Did Ban Ki-moon achieve anything in Rwanda?

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon left Rwanda on Wednesday, a very disappointed man but he will at least take solace in the publicity, his trip has engineered for the much talked about report, which surely, now looks set to be slightly modified.

Having been sworn in on Tuesday as the country’s newly elected head of state, President Paul Kagame could not have wished for a better guest. Mr. Moon (great name by the way) has come to be viewed in Kigali as the man who Kigali will need if their defence against what they consider a “flawed” and “utterly irresponsible” report, is to be sustained. They need him much as he (as we have seen in these past days) needs them.

Ban Ki-moon unlike his predecessor Koffi Annan is slightly preferred in Kigali. He is seen as a softer option, one that Kigali will effectively manipulate when need be. In contrast with Annan  – who Kigali still sees as someone who was indifferent to its (Kigali’s) demands to transfer genocide convicts to serve their sentences in Rwanda –  Mr Moon is still new and has so far not annoyed Kagame to proportional extents. He is thus seen like some one said to me today “someone they could work with”.

His quick visit to Kigali was thus not by accident. Kigali wanted this so badly to try and beseech him to consider not going ahead with the publication of the report, or to at least, change the wording and phrasing, in a way that is not as incriminating. Whether they achieved this, no one really knows. Even my ever so alert sources were beaten to the details of this meeting. The meeting took a short while and even when they emerged out of the room, no one seemed ready for any questions. Tough!

Somewhere within Moon’s organisation lies a document that most of the world except Kigali, would rather, it were published.  It is a draft document detailing what happened in the Congo between 1993-2003, whether the atrocities committed there, much as they are definitely crimes against humanity, can be classed as genocide against Hutus. There are many at the UN who would like to see the report released once and for all so the furore about it can come to an end.

Not so fast, says Rwanda. Kigali knows the report exists. It is also aware of the allegations contained therein, same as Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and a few more Central African countries but it wont bulge until it has had it, its way – hopefully.

With so many having had a fair share of the details of this report, one may as well ask, why bother? Well, someone is bothered because an official report is very different from a draft report. While the latter can be trashed, it might not be as easy to completely disregard a certified copy of a report especially when the official seal of approval is from an organisation like Mr. Moon’s.

Moon told journalists after his meeting in Kigali with President Kagame that he is “disappointed” the report was leaked.  Notice his careful diction here. “Disappointed”, yes, a relevant word to use! And who can blame him? He might as well have got the same word from the general he had just met.

Everyone is disappointed. The people of Rwanda, Congo, Burundi, Uganda and everywhere in the world are indeed disappointed.  Disappointed because they see an organisation that in trying to please some risks disappointing everybody.

It is going to be hard for the UN to come out of this mess, unless of course it takes action, and now. The UN may stand accused by Kigali for its failure to intervene in Rwanda in the months leading to the 1994 genocide but that is no reason for it to dither on what to do regarding this report – if at all the report is there.

Disappointment will come if courtesy of blatant blackmail and the fear to lose out on about 3000 peacekeepers supplied by Rwanda throughout the world, the UN decides to shelve the report, claiming for instance that it never existed just like they did with the Gersony report. Disappointment will come if it is proven that the current hullabaloo about the report is actually engineered to hide the bare truth that is prevalent in the report. Disappointment will be when those who have lost their loved ones, and after waiting for so long so see some justice delivered on their behalf, get to learn that this route to some justice is doomed because someone has threatened the adjudicator with putting him/her off the feed,  if he goes ahead with the case. And disappointment will be if it is proven that actually the Rwandan state through their army officers did not actually commit crimes against humanity in the Congo.

And this is why I say, cut the crap Moon. If this is a report which you know to the best of your knowledge as having been commissioned and conducted by people who your organisation considers competent enough for the job, bring it on. If you are buying time to try and look for replacements wherever after realising that this is a report that might incriminate some of the people you have previously used or are probably still using as peacekeepers, then say so. Otherwise those behind closed-door meetings with people who clearly part of the investigation raise questions as to whether people should trust the final product as being unaltered. True there will always be copies of the draft if anything but like I said, it is the final official document, which counts.

Over to you my little monsters…

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Author: ellyakanga

I am Eleneus Akanga. Welcome to my blog about my experience as a Rwandan journalist and all that comes with the trade in East Africa. It's been a great journey so far but very challenging at times. Join me, let's get cracking! ellyakanga@usa.com

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