By Jean Gatera
A Congolese called Dr. Denis Mukwege is in the media for allegations against Rwanda that bear no resemblance to the truth. It has become apparent that Mukwege – who in 2018 was jointly awarded a Nobel Peace Prize – is determined to build on his profile with constant, highly negativist allegations against Rwanda – usually for propagandist, political reasons. Mukwege for, instance, has been repeating the allegations, only ever supported by those with long-standing political agendas to discredit, or de-legitimize the Kigali administration, that “Rwanda has committed genocide in Congo.”
Challenged to substantiate his allegations, Mukwege – founder of the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu – instead took to claiming that he was “facing death threats from Rwanda.” He claims to be “living in fear following online and offline ‘threats’ and that he is now seeking special protection.” Mukwege claims the so-called death threats are “coming from Rwanda”, and that the claims were coming from Gen. (James) Kabarebe, security adviser to President Kagame.
But Kabarebe did no such thing as threaten anyone. He was making remarks on a talk show on Rwanda Television during the recent commemoration of the 26th year of the liberation of Rwanda. During the show Kabarebe, responding to a question about negative propaganda attacks on Rwanda, such as contained in a long discredited UN “Mapping Report” (which was so discredited even the UN dumped it).
Gen. Kabarebe called the Mapping Report “one of the tools that those fighting Rwanda use to spread harmful anti-Rwanda propaganda, especially those that still harbor the bitterness of defeat by the Rwandese Patriotic Army forces which defeated the ex-FAR, the Interahamwe militias and the entire genocidal regime.”
The so-called Mapping Report, written by individuals with an agenda aligned to that of the defeated groups and all their allies, alleged that, “Rwandan soldiers committed atrocities and human rights abuses between 1993 and 2003.”
These claims were roundly proven to be false, and the Mapping Report never saw the light of day.
Some of the individuals still spreading propaganda to promote the Mapping Report, mainly genocidaires and their apologists, live in Europe. “But there are others we always hear, the likes of Dr. Mukwege in South Kivu, who continue to be used by the defeated groups,” Gen. Kabarebe pointed out.
It turns out that Mukwege has jumped on these remarks to claim, “Rwanda is threatening his life.”
Mukwege, however, fears something bigger, some analysts say. He could be fearful that his attacks on Rwanda could be fully exposed as those of a negativist who has gotten his prizes on false pretenses.
Many point for instance to Mukwege’s silence in the face of atrocities against the Banyamulenge. Congolese Banyamulenge activist Boniface Ruhara Mibari questions how “Dr. Mukwege is resolved to remain silent in the face of a tragedy which has destroyed almost the entire Banyamulenge community, causing hundreds of deaths while hundreds of thousands of cows raided.”
It is now emerging that Mukwege is very selective in his condemnations. Many that know him for instance vow that this Nobel Peace Laureate has never even once condemned well-known terrorist groups, like the FDLR which has committed countless atrocities in the east of his country, even once. “This raises the suspicion, when taken together with his constant, incendiary attacks against Rwanda, that Mukwege supports the FDLR,” said another source.
In fact Mukwege in his work at Panzi Hospital treating rape victims, and others affected by the trauma of conflict, also is known to be discriminatory, along ethnicity. “He is the kind of tribalist that for instance views Banyamulenge as ‘Rwandese’, which reveals more of who he is,” others have said.
Furthermore, other sources add, Mukwege – whose career according to sources in Bukavu also has been characterized by self-aggrandizement – has failed to condemn massacres in Ituri Province by illegal armed groups there, where the arms fuelling the violence are reported mainly to come from Uganda.
“Villages are burnt to the ground (by the armed groups). People flee. They lose their livelihoods, and their living conditions are extremely precarious,” wrote Reliefweb, an international NGO, in February this year, adding that there is widespread displacement of refugees, looting and atrocities such as rape.
“Yet Mukwege says nothing about all this,” peace-loving Congolese have remarked. “Why is he so silent on atrocities like these, or those of FDLR?”