Open Letter to H.E. Barack H. Obama, the President of the United States of America
May 27th, 2013
Subject: Remarks by H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania at the 21st African Union Summit on May 26th, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Your Excellency the President of the United States of America
We, the undersigned, being survivors of the genocide against Tutsi and Rwandans legally living in the United States of America are appalled by the statement made by H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania at the 21st African Union Summit on May 26th, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in which he called upon the Rwandan government to “negotiate” with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group predominantly composed of members of the Interahamwe militia and the Armed Forces of Rwanda that carried out the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and for the killings of millions of innocent people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We salute the United States of America’s leadership and commitment to fight the international terrorism, particularly your government’s collaboration with the regional and international players to find a solution to the crisis in the Great Lakes region.
Not only you were among the first countries, alongside the United Nations, to name the FDLR, formerly known as the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR), as a terrorist group but also you have placed many five-million-dollar bounties on some Rwandan genocide perpetrators’ heads, including Sylivestre Mudacumura, the FDLR supreme commander who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, torture and attacking innocent civilians.
We believe President Kikwete is fully informed of these still ongoing heinous crimes committed by FDLR towards millions of innocent Congolese and many foreigners, including innocent Americans Rob Haubner and Susan Miller killed in Bwindi Forest in 1999, to name but a few who lost their lives at the hands of FDLR.
In 1994, when more than one million innocent Tutsi were brutally murdered, President Kikwete, then the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Tanzania did not speak up. Since then, he has seen his country burying hundreds of thousands of Rwandans whose bodies were damped into Akagera River, in Rwanda by the same genocidaires who formed FDLR with the intent to “finish the job “flooding all the way to Tanzania.
Given that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is based in Tanzania, we have no doubt that President Kikwete has been following the court proceedings and should comprehend the threat posed by the FDLR to Rwanda’s and the region’s peace and security.
We appreciate the support you have provided to Rwanda since 1994. As you know, our country has worked tirelessly, despite many challenges, to successfully repatriate millions of Rwandan refugees since the genocide and have reintegrated many FDLR fighters in the Rwandan Defense Forces.
As the concerned citizens of Rwanda and legal residents of the United States of America, we acknowledge that Rwanda has paid too big a price for too long and feel obliged to openly and strongly question President Kikwete’s hidden intentions behind such dreadful remarks and hereby request your office to join us in our call to him to immediately withdraw this shocking statement made at the time when as Rwandans, we are still commemorating the 19th anniversary of the genocide and grieving the loss of our beloved ones.
President Kikwete should openly apologize to us as survivors of the genocide in Rwanda and Rwandans in general, Congolese, Americans and many more people who have suffered from the FDLR terrorism.
Your Excellency, we trust that the United States of America cannot support this kind of political dealings that serve, if anything, as a setback to any progress led by Rwanda and many regional and international players to restore peace in the democratic Republic of Congo.
Though we welcome your upcoming visit to our beloved continent, we recommend you cancel your trip to Tanzania unless President Kikwete openly apologizes and disavows any relationship he might have with the FDLR.
We look forward to our continued collaboration as we strive to fight impunity and international terrorism in order to ensure a peaceful and secure world for all.
Vice Coordinator of the organizing committee
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