Hutus plot to regain Rwanda

ELIEZER NIYITEGEKA is obsessed with democracy. It is a strange obsession for a man accused by international human rights groups of being a war criminal. But Mr Niyitegeka, the Information Minister of Rwanda's former Hutu extremist government, is occupied with the idea of teaching the Western world the true principles of government of the people. He sums them up in two words: majority rule.

In Rwanda today, said Mr Niyitegeka, sitting in a lush lakeside resort in Bukavu, Zaire, there is a government run by the mainly Tutsi Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), which represents the minority of the country. The majority of Rwandans, the Hutus, are living like himself (although not quite as comfortably) as refugees in Zaire or Tanzania. The world not only accepts this but sanctioned it by placing the Rwandan government under an arms embargo, thus ensuring its defeat by the RPF, he said.

'We have to get the international community to respect majority rights. We will use media. We will use diplomacy. If that fails, we will use force. We will reorganise our army. We have an army. What we need is bombs and munitions, so we will buy them. We have the money. We will try to get help from friends,' he said.

'And we don't have to wait. We have suffered enough. The majority does not have to suffer while a minority rules its country. That is injustice. Now we are going to preach democracy to the West, because we have seen that the West does not know what democracy is. Democracy is the rule of the majority but the protection of the minority. We are ready to protect them. We have to save democracy.'

After an organised campaign of extermination against the Tutsis and those Hutus opposed to Rwanda's ruling party - much of which was directed by broadcast on Radio Rwanda, which was under the minister's control - it is doubtful that Mr Niyitegeka means what he says. But he cannot be entirely dismissed.

Mr Niyitegeka, like most members of the country's former government, is holed up in Bukavu on the Zairean border, near the south-western Rwandan town of Cyangugu. The court assembled in Bukavu spends most of its time involved in self-justification while ministers plot their return.

However, these are not just pipe-dreams. The former government still has more than 20,000 men in uniform in eastern Zaire and an intact military and political structure. Perhaps more important, it maintains a hold on more than 1 million refugees in camps in Zaire through a campaign of propaganda and intimidation.

Such is the power of the former government over refugees that on Tuesday the United Nations in Rwanda announced that part of its mission was the 'battle for the hearts and minds of the people in the camps'. The UN said it was planning a counter-propaganda campaign to assure refugees that it was safe to return to Rwanda.

The former government said that it had asked Kinshasa permission to resume its radio broadcasts to refugees in Zaire. The broadcasts by an extremist radio station, Radio Milles Collines, the government in exile's mobile hate propaganda machine, went off the air three weeks ago.

On the question of why the Hutus killed so many Tutsis, Mr Niyitegeka, who said that he was above reproach, admitted that he had given the matter much thought. 'We have documents proving that most of the Tutsis were part of the RPF. And if we were fighting against the RPF . . . then people had to fight them also,' he said.

He continued: 'Even if people will go back to Rwanda, the army will stay here and within one or two years they will go back and there will be fighting again. There will never be peace. If you have 200,000 Tutsis in Kigali and they are in power, they can live there for 10 years or 20 years but in the end you will have war again.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence