The Chronicles

Serving Your Right to Know the Truth

Month: September 2015

  • Another Burundian Govt official named in FDLR racket

    The husband of Burundi’s police chief, Brig Gen Générose Ngendanganya, is the latest Burundian official to be named as facilitating the activities of the Rwandan FDLR rebels, The Chronicles can reveal. Mr. Nepomuscene Masirika, a senior official with the Burundian disarmament commission, is the contact person of the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) in Burundi. Through Burundi, the rebels are able to transit their minerals to the international markets. The Burundi route is also used for provision of supplies including arms.

    Details about Masirika’s collaboration with the FDLR rebels are published in the latest UN investigation on armed groups in the region which was submitted to the Security Council December 30. But it was difficult for the UN panel to find hard incriminating evidence. “While, according to diplomatic and political sources, Masirika continues to be in contact with FDLR, the Group has not been able to verify any concrete material support between him and the Rwandan rebels,” says the report.

    Masirika is apparently a former senior officer in the Rwandan ex-President Juvenal Habyarimana’s government. It is not clear if he is Rwandan or Burundian, and no details are available on the history of his marriage to Burundi’s top police officer. Masirika uses the false name of François Niyibitanga in Burundi, according to the report.

    When contacted about the new revelations, Burundi’s envoy in Kigali, Amb. Remy Sinkazi said he was even unaware about the UN report. “I need to read the report first, consult with my government and then get back to you,” said Sinkazi in a phone interview with The Chronicles on Friday. What is clear is that his wife Brig Gen Générose Ngendanganya was a senior commander in the CNDD-FDD rebel group of current Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza. Since Nkurunziza came to power in 2005, she has held senior security-related positions.

    Masirika is the second official in President Nkurunziza’s government to be linked to the Rwandan rebels. In 2009, the same UN panel named General Adolphe Nshimirimana, Burundi’s intelligence chief as providing logistical support to the FDLR. Nshimirimana and the Burundian government vehemently denied the allegations. As indication that relations have never been better, several Rwandan dissidents have been rounded up in Burundi and handed to Kigali without any due process of the law. Notable among them is jailed opposition politician Deogratias Mushyayidi.

    President Kagame and his Burundian counterpart remain very close, at least from the regular visits each pays the other.

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  • EALA seeks amendment of EAC treaty to enable universal suffrage

    The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has proposed the amendment of article 50 of the EAC Treaty to allow members of the regional assembly to be elected by the electorates instead of national parliaments. The five East African countries will start applying uniform rules and procedures for electing members to the regional House from next year if the heads of states approve the proposal. The proponents of the amendment say it avoids recent expensive legal suits. EALA members said the move was aimed at increasing people’s participation in the regional law making body. The Assembly has since last week been meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi.

    Currently, nine members of the EALA are selected from each national parliament of the five EAC member states. The proposed law, which aimed at reducing the influence of the national parliaments in the affairs of the regional assembly, has also fixed the EALA term at five years and introduced the 30 per cent gender rule for its membership.

    The regional MPs currently enjoy a five year term but EALA itself has had no definite life span or guideline on replacement of old members, a lapse that has often led to longer recess periods. The bill proposes 90 days as the maximum period within which the national parliaments must replace EALA’s retiring or outgoing members.

    EALA Speaker, Mr Abdirahin Abdi, said in the House on Friday last week that already the Assembly had submitted its proposals to the EAC Council of Ministers for a decision. “The Assembly is of opinion that members of EALA should be elected by the people in their respective countries.

    But the decision to amend the treaty is in the hands of the Council of Ministers,” he said. The proposals were submitted last year. Meanwhile, the Assembly has been informed that plans are underway to upgrade the troubled EAC passports from regional to international status. Starting 2012, the passports will be printed on a wider scale and will operate within the whole region, alongside the national passports but the internationalisation of the same could be before the end of next year, the EAC Parliament heard last week.

    Addressing the EA Legislative Assembly plenary session, the chairman of the EA Council of Ministers, who doubles as the Burundian EA Affairs Minister, Ms Hasfa Mosi, did not offer a definitive month when the passports would start operating beyond the region. “The task force made the case studies from Belgium and Italy and found no legal requirements to internationalise the EA passports,” she said.

    The process started in 2005 with the council of ministers directing the secretariat to work out a way of internationalising it, and a task force of immigration experts was also put in place to design it with security features but later stalled as they waited for Rwanda and Burundi to include their security features. Also known as the new-generation passport, it will appear in Diplomatic, Service and Ordinary categories.

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