Wednesday, August 26, 2015

IS MULENGE DEVELOPMENT FINALLY TAKING OFF?

For more than a decade, the political officials from the Banyamulenge community had a total amnesie concerning their homeland. Motivated by shame and embarrassment, our politicians are awakening to a social consciousness, despite the fact that they had been quite obliviant to the community demand and pressure asking them to invest just a little bit of their resources in their homeland's basic infrastructure. 
Minembwe is for sure in the process of economic growth. So, it makes sens that everyone is interested in building his house there. This is totally an act of zeal for one's homeland as much as it is a maratton to snap whatever is still available to grab.
Nonetheless, we command their long overdue initiative as hope that it is not another show for the photo outlook.
Although the Banyamulenge society by in large did not have a big issue of hunger and access to basic education as it is often the case in many other African rural communities, we can however state that Mulenge has always suffered  improved health, and access to safe water, sanitation lack of roads not to mention basic civic services that other communities enjoys. These any many more are definitely inputs to economic growth and further development of any society.
One cannot fail to mention how Mulenge has never been empowered with human capital, infrastructure, and core human rights particularly for women, and children, mostly girls.
The sad reality is that although Mulenge has contributed immensely in the national economic and human development of the DRCongo, the DRC government through its extremist officials has always made sure that Mulenge is never developed. It is well known that Mulenge produce a lot of minerals, and beef that contribute to the economic growth of the region. It should also be noted that the security force of the DRC government is largely due to the strong and brave sons of Mulenge who occupies high military and security rangs within the Congolese national force.
Although this has been a double sword for Banyamulenge people. Nonetheless, the Congolese officials, dominated by extremists have always managed to ensure that there will be no government funded initiative for infrastructure, health, and better education widely available in Mulenge since the independence. This did not change even when some of the sons of  Mulenge such as Azarias Ruberwa who was once the Vice President of the DRC, Bizima Karaha, who was once the minister of foreigner affaires, Moise Nyarugabo who is still a Senator, not to mention few who were ministers and under secretary in various ministries. Despite the fact that these individuals ascended to power and had access to the decision making institutions did so little if not nothing to uplift their mother-land Mulenge from poverty and isolation.
What is even so sad and embarrassing is that all the prominent Banyamulenge politicians have not even build their homes in their own villages. But have built their houses in various capital cities in Africa.  In fact, until recently they rarely even visited their motherland
But thank God things seem to be slowly changing. There are few people now who are securing productive and decent employment through personal initiative. Many people have started flowing into Minembwe for many what seems to be mainly religious events. But in a way, this slowly promotes economic growth, raise living standards, and increase technological sophistication of Mulenge.
Recently, we learned that finally the Mulenge political leaders are opening up their eyes and realized that they are the last one to demonstrate their interest and actions for Mulenge development. As a competitive act, they all came to symbolically lay their foundation stone in Minembwe. It remains to be seen whether they will seriously follow through with construction.
However, for those of you who hearts and minds are for the development of Mulenge, these are some of the initiatives that you may consider undertaking to develop our mother land:
The essential infrastructure services include:
  • Safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
  • A sustainably managed and conserved natural environment (we need more trees).
  • Farm inputs, including soil nutrients, reliable water for agriculture, and improved seed varieties, plus vaccines, veterinary pharmaceuticals, and feed and fodder for livestock.
  • Energy, including electricity and safe cooking fuels.
  • Paved roads and transport services that are safe and reliable, including motorized options.
  • Modern information and communications technology.
Further more, the following should also not be left out:

·        Equal rights, including reproductive rights, for women and girls.
  • Freedom from violence, especially for girls and women.
  • A political voice for every citizen, often through civil society organizations.
  • Equal access to public services.
Otherwise the sad reality is that: in Mulenge, adults are dying of AIDS and tuberculosis, without hope of treatment. Farmers toil but do not even produce enough food to feed their families because most of them are old people. The entire youth population has left the area.  In Minembwe area, the soils were long ago depleted of nutrients, especially nitrogen. The rains fail, and there is no backup irrigation.
We need a concerted and much more coordinated effort for the development of Mulenge, not just religious events that seem to be like a competition among religious leaders.

