Felicien Kabuga: International Justice on the Cross

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Although eastern Africa is a host to the world’s most severe conflicts, the Rwanda genocide, with close to a million deaths within a hundred days, was a showstopper.

The execution of the war crime is delivered with rudimentary, machete, technology, tribal or ethnic cultural indoctrination, and designed to inflict maximum (sensory and emotional) anguish to the victim.

The victims, ‘them-now,’-‘next-season-you’, keep trading places. No one could blame the other for the situation. The international justice system is the only hope for the most vulnerable poor of all gender and across all ages.

Besides hosting, and bearing the brunt of, the Alshabab terror group, eastern Africa has also witnessed brutal civil conflict in South Sudan, over and above, endemic politically inspired conflicts in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Felicien Kabuga is a specimen of east African politicians. They, initially, delve into public life with seemingly altruistic intentions. Then somewhere along the road, they begin to eat their people.

The game plan begins with mobilizing masses along with issues of concern. In Rwanda, for example, the issue had been the assassination of President Juvénal Habyarimana.

Once the politicians have used the masses to ascend to positions of influence, the next stage of the game plan is eliminating any voice of dissent. Executions and forced disappearances are common.

The stage, with the resultant fear at this point, is set for economic looting. The spillover effects trickle to all political and social sectors. And the cycle replicates with precision.   

In the 1970s, President Idi Amin of Uganda, faced with a cash crunch, asked the governor of Uganda’s Central Bank (the Bank of Uganda), “why is there no money in the country?” without caring to listen to the winding response, Amin blurted, “…then print more money!”

Recently, South Sudan, which, following a protracted rebellion, gained autonomy from Sudan in 2011, had a devastating fall out among the political elite over the sharing of the crude oil export loot.

In 2008, Kenyan politicians, smarting from a recently successfully mobilized masses for the removal of a then decades old authoritarianism of President Daniel Toroitich, could not agree on subsequent election results.

Within a couple of days, over one thousand people, most of them attempting to free to perceived friendly zones, were hacked to death with machetes.

For the abundance of, among other natural resources, gold in DRC, it is sold in regular stores alongside other fast-moving consumer goods such as coffee, tea leaves, beans, salt, and sugar. Theirs, although they just managed an election that brought a new president, is a story of poverty amidst plenty.

There is no need to mention Somalia was devoid of a functional government for decades, has seen the growth of an international terror network base led by the infamous Alshabab.

Burundi had to rely on international pressure to get a president who was stuck in the office against constitutional limits.

In Tanzanian, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi, founded by the Nelson Mandela of eastern Africa, Dr. Julius Nyerere, and the base for the increasingly authoritarian president John Maghufuli, has made headlines by defying the World Health Organization’s (WHO) protocol for the management of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The next step in the game plan of the eastern Africa politician builds a financial chest to sustain the network for the preservation of the loot. Offshore accounts and property are set in tax havens and the developed world of Europe, Asia, and or America.

Felicien Kabuga – on the run for more than a couple of decades and who, after fleeing Rwanda through Kenya, was traced in Germany and arrested in France – is, therefore, a homeboy.

In eastern Africa where Felicien comes from, there is nothing strange about a war crime. The elite are the perpetrators, the jury, and the judges.

If the international Justice system, activated for Rwanda in 1994 and Kenya after 2008, fails, once again, to deliver the sense of justice to the victims of the ruthless massacre in the hinterlands of eastern Africa, the cycle is inevitable.




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