By Robert Rutoma
Reacting to Kabuga’s arrest, former UK Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, on May 21, wrote an article that was published in The Times of London in which he decried the inaction of Britain (and by extension Europe) in arresting genocide suspects and genocide deniers living on its soil. Mitchell called out his government on five UK-based notorious Rwandans accused of active participation in the genocide against the Tutsi and crimes against humanity, who, for decades, have eluded justice.
However, other than those five, there are other individuals who the British politician did not mention, but whose credentials as extremist genocide deniers are in the open. One of them is Rene Mugenzi, who is well known in Rwandan circles as someone that “hides behind the veil of activism in his activities as a genocide denier, and a committed promoter of the ideology of genocide.”
Rene Mugenzi, who lives in the United Kingdom, is the son of Joseph Mugenzi, a notorious high profile genocide-era government official and member of MRND, the party of Habyarimana, his wife Agathe Kanziga, and all the high-profile planners, financiers, and implementers of the 94 Genocide Against the Tutsi.
Now Rene Mugenzi has made it his life’s mission to attack the Rwandan administration from his country of exile, engaging tirelessly in acts to support and spread hate propaganda using an assortment of media, and social media platforms. The circumstances of Mugenzi’s birth alone attest to how high in the MRND hierarchy his father was.
He was born on 13 April 1976 in Pyatgorsk Russia. In those days only the most privileged classes of Rwanda got scholarships to European countries, and it was no coincidence Joseph Mugenzi was in the Soviet Union. He was a “princeling” in a government whose central tenet was “Hutu Power” extremism, and exclusion of other Rwandans. When his parents returned from Russia, Mugenzi grew up in Rwanda, “never far away from the influences of the MRND ideology,” according to those that know him.
After the defeat of MRND, Mugenzi already was out of Rwanda and in 1997 landed in the United Kingdom where he has been living since. Currently, he holds British citizenship, but a British citizen that is an unapologetic genocide denier, and apologist of perpetrators of genocide.
London-based analysts say when Félicien Kabuga, chief financier of the 94 Genocide Against the Tutsi, and chief financier of hate Radio RTLM, was arrested in Paris recently, it shook to the core many genocidaires networks established in Europe and the US, sending the message that it’s only a matter of time before the others are also netted. Many in the Genocide deniers’ camp as well as their sympathizers finally realized that “everything is possible.”
A political analyst told this website that the reason Rene Mugenzi and other genocide deniers have been able to manipulate the UK judicial system is because there has been “no real willingness by the UK Government to take action.” He observed that the United Kingdom and other European authorities do not want to “get their hands dirty.”
Some Rwandans are embittered by this attitude by some Europeans who seem to think “crimes committed against Africans do not seem to equal crimes committed against Europeans.”
This attitude affords genocidaires and genocide deniers like Rene Mugenzi carte blanche to persist in committing hate speech and other transgressions, “which to some in the UK is permissible, veiled as it is in the labels of ‘free speech’, or ‘opposition politics’.”
Mugenzi freely espouses such discredited propaganda as the “double genocide theory” – a longstanding attempt to create the false narrative that “RPF too committed genocide against the Hutus.” This is one of the tactics of obfuscating, with the true criminals – MRND, CDR, Ex-FAR, Interahamwe and others – trying to use it as a tool, “to cancel out” their own crimes. Mugenzi also is an avid promoter of another discredited theory – that “RPF killed Habyarimana” – a smear meant to criminalize RPF, “and exonerate the genocidaires.”
Through his London-based NGO, the London Center for Social impact, LCSI – in reality a mere front for his true, genocide denialist agenda – Mugenzi organized an event he calls the “genocide commemoration of the Hutu refugees in Mugunga DRC” – that is a forum for genocidaires and deniers from around Europe.
Mugenzi has had a lot on his mind since his father was convicted in absentia by a Gacaca Court for crimes of genocide, and became a fugitive.
Mugenzi the elder and his sister Bernadette Mukarurangwa were influential MRND members, with the latter having been a Member of Parliament (depute) in 1993. Joseph Mugenzi currently lives in the Netherlands, where he has been active as a founding president of FDU-Inkingi, another offshoot group of perpetrators of the genocide. Information available to this website is that the Netherlands is in the process of revoking his citizenship, “something that must have put Rene Mugenzi in a fever of hate,” a UK-based source remarked.
But even then, Rene Mugenzi frequently appears in western media, where he introduces himself as a “genocide survivor and an activist!” Through such cynical maneuvers he has managed to win access to western media like BBC, which allows him to slyly disseminate his genocide-denialist narratives, anyone that has heard him will notice. “He just bamboozles his UK hosts, but his most virulent messages are spread in Kinyarwanda.”
With Rene Mugenzi, the genocide ideology is one he goes to bed with, and wakes up with, those that know him best say.