By

                 Akim Muhoza

Thursday, August 13, 2015

THE OTTAWA/GATINEAU BANYAMULENGE COMMUNITY REMEMBERS THE GATUMBA MASSACRE





https://youtu.be/oGyQwiN2nmg

PRESS RELEASE


Ottawa, Thursday August 13th, 2015

 
Today the Ottawa/Gatineau Banyamulenge Community as elsewhere else around the world commemorate the Gatumba massacre for the eleventh year. It was the night of August 13, 2004 that armed men surprisingly attacked the Congolese Banyamulenge refugees while sleeping in their camp and murdered 166 and left hundreds more wounded. Most of them were asleep when the attackers came from the Congo, speaking, according to witnesses: Kirundi, Kinyarwanda and Swahili but also attacked the targeted camp. Armed with bladed weapons, automatic rifles, incendiary grenades, they managed to commit their planned carnages peacefully in two hours. They then doused in gasoline and set fire to the shelters in which these refugees had tried to hide. The survivors of the massacre tell of a deluge of fire. Two hours without the Burundian police and the battalion of the Burundian army, whose camps were located within just a kilometer could intervene, but chose not to.

Gatumba, located midway on the road between the capital of Burundi, Bujumbura and the DRC border town, Uvira, was one of three border transit camps in western Burundi that hosted some 20 000 Congolese from fleeing a rebellion in the South Kivu province in the course of 2004.

In the weeks that followed, several reports including the UN and Human Rights Watch say that the massacre had been carefully planned, that it was well Tutsi Congolese (Banyamulenge) and no other ethnic groups were targeted because other camps around had been spared. In the aftermath of the attack, Pasteur Habimana, the Burundian rebel spokesman of the National Liberation Front (FNL) of Agathon recently presidential candidate and promoted to vice Chairman of the Burundian National Assembly had publicly claimed responsibility on local and international des radios , before retracting. Facing the death toll, the United Nations Security Council condemned the massacre and called on the Burundian Government to conduct an investigation to find and punish the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. The organizations of civil society and representatives of the Banyamulenge community were mobilized in this direction. "Unfortunately these initiatives of call for international justice have been unsuccessful.  So far no official indictment or initiative to arrest the two individuals who claimed responsibility for the massacre has been issued yet by any international bodies. As such, members of the Ottawa / Gatineau Banyamulenge community  gathered for the occasion herein Heron Road Community Centre of Ottawa (1480 Heron Road), strongly condemn the selective Gatumba massacre and all other forms of violence targeting the Banyamulenge people wherever they are, "said president of the community, Mr. Ruhara. He further  insisted, saying: "we reiterate our commitment to peace in South Kivu in particular and the entire sub-region of the Great Lakes in general and ask the Canadian government and the international community to:

• Conduct an investigation to shed light on the Gatumba massacre;

• Make every effort to identify and bring the perpetrators to justice •

• Apprehend Mr. Agatho Rwasa and bring him before the competent courts for having publicly claimed responsibility for the massacre in its movement;

• Establish mechanisms of reintegrating the victims into their families.

• Ensure that the responsibility to protect individually and collectively falls on all those who were in a position to protect these refugees, especially considering they were under the protection of UNHCR;

• Coordinate concerted action with the victims' families for a better recovery and reintegration into community life "

                Ruhara Boniface

                  Community Representative

The Ottawa /Gatineau Banyamulenge  Community.

