By NSENGIYUMVA CELESTIN
So many well meaning scholars and a number of self appointed experts have written books, research dissertations and news articles about the Rwandan genocide. The general narrative which has been spread is that for no apparent cause, Hutu people of Rwanda cracked down on their Tutsi neighbors and killed them. But it did not happen like that. There were remote and immediate exogenous and endogenous developments, which put the two main ethnic of Rwanda on a collision course. The blood bath was the product of combined historical, economic and political factors, which spiraled into communal violence following the four years war unleashed on the people of Rwanda by Rwandan officers of the Ugandan army, and the destruction of the Rwandan presidential jet, transporting the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and their delegations. This book will walk the reader across the meanders of African colonial scramble which forced expanding Rwanda into unviable territorial enclave at the turn of last century, the demise of traditional methods of government and customary law and their replacement of written European types of penal codes, the introduction of monetary economies and the drive of Western global powers to enlist the services of client African governments to stop the sweeping expansion of Islamic proselytism in sub- Saharan Africa. These were the contributing factors of the Rwandan tragedy.
The reader will get what the author has seen and heard first hand, from his privileged vintage point first in the office of the President of Rwanda and then as a senior diplomatic staff posted at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa. He is proposing neglected aspects and unexplored features of the tragic events, before and after April 1994, with the hope that Rwandans will now come to owning their national history and that the court of public opinion will be able to reach a more balanced judgment of the situation, beside the politically motivated sentences handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and some other national jurisdictions.
The author, Nsengiyumva Celestin is a former journalist of Radio Rwanda’s French desk and a stringer for Agence France Presse (AFP). He is also a former director of bilateral relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation,-the position he left to become director for international cooperation in the Office of the President. For 8 years, he was President Habyarimana’s official interpreter. He later was posted as senior embassy staff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which is Africa’s diplomatic hub. From that vintage point, he closely followed the proceedings of the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. In the early 1990’s, the Ethiopian capital was then the theater of intense diplomatic maneuvering involving global powers, as they positioned themselves for strategic partnerships not only with Africa as a whole, but also with each of the five sub regions (North, East, South, Center, and West). He was a refugee in Ethiopia for 10 years before relocating to America, as his urban refugee status in Addis Ababa had deadlocked over legal issues. He lives today as a freelance translator and a community interpreter in the North-West of the US State of New York.