By Norman S Miwambo
As Rwanda marks the 21stanniversary of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, Professor Peter Erlinder’s book, ‘The Accidental Genocide’, offers another assessment that entails other factors including the role of the West. Tuesday April 7, 2015 marked exactly 21 years since the world was awash with the unforgettable images from the tiny East and Central Africa country of Rwanda where killers claimed nearly a million innocent lives of both Tutsis and Hutus.
Rwandans refugees who had been enrolled into the National Resistance Army (NRA), now the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), formed the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), which took a decision on October 1, 1990, to invade Rwanda, a decision that ignored the Arusha Accord in Tanzania, but which had suggested a peaceful return of all refugees. It [the decision] later ushered in the violence that spread to the entire Great Lake Region and is now believed to have claimed over six million innocent lives combined in the region.
In his book (pp105) Prof Erlinder writes: “The uncomfortable conclusion must be that the Pentagon [the Headquarter of USA Department of Defense] was not only aware of military-buildup of RPA/F 1991-93, as evidenced by the success of the February 1993 breach of Arusha ceasefire, but also through contemporaneous reports of Major [Anthony] Marley, which were not shared with the US embassy in Kigali, according to highly senior staff. Of course, the UK Ministry of Defense must have understood the significance of the February 1993 assault in terms of military dominance as well. However, neither before nor after the RPF’s February 1993 assault on Kigali did it generous support for Ugandan government and military come into question while the RPF build-up and invasion was taking place on Ugandan territory.” Maj Marley was assigned to report directly to the Pentagon all activities from Arusha. According to the book, the events in Rwanda between April and July 1994, reflected in previously suppressed UN files, make clear that RPF (quite sensibly from the standpoint of a superior military power) apparently decided not to trust the negotiated power-sharing to protect their interests.”
The current President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, was a serving military intelligence chief in Uganda, and used his influence in the UPDF to team up with his cousins in Uganda. He later went on to claim victory in Rwanda and has since been credited as ‘a Super-Hero’ by the Western countries for stopping the genocide. Like in many previous conflicts, the victors always give a one-sided narrative and shroud the truth of the war. Keen to look at the Rwandan genocide, an event that scandalised the world, Prof Erlinder, a law professor at the William Mitchell Law College in St Paul Minnesota, his is the only book with relevant information and events that took place during and after the Rwanda genocide.