The Rwanda the World Doesn’t Know

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Pambazuka News, October 2016

An interview with Anjan Sundaram.

Journalist Anjan Sundaram’s book on Rwanda, ‘Bad News, Last journalists in a dictatorship,’ exposes a terrifying dictatorship at the heart of Africa that few people get to hear about. Paul Kagame has tremendously succeeded – with the eager help of his western backers – to feed the world a carefully choreographed false narrative. His chilling tyranny is so pervasive and entrenched that Rwandans police themselves unbidden.

Zahra Moloo: What took you to Rwanda and what inspired you to write this book?

Anjan Sundaram: I went to Rwanda in 2009 to write my first book about Congo and really I was looking for a quiet place. I thought the country was peaceful, even a little boring, a great place to write a book. I began to teach local journalists as a way to make some money and also engage with local society, but very quickly, I learnt that the local journalists I was working with were living and working in a climate of great repression. One of them had been beaten into a coma, after bringing up the harassment of the press in front of President Kagame of Rwanda. Another young woman had been in prison for many years and physically and psychologically abused, she was sick with HIV. These stories alerted me to the climate of repression that largely goes untold about Rwanda.

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Militarised Conservation Threatens DRC’s Indigenous People

 

A man from the community of Mudja holds out his arm to show where he was injured by a park ranger. Credit: Zahra Moloo/IPS
A man from the community of Mudja holds out his arm to show where he was injured by a park ranger. Zahra Moloo/IPS

IPS News, September 14, 2016

MUDJA/BIGANIRO, Sep 14 2016 (IPS) – It is late afternoon when a light drizzle begins to fall over a group of young men seated together in Mudja, a village that lies approximately 20 kilometres north of Goma on the outskirts of the Virunga National Park. Mudja is home to a community of around 40 families of indigenous Bambuti, also known as ‘pygmies.’*

One of the men holds out his arm to show an injury he received from a park ranger. Others chime in.

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UN peacekeepers in the DRC no longer trusted to protect

 

Local people have lost faith in the protection offered by international forces based in the country [Zahra Moloo/Al Jazeera]

Al Jazeera, 18 January 2016

Kalongo, Democratic Republic of Congo – Androzo Bekere clearly remembers the attack on his village in Kalongo.

Standing beside a graveyard where wooden crosses bear the names of those killed, he gestures towards a cluster of houses, abandoned by their inhabitants.

“It was about four in the afternoon when we were told that armed men had captured a girl from here, in the field where she was farming,” he said. “We called the army. They came with us to the field and we thought the rebels had escaped, but later that evening, they encircled the village and started attacking people with machetes.”

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Grappling with mental health challenges in Congo

 

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Jorime Musondivwa, a nurse at CEPIMA, sits in the office where patients’ files and medications are kept. IRIN/Zahra Moloo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRIN News, 5 January 2016

BENI, 5 January 2016 (IRIN) – Amuri Masandi, a major in the Congolese army, was in the forest during an operation against an armed group when he started suffering from insomnia and nightmares, and exhibiting a troubled demeanour. Suspecting he had malaria, his colonel sent him to Goma to be treated at the hospital there. When that didn’t work, his wife took him to the Centre for the Protection of the Destitute and Mentally Ill, known by its French acronym CEPIMA, the only mental health clinic in Beni Territory, in North Kivu province. There, Masandi was treated for depression and psychosis with a heavy dose of psychotropic medication and regular counselling sessions, as well as multivitamins for his general well-being.

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The new ‘Brazil of Africa’: How development institutions are financing land grabs in the DRC

 

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Photo: Belgeo Revue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pambazuka News, July 2015

In this interview, Devlin Kuyek, Senior Researcher at GRAIN, talks about a report that reveals how a Canadian agribusiness company, Feronia, financed by American and European development institutions, is involved in land grabbing, corrupt practices and human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

ZAHRA MOLOO: Your recent report looks at what you call ‘agro-colonialism’ in the DRC, and in particular at a Canadian company that’s investing in palm oil plantations in the Congo. Perhaps we can start with some historical context. We think of agribusiness and land grabs more in a contemporary sense on the continent, but in the DRC there’s a whole history to palm oil. Can you go back a bit and give some historical context to palm oil plantations in the DRC?

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Pursuing Chadian dictator Habré: ‘It’s Africa judging Africa’

Pambazuka News, February 2015

An interview with Jacqueline Moudeina (transcribed and translated from French)

Jacqueline Moudeina is a Chadian lawyer and President of The Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (ATPDH). She is a recipient of the 2011 Right Livelihood Award. Moudeina is pursuing justice for the survivors of former Chadian president Hissène Habré’s terror regime.

ZAHRA MOLOO: Can you give a bit of context about the regime of the former president?

