations Human Rights Operation in Rwanda, said.  »Clearly these attacks were aimed at aid workers and expatriates generally. »
The attack occurred weeks after six workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross were slain in their beds in Chechnya, a secessionist region of southern Russia. Those killings reverberated deeply in the network of international aid groups, prompting the Red Cross and others to begin re-examining the ways they protect vulnerable workers in conflict areas.
In the attack here, Hutu militiamen stormed into the house and first demanded the Spaniards’ passports, an American diplomat said. The attackers were then disturbed by gunfire outside the house, and began shooting the three aid workers.
Mr. Madhav, the American, was shot in the leg as he dived behind a table in an effort to escape.
In Madrid, Doctors of the World identified the dead as Dr. Manuel Madrazo Osuna, 42, of Seville; Maria Flores Sirera Fortuny, 33, a nurse from Lerida, and Luis Maria Valtuena, 30, a photographer from Madrid who was working as an administrator here.
The killings spurred most other expatriate aid workers in the Ruhengeri area to leave for the capital.  »Most of the expatriate in Ruhengeri have already reached Kigali, » a Western diplomat said.  »The mood is very somber. »
In Kigali, the United Nations, international relief groups and the Government will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to decide whether the aid groups should formally suspend work in parts of Rwanda on security grounds.
»U.N. people have been told to stay put and not go out, » a United Nations official said.  »And as soon as we have talked to the army we will be discussing whether or not to suspend operations. »
The United Nations had already warned on Saturday that intensifying violence in Rwanda could force the suspension of humanitarian operations in some areas.
The attack was the latest in a series involving expatriates in the area, which is near the border with Zaire. The house was in a compound also used by the French branch of Doctors of the World and by workers for Save the Children.
»These attacks are deliberately mounted to scare away expatriates, » a senior Rwandan military officer said.  »We know these people are now operating from inside Rwanda. They think if they can drive out the expatriates now working here they can mount such attacks more easily. »
He said the gangs responsible for recent attacks on aid workers had returned from neighboring Zaire with other Rwandan Hutu refugees late last year. They were now becoming bolder, he said.
»The fighting appeared to have started in the slum areas of town among returnees who have come back from Zaire, » a senior United Nations official said of the overnight attack.  »There were two other incidents during the night during which a grenade was thrown into an aid worker’s house. »
$(The attack was apparently coordinated with three others in the area, in simultaneous raids by Hutu militants on the aid agency compound, the home of an appeals court judge and a police station, The Associated Press quoted Mr. Zuniga as saying.
$(It said the three Rwandan soldiers were killed when the troops responded to the attacks.$)
Hutu militiamen, Government army troops and mobs killed about half a million people, mostly Tutsi and moderate Hutu, in a genocidal campaign here in 1994.
Many of the militiamen along with more than a million refugees fled to neighboring countries after Tutsi rebels seized power and ended the three-month killing spree.
Nearly a million Hutu refugees, including some militia members, returned from eastern Zaire and Tanzania at the end of last year. Their return has once again heightened ethnic tensions in many parts of the country.

“Rwandan hit teams active in Belgium”

A new article (translated via Google) says in part:

The story of Judi Rever, who earlier in the Canadian press killings on behalf of the Rwandan regime denounced reads like a thriller. “I’ve been doing three years researching a book about the war crimes of the Rwandan regime,” she said in a telephone interview. “In July 2014 I was on a working visit to Europe, I wanted to interview several Rwandan dissidents. One evening I took the train from The Hague to Brussels. I had little luggage with me and took the subway to my hotel in downtown. When I got there, I saw an armored Mercedes for the door. Here celebrities to visit, I thought. When I entered the hotel, I noticed that she looked at me. The clerk asked me my name and he immediately said they expect. I signed up, turned around and a man spoke to me. He worked for the Belgian State Security. A very nice, middle-aged man. He showed me his identity card and had two runners on. He presented me a contract that I signed (see illustration) and he told me that the Belgian government had mandated me to offer a week-long protection. Why, I asked. I was bewilderment, I was stunned. “

Credible

Rever wanted to know more. “The officer told me that the Belgian government had credible information that the Rwandeseambassade in Brussels for me meant a threat. The senior police officer accompanied me in every interview. We drove around in the armored Mercedes and the agent booked a room next to mine. Every time we returned to the hotel, he inspected my room from top to bottom, to the bathroom. Such is terryfying, I did not understand really. Judi, this is very serious, the officer said to me, but he could give me no further details. “

