Rwanda's Leading Murderer | Paul Kagame

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KIGALI, Rwanda - Ever since the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the international community has been slow to criticize Rwanda's new government and slow to intervene in matters there. This hesitancy to get involved is rooted back to their fear of being to blame for another outbreak of civil war, or worse, genocide. Despite having dirty hands from not stepping in to prevent or stop the genocide, they're fearful of further worsening their guilt by interposing in Rwandan affairs and having a role in any resurgence of violence.

This pattern in the past two decades has created the perfect scenario for Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame. By the end of the genocide, he was viewed as an international hero for easing the chaos and in essence, helping to end the genocide. For his role in restoring stability in Rwanda, the international community paid him back by turning a blind eye to his illegal, murderous and scary actions that would continue to this day. His role in the First and Second Congo War are undeniable, as his political and military decisions were directly tied to thousands of deaths and continued war and violence that spread into neighboring countries.

Twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, Kagame is still in power and still continuing to enforce his intense and total grip on power across the country. Opposition leaders and journalists are commonly jailed, silenced, exiled, or worse, killed. In the past several months, over 40 bodies have turned up in Lake Wreru on the border of Rwanda and Burundi. Rwanda's government conveniently claims that since they were found in Burundi, they are Burundi's responsibility. However, the lake is fed by Akagera River that flows in from Rwanda. To add to the suspicion, many of the bodies were wrapped in plastic bags, indicating that the disappearances were planned and not accidental.

To add to Kagame's list of crimes, there have been a string of mysterious murders in South Africa where former Rwandan government officials that were exiled have been murdered in their hotel rooms and the like. Adding all of these occurrences up, it is evident that these events are not coincidences but are a part of a larger plan to remove dissent and criticism from the country. And without the international community stepping in to hold Kagame and his team accountable, how far will he go? After two decades of overlooking their wrongdoings, when it will it become too much?

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

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Rwanda's Parliamentary Elections: Democratic or Not?

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Jessamy Nichols, Africa CorrespondentLast Modified: 11:54 a.m. DST, 24 December 2013

President Paul Kagame, Rwanda, Photo by David Shankbone

Rwanda, unlike many African countries has held democratic elections for its government with its people by and large in support of its current and past leader President Paul Kagame. The Parliament in which the governing party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), won a vast majority of the seats. The RPF, lead by President Paul Kagame, has been in power ever since the 1994 genocide and has yet to face a serious political opponent.

The world witnessed the horrors of the 1994 genocide, which were also brought to the attention of American movie viewers in the real life drama portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda. The movie explored the genocide, political corruption, and the repercussions of violence as a result of this conflict.

So, despite peaceful election, it seems incongruous that a populace subjected to such brutality would in the final tally of votes, grant the RPF 76% percent of the votes, which allowed it to keep the vast majority of the Parliamentary seats, winning 40 out of a total of 53, and essentially solidify Kagame's reign of the country.

Although, the elections went smoothly without reports of fraud, the election brings renewed attention to the dominance of Kagame's party for nearly two decades.

The small country has made an immense turnaround ever since the horrendous genocide, but Kagame and his party have held a tight grip on power ever since. The international community praises Kagame for the economic growth and general stability of his country, but there are still periodic reports of political oppression, freedom of speech restrictions, and meddling in the DRC's affairs.

For now, the Rwandan population seems content with the Parliamentary results and continued RPF domination, but it remains to be seen how many elections the citizens will endure before they yearn for political change and competition.

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

Instability Returns to Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Jessamy Nichols, Africa CorrespondentLast Modified: 23:09 p.m. DST, 03 September 2013

Congo Refugee, Photo by Steve Evans

DRC, Africa - Widespread fighting and instability are nothing new to the eastern side of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as it has been plagued by conflict ever since the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 spilled over into its borders.

The region, especially the area around Goma, have struggled to find peace since this crisis, and even the current issues can be traced back to this period.

The newest fighting is being caused by a rebel group, called the M23, who have been protesting the national government since April of 2012. The group is made up of members who were formally part of the Congolese national army, but mutinied to display their disapproval and disappointment with the national government that is led by President Joseph Kabila.

Since then, the group has made periodic attacks on civilians and government military forces, and in its most recent offensive, caused civilian casualties, widespread population displacement, and danger to UN peacekeeping forces (MONUSCO).

MONUSCO has practiced peacekeeping without force for over a decade now, but the M23's recent actions have prompted a military response from the UN troops. With their new mandate, certain UN peacekeepers are allowed to fire first and use necessary offensive actions in order to force M23 rebels to back down and put down their arms.

This moved was deemed necessary as the rebels have been given several options over the last few months to meet their requests, yet they continually return to violence. They have failed to follow up with peace talks and ignored demands to put down their weapons.

Beyond M23's responsibility for the chaos in Eastern Congo, the DRC's national government and neighboring country, Rwanda, also play a huge role in implementing peace. They have been involved in the fighting and tensions since the beginning, and thus they must make it their priority to finding a lasting solution before peace can be found.  Otherwise, once UN troops back off, the violence will eventually resume.

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

PBS | Women, War and Peace

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Women, War & Peace is a bold new five-part PBS series challenging the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain. Spotlighting the stories of women in conflict zones from Bosnia to Afghanistan and Colombia to Liberia, it places women at the center of an urgent dialogue about conflict and security, and reframes our understanding of modern warfare.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/30099445]

Featuring narrators Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard, Women, War & Peace is the most comprehensive global media initiative ever mounted on the roles of women in war and peace

Watch on your local PBS station Tuesday nights from Oct. 11 to Nov. 8. Check local listings for air times.  (Source: PBS)

Macy's Proves AfriCan

Can you imagine Michael Jordan hitting the game winning shot and then asking the media not to say anything? Or Barak Obama winning the presidential election and refusing to talk about his victory? Or You discovering the cure for cancer, but not wanting anyone to know? Well, that’s in essence what Macy’s Department Stores have done. Macy's is the top department store chain in the U.S., with more than 800 stores in 45 states and annual sales of more than $26 billion.

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