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Belgium Is “Breeding Ground” For Genocide Deniers- Ambassador

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Rwanda’s Ambassador to Belgium, Dieudonne Sebashongore, has accused Western countries including Belgium, France and the UK of providing sanctuary to genocide perpetrators and deniers of the Genocide against the Tutsi and space for them to exercise revisionism and rewrite history.

The Ambassador was speaking in Belgium at a ceremony to commence commemoration for the 27th time of the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

“Many genocidaires continue to live at large in Belgium, France, the UK and around the world. The fight against impunity must remain a priority for us and our partners,” he said, adding that, “Despite these encouraging developments, the task ahead of us is substantial.”

Sebashongore also insisted that the duty to remember requires reflection on the role of “teaching the history of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis” as the best way to avoid the negationist drifts that are proliferating at the moment, and for which “Belgium is unfortunately a favourite breeding ground.”

“Commemoration is a sacred moment to honour the lives lost and the survivors. We honour them by preserving their memory, by restoring the humanity that was taken from them, and by comforting the survivors to help them find the resilience that is so necessary to rebuild,” he said.

Below is his full speech.

Dear survivors,

Dear compatriots,

Dear Friends of Rwanda,

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Rwanda, and on my own behalf, I would like to thank you for joining us. We appreciate this gesture of support on this important day when we commemorate, for the 27th time, the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.

Ladies and Gentlemen ;

For the second year in a row, we are meeting under exceptional circumstances that prevent us from gathering in large numbers. 

Fortunately, technology allows us to be in communion with the survivors, to remember the disappeared and to reflect on the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis in 1994.

Commemoration is a sacred moment to honour the lives lost and the survivors. We honour them by preserving their memory, by restoring the humanity that was taken from them, and by comforting the survivors to help them find the resilience that is so necessary to rebuild.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The duty to remember also requires reflection on the role of education. Teaching the history of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis is the best way to avoid the negationist drifts that are proliferating at the moment, and for which Belgium is unfortunately a favourite breeding ground.

Genocide is a specific political and historical phenomenon. It is the total, systematic and organised destruction of a group targeted in its entirety, for what it is. Countless documents, testimonies and easily accessible research reports attest to the indisputable aspect of the genocide that targeted the Tutsis in 1994.

Naming things clearly is all the more important because twenty-seven years after the fact, denial and revisionism play on words and details to distort the facts and manipulate history.  It is essential that we support, together, this work of remembrance in order to honour those who have disappeared.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is by teaching the history of genocide, its consequences and the lessons learned, that we provide new generations with the tools to promote human rights and prevent future genocides.

Justice is essential in our reconstruction process. I welcome the trials that have been initiated against suspects over the past year. 

The arrest last May of Félicien Kabuga, one of the masterminds of the genocide, after 26 years of tracking, is a particularly encouraging sign, especially since his arrest was made possible by close cooperation between several European countries and the United Nations International Mechanism, which is called upon to carry out the residual functions of the criminal courts, including the ICTR. 

But many alleged genocidaires continue to live at large in Belgium, France, the UK and around the world. The fight against impunity must remain a priority for us and our partners. Despite these encouraging developments, the task ahead of us is substantial.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must also remain vigilant against the rise of new and increasingly insidious forms of negationism. The time for pure and simple denial of the genocide has passed, replaced by sterile and unfounded debates aimed at diluting the specificitý of the crime perpetrated against the Tutsis and maintaining an artificial confusion around the facts.

A confusion all the more to be maintained as the majority of the Western population and leaders have limited knowledge of the African continent. This lack of understanding of the basics of our history opens the door to all kinds of abuse. 

For example, the European Parliament has passed two resolutions in recent months that are full of omissions and misunderstandings. It is extremely regrettable that respectable institutions have offered such a platform to the most insane revisionist theories.  

In the future, we hope that our respect for the sovereignty of these institutions will be reciprocated in order to facilitate, among other things, the revival of inter-parliamentary cooperation and respect for the separation of powers that is so important to our rule of law. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

As you know, Rwanda is a hot topic. From our tragic history to our unexpected rebirth, many people use our reality to promote themselves.

The last 27 years have been full of rumours and fabricated scandals. Despite the difficulties, it is important not to pay attention to these distractions whose only purpose is to divert us from the transformative path we have set for ourselves.  

Fortunately, these distractions exist alongside genuine contributions to memory work. The past year has been a great example of this, with the film adaptation of novels such as “Petit Pays” and “Notre Dame du Nil”; the publication of the Duclert report or the disclosure of archives; the release of relevant books and the organisation of instructive webinars. 

If the truth is always slower to come out than lies, the fact remains that its anchoring in history is inversely proportional to the buzz of the elucubrations. Let’s try to ignore the finger that hides the forest, and take the time to appreciate our victories and the good news that arrives.