By Achim


VERSION FRANCAISE


COMMUNIQUE DE PRESS

Le 13/ 08/ 2015 Ottawa, Canada

Aujourd’hui la Communauté Banyamulenge d’Ottawa  comme partout ailleurs à  travers le monde commémore le massacre de Gatumba onze ans après. C’est dans la nuit du 13  Aout 2004 que  des  hommes armés ont surpris les réfugiés dans leur sommeil et assassinés 166, laissant des centaines d'autres blessés. La plupart d’entre eux   étaient couchés quand des assaillants venus du Congo, parlant, selon les témoins, kirundi, mais aussi kinyarwanda et swahili ont attaqué le camp. Munis d’armes blanches, fusils automatiques, grenades incendiaires, ils parvinrent à commettre leurs fortraits dans toute quiétude deux heures durant. Ils ont ensuite aspergé de l’essence  et mis le feu sur les abris dans lesquels ces  réfugiés avaient voulu se cacher. Les survivants du massacre parlent d’un déluge de feu.  Deux heures sans que la brigade de la gendarmerie et le bataillon de l’armée burundaise, dont les camps étaient situés dans un rayon d’un kilomètre à peine, ne puissent intervenir.
Gatumba, situé à mi-chemin sur la route entre la capitale du Burundi, Bujumbura, et la ville frontalière de RDC, Uvira, était  l’un des trois camps de transit à la frontière ouest du Burundi qui avait accueilli quelque 20 000 Congolais venant de fuir une rébellion dans la province du Sud Kivu dans le courant de l’année 2004. Ce camp abritant plus de 860 refugiés fut pourtant le seul à subir l’attaque meurtrière qui fait 166 morts et des centaines des blessés.
Dans les semaines qui ont suivi, plusieurs rapports et notamment de l’ONU et de Human Rights Watch affirment que ce massacre avait été soigneusement planifié, que c’étaient bien les Banyamulenge congolais et non pas d’autres ethnies qui avaient été visés puisque lesautres camps situés autour avaient été épargnés. Au lendemain de l’attaque, Pasteur Habimana, le porte-parole des rebelles burundais du Front national de libération (FNL) d’Agathon dernièrement promu au poste de vice-président de l’assemblée nationale burundaise avait publiquement revendiqué  cette attaque sur des radios locales et internationales, avant de se rétracter. Face à l`ampleur du massacre, le conseil de sécurité des nations unies a condamné le massacre et demande au gouvernement Burundais de diligenter une enquête afin de retrouver et punir les coupables de ces crimes odieux. Les organisations de la société civile et des représentants de la communauté Banyamulenge se sont  mobilisés dans ce sens. « Fort malheureusement toutes ces initiatives  pour une justice internationale sont  restées sans effet. Aucune initiative officielle  visant à poursuivre les couples au niveau  des instances internationales n`est amorcée à ce jour. 
A ce titre, les membres de la Communauté Banyamulenge d` Ottawa/Gatineau réunis pour la circonstance au centre des services communautaires Heron d’Ottawa (1480 Heron Road) Condamnons  vigoureusement le massacre sélectif  de Gatumba et toutes autres formes de violences visant les Banyamulenge ou qu’ìls se trouvent », a déclaré Ruhara président de la communauté Banyamulenge d’Ottawa/Gatineau. Il a encore insisté en disant « nous réitérons notre engagement en faveur de la paix au Sud- Kivu en particulier et dans toute la sous-région des grands lacs en général et demandons au gouvernement Canadien et à la communauté internationale  notamment de :
·       Conduire une enquête visant à faire toute  la lumière sur  le massacre de Gatumba ;
·       Tout mettre en œuvre pour identifier et traduire les auteurs  devant la justice ;
·       Appréhender Mr Agatho Rwasa et le déférer devant les juridictions compétentes car, ayant revendiqué la publiquement la responsabilité de son mouvement dans le massacre;
·       Mettre en place des mécanismes de réparation en faveur des  familles des victimes.
·       La question de responsabilité concerne au-delà de leurs auteurs et instigateurs, tous ceux individuellement et collectivement se sont trouvés en position de pouvoir faire d’autant que ces refugies  étaient sous la protection du HCR. ;
·       Coordonner des actions concertées  avec les familles des victimes pour un meilleur rétablissement et réintégration dans la vie communautaire »  
Fait a Ottawa le 13 Aout 2014

RUHARA Boniface
Représentant de la Communauté Banyamulenge d’Ottwa/Gatineau.






Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pasteur Bachoba Biguge Makombe yitabye Imana i Bukavu

Pasteur Bachoba Biguge Makombe yitabye Imana i Bukavu



C’est incroyable, mais vrai, Rev. Pasteur
Bachoba Biguge Enock, n’est plus dans ce monde : il est parti à la rencontre
notre Seigneur.  Son rendez-vous avec son
sauveur était éminent et il devait nous laisser et partir au paradis dont il s’est
fidèlement sacrifie pour en hériter.
Demain, le 16 Juillet 2015, tout Minembwe participera
à l’enterrement de l’un de son fils ainé Rev. Pasteur Bachoba Biguge. Comme par
providence divine, et acte spirituellement prophétique, le funérailles de
Bachoba coïncide avec deux grandes conférences d’une grande envergure qui réunira
toutes les églises de Mulenge derrière un serviteur de Dieu qui a servi toute
sa vie pour l’unité et le développement des églises de Mulenge.
Pendant que vous lisez cet article, des
traumatismes, de la douleur et des souffrances émotionnelles indescriptibles
dus à la mort de mon frère pasteur Bachoba que j’aimais beaucoup et admirait extrêmement
pour son amour, son intégrité, et son dévouement non seulement à sa famille
directe, mais aussi la famille large et de Banyamulenge et de la race humaine, ainsi
qu’à l’œuvre de Dieu.
Bachoba était connu
par ses frères, ses enfants, et ses amis pour une douce paternité sans égal et
une intégrité hors du commun.
Je souffre peut etre plus que mes autres frères
car moi, je n’ai pas eu la chance de l’enterrer et cela me ronge énormément. La
seule chose que je peux faire maintenant et de dire au monde qui était cet
homme honorable et admirable de par sa beauté et sa bonté.
Au même moment je sais très bien que le monde est
rempli de souffrances de toutes sortes et mon bien aimé, grand frère Révérend
Pasteur Bachoba  Biguge ne sera plus
victime d’aucune maladie, injustice ou souffrance de n’importe quelle sorte. Cela
me calme l’esprit, surtout sachant très bien qu’il était un vrai serviteur de
Dieu tout puissant dont il a servi fidèlement toute sa vie. Il a démontré une carrière
de sainteté et de dévouement avec un zèle extraordinaire  pour l’œuvre de Dieu. Théologien de formation,
il était extrêmement intelligent mais très humble. Son amour du prochain, son humilité
et le zèle de servir le Seigneur, son caractère pacifique faisaient de lui un
homme unique.
Cher grand, je sais que tu avais commencé ton ouvrage non
encore publie, Dieu aidant, nous allons compulser tous tes documents écrits qui
ont gardé ta mémoire ; si possible nous iront de ton berceau à ta tombe,
essayant de reconstituer toute ton existence marquée du signe des prédestinés. Notre
espoir est que l’on puisse avoir d’heureuses circonstances mis en nos mains,
les sermons, les écrits, plusieurs de tes lettres cher grand frère. C’est le
moindre qu’on peut faire pour garde le mémoire d’un frère si impeccable, irréprochable
et inoubliable Révérend pasteur Bachoba Biguge, qui fut la couronne et le
gloire de la famille Makombe.
Tout cela nous servira à la biographie d’un serviteur
de Dieu dont nous avons eu le privilège d’avoir comme grand frère et dont nous
honorions comme un saint apôtre de l’évangile qui était sa passion et sa vie
glorieuse. Il a servi son Dieu fidèlement et avec honneur du vrai clergé.



Friday, July 10, 2015

HOW WILL WE REMEMBER GATUMBA VICTIMS WHEN AGATHO RWASA IS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE?

In a Month time, all Banyamulenge communities around the world will be remembering the victims of genocide against Banyamulenge committed in Burundi on 14 August 2004, in a refugee camp of Gatumba in Burundi ordered by Agatho Rwasa.
Rwasa is the current president of FNL, and a presidential candidate in burundi.
The question is how will the Banyamulenge community living in Burundi commemorate this sad event in a country where one of the presidential candidates is accused of committing the genocide against them? This is an interesting moment for Burundian politics when a war criminal wanted for genocide is one of the favorite candidates in a country where its current regime is being accused of killing its own people. For most Burundian, Agatho is not the villain, Pierre Nkurunziza, the current president is. In fact, there are those who think that Agatho Rwasa might be an alternative choice, more favored than president Pierre Nkurunziza, who is vehemently being fought and opposed by the general population.

