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Rwanda Debunks False Stories Propagated By BBC

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The BBC recently ran a story by Andrew Harding making false and misleading allegations concerning an event held three years ago at the Rwanda High Commission in London.

This story is part of a wider narrative fabricated by various anti-Rwanda movements, hostile detractors, some anonymous, and at least one disgruntled former official.

The BBC broadcast the allegations as fact, with no scrutiny of the veracity of claims made or the credibility of those making them.

Many Rwandans living abroad who choose to be members of the RPF have taken an oath of allegiance to the political party for over 30 years now – there is nothing remarkable about the oath or the fact that the Embassy offered the space for a community event.

The oath has been in existence, almost unchanged, since the formation of the RPF in 1987.

Attempts by detractors to misrepresent it as something ominous are pathetic.

The BBC claims to have spoken to “member of Rwandan Diaspora” but they actually sought opinions of a collection of hostile dissidents and fraudulent asylum seekers, in order to justify the false allegations.

An example is Rene Mugenzi, featured in the BBC story, who was recently convicted and imprisoned for embezzlement and theft in the UK. However, Mugenzi had for years been portrayed as a human rights’ activist and opposition leader, and granted significant media attention, often by the BBC, to propagate lies about Rwanda, even as he was stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from the Norwich Cathedral, as well as defrauding and blackmailing members of the Rwandan community in the UK.

It should be obvious that Rwandans abroad who claim to be fighting the government of Rwanda don’t bother to go to embassy events.

Instead, they have taken to inventing false stories such as this one that find a welcoming, uncritical platform in BBC reports.

There were no opposing views of members of the Rwandan community in the UK supportive of the Rwandan government or the RPF, to give context to the falsehoods presented in Harding’s story.

Beyond the UK, the BBC appears not to have exercised even minimal judgment, or carried out any scrutiny of those it chose to amplify for this story.

David Himbara, a disgruntled former Rwandan official makes wild, blanket claims about Rwanda’s political system that go completely unchallenged.

Had BBC sought to verify these claims, they would allow their viewers to understand that as popular as Rwanda’s ruling party is, no one is forced to join the RPF.

In fact, there are 11 other political parties in Rwanda, at least five of which are represented in Parliament.

In line with Rwanda’s constitution, both chambers of Parliament are headed by leaders of other political parties that, incidentally, existed even before the RPF came to power.

Noel Zihabamwe is, according to the BBC, “a prominent member of the Rwandan diaspora in Sydney, who came to the country as a refugee in 2006”.

The truth is that he left Kigali in 2000 to attend university in Australia on a Rwanda Government scholarship.

Upon completion of his sponsored studies, Zihabamwe claimed asylum in Australia and joined the terrorist group Rwanda National Congress (RNC), which runs propaganda campaigns against Rwanda and is responsible for several deadly terror attacks in Kigali and in Northern Rwanda.

Noel ‎Zihabamwe’s claims about his missing brothers are unfounded. The spouse of one of the allegedly missing men reported to Police that her husband went missing while visiting relatives in the Nyagatare District.

While the investigation remains open, neither Noel Zihabamwe who continues to cry foul in the media, nor his family has provided further information to assist in verifying this claim.

A simple search on the Internet will reveal Paul Rusesabagina’s true face, in his own words, including in interviews on the BBC Kinyarwanda service, as leader of a political party with an armed group (MRCD/FLN) which is responsible for several terror attacks in Rwanda that resulted in at least nine deaths.

This led to his arrest and ongoing terror trial in Kigali, along with at least 19 other suspected MRCD/FLN fighters and commanders that reported to him.

The BBC fails to mention that Kizito Mihigo, who also features in the story, was convicted to 10 years in prison in 2015 after pleading guilty to forming a criminal gang, complicity in a terrorist act and conspiracy to murder.

Following his appeal for presidential pardon, his sentence was commuted in September 2018 along with more than 2,000 other convicts.

He was arrested for a second time in 2019 after violating release terms by attempting to illegally cross the border to join armed anti-Rwanda groups in Burundi, and soon after committed suicide while in detention.

Some NGOs consistently offer credibility to Rwandan detractors who make baseless claims of persecution by the Government of Rwanda.

Sarah Jackson of Amnesty International seems disappointed that “such actions, which have included several targeted assassinations abroad, never appear to result in any long-term damage to Rwanda’s international relations.”

They are not as damaging as those driving these stories expect precisely because they are not true, despite repeated attempts over the years to cement false storylines that do not correspond to reality.

Rwanda is focused on achieving development results and progress for our citizens, and will not be distracted by external dictates that go against the interests of our people.

It should be understood that Rwanda’s fundamental values and political choices are driven by our country’s history and context, and they serve to entrench stability and prosperity, as well as a brighter future for our citizens. We will not allow this to be disrupted.

National

U.S. Africa Energy Forum Launched

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The Africa Oil & Power and the African Energy Chamber this week announced the launch of the first-ever U.S. Africa Energy Forum (USAEF).

This event aims to create deeper cooperation between the U.S. and Africa on energy policy, to reach alignment on long term sustainability goals, to stimulate greater American investment in the African oil, gas and power sectors, and to engage and reposition the U.S. as the primary partner of choice for African energy developments.

Under the theme “New Horizons for U.S. Africa Energy Investment” the forum will explore diverse foreign investment and export opportunities across the continent, including natural gas as a vital fuel for the energy transition; energy storage and battery minerals; Africa’s place in global energy supply chains; the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area; evolving energy technologies and how they relate to the future role of petroleum resources; and on-and off-grid power developments.

An online seminar and in-person networking event will be held in Washington D.C. on July 12, 2021, building up to the in-person U.S. Africa Energy Forum summit and gala dinner, to be hosted in Houston, Texas, on October 4-5, 2021.

