BEHIND THE RWANDA TRAGEDY
Mr. Remigius Kintu
The Following Document was prepared upon request
and presented to the U.N. Tribunal on Rwanda, Arusha, Tanzania
March 20, 2005
I come before you, Ladies and Gentlemen of this noble Tribunal which was
instituted to search for the truth behind the heinous crimes committed
in Rwanda. And upon you was charged the noble responsibility of
dispensing justice where it is due. If I could borrow from the wisdom of
great men and women of long ago, truth is not a function of public
opinion or majority vote, nor does it stem from the wishes of the mighty
and powerful, but rather it stands in its absolute properties regardless
of opinions, purposes or values of anyone and transcends time and
I want to borrow from the Greek play OEDIPUS REX by Sophocles.
King Oedipus was disturbed by the immense suffering taking place in
Thebes. The calamity in that land of Thebes was caused by the innocent
blood of its King Laisos who was killed many years ago.
Kreon told Oedipus what he heard from Delphi that the gods demand
we expel from the land of Thebes an old defilement we are
As a result, Oedipus made the following pledge: “If any man
knows by whose hand king Laios son of Ladbakos met his death, I direct
that man to tell me everything no matter what he fears for having so long
withheld it. Let it stand as promised that no further trouble will come
to him but he may leave the land in safety. And for the criminal, I pray
to God that that man’s life be consumed in evil and wretchedness. And as
for me, this curse applies no less.”
He further stated that the god Apollo sent us word that this great
pestilence would lift, only if established clearly the identity of those
who murdered Laios. None of the wise men and priests could reveal
the secret of the calamity that befell the land of Thebes.
Choragos suggested that there is one man who may detect the
criminal. This is Teirsias, a blind holy prophet in whom alone, of
all men, truth was born.
Teirsias was brought before the throne and revealed to Oedipus:
“I say that you are the murderer whom you seek. I say you
live in hideous shame with those most dear to you. You cannot see the
evil. It is the truth that sustains me”.
The Hutu vis-à-vis Tutsi Relations
The Tutsi vs. Hutu relationship in Rwanda has been marred with
gruesome human rights violations committed and perpetuated by Tutsis for
centuries. Belgian colonialism did very little to alleviate the
brutality, enslavement, dehumanization and all sorts of suffering which
Hutus endured for centuries at the hands of Tutsi minority who controlled
that country with an iron hand. Hutus were nothing but slaves of Tutsis.
Each Hutu was obliged to perform “UBURETWA” which was labor performed by
Hutus which symbolized the most degrading and humiliating form of
servitude. Hence, a Hutu was required to put in a day’s work at a
property of a Tutsi master without pay. The harvest of the land belonged
to Tutsis who had the right and privilege of enjoying whatever the Hutu
labor produced. Yet the Hutus could use left-overs at the discretion of
the Master Tutsis. Needless to say, land belonged to Tutsis and Hutus had
one duty and that is of working on it for the benefit of the masters.
Such institutionalized impoverishment forced many Hutus to seek paid
employment in Uganda. Others sought labor jobs in Congo. Whenever a Hutu
slave/servant failed to perform his duties at the Tutsi master’s
property, the punishment was 8 lashes by kiboko – (a whip made out of a
dry skin of a hippopotamus).
Educational opportunities were for only Tutsis, thus creating a
mass of ignorant and uneducated population of Hutus. Only at the
discretion of a Master to his extraordinarily obedient and docile slave,
could a Hutu’s child be permitted to attend school but only up to a
certain level, as may be wished by the masters. Government positions,
from the King down to the lowest level, were exclusively for
The brutality of Tutsis over Hutus had no limits. It became their second
nature that neither human decency nor moral/spiritual values could
influence the way Tutsis treated Hutus. For instance, Umwami, (king)
official drum and symbol of royalty, called KALINGA, was decorated
with the dried penises of Hutu men. The Queen Mother, who wielded
significant power, had her two spears – symbols of authority – anchored
in two Hutu babies or adults.
A Tutsi had a right to kill a Hutu for any reason, including simple
displeasure of a Hutu’s looks. Sometimes such killing could be done by
parents to please their child who may have expressed a hatred of a Hutu
for any reason.
The dehumanization process reached a terrible depth that Hutus were
barred from crying if and when such atrocities were inflicted upon them.
