Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Frans Makken: Now Is Not The Time

Timing is everything in diplomacy. The arrest of Dutch citizen Yvonne Basebya was the centerpiece of donor diplomacy surrounding the Rwandan election of 2010. Let me explain.

Alana Tiemessen @alanatiemessen, visiting Professor in Political Science at Amherst tweeted yesterday on the lack of ethnic diversity at the top of Kagame's regime:
"@damselfly0 just that diplomats rarely *publicly* condemn such HR abuses. the shaming comes from scholars and HRW"
This is correct, in fact the spokesperson of the donors in Rwanda, Dutch Ambassador Frans Makken, said in an interview june 25th 2010:
"In a country in conflict, you see that socio-economic rights are given more importance than civil and political rights. Why? Because the important thing is that people have something to eat and to drink and are able to offer their children a futureYou do not want to endanger that by giving broad democratic rights, that also offer space for militant organizations, including the Hutu rebels responsible for the genocide, who are still active in Congo and in the diaspora in Europe."
This interview with Frans Makken took place a week after the well-timed arrest of a Dutch citizen and supposedly a genocidal hutu, Yvonne Basebya, during the visit of Dutch justice minister Hirsch Ballin, as I wrote june 22 2010:
"Hirsch Ballin, Dutch Justice Minister apparently thinks it's necessary to "coincidentally" arrest this Rwandan lady with a Dutch passport during his visit to Rwanda. Allthough the Dutch government continuously suggests it does not want to get involved in Rwandan politics, the timing of the visit and the context of the arrest are obviously aiming to stress that the current Dutch Government wants to be good friends with Paul Kagame, who is expected to "win" the next elections."
 The Lazare Kobagaya case was supposed to serve the same purpose of branding Rwandan hutu's in the diaspora collectively as genocidal savages. However, the jury didn't go along with this script. Lazare Kobagaya's lawyer, Kurt Kerns, explained August 27th 2011:
"you really need to do an independent investigation to see if you're really getting a true and accurate investigation or if you're really just getting a politically motivated accusation. So often now, at least right now in Rwanda, so many of the accusations coming out of that country are sadly, politically based. "
To this day Yvonne Basebya is in prison while Frans Makken has continued proclaiming his message that:
 "now is NOT the time"
After having cochaired the Rwandan national electoral commission that helped Kagame rig the elections of 2010  he went on to claim in october 2010 that "it's unfortunate the mapping report has come out now and in the way it is" In may 2011 Frans Makken claimed that the Human Rights Watch report on Gacaca was "harsh, unfair and imbalanced":
"he questioned the researcher's timing, methodology and her views on the review of the courts."
Sunny Ntayombya, an Ugandan tutsi echo's Frans Makken's statements in a blogpost (july 27 2011) about peasants in rural Rwanda (mostly hutu):
"When a person is poor, uneducated, unable to access medical care and take their goods to market, can they then be participants in the political process? I think it’s impossible. Sure they can go to the polls and vote, but do they really even understand what they are voting for?"
"I’m of the opinion that, if you are poor, then you cannot really freely vote."
And:
"I wrote ‘freely’ because while anyone can vote, they aren’t able to really understand the significance of their act. By the way, this isnt just an African problem. Look at the United States. Why is it that the very poorest people, who are found in rural America, are more likely to vote for the Republican Party- a party that is opposed to universal healthcare and would cut many of their benefits? Why is it that, as Americans become more affluent and better educated they often change their political allegiances? Can that be merely a coincidence that richer Americans are will, more often than not, vote for a Democratic candidate?"
In the spirit of educating these same stupide peasants, Lucy Mbabazi (one of the Michael Fairbanks breed), who works for the Rwandan government, tweeted:
"Proud of the strides makes each day, and humbled to be a part of it.  "
Interesting to read: 
"Through a program funded in part by the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, a local middle school teacher spent time in Rwanda this summer, organizing that country’s first known genocide seminar for teachers."
Susan Thomas wrote August 31st:
"I think activists and advocates should be focusing on calling out the RPF on its relations with the peasantry. The 'peasantry' (some 90% of Rwandans) are left out of the gains brought by the country's impressive economic growth. Finding meaningful ways to narrow this gap seems to me to be the most pressing issue facing Rwanda at the moment."
Hirsch Ballin said in an interview in Rwanda june 22 2010 about Victoire Ingabire's case:
"The case you’re referring to has nothing to do with extradition. It concerns someone who travelled to Rwanda herself. It’s not my place to comment on the case. We intend to carry on working towards a treaty because of the exceptional co-operation in the field of justice between our two countries."
With that statement Hirsch Ballin was commenting on ongong extradition cases. A similar phenomenon of commenting on an ongoing extradition case we have witnessed in the Lazare Kobagaya case with Stephen Rapp in Kigali commenting on extradition cases. This leads to biased prosecutors and potentially biased judges.
The Dutch Foreign Affairs minister Ben Knapen claimed in february 2011 that:
"the concerns about the independence of courts are not serious enough to end the preparation of a Dutch-Rwandan extradition treaty"
Frans Makken stated september 6 2011:
“Of course, we’re following the Ingabire trial closely. A number of representatives of the Dutch embassy are present in the courtroom to observe the proceedings. That’s what we promised the Dutch parliament we would do.”
Off course Frans Makken and his buddy Rabobank banker buddy Van Apeldoorn are present at philantropical initiatives in Rwanda by Dutch citizen that reinforce this paternalistic narrative:
“We are happy to support cycling as sports that raises awareness for different projects. Rick’s determination is impressive and if more people were involved in such initiatives, development would be achieved faster,” the Ambassador said.
According to Paul Van Apeldoorn, the Chief Commercial Officer of BPR, an amount of 2,600 Euros was raised from the cycling event and donated to a health centre in Kayonza District. "
Rabobank's Paul van Apeldoorn and Frans Makken together with Heineken's Sven Piederiet, will  participate in a public relations effort organized by the Rwandan Embassy in the Netherlands on september 23d in The Hague.