Although many Burundians are attempted to chose a war genocidaire Agatho Rwasa, responsible for ordering mass killings of innocent Banyamulenge refugies who had fled their country and sought exile in Burundi in 2004, this choice will be deemed as a sign of indifference against Tutsis Congolese at a time when solidarity is crucially needed among the entire great lake region.

Ever since, many groups, including human right organizations, students associations such as INKINGI plateform, ISOKO, and many more, have been lobbying for the prosecution of some Burundian officials including Agathon Rwasa for their crime against humanity. Unfortunately, justice not likely to be politically effective, due to the fact that some of the Burundian civil society organizations are supporting Agatho Rwasa, while fighting Pierre Nkurunziza who has also been committing crimes against his own people as well. It is essentially the line that Burundian civil society is taking, instead of requesting that Rwasa be brought to justice despite the fact that he is opposing Pierre Nkurunziza whom they are actually fighting against. In other words, their political logics is simply:           the  < enemy of my enemy is my friend>.  But how justified is this stance? And what does it mean for the great lake region communities?  

Initially, many Banyamulenge and Tutsis of the region are outraged at Rwasa's presidential candidacy, as are a lot of human right activists. Sometimes one wonders whether the supporters of Rwasa (apart from the partisans of FNL parties) were really thoughtful, and simply indifferent to the Banyamulenge cause, or do not realize how insulting their support is to the rest of the great lake communities who actually support their cause against Nkurunziza. 

Apparently, information received by Journal Minembwe suggests some Banyamulenge youth in Burundi who belong to activists students associations such as Inkingi, Isoko have publicly voiced their concerns and consequently received threatening messages from FNLists, and even been attacked by unknown individuals for trying to speak out against Rwasa. In fact, one young munyamulenge man called Musore Kadomo was found died in Bujumbura yesterday. This Musore was a currency exchanger not a political activist. It is not yet known whether his death is actually related to the issue raised by anti-Rwasa campaigners.
Nonetherless, we urge the Burundi civil society organizations, and peace activists as well as other international human right organizations to really bring back the issue of Agatho Rwasa to the table and discuss the importance of the "rule of law." In fact, Rwasa’s candidacy should and must be very unpopular among Burundians that he should initially withdraw.The prevailing point of view being that his case must be at least debated. Otherwise, opposing candidate on the ground of illegality, while at the same token supporting a notorious killer is simply unaccepted and morally wrong. Rwasa is not better than Pierre Nkurunziza at all. Having claimed the responsibility for mass killing of innocent children, women and elderly refugees makes him a notorious criminal against humanity.

Those of us suggesting prosecution for Rwasa, realize that it is a plausible political plan for Burundian opposition to carry it forward. Instead of complaining about the impossibility of his prosecution, at least in the near term, they should ask themselves, what does the political impossibility of prosecuting Agatho Rwasa for war crimes say about the future of Burundi government should Rwasa win the election? (although very unlikely anyway) And what are we going to do about it? That is the real question. If Pierre Nkurunziza who was apparently claimed to be a ''christian'' has gone as far as victimizing the whole nation for hunger for power, what will a self claimed criminal do to the Burundian people and to the region once on throne! God forbid!
 So while I agree with the legitimacy of fighting Pierre Nkurunziza's third term election, I side with millions who believe that the Burundian civil society should handle the issue of war criminals in Burundian politics much more justly, wisely and compassionately; I draw very different conclusions about what we should do as human right advocates at such a time as this, in this very matter. All criminals must be treated the same.

Let us honor the lives of hundreds innocents victims of Rwasa haineous acts of genocide against Banyamulenge on Burundi soil by bringing Agatho Rwasa to justice as well.


A.M.





Saturday, June 6, 2015