So let’s stay positive. You know the truth. Deniers of all stripes will one day disappear without a trace, because lies, however pervasive they may be, carry little weight in the face of the facts.

Dear compatriots,

Faced with the destruction of our nation due to the genocide of the Tutsis in 1994, we were able to rise up by making these three choices: 

1) To remain together and united;  

2) To be responsible to our people and to ourselves; 

3) to be ambitious in order to take our country further in its fulfilment;

The struggle for truth is multi-dimensional and concerns us all. Even when the attacks on us take on a political aspect, it is fundamentally the survival of our nation that is again at stake.

We have come a long way, and we can rejoice in how far we have come. But the battle continues. Let us not be naive. The ideology and hatred that plunged Rwanda into the abyss 27 years ago continues to spread. We cannot be timid, lazy, or limited in our actions.

We must stand together and make sure it is as tight as possible. Let’s focus our energy on what needs to be done and not on the things that help to divide us. Our quarrels or mistakes serve the cause of our detractors at the expense of the memory of our own. 

Dearest survivors, 

The current health crisis isolates us at this difficult time when you are plunging back into the terrible memories of the 100 days of 1994. May the strength that brought you out of the abyss accompany you again in the days, weeks and months to come. 

We cannot be present at your side, nor can we bring you the necessary comfort, but our thoughts are with you. We will also be organising several actions during this period, to symbolically keep the flame we have just lit alive and thus provide a warmth that I hope will help to support you. 

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Politics

President Tshisekedi More Powerful Under New Government

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After two months of political suspense, DRC’s President Felix Tshisekedi has unveiled his newly formed government under the so-called “sacred union”.

Prime minister formed a new government, marking a shift in the balance of power from former President Joseph Kabila to his successor, Felix Tshisekedi, three years after elections.

Tshisekedi’s spokesman, Kasongo Mwema Yamba Yamba on Monday announced a list of ministers.

A major Mines Ministry has a new head and newcomer Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi. DRC is the world’s largest source of cobalt and Africa’s biggest copper producer.

Kalambayi has a degree in domestic law from the University of Kinshasa, according to a book she published in 2016 on Congo’s electoral commission.

Prime Minister Sama Lukonde said on Twitter that the average age of the new government was 47, with 27% of the positions held by women and 80% held by people who haven’t previously held cabinet posts.

L-R Prime Minister Sama Lukonde and President Felix Tshisekedi

Below is a full list of the newly formed government under the arrangement of “sacred union”.

Deputy Prime Ministers

DEPUTY PREMIER, MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR, SECURITY, DECENTRALIZATION AND CUSTOMARY AFFAIRS: Daniel Aselo Okito wa Nkoy

DEPUTY PREMIER, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Christophe Lutundula

DEPUTY PREMIER, MINISTER OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE, MODERNIZATION OF ADMINISTRATION AND INNOVATION OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE: Jean-Pierre Lihau

DEPUTY PREMIER OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Ève Bazaiba

Ministers of State

Justice, Keeper of the Seals: Mutombo Kiese Rose

Infrastructures and Public Works: Gizaro Nuvunyi Alexis

Portfolio: Adèle Kahinda

Plan: Mwando Nsimba Christian

Budget: Aimé Boji

Town Planning and Housing: Pius Mwabilu

Rural development: François Rubota

Entrepreneurship: Eustache Muhanzi

Regional planning: Guy Loando

Ministers

Minister of National Defense and Veterans Affairs: Gébert Kabanda

Minister of EPST: Tony Muaba

Minister of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention: Mbungani Jean-Jacques

Minister of Finance: Nicolas Kazadi

Minister of Transport and Ways of Communication and Opening up: Chérubin Okende

Minister of Agriculture: Désiré Nzinga

Minister of Communication and Media, Government Spokesperson: Patrick Muyaya

Minister of Fisheries: Bokele Adrien

Minister of National Economy: Jean Marie KALUMBA

Minister of Industry: Julien Paluku

Minister of Regional Integration: Didier Mazenga

ESU Minister: Muhindo Nzangi Butombo

Minister of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation: José Mpanda

Minister of Hydrocarbons: Didier Budimba

Minister of PTNIC: Kibassa Augustin

Minister of Digital: Eberande Kolongele

Minister of Employment, Labor and Social Welfare: Ndusi Mpembe

Minister of Land Affairs: Sakombi Aimé

Minister of Water Resources and Electricity: Muenze Olivier

Minister of Human Rights: Albert Fabrice Puela

Minister of Gender, Family and Children: Ndaya Gisèle

Minister of Foreign Trade: Jean Lucien Busa

Minister of Mines: Antoinette N’Samba

Minister of Social Affairs, Humanitarian Actions and National Solidarity: Modeste Mutinga

Minister of Vocational Training and Trades: Kipulu Antoinette

Minister of Youth, Initiation to New Citizenship and National Cohesion: Yves Bunkulu