The State Security gave her no further explanation about the nature of the threat, but a Rwandan dissident who had in his own words with the Belgian intelligence nations told her that the Belgian services knew more. Rever: “The Rwandan told me that the Belgian services had intercepted communications between unspecified people in Belgium and a man in Kigali, the diplomat Didier Rutembesa. That is shown by South Africa because he was suspected of involvement in the murder of Patrick Karegeya. President Kagame wanted Rutembesa at the Rwandan embassy in Brussels would work, but Belgium refused to accredit him. Rutembesa apparently said in that phone call that he filed a trap for me. That was quite chilling. “

Daughter threatened

The life of Judi Rever has radically changed. “The Canadian intelligence agencies have warned me not to travel to Africa or Europe. I’ve known quite a few challenges in terms of security. One of the most frightening episodes in December 2013. After two years of research, I then published in the American magazine Foreign Policy the story of two Rwandan top military working as peacekeepers in Africa, suspected of crimes against humanity. Handedly led the mission in Darfur, another was started in Mali. Within five days I got home a very frightening message on my answering machine. It was obviously an African woman who imitated the sound of gunfire. She mentioned the color red and called the name of my youngest daughter. This was a direct threat to my family. I have notified the local and federal police in Canada, the intelligence services, Foreign Affairs. In March I was contacted by Rwandan dissidents who told me that Rwandan officers were sent to Canada. I look constantly. If I go away, I scour off the area. This has changed my life dramatically. “

Human Rights in Rwanda, 2014

In a letter to the Emperor, St. Ambrose says to Roman Emperor Theodosius:

Should I keep silence? But then my conscience would be bound, my utterance taken away, which would be the most wretched condition of all. And where would be that text? If the priest speak not to him that erreth, he who errs shall die in his sin, and the priest shall be liable to the penalty because he warned not the erring.

The United States Department of State recently released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, Rwanda’s report is available here. I am interspersing highlights from the report with quotes from Thad Barnum’s book “Never Silent”, which was foundational for the Anglican Mission in America (and what is now PEARUSA). The quotes from the book are from Bishop John Rucyahana, who is now a mouthpiece and tool for Rwanda’s dictator. The irony is thick.

The most important human rights problems in the country were disappearances, government harassment, arrest, and abuse of political opponents, human rights advocates, and individuals perceived to pose a threat to government control and social order; disregard for the rule of law among security forces and the judiciary; and restrictions on civil liberties. Due to restrictions on the registration and operation of opposition parties and nontransparent vote-counting practices, citizens did not have the ability to change their government through free and fair elections.

IMG_1340

Other major human rights problems included arbitrary or unlawful killings, torture, harsh conditions in prisons and detention centers, arbitrary arrest, prolonged pretrial detention, and government infringement on citizens’ privacy rights. The government restricted freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association. Security for refugees and asylum seekers continued to improve but was at times inadequate. The government restricted and harassed local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), particularly organizations that monitored and reported on human rights. There was a small and declining incidence of trafficking in persons. The government restricted labor rights and child labor continued to be a problem.

IMG_1341

On June 5, President Kagame defended the government’s policy and practices with regard to individuals suspected of posing a threat to state security. During a speech in Nyabihu District, Kagame stated, “those who talk about disappearances…we will continue to arrest more suspects and if possible shoot in broad daylight those who intend to destabilize our country.”

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On September 25, the commissioner of the Rwanda National Police (RNP) Criminal Investigations Division announced the arrest of two RNP officers in connection with the July 2013 murder of Transparency International Rwanda Office Coordinator Gustave Makonene. Makonene was strangled and his body dumped on the shores of Lake Kivu near the town of Rubavu; the government and domestic observers noted that Makonene was investigating cases of local police corruption and the trafficking of conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the time of his death.

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From July to October, a number of corpses appeared in Lake Rweru, which is bisected by the border between Rwanda and Burundi. Fishermen reported seeing dozens of floating bodies, some bound and wrapped in sacks. The fishermen alleged that the bodies were carried into the lake by the Nyabarongo River and that the majority of the bodies were then carried away from the lake by the Kagera River. Four bodies were recovered and buried near Kwidagaza village in Burundi’s Muyinga Province. Fishermen living near Kwidagaza reported that on the nights of September 21 and 22, Rwandan marines attempted to exhume the bodies, allegedly to return them to Rwanda. Both Rwanda and Burundi called for a joint investigation into the identity and origin of the bodies. On December 16, Burundi’s minister of foreign affairs accepted an offer of forensic assistance from a group of countries through an international NGO for an investigation led by the African Union. Rwandan officials stated that the government also supported a joint investigation, but no investigation was conducted by year’s end.

