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Broken bones and arrests at Rwandan Green Party convention

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The Rwandan Democratic Green Party's third attempt to convene was shut down in Kigali, Rwanda on October 2nd, 2009. No photographs of the convention disrupted by state security operatives and police are available yet.
Inset: Green leader Frank Habineza.

This should tell the world what Rwanda, the U.S.A.'s closest ally in Africa, and its President Paul Kagame, are:

The Rwandan Democratic Greens tried, for the fourth time, to hold their founding convention in Kigali, on 10.30.2009, but the police, and, security operatives, appeared again.

On Friday morning, 10.30,2009 in San Francisco, P.S.T., I spoke to Frank Habineza, interim Rwandan Green Party leader, who was by that time in a Kigali hospital trying to arrange an X-ray for another Rwandan Green, a woman with a broken leg.

He said that another woman, and Rwandan Green, is in intensive care at the same hospital with a broken back, and, that he's not sure yet how many were injured.

I believe that Frank also said that some are in jail but he was on a cell in a hospital and I always have to work to understand his sweet French/Kinyarwanda English accent as well.

He wasn't able to give me any more details because he had to hurry off to help his friend with the broken leg and I had to run too, but he said, "It wasn't a good day."

Indeed. Twelve hours later, at 3:00 A.M. in Kigali, 6:10 P.M. in San Francisco, I didn't have any new e-messages Tweets, Facebook posts, or phone calls from Frank. No news on the Web yet.

Frank had said to watch the BBC and the Rwandan News Agency websites. I told him that the state run Rwandan News Agency won't let me on their damn website. He himself had to pay them $250 to get on and pick up the articles he sends me, which are almost always yanked off the site as soon as they're posted. He says that some reporters there want to keep covering the story, but that they're under "big pressure."

I urged Frank to post to Twitter, often,, because his friends outside Rwanda, including me, are worried about him, his family, and other Rwandan Greens.

We obviously need to get on phones to the White House, Rwandan Embassies, and the press. Greens of course, should call and I first addressed this note mostly to Greens, but this is about basic civil and political rights and social justice, obviously. No one from any nonviolent political party should wind up in a hospital with broken bones, or in jail, for attempting to meet.

This is the Rwanda that Bill and Hillary Clinton and Reverend Rick Warren point to as "a shining beacon of hope for Africa." Bill Clinton hung a Global Citizenship Award around Rwandan President Paul Kagame's neck a week before Reverend Rick Warren presented him with the same International Medal of Peace that he hung around George Bush's neck last year.

This is the Rwanda that criminalizes homosexuality and denies same sex lovers access to U.S.-funded HIV/AIDS services, in keeping with Reverend Rick Warren's abstinence-only-until-heterosexual monogamy HIV prevention proscriptions. The Rwandan Greens are the only political party with a "sexual diversity" plank in their platform, a plank that Frank Habineza and the Rwandan Greens defended adamantly during their attempts to register the party last week.

This is the Rwanda that the U.S. uses to control the vast oil and gas reserves, and many other natural resources of neighboring D.R. Congo. Most of all, this is the Rwanda that the U.S. uses to control Congo's military industrial minerals.

It has long been stated policy that the U.S. must be prepared to go to war in Central Africa, as it has, covertly, to control the cobalt reserves, in the Katanga Copper Belt which runs through southeastern Congo's Katanga Province into Zambia.

U.S. military industries cannot manufacture for war without cobalt and most of the world's cobalt is there.

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Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached (more...)

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