Minister of Sports and Leisure: Serge Tshembo Nkonde

Minister of Tourism: Modero Nsimba

Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage: Katungu Catherine

Minister of Relations with Parliament: Karume Anne Marie

Minister to the President of the Republic: Manuanina Nana

Delegated minister

Minister Delegate to the Minister of Social Affairs, Humanitarian Actions and National Solidarity in charge of people living with Disabilities and other vulnerable people: Irène Esambo

Vice-Ministers

Deputy Minister of the Interior, Security, Decentralization and Customary Affairs: Molipe Jean Claude

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs: Adubango Samy

Deputy Minister of Justice: Bayubazire Amato

Vice-Minister of Planning: Chrispin Mbadu

Vice-Minister of the Budget: Elysé Makoso

Deputy Minister of National Defense: Séraphine Kilubu

Vice-Minister of EPST: Namasia Aminata

Deputy Minister of Public Health and Prevention: Kilumba Nkulu Véronique

Deputy Minister of Finance: Onyeke Nsele Nsimba

Deputy Minister of Transport and Voice of Communication: Ekila Marc

Deputy Minister of Mines: Motemona Godard

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Politics

Tanzania & Uganda Sign East Africa Oil Pipeline Deal

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Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Samia Suluhu Hassan of the United Republic of Tanzania have signed the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline which both leaders described as third victory for the two countries.

Museveni said the two countries have in the past posted military and political victories and now with the oil pipeline deal it is an economic victory.

For President Samia Hassan, this was her first trip outside her country since taking oath as President of Tanzania following the demise of her predecessor John Pombe Magufuli.

At a ceremony broadcast on regional Television channels on Sunday, the French oil and gas exploration company Total E&P, China’s largest offshore oil and gas producer,Cnooc Ltd. and Uganda National Oil Co. were also participating partners.

With this agreement cemented, Uganda is scheduled to turn into a major crude oil producer and exporter.

Total also signed agreements with Uganda to develop this pipeline.

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne called the signing of pacts a historic milestone for the production work and export pipeline that will draw more than $10 billion of investment.

“It’s a very large development, one of the largest that will be developed on this continent,” though just the beginning of a process that will see oil flow in early 2025, Pouyanne said.

Total’s own $5.1 billion bet on the project is for the rare frontier oil development that’s moving forward as most major companies are cutting spending. It also cements the French energy giant’s position as the leading player in Africa.

Total expects production to reach a plateau of 230,000 barrels per day. That’s higher than the output of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, two of Africa’s OPEC members.

Under this agreement, the partners will develop the Tilenga and Kingfisher discoveries near Lake Albert, as well as a 1,443-kilometer (897-mile) heated pipeline to transport Uganda’s waxy crude for export at the port of Tanga in Tanzania. The French explorer holds 57% of the oil field licenses and a large stake in the pipeline project.

Last year, Uganda and Total signed a Host Government Agreement (HGA) with the Ugandan Government for the development of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project. 

The HGA will govern the export pipeline in Uganda and will cost approximately $3.5 billion. Construction was expected to commence in 2021.

Total E&P intends to undergo constructive dialogue with communities and NGOs involved in all project activities.

Uganda’s head of State also said that apart from oil the same corridor can be used can take a return pipeline supplying Tanzanian and Mozambican gas to Uganda and the great lakes region.

The gas according to him will be used to smelt the huge reserves of Iron ore that they have in Uganda.

According to Museveni, this project should serve to awaken all Africans that prosperity & strategic security, are only possible if we use the Pan-Africanist approach that gives us a bigger market & rationalizes economic linkages.

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Politics

Burundi, European Union in Second Round Of Negotiations

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European Union and Government of Burundi held a second round of talks on Friday as a follow up on dialogue since President Evariste Ndayishimiye came to power.

Burundi and EU had frozen relations for almost five years until they opened dialogue in December last year.

President Ndayishimiye last year received in audience the Ambassador of the European Union to Burundi, Claude Bochu, along with the Ambassadors of Germany, Belgium and France.

 “It is high time to resolve misunderstandings with mutual respect,” the EU said after meeting with President Ndayishimiye.

There are 6 priorities of President Ndayishimiye including; good governance, public health, education, agriculture and livestock, free healthcare for retirees and youth development.

On December 11, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Albert Shingiro, invited to lunch the Ambassador of the European Union and all the ambassadors of the member countries of the EU present in Burundi. It was during this lunch that the expert teams from the EU and the Foreign Ministry were set up to prepare for a meeting between Minister Shingiro and the European Union and its member states.

Meanwhile, Burundi is no longer considered “a risk factor on the continent”, the Security Council having removed it from its agenda on December 4.

Albert Shingiro, Burundi’a Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation says, “We are confident that this temperature will reach the normal level of warming at the end of this dialogue that we are entering into today with shared determination and wills.”

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