The timing of Yvonne Basebya's arrest was part of Frans Makken's election rigging effort in Rwanda. As Susan Rice before him, Frans Makken is now familiar with Kagame's strategy of incrimentally increasing coresponsability for RPF crimes, halftruths and propaganda. Frans Makken has become acessory to a regime that assassinates political opponents at home and abroad. His consistent support for criminal thugs in Kigali stands in stark contrast to what Canadian police told Amiel Nkuliza august 26 2011 about Kagame's regime:
"his government was aware of how tyrannical government suppressed freedom of speech"
 Frans Makken's involvement in Rwanda's politics has gone way beyond an academic discussion on prioritising development over liberty and rights. 
Simon Allison writes today:
"Kagame’s government finds itself facing judgement in the less pliable court of international opinion."
This increasingly holds true also for those uncritical sycophants, election riggers, propaganda spreaders and praise singers that have frequented the Rwandan regime of Paul Kagame over the years.
Susan Thompson wrote on her blog monday:
"on Twitter, the Government of Rwanda has declared victory in the case, stating that it (not the prosecution) has documents to prove her ties to 'terrorist' groups in the region, and thus her guilt. 

Nice to see the government being *this* transparent on its interference in the judicial system. I wonder what diplomats resident in Kigali might have to say on this. My guess is a muted response"
In my opinion diplomats, politicans from ruling and opposition parties in the great lakes should start learning from Vital Kamerhe's and operating in Roger Meece's framework. Roger Meece is the special representative of the Secretary General of the UN to Congo who may 18th rebuked Philip Gourevitch's Congo narrative (08:10):
"I am very familiar with the recurrent prevailing settlement that the end is near, that all is lost, that the challenges are to great to confront and that we are facing imminent failure. I have allways disagreed with that kind of thinking and I disagree with that now"
In stark contrast to Frans Makken who helped rig elections in Rwanda, Roger Meece played a central role in leading the international community efforts to help the Congolese government organize the free elections of 2006 

Roger Meece has written a piece on Etienne Tshisekedi's role in the period leading up to the elections in 2006.

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