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Kagame Speaks About Rusesabagina’s Trial

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The West is furious that President Paul Kagame sanctioned an operation to hunt down a Rwandan suspected terrorist in the same manner they go after their own suspected terrorists, including having to wage war against a foreign country and or violate international air space.

Washington and European politicians are exerting pressure on President Kagame and blackmailing him into ordering the release of Paul Rusesabagina who faces nine charges including the creation of a rebel group, membership of a terrorist group, financing terrorism, murder as an act of terrorism, abduction as an act of terrorism and armed robbery as an act of terrorism.

Other charges include arson as an act of terrorism, attempted murder as an act of terrorism, and assault and battery as an act of terrorism.

But the charges are not the concerns of the West. Whether Rusesabagina is guilty or not, for them what matters is, “how did Kagame do it without our knowledge?” Who does he think he is?. Those are the hypothetical questions lingering in the minds of the Western politicians and their diplomats in Rwanda.

The West is up in the arms and using mainstream media and activists to arm-twist Kagame’s government into submission, arguing that Rusesabagina’s arrest was illegal. This is something that Rwanda will not do, at least by explanations Kagame gave CNN’s Richard Quest in an interview last week.

“It was very proper and legal,” Kagame said of Rusesabagina’s arrest in the interview that was aired by CNN on Wednesday hours after Rusesabagina appeared before the High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes together with 20 of his co-accused that include rebel leaders who were captured by the Rwandan Special Forces.

“He more or less brought himself,” Kagame told Richard Quest. “Whether he was acting on wrong signals [What the West described as rendition] …but went by those signals to continue doing the wrong things he had been doing in the past,” President Kagame said.

Rusesabagina’s family and his Western sympathizers claim that he was kidnapped from the airport in Dubai, “where he had arrived on an Emirates flight from Chicago” before boarding a private jet headed to Burundi, where he planned to meet deceased President Pierre Nkurunziza and recruits disguised as a plan “to speak to churches at the invitation of a local pastor.”

This, the critics say, is what Rwanda should explain. And Kagame says he is not answerable at all. “If he expected to go to Burundi to connect with the people he has been working with or leading into destabilisation of our country, what sympathies do I owe him or anybody?”, Kagame said without any effort for sustained flattery.

Legal maneuvers

Rusesabagina’s lawyers advised him to denounce his Rwandan nationality, with the hope that the court would be wrestled into debating its legal competence to try him as a Belgian citizen.

The court after hearing his submissions adjourned the case to February 26 to determine whether the hearing should continue or not, despite the prosecution dismissing the argument that him being Belgian does not strip Rwandan courts of the powers to try him, as long as he committed crimes on Rwandan territory.

Meanwhile after blatantly denouncing his citizenship, the 67-year old hotelier born in Ruhanngo district, Southern Province, was not prepared for an incriminating confession by his Deputy Callixte Nsabimana alias Sankara, who told the court that he shame that Rusesabagina denies being Rwandan declared his Presidential ambitions.

“Rusesabagina as our leader had Presidential ambitions. We declared war against Rwanda, then failed and got arrested. I am ashamed as his deputy that he is telling the court that he is not Rwandan,” Sanakara confessed.

All suspects remain in custody pending a substantive hearing.

Asia

Afghanistan: Stay Home, Female Kabul Government Workers Told

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The new Taliban mayor of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul has told female municipal employees to stay home unless their jobs cannot be filled by a man.

Hamdullah Nomany said the Taliban “found it necessary to stop women from working for a while”.

It is the latest restriction imposed on Afghanistan’s women by the country’s hard-line new Islamist government.

During their previous rule in the 1990s women were barred from education and the workplace.

After seizing the country last month following the withdrawal of US forces, the Taliban said women’s rights would be respected “within the framework of Islamic law”.

But the Taliban favour a strict interpretation of Islam’s legal system, Sharia law.

Since taking power working women have been told to stay at home until the security situation improves, and Taliban fighters have beaten women protesting against the all-male interim government.

The Islamist group appears to have shut down the women’s affairs ministry and replaced it with a department that once enforced strict religious doctrines.

And this weekend secondary schools reopened, but with only boys and male teachers allowed back into classrooms. The Taliban said it was working on reopening schools for girls.

According to the Kabul mayor about a third of the municipality’s 3,000 employees are women. He said some would carry on working.

“For example, women work in the women’s toilets in the city where men cannot go,” he said.

“But for the positions that others [men] can fill, we have told them [women] to stay at home until the situation is normalised. Their salaries will be paid,” he added.

On Sunday, there were small protests outside the women’s affairs ministry while another group of women held a press conference to demand their rights.

One of those protesting at the ministry said “we do not want this ministry to be removed. The removal of women [means] the removal of human beings.”

In a separate development, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said it had been unable to fulfil its duties since the Taliban’s takeover.

The organisation said in a statement that its buildings, vehicles and computers had all been taken over by the Taliban.

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Politics

Ruto Wants To Reconcile With President Uhuru

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Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has said that he wants to mend fences with his boss as the rift deepens between the two former allies.

However, it should be noted that last year, the two leaders also tried to fix their political differences mediated by the clergy but failed to make any headway.

The union between these two former political allies collapsed on July 22, 2019 following the arrest of Cabinet Secretary to the National Treasury Henry Rotich, who was accused of corruption.

Rotich, who pleaded not guilty, was released on bail the following day. He had been appointed by Kenyatta in 2013 at Ruto’s request.

The Ruto camp has never hidden its distrust for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), an outcome of the March 2018 peace pact between President Uhuru and Raila Odinga – his long-time opposition foe.

The initiative was symbolised by the famous public handshake between the two men – a moment now simply referred to as “The Handshake”.

Ruto’s supporters fear that the rapprochement signals Kenyatta’s plan to renege on a power-sharing and succession pact, under which he would back Ruto for president at the 2022 elections after serving two terms.

The BBI aims to amend the 2010 constitution – which established a presidential system – to create, among other things, a post of prime minister, two deputy prime ministers and a leader of the opposition and increase the number of seats in parliament.

According to President Uhuru, the constitutional review (BBI) is meant to mitigate the current “winner take all” system that has caused post-election conflicts throughout the country’s history.

On May 11, 2021 Parliament approved the bill, which was then to be put to a referendum.

But two days later, a Nairobi court ruled that the process was illegal, stating that such a constitutional review could not be initiated by the president.

With the collapse of the BBI, Ruto seems to have won the fight and thus seems to be ready to reconcile with Uhuru.

However, it remains to be judged by the forthcoming days whether the two will really reconcile. President Uhuru had earlier challenged his deputy to resign if he didn’t approve of the government achievements yet he serves in the same.

Although both President Kenyatta and Ruto have never explained exactly why their relationship fell apart, it is understood they previously exchanged bitter text messages. Some have been read by their allies.

“From the messages that I was shown, the differences between the two are personal and very deep. It will take a miracle for them to be ironed out,” one source said. His opinion was echoed by others.

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Politics

International Community Accused Of Regime Change Maneuvers In South Sudan

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South Sudanese Cabinet Affairs Minister has lambasted the international community, saying the country was lacking genuine friends but only those with the agenda of regime change.

Minister Martin Elia Lomuro (pictured above) pointed to reluctance by key members of the international community to fund the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

“Who says there are friends, perhaps in the region but in the international community, let me put it white and blank, we do are friends? Those that you see are working otherwise. They are for regime change,” said Lomuro.

The minister who is under UN and U.S. sanctions was speaking during an occasion marking the third anniversary of the revitalized 2018 peace agreement on Saturday. The roundtable discussion was organized by UN-owned Radio Miraya.

The cabinet minister said the lack of international support hampered the implementation of the peace agreement particularly the costly security arrangements.

Following the signing of the peace agreement, the Troika countries requested transparency in the management of the oil income before supporting the implementation process.

Peacebuilding Minister Stephen Par Kuol who also participated in the discussion argued that key members of the international community had refused to fund the implementation process because they believe the leadership was “corrupt”. So, these countries have decided to let everything be shouldered by the government.

Kuol further said it was cheaper to fund the implementation of the peace agreement than the humanitarian assistance given by these sam countries on compassionate ground.

“We have tried this (regime change) when we were in the opposition, but it did not work. So, I told these diplomats during our engagement with them to help fund the agreement so that the refugees and internally displaced persons can return to their homes. Instead of working for regime change, I ask them to support this current (transitional) government of the revitalized peace agreement, not the regime”, explained Kuol.

James Solomon Okuk, a senior independent political analyst and a researcher who published a book about the revitalized peace agreement said the accord had fallen below 10 per cent in the implementation of key provisions, especially provisions relating to security arrangement.

(ST)

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