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There were more reports of disappearances and politically motivated abductions or kidnappings than in previous years. The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) and domestic observers alleged the SSF–including the Rwandan Defense Force (RDF), the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), and the RNP–were involved in reported disappearances. The government stated the police opened missing persons investigations for all individuals reported to be missing by families or human rights organizations, but no perpetrators were identified or punished.

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From March to September, domestic observers alleged that several hundred persons disappeared in Musanze and Rubavu districts in connection with an extensive security operation conducted by the RDF and RNP. The SSF reportedly detained individuals incommunicado without access to legal representation for up to two months. The SSF released numerous individuals without charge; however, the government charged 77 individuals with crimes against state security, including for collaborating with the FDLR. Of those 77 individuals, judges ordered the release of 33, while upholding charges against 44 in pretrial hearing. At year’s end 44 cases awaited full trial, while the whereabouts of at least 150 individuals reported missing during the March to September security operation remained unknown. The government noted the majority of persons reported to be missing by human rights organizations had not been reported to the police by family or community members.

Applauding a Madman
Applauding a Madman

On June 27, the organizing secretary for the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR), Jean Damascene Munyeshyaka, disappeared after meeting with an unknown individual in Nyamata town, Bugesera District. Police investigated the disappearance but reported no credible leads.

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There were reports that torture continued in the Kami military intelligence camp, Mukamira camp, Ministry of Defense headquarters, and undeclared detention facilities as first reported by Amnesty International (AI). In 2012 AI documented 18 allegations of torture and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment perpetrated by military intelligence and other SSF personnel in 2010 and 2011 to secure information or force confessions. Former detainees alleged they endured sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, starvation, extraction of fingernails, electric shocks, scalding, melting of plastic bags over the head, suffocation, burning or branding, beating, and simulated drowning through confinement in cisterns filled with rainwater. Local and international human rights organizations reported the RDF took positive steps in 2012 to reform military interrogation methods and detention standards, resulting in fewer reports of torture and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment at Kami and other military detention facilities. They cautioned, however, that the increased use of undeclared detention facilities by NISS, the RDF J-2, and RNP Intelligence made monitoring more difficult.

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Although there is no requirement for individuals to carry identification, police and the LDF regularly detained street children, vendors, and beggars without identification and sometimes charged them with illegal street vending or vagrancy. Authorities released adults who could produce identification and transported street children to their home districts, to shelters, or for processing into vocational and educational programs.

Bishop Mbanda and Paul Kagame.
Bishop Mbanda and Paul Kagame.

Although the constitution and law prohibit such actions, there were numerous reports the government monitored homes, movements, telephone calls, e-mail, other private communications, and personal and institutional data. There were reports of government informants working within international NGOs, local civil society organizations (CSOs), religious organizations, and other social institutions.

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RPF cadres regularly visited citizens’ homes to demand contributions to the political party and the government’s Agaciro Development Fund, and there were some reports of persons being denied public services if they had not contributed. Despite orders from cabinet ministers not to do so, there were reports that local leaders, employers, and others coerced persons into donating one month’s salary to the Agaciro Development Fund.

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My summary:

Times have changed. Anglicans are silent in the face of evil again, despite all the hoopla about “never silent” 15 years ago.

 

 

 

 

Salim Saleh and the Anglican Cathedral in Gahini, Rwanda

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord. Proverbs 17.15

Rwandan propaganda organ The New Times reports on a new cathedral slated to be built for the Anglican Church of Rwanda in Gahini. The article talks up the collaboration of Uganda and Rwanda in fundraising for the construction. A follow up article talks about how much money was raised at an event in Uganda.

Many Ugandans involved in the fundraising effort are intimately tied to the corrupt regime of Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni. 1)See this post for a description of one bishop who stands up to Museveni. Indeed, “Gen. Salim Saleh Akandwanaho is expected to be the chief fundraiser.” General Saleh is Museveni’s brother and is well known for his corruption. The picture below shows Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo of Gahini shaking Saleh’s hand.

