AfroAmerica Network has learned that the West and South Africa have been developing power succession plans for three countries in the Great Lakes Region of Africa: Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Uganda.
The plans, already in advanced stages, include three scenarios:
- Succession through elections
- Succession through peacefully handing over power
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the most likely scenario developed by the West is succession through elections. DRC is holding elections on November 28, 2011. The West and South Africa expect the veteran politician Etienne Tshisekedi to become president, whether legitimately elected or not. According to sources, emissaries from the West and South Africa have been sent to Joseph Kabila, to convince him to relinquish power peacefully. If he refuses, the recent Ivory Coast scenario, during which the incumbent who rejected the results of elections was removed by military force, is planned. As AfroAmerica Network was working on this article, Etienne Thisekedi and Vital Kamerhe were holding negotiations under the mediation of Mbusa Nyamwisi and South African government envoys to agree on a sole candidate for November 28, 2011 elections.
In Uganda, the West and South Africa are trying to convince Museveni to hand over power to his closest associates and not wait until the end of his current term. This is the same message he received during his recent visit to South Africa. The new leader will then manage transition to democracy and, hence avoid a bloody revolution.
Regarding Rwanda, where the US Ambassador at the United Nations Dr Susan Rice has been spending a few days with her family after visiting Libya, two scenarios were developed:
- Coup-d’etat by disgruntled former Rwandan Patriotic Army officers who now are a the top of the Rwandan Defense Forces
- Sharing with and then handing over power to a leading opposition figure from the majority Hutu ethnic group.
According to sources, the second scenario is the most preferred. A decade ago, it was proposed to and implemented in Burundi by Major Buyoya, avoided bloodshed, and led to a democratic transition in Burundi. The West and South Africa would like to replicate it in Rwanda.
From the speech of Ambassador Susan Rice, it appears that the West and South Africa are pushing General Paul Kagame to move quickly with this scenario to avoid a potential coup and the ensuing catastrophic consequences. In a barely veiled warning, Ambassador Rice told General Paul Kagame, while citing General Kagame himself, that his friends are impatient and need to see improvement in the democratic process because short of the democratic improvement, the changes may be violent: “I believe as well that friends should speak frankly to friends…. As President Kagame said, and I quote, ‘The uprising in Libya has already sent a powerful—excuse me—has already sent a message to leaders in Africa and beyond. It is that if we lose touch with our people, if we do not serve them as they deserve and address their needs, there will be consequences. Their grievances will accumulate – and no matter how much time passes, they can turn against you.‘”
Before Ambassador Susan Rice, the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who is also a personal advisor to the Rwandan dictator, visited Rwanda and transmitted a similar although in soft terms. After the visit, the British Prime Minister focus on achievement on economic governance while avoid commenting on appalling record on political governance and democracy, hence, according to some observers cutting some slack to Paul Kagame after a tough repudiation message.
From sources, the implementation of the scenario in Rwanda faces several hurdles, including:
- an imminent a coup by disgruntled RPF military Tutsi extremists afraid or not willing or to share power.
- General Paul Kagame known stubbornness and dictatorial instincts
- Pending Spanish, French and US indictments for crimes committed in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Finding a Hutu opposition leader willing to work with General Paul Kagame or that General Paul Kagame is willing share power with during the first phase of the transition.
To mitigate these concerns, the West and South Africa have put forward a proposition of general amnesty for crimes committed while General Paul Kagame was president. The amnesty will be part of the power-sharing and democratic transition agreement. The Hutu opposition figure will olso be expected to guaranty power sharing with the Tutsi minority.
©2010-2011 AfroAmerica Network. All rights reserved.