Africa Oil & Power and the African Energy Chamber has invited all U.S.-based companies with an interest in engaging with African industry leaders and project developers to participate in the USAEF Houston summit.

This initiative comes at an important juncture in U.S.-Africa relations. The Biden Administration’s announcements of its intentions to proactively build a stronger U.S.-Africa partnership coincides with the fact that African projects are seeing rising interest from U.S. companies and lending institutions alike.

The USAEF event is thus dedicated to enabling dialogue between its participants that advances these developments.

“Our mission has always been to showcase the resource potential that Africa has to offer while at the same time showing its growing preference for sustainable energy policies and technologies.

Toward that end, we hope it becomes evident that Africa does not just want investment capital: it wants smart capital and an accompanying partnership with the investors,” said James Chester, Senior Director of Africa Oil & Power.

“The U.S. Africa Energy Forum represents the first-of-its-kind opportunity to catalyze U.S. participation in Africa’s energy transformation – via technology, policy support, capital injection and skills development – and turns a new page in the chapter on global energy investment.”

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Namibia’s Defence Minister Fired Over Undeclared Offshore Bank Account

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President, HE Dr Hage Geingob summoned his Defence Minister Rear Admiral Peter Vilho and grilled him over a list of crimes and fired him on the same day according to a reliable source.

Rear Admiral Peter Vilho Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs was seen at State House on April 6 where he met both the President and Vice President Nangolo Mbumba.

Vilho was summoned over allegations of corruption, which, among others involves an undeclared bank account in Hong Kong.

In his resignation letter, Vilho informed the Head of State that his continued membership of the Executive was “untenable” and the “ongoing media blitz” focused on him detracted from the “very important work of government, especially in the area of defence and security”.

Geingob accepted the resignation letter on the same day.

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Prince Phillip Funeral Plans Revised

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Carefully laid plans for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, revised over many years, have been abandoned owing to the coronavirus pandemic, with public elements unable to take place.

The Queen and senior aides have now to fashion a fitting farewell to the longest-serving consort in British history given current restrictions. The plans will be set in motion once they have been personally approved by the Queen.

It will be a major undertaking. Organisers are said to be “desperately anxious” not to stage anything that attracts mass gatherings.

The police are facing the difficult, and sensitive, task of ensuring that crowds do not gather to pay their last respects to the duke.

All senior members of the royal family are regularly asked to update their funeral plans. The duke revised his – codenamed Forth Bridge – many times over his long life.

“One thing he did not want was for it to be like the funeral of his uncle, Lord Mountbatten [in 1979]. He did not want that ostentation,” a source said. Of that, given all the present circumstances, he is assured.

Under pre-Covid plans for the coming days, thousands of people would have been expected to line the processional route in London as his coffin was borne on a gun carriage pulled by naval ratings through the capital on the day of his funeral.

From London, the coffin was to have travelled to Windsor by Range Rover, with the cortege making its way along a processional route in Windsor to the castle, and St George’s Chapel for the funeral service.

The routes were to have been lined with hundreds of members of the armed forces, representatives from the many organisations of which the duke had been patron, and well-wishers.

Traditionally a royal ceremonial funeral would entail a horse-drawn procession. But, in keeping with the duke’s military career and strong links to the armed forces, horses were to be replaced with service personnel.

For the duke, who served with the Royal Navy, and was mentioned in dispatches during the second world war, his coffin was to have been be drawn by naval gun carriage – as was Queen Victoria’s – with 80 ratings in front and 40 ratings behind.

Now there is likely to be no procession in London or Windsor.

Up to 800 mourners, including world leaders, Commonwealth representatives, and senior politicians, would have been among those expected to attend the St George’s Chapel funeral. This will now not be possible.

Current rules on funerals in England mean a maximum of 30 people may attend, who must all socially distance unless they live together or share a support bubble.

It means the Queen may have to limit the numbers of her large family who can attend. She and others may also have to wear face coverings and stay 2 metres apart.

Tradition suggested that before the funeral his coffin would have initially rested at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace in London, where family and household staff could stand private vigil, and private prayers can be said.

On the night before his funeral, it was expected that the coffin would have been moved to the nearby Queen’s Chapel. It is not yet known if this is still the case.

Philip’s no-fuss, no-nonsense approach to life was reflected in his refusal to have a lying in state at Westminster Hall, as took place for the Queen Mother’s funeral.

According to royal protocol he would have been entitled, as befits his position as a senior member of the royal family and prince consort – though he never used that official title.

But he long ago rejected the honour of lying in state, where members of the public pay their respects and visit the coffin, when consulted over his own funeral plans. His decision relieves the government of one potential problem, at least.

Preparations are now expected to centre on Windsor Castle, without the military procession in London or processions through Windsor. The funeral service itself is still likely to be held at St George’s Chapel, and is expected to be televised.

It is likely there will be, as was long planned, a private burial in the royal vault below the chapel, attended by the Queen and senior family members.

Some military involvement to honour the duke is still possible, though confined to the grounds of Windsor Castle, and in compliance with Covid-19 restrictions.

Details of the exact final funeral arrangements, with the UK progressing through the easing of restrictions, will be announced in the near future.

A memorial service – not something the duke wanted – could be held at a later date after the nation has dealt with the worst public health crisis for a generation.

In overall charge of the arrangements is the Lord Chamberlain, Baron Parker of Minsmere – a former head of MI5 – who took over the role at the start of April.

He is the most senior official of the royal household and has overall responsibility for the duke’s funeral.

Sir Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary and senior adviser, will be on hand for the Queen throughout the challenging days ahead.

The Guardian

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