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Bishop Alexis and Salim Saleh

A 2002 United Nations report from the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo outlined some of Saleh’s activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read the report yourself, particularly pages 19 and onwards, to see all the details about Saleh. Saleh fronted CONMET, a company that specialized in Coltan trading and also the Victoria Group, cited for resource exploitation and tax fraud. The report says in part:

Criminal groups linked to the armies of Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have…have built up a self-financing war economy centred on mineral exploitation.

    • The elite networks derive financial benefit through a variety of criminal activities including theft, embezzlement and diversion of “public” funds, undervaluation of goods, smuggling, false invoicing, non-payment of taxes, kickbacks to public officials and bribery.
    • The elite networks form business companies or joint ventures that are fronts through which members of the networks carry on their respective commercial activities.
    • The elite networks draw support for their economic activities through the networks and “services” (air transport, illegal arms dealing and transactions involving the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) of organized or transnational criminal groups.

The objective of the elite network in the areas controlled by Uganda has been to exercise monopolistic control over the area’s principal natural resources, cross-border trade, and tax revenues for the purpose of enriching members of the network.

The Uganda network consists of a core group of members including certain high-ranking UPDF officers, private businessmen and selected rebel leaders/administrators. UPDF Lieutenant General (Ret.) Salim Saleh and Major General James Kazini are the key figures.

…a paramilitary force is being trained under the personal authority of Lt. General Saleh which, according to the Panel’s sources, is expected to continue to facilitate the commercial activities of UPDF officers after UPDF have departed. This military group draws on dissidents from Jean-Pierre Bemba’s MLC, members of the Uganda-supported RCD-Congo including its leaders Professor Kin-kiey Mulumba and Kabanga Babadi, and others in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo who have supported UPDF in the past. It has been reported that Lt. General Saleh discreetly provides financial support for this new rebel group. The Panel’s sources have indicated that Heckie Horn, Managing Director of Saracen Uganda Ltd., is a key partner with Lt. General Saleh in supporting this paramilitary group and that Lt. General Saleh himself is a 25 per cent owner in Saracen. Saracen’s managing director also provides military training and arms to members of this group.

As in the past, the network continues to involve the transnational criminal group of Victor Bout. Mr. Bout recently purchased the Uganda-based non- operational airline company Okapi Air. The purchase of the company allowed Victor Bout to use Okapi’s licences. The company was subsequently renamed Odessa. The Panel is in possession of a list of outbound flights from 1998 to the beginning of 2002 from Entebbe International Airport, which confirms the operational activities of Mr. Bout’s aircraft from Ugandan territory. Currently, Mr. Bout’s aircraft share the flight times and destinations (slots) with Planet Air, which is owned by the wife of Lt. General Salim Saleh and which facilitates the activities of Mr. Bout by filing flight plans for his aircraft.

General Saleh’s Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) used child soldiers:

The spread of HIV/AIDS, the large numbers of child soldiers and the rape of women are other consequences of the pervasive armed conflict. Many soldiers are young boys who hardly seem capable of wielding the weapons they carry. The issue of child soldiers surfaced when 700 young recruits from the Bunia area were discovered at a UPDF training camp in Tchakwanzi, Uganda, of whom 165 were between 14 and 16 years of age.

The fact that a man who:

  1. is the brother of a dictator;
  2. steals minerals from a neighboring country as part of a criminal ring;
  3. evades taxes;
  4. used child soldiers in a horrendous war with widespread crimes against humanity;

is the chief fundraiser for an Anglican Cathedral should raise all kinds of red flags for PEARUSA and all its American parishioners. After all, American bishops like Steve Breedlove and others are counterparts with Bishop Alexis. Surely, they can inquire about this matter and not accept pat answers for what is going on – correct? Or will they ask their congregations to “walk with Rwanda” and pay not attention to the man behind the curtain, so to speak?

What do you think they will do?

 

References   [ + ]

1. See this post for a description of one bishop who stands up to Museveni.

Archbishop Isingoma asks if Kolini is up for another term?

The Twitter account of Congolese Archbishop Henri Isingoma links to a picture of former Rwandan Archbishop Kolini at the recent AMiA consecrations, and asks:

Abp Kolini, is (up) for another term as bishop?  Here in front of his bishops

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The strange, perhaps unprecedented, situation that what is left of AMiA finds itself in never fails to surprise me.