International Development Committee - UK Aid to RwandaWritten evidence submitted by Ann Garrison

The Rwandan contingent became this angry when, after listening to them all day, I suggested that anyone evaluating the Rwanda Genocide and its aftermath in D.R. Congo, should also consider Radio Muhabura and sixteen years of UN human rights investigations beginning with the Gersony Report on Rwanda, produced in 1994, and leading to what was still the most recent report at the time: the UN Mapping Report on Human Rights Abuse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 1993–2003. That report was leaked in August 2010 and made public in October 2010.

I’m sure that you have copies of these reports, and those produced between 1994 and 2010 and since, including those produced this year, which finally triggered this reconsideration of budget support to Rwanda.

Evidence Against UK Budget Support To Rwanda (Longer written statement explaining attached Sacramento State Police reports.)

1. As a journalist, I report and produce for the Pacifica Network’s KPFA Radio-Northern California and remotely report and produce for a weekly hour on Africa—AfrobeatRadio—on Pacifica’s New York City station, WBAI. I am also a regular contributor to Global Research, the Black Star News, the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper, and other publications, and I maintain my own website, 

2. For the past four years I have studied UN and other human rights investigations, histories, lawsuits, and news, and spoken to many African people and members of the African Diaspora to try to untangle the roots of the staggering bloodshed—millions of lives, maybe as many as 10 million or more—in Uganda, Rwanda, and most of all the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a consequence of armed conflicts of the past 20 to 30 years. I have put many African voices, who otherwise would not have been heard, on KPFA Radio in Northern California and WBAI Radio in New York City. Those voices included members of the Rwandan opposition parties who were not allowed to register their parties or stand for the presidency against Rwandan President Paul Kagame in 2010. They have also included Congolese in exile, many of whom don’t dare return home.

3. In 2010, I spoke with all three Rwandan presidential candidates who appeared to be viable; others stood for the presidency as part of a charade in which Kagame won 93% of the vote. Two of those three viable presidential candidates, Bernard Ntaganda and Victoire Ingabire, are now in prison. Frank Habineza went into exile in Sweden for several years after the vice president of his party, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, was found by the banks of a river with his head cut off. Habineza has just returned to Rwanda, but he is being understandably circumspect in his public remarks.

4. During that 2010 election year, I reported that Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s enemies were assassinated in Rwanda, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in Tanzania and that there was an unsuccessful assassination attempt on his former general, Kayumba Nyamwasa, who was then in exile in South Africa.

5. I have not been to Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the consensus among my friends is that I had better not even try getting anywhere near the border, because Rwandan President Kagame and his friends have made it clear they’d like to kill me. In 2011, Charles Ingabire, a Rwandan journalist in exile in Uganda, was gunned down in public in Kampala, after which Kagame said, as he usually does, that he cannot not be held responsible for every violent assault or robbery in his part of the world. President Kagame’s state newspaper, The New Times, has denounced me repeatedly, as has a similarly self-righteous and delirious cartoon publication called The Exposer. My name has been added to long published lists of “Friends of Evil,” aka, enemies of Rwanda.

6. I would like to submit in evidence the assault complaint that I filed with the Sacramento State University Campus Police after the conclusion of the November 2011 pseudo academic “Third International Genocide Conference,” which was above all a shameless PR event for Rwandan President Paul Kagame, even though he decided not to come after a group of faculty protested both his appearance and the university president’s plan to present him with a medal.

7. I sat and listened quietly almost all day, on one day of this conference. Near the very end of that day, in a breakout session, I asked whether the existence of Radio Muhabura prior to and during the Rwanda Genocide, the one available section of the 1994 Gersony Report, a long suppressed UN human rights investigation in Rwanda, 1994, and 12 more years of human rights reports documenting the Rwandan and Ugandan regime’s atrocities and resource plunder in the Democratic Republic of Congo, should not also be considered in any evaluation of the Rwanda Genocide and its aftermath.

8. In the discussion that ensued, the Rwandan contingent, including Rwandan Ambassador to the U.S. James Kimonyo grew angrier and angrier and more and more shrill, until they surrounded me shouting and two of them actually laid hands on me. Then someone from the university intervened, saying, “Hey hey hey, you can’t do that here.”

9. I was badly shaken but not injured. I made an assault complaint and obtained a copy of the Sacramento State University Police report, so as to have it to offer it in argument against any similar event ever being staged at a California University campus. 

November 2012

Prepared 30th November 2012