"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


what's going on in rwanda, part 2

From Rwanda's official news bureau, confirmation of Saturday night's grenade attacks:
One person died and four others were injured last evening following grenade attacks in Kigali city. According to confirmed reports from the police spokesperson Supt. Eric Kayiranga, the attacks took place in Nyabugogo and Cyahafi areas of Kigali in a span of around thirty minutes.
This is the third set of coordinated grenade attacks to take place in Kigali in the last two months. What they have in common:
  • All have taken place in the evening or at night.
  • Most have taken place in areas unlikely to be frequented by expats after dark.
  • All seem to be designed to cause some casualties, but minimal deaths.
All of these factors suggest that the attacks are symbolic and intended to send a message, as does the fact that this latest attack occurred during the highly emotional week of genocide commemorations.

The question, as always, is to whom that message is directed, and by whom the acts are perpetrated. There are two major theories on this:
  • The government is behind the attacks, as they want to create a climate of fear and instability that will justify not allowing opposition parties to compete in elections scheduled for August. I've explained before why I don't think this is accurate: the RPF simply has too much to lose to take such a risk, especially when they have effective control over the political system and can prevent challenges to Kagame's rule via other means.
  • Supporters of Laurent Nkunda in the RPF are using the attacks to send a message to Kagame and his faction of the RPF. Specifically, the pro-Nkunda elements do not want Nkunda to be put on trial in a military court or elsewhere, and they would prefer to see him released. By all accounts, Kagame underestimated the support for Nkunda within his own ranks, and the grenade attacks are arguably a reaction to his decision to arrest Nkunda last year.
I've seen little to no evidence that overtly anti-RPF elements or the opposition political parties are involved in these attacks. Meanwhile, Rwanda's government is apparently arresting other Congolese Tutsis who were supporters of Nkunda. This may lend credence to the second theory about the attacks.

Some Twitter users have commented on the fact that the major news outlets don't seem to be covering this story. That's likely due to the fact that most of the Africa correspondents for Western news agencies are covering the elections in Sudan.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This skeptic says:

--What's the difference between the RPF (Theory 1) and pro-Nkunda RPF factions (Theory 2)? Do you see a split within the RPF? Because there's a third theory out there that there is indeed such a split, not necessarily over Nkunda, and that the violence may be related.

--Press wouldn't cover the attacks even if they weren't covering elections in Sudan. No one knows, credibly, what's going on, so there's nothing to say.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 8:42:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is prosecuting Laurent Nkunda and for what? Do you seriously believe that Nkunda is undergoing trial in Rwanda? By the military tribunal? Last time I checked, Kagame was calling him (Nkunda) a freedom fighter. Kagame also said he wouldn’t be involved in Congo’s internal affairs. Not that I trust Kagame, but I hope someone is not falling for Kagame’s PR gimmick.
While it is true that Kagame stands to lose more, if he is, in fact responsible for chaos, it is also true that Kagame stands to “benefit” the most. The chaos reinforces a feeling of fear among the populace. With elections around the corner, this is very vital for RPF’s survival.
The grenades are being detonated in impoverished parts of Kigali. This seems to confirm my feeling that the person responsible is a Kigali insider, who wants to communicate but is reluctant to cause significant damage. Thus, there is a slight chance that different RPF factions are responsible for the chaos.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 5:35:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Did I say anyone was actually prosecuting Nkunda? The fact that his case is going through so many twists and turns is obvious evidence that at least part of the RPF doesn't intend to have him on trial.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 8:29:00 PM

Anonymous Jeff said...

The normal Rwanda Reuters correspondent has been back in Britain for the past several weeks and won't be returning to Kigali for a couple more. I know him pretty well, and if he had been here, he would have covered the story.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:21:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

True dat. I'll be back when the volcano stops spewing.

Counter to some of the rumours, I dont think Kagame was responsible for the eruption in Iceland.

Monday, April 19, 2010 5:17:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@anonymous.....you funny.

To all Kagame skeptics and haters; He is winning again and going to prosper the country to even greater heights. So sit wherever you are and wallow. We in Rwanda love him and care for what he does for us.

Monday, May 17, 2010 10:14:00 AM


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