The consequences of shedding tears at the presence of such brutal
injustices were fatal. As a result of centuries of dehumanization and
odious brutalization, Hutus do not cry but rather freeze or become
petrified and weep internally. These are but a few examples of the
brutality Tutsis exercised over Hutus for centuries.
THE HUTU REVOLT
In 1948, the UN reports expressed shock at the inequalities in
Rwandan social and political structures and called upon the Belgian
colonial administration to prepare the population for self-government.
The Tutsi did not agree with the UN recommendations and so wanted to keep
their status of being superior to Hutus.
The first blows of the Hutu revolution were struck in 1959 when a gang of
Tutsi youths attacked one of the few Hutu sub-chiefs. The news of his
death spread across the country and Hutu moved to retaliate. The Hutu
uprising of 1959 was important because it demonstrated the depth of rural
discontent with the Tutsi domination and mistreatment of Hutus. This
revolution ended in 1961 when democratic elections and a referendum on
the monarchy were held under the UN supervision. The Hutus won by an
overwhelming majority vote. The referendum delivered a decisive rejection
of the monarchy. Under the leadership of a charismatic Gregoire
Kayibanda, democratically elected Hutus took control of government
That revolution which abolished the monarchy, established for the first
time in the history of Rwanda a government run by majority Hutus. As a
result, thousands of Tutsis who were members of the repressive regime
including their Umwami (King) fled to neighboring countries of Uganda,
Congo, and Tanzania and beyond.
The Catholic Church in Rwanda played a significant role in abolishing the
Tutsi slavery of Hutus in the late 1950s. Tutsis regardless of their
religious affiliation have harbored a deep resentment against the Church
since then. In particular, retired Archbishop Andre Perraudin who
in 1959 wrote a pastoral letter in which he asked, in the name of
charity, that an end be put to the privileges of one ethnic group over
another, suggesting social reforms and greater democracy. Prior to his
becoming a Bishop, Fr. Perraudin had been one of a few Missionaries who
taught, believed and lived the doctrine of social justice in
That diabolic hatred of the church by Tutsis was vividly demonstrated by
RPF when they accused Bishop Augustin Misago of the so called genocide of
1994. Bishop Fokas of Ruhengeri was taken away by police and presumed
killed. A government sponsored campaign to demean the Catholic Church in
Rwanda has been going at the highest level of RPF administration. What is
even more shameful is to see that Tutsis raided a church to demonstrate
at on April 4, 1999 in Veyras, Switzerland when the retired Bishop was
celebrating his 60 years of priesthood. They accused him of the 1994
genocide. The Bishop served Rwanda for 38 years and retired to his home
country of Switzerland on September 15 1993. His legacy of emancipating
Hutus from Tutsi enslavement is the crime Tutsis can never forgive
TUTSI REFUGEES IN UGANDA
The UNHCR set up refugee camps for Tutsis soon after they arrived in
Uganda in 1960, at Rwimi and Base Camp Kasese in Toro, Kamuhingi and at
Rukinga Valley in Ankole. Rukinga Valley was a sparely populated area. It
provided excellent grazing grassland for those that came with their
livestock. The UN agency took full responsibility for those people.
Uganda, as a young nation, had never experienced such an influx of
refugees and did not know how to handle such problems.
It is important to remember that Tutsis made no secret of their
intentions to return to Rwanda as rulers. “We cannot accept to be
ruled by Hutus who are supposed to be our slaves”, so they
declared. Soon after they settled in those camps, they devised plans of
taking back power in Rwanda through force. In the 1960s Tutsi refugees
made several attempts to capture power by force. There were about 5
attempts during Kayibanda’s reign, when Tutsi militant groups made
unsuccessful attempts to attack Rwanda from Uganda and Congo. At the same
time they were accusing Rwanda of being undemocratic. They continued
waging a two prong attack: accusing the Hutu regime in Kigali of being
undemocratic and repressive, while at the same time mobilizing an armed
invasion of Rwanda. While still under the UNHCR supervision in Uganda,
those refugees tried to mobilize their youth into an armed guerilla
group. The militant group was called THE BANYRWANDA YOUTH
ASSOCIATION. A. Milton Obote’s first regime prevented them from using
Uganda as a military base for an attack on a neighboring country because
it was a violation of both the U.N. and OAU Charters. That did not go
well in the minds of a people who were obsessed with taking power at any
cost. They worked around it by undermining the very country which gave
At that time their efforts were thwarted but their conviction to regain
power in Rwanda did not die. They continued to use other avenues
including negotiating with the Kigali regime for their return to Rwanda,
which could give them an opportunity to maneuver to regain power, by any
means, from within the country. There were several negotiations sponsored
by OAU and UN to work out a compromise of returning refugees back to
their country. Each time a compromise was reached; the Tutsi side
undermined its implementation and quickly blamed the Hutu side for the
apparent failure. It was self evident that the Tutsis wanted nothing
short of taking total control of the country and return to the old ways
of Tutsi domination and enslavement of Hutus.