JACQUELINE MOUDEINA: Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, was in power from 7 June 1982 to 1 December 1990, a period of eight years. Those were years of terror. Every Chadian was afraid of his or her own shadow. In a couple you would have a man who feared his wife, and vice versa, and both would be afraid of their own children. Uttering even a little sentence could mean risking your life. It was a reign of terror under Hissène Habré, and when he left power on 1 December 1990 – as a result of a coup carried out by the current Chadian president Idriss Deby Itno – when he left and the new government was put in place, the new government ordered an investigation. The results of that report, finalized in 1992, concluded that 40,000 Chadians had been killed and thousands were disappeared or became widows and orphans. But the investigation did not cover the entire country. The results came from samples which enabled us to come up with a figure of 40,000 people killed and thousands disappeared.

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Procès de Hissène Habré : C’est l’Afrique qui juge l’Afrique

Pambazuka News, February 2015

Une entrevue avec Jacqueline Moudeina

Avocate au barreau du Tchad, présidente de l’Association tchadienne pour la promotion et la défense des droits de l’Homme (Atpdh) et récipiendaire du Right Livelihood Award en 2011, Jacqueline Moudeina lutte depuis une quinzaine d’années pour que l’ancien président Hissène Habré réponde des accusations de crimes de guerre, crimes contre l’humanité et crimes de torture qui pèsent sur lui.

ZAHRA MOLOO : Est-ce que vous pouvez nous rappeler le contexte qui prévalait sous le régime de l’ex-président ?

JACQUELINE MOUDEINA : Hissène Habre, l’ex-président tchadien, a régné au Tchad du 7 Juin 1982 au 1er décembre 1990. Donc il s’agit de huit années de règne. Mais c’était des années de terreur, où chaque Tchadien avait peur de sa propre ombre. Dans un couple, vous aviez le mari qui craint sa femme et vice versa. Les deux avaient peur de leurs propres enfants. Parce que pour peu qu’on sortait une petite phrase, on risquait sa vie. C’était vraiment la terreur et d’ailleurs, quand Hissène Habré est tombé, le 1er décembre 1990, du fait d’un coup d’Etat perpétré par l’actuel président tchadien Idriss Déby Itno, le nouveau gouvernement a ordonné une enquête. Le rapport a été déposé en 1992 et selon ce rapport 40 000 Tchadiens ont été tués et il y a eu des milliers de disparus, de veuves et d’orphelins. L’enquête n’avait pas couvert l’entièreté du pays. C’était des échantillonnages qui ont permis de fixer les 40 000 personnes tuées et les milliers de disparus.

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Mombasa bloodshed and alleged police impunity

 

Nadiya Ahmed, mother of Idris Mohamed, holds up a photo of her slain son [Zahra Moloo/Al Jazeera]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Al Jazeera, November 2014

Mombasa, Kenya  It was 4am when Nadiya Ahmed awoke to a loud bang in her house in Floringi village near the southern Kenyan city of Mombasa. Ahmed cautiously walked into the living room to find heavily armed police officers dressed in military fatigues and bulletproof vests.

“They were so many of them. They looked as if they were going to war,” Ahmed told Al Jazeera. The police ransacked the house, turning mattresses upside down, and taking photographs of her. A few minutes later, she heard her son, Idris Mohamed, 26, call out to the officers from inside the house.

“I have surrendered,” Ahmed recalled him saying. She said the police then stripped her son naked, handcuffed Idris, and shot him three times, killing him instantly.

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Oil, GMOs and Neoliberalism: an Interview with Nnimmo Bassey

Pambazuka News, July 2014

Nnimmo Bassey is the co-founder of Environmental Rights Action (ERA), a Nigerian advocacy NGO, also known as Friends of the Earth Nigeria. Bassey has been involved in the struggle against oil exploitation in the Niger Delta. In 2010 he was awarded the Right Livelihood award. This interview was originally broadcast on Amandla radio in Montreal, Canada.

NNIMO: I’m Nnimmo Bassey. I direct Health of Mother Earth Foundation in Nigeria, which is an ecological think tank. I also coordinate Oil Watch International, which is a global South resistance network. I am a poet, writer and architect.

AMANDLA: You trained as an architect. How did you start working on issues of oil extraction?

N: Well, oil in Nigeria is as old as I am. And the problem is not getting any better, although I am getting better as I get older! I am joking. I started out life as a human rights activist, after graduation from university. In those days Nigeria was under military rule. The military ruled Nigeria for over thirty years and that really affected the political structure of the country.

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Oil, GMOs and Neoliberalism: an interview with Nnimmo Bassey

Amandla Radio, June 2014

Nnimmo Bassey is a renowned Nigerian environmental activist, well known for his work campaigning against the practices of multinational oil corporations in Nigeria. It has been estimated that spills equivalent to the size of that from the Exxon Valdez have occurred in the Niger Delta every year over the past 50 years.

In 1993, Bassey co-founded Environmental Rights Action (ERA), a Nigerian advocacy NGO dealing with environmental human rights issues in the country. Environmental Rights Action is also known as Friends of the Earth Nigeria. In 2010, Bassey was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for his work, otherwise known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’.

In this interview, he talks about the impact of oil drilling and oil spills in the Niger Delta, the threat that GMOs pose to African agriculture and how Africans across the continent can create a front against the extractive industries as well as against neoliberal approaches to environmentalism.