African Press International (API)

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Rwandese businessman hunted by ICTR requests API to deliver a massage to Rwandese Government. “I am ready to negotiate for a supervised surrender on agreeable terms”, says Kabuga

Posted by African Press International on May 12, 2008

Written by Korir, Chief Editor, africanpress@getmail.no

Flicien Kabuga<Mr Felicen Kabuga

Mr Felicen Kabuga, a man I have only met once while inhiding,says the time has come and now ” I am ready to negotiate for a supervised surrender on agreeable terms.” He says he is willing to face justice in his country and not in Arusha where the international law is being advocated.

When asked to elaborate what he means by “supervised surrender on agreeable terms”, Kabuga said he prefers that his arrest when surrendering is supervised by senior officers who respect human rights rather than allowing himself tobe picked by enthusiastic soldiers who may molest him because they have been brainwashed to believe he is a criminal.

He wants the government to listen to his side of the story so that an arrangement may be reached in the same way the Sudanese leader Riek Machar has mediated between the Ugandan government and Kony’s LRA.

He is very specific on what he wants. Kabuga has a person in mind that he would appreciate as the mediator in the talks between him and the government of Rwanda. He also has a man in mind who he wants to have as his representative in the talks during the first stages. “I am getting old now and would like to be back in my country before my health lets me down; he says.

Explaining why he wants talks that would see an agreement reached between him and the government when he knows the international court wants him on serious crimes, he says he has diabetes and would not like to be captured while in hiding because then whoever will get him will most probably manhandle him without consideration of his health. “I have to get a special kind of food because of my diabetes and that is what I want to be taken into consideration by the government during the talks. I know I will be useful to the government if they accept to negotiate with me. There are things that I will reveal to them. Things that will help them achieve their goals in punishing the real killers of our people. I am just picked on because of hatred. You know people get jealous when you are not poor.”

Kabuga can talk. He promises to tell his side of the story and he says if there is justice in this world he will bebelieved once his story comes out. “I am accused of crimes I have never committed. There were atrocities but I am unfairly accused. I never masterminded the killings. Everybody must carry his own cross”, says Kabuga a bit agitated.

On listening to Kabuga one wonders what he is really thinking. He believes he is unjustly being prosecuted. And wants to join his countrymen in the development of the country. He says that the way Kony and LRA has been treated is a way to achieve peaceful solutions and healing in Uganda.

One of the main requests he will put on the table if there will be any negotiations is his wish to be given bail while waiting for trial inside Rwanda. This is something that may go against the wishes of the International Court in Arusha. The Chief Prosecutor The ICTR Chief Prosecutor, Mr Hassan B Jallow may protest if such arrangement is accepted by the Rwandese government. However, the government of Rwanda may choose to cut a deal with Kabuga for the sake of peace and reconciliation. Now that there is no death sentence in the country, Kabuga thinks he may receive justice, but does not see justice being accorded to him if the ICTRin Arusha will be involved in his trial.

Stay in Kenya

Kabuga confirms that he has lived in Kenya for many years and travelled in and out of the country using different names. But now he wants to come clean and face what he calls “reasonable justice meted by my countrymen and not foreigners.”

He says a number of senior security personnel in Kenya have always known of his whereabouts and were good to him. However, he complains he had to part with a lot of money every month to satisfy their demands.. Some of them have even facilitated travel documents in time of need. ” I bought houses for 3 security men and gave a lot of money to others who wanted to establish private businesses that they will be engaged in when they soon retire.

When asked why he had to leave Kenya in a hurry, he says the officers had become greedy and wanted more and mote, some even started to threaten him of arrest if he did not become more generous.

Warned of possible arrest

One evening at eleven pm, two officers summoned him to a car park near Carnivoreandwarned him ofa possible arrest because two of his protectors had been transferred to another province and could no longer be around to intervene whenever there were discussions about what to do with him. Kabuga says the two men advised him to seek refuge elsewhere because if he were to be arrested in Kenya, it would become an embarrassment to the government and those who have protected him all these years would easily be targeted. Kabuga says the changes in Kenya politics has made life difficult for him of late. It has affected his businesses and properties. The changes that is being made all the time in the security service by the Police Commissioner has destabilised his protectors. Some were posted outside Nairobi to remote areas and that put his security in danger

“The political situation was also not conducive any more because my friends are shifting allegiance because of the political landscape”, Says Kabuga.

The freezing of assets

When asked what his reaction is to the recent court ruling in Kenya freezing his assets, Kabuga sayshe is angered and will not entertain such a thing. “It is my sweat and those who take it from me will be made to give back forcefully,” he says roaring, adding “I have never stolen from anybody and I will not accept a court ruling that steals from me. Many people will be angry if Kenyans steal from me. Someone is misleading the judge or bribing him. Otherwise how can he do thisto me?”,concludes Kabuga.

Kabuga’s conditions to API

To grant API the interview, Kabuga gave conditions. API was not to publish the story until after twenty four hours from the time of the interview. API must not reveal the his present identity and his next destination on leaving Norway.However, he wants the Rwandese government to react to his request as soon as possible. For the purposes of warming relationship for future exclusive interviews, API accepted the demand and follows it to the letter.

He wants the first negotiation meeting to take place in a neutral country, and he names Sweden and Finland as countries of his choice. When API asked why he prefers the two countries as the place to start talks, he declined to give the reason.

API has promised Mr Kabuga that his detailed request will be passed on to the Rwandese government in a confidential letter as soon as possible. API is proud to have been considered worthy to deliver the message of peace, and thereforetakes upon itself to do so in the spirit of peace andreconciliation. Ifthere is anything to be proud of when it comes to the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda,is to be able to enable the people of Rwanda to have a closure in the horrifying genocide that took saw many lives perish. Almost every family got affected by it one, way or another.

The Kenyan people were lucky after last December general elections, when they experienced post election violence. It almost went out of control and that would have pushed Kenyans into a civil war where neighbour against neighbour were going to cut one another to pieces considering the fact that the country has 42 different ethnic groups. Kenya was lucky to get international community involved in an early stage, whereas in the case of Rwanda in 1994, there was silence and no intervention, givng room for the genocide that we, as a people, are all ashamed of to this day.

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