They resented the fact that Rwanda was under the control of a majority
group – a people they deemed not fit to rule. That sentiment was
confirmed many years later when Paul Kagame’s junta officially condemned
retired Archbishop Andre Parraudin for his pivotal role in the
emancipation of Hutus in 1950s. The then Fr. Parraudin (who was a
Missionary teacher at a Seminary in Rwanda during the 1950s) expounded to
his students the Catholic doctrine of SOCIAL JUSTICE and HUMAN
RIGHTS. On that basis the Diocesan newspaper called
Kinyamateka was entrusted to Gregoire Kayibanda, an
ex-seminarian, who wrote extensively on social reform, condemning Tutsi
brutality against the Hutus. Kayibanda, backed by the Church through
Bishop Parraudin, vehemently preached justice and human rights for all.
It was from that standpoint that Hutu liberation blossomed and formed a
political party PARMEHUTU which waged a victorious campaign against the
Tutsi dynasty, overthrowing the monarchy and deposing all Tutsi rulers in
END OF REFUGEE CAMPS IN UGANDA
Under the influence of some powerful Hima politicians from Ankole
District, namely Grace S. Ibingira, C.B. Katiti and W.W. Rwetsiba,
who were intimately conjugated with Tutsi refugees, Obote was persuaded
to undermine the UNHCR and closed the camps. Many refugees got off the
UNHCR sponsorship at the dismay of UN officials. Uganda government,
working in conjunction with local authorities, settled many Tutsi
families at Namutamba, Kiboga, Mawogola and many parts of Ankole.
He recruited many of the young men and women to serve in his newly
created spy and torture Gestapo-like GENERAL SERVICE UNIT (GSU).
They had over the centuries perfected the skills of spying, torturing and
brutal subjection of Hutus in Rwanda. Such work was their second nature.
They learned quickly the Bantu languages of southern Uganda,
particularly, Runyankole, Rukiga, Luganda and Lusoga. Obote’s regime was
destined to survive many years in power since it had a monopoly of
military power, using his northern tribesmen combined with an effective
but dreaded spy and torture network manned by Tutsi mercenaries, who had
no loyalty to any tribe and could intermingle freely and effectively
among the Bantu tribes of the south, where opposition to his regime was
strongest. Many girls including Tutsis were deployed to work as spies in
bars, hotels, restaurants and even as wives.
Many GSU agents were deployed in various ministries and state
controlled corporations from which they spied on civil servants and the
general public. Among GSU agents of Rwandese extraction were Yoweri
Museveni (who as a young boy grew up in the family of Boniface Byanyima
and attended Ntale High School) worked in the Prime Minister’s office.
Chris Katsigazi joined the Foreign Affairs Ministry and served in many
posts overseas, including in Washington DC and New York.
GSU became a notorious and dreaded agency causing Obote’s regime to be
hated. Many people, especially from the opposition party (Democratic
Party), were tortured and imprisoned by GSU agents. Most of those
atrocities were committed by Tutsi agents purporting to be Banyankole.
That insecurity created a paralysis in the country and disrupted
political, social and economic progress.
IDI AMIN AND TUTSIS
General Idi Amin overthrew Obote on January 25, 1971. The population
was jubilant because they expected to see an end to GSU spies. Idi Amin
tried to rid Uganda of those dangerous elements, but unfortunately that
was not the case. Many GSU personnel fled the country, but a significant
number of them remained and eventually infiltrated Amin’s regime serving
as spies and killers under a new organization called STATE RESEARCH
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