Tuesday, 18 December 2012

President Paul Kagame & Jeannette Kagame – The First Couple Of Rwanda

President Paul Kagame, at an RPF rally
President Paul Kagame, at an RPF rally

President Paul Kagame

President Kagame was born on October 1957 in the Gitarama Prefecture. His parents Deogratius and Austeria Rutagambwa hail from Central Rwanda. However the massacre of the 1960s forced the family to leave Rwanda and become a refugee in Uganda. It is here that President Paul Kagamecompleted his primary and secondary education. He was a founding member of the Ugandan National Liberation Army along with Yoweri Kaguta Musuveni (President of Uganda) that successfully overthrew the tyrannous and treacherous rule of Idi Amin. From 1980 to 1990, President Kagame served as an officer in the UNLA.
In 1990, President Paul Kagame graduated from a Staff and Command course at Fort Lavenworth in Kansas, USA.  Shortly after, President Kagame returned to Africa to lead the Rwandan Patriotic Army(RPA). After spending over 34 years in exile, President Kagame finally returned to his homeland –Rwanda in 1994.
His efforts immediately ended the tragic genocide which claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans and he received a heroic welcome back to his homeland.
In July of the same year, he was appointed as the Vice President of Rwanda and Minister for Defence in President Pasteur Bizimungu’s Government of National Unity. Later in 1998, he was elected the Chairman of the Rwandan Patriotic Front.
He first assumed the office of the President of Rwanda on April 17th, 2000 through a unanimous election by the transitional assembly. He has since been re-elected to the 7 year Presidential term twice – in the elections of 2003 and again in 2010.
President Paul Kagame holds a diploma in Professional Management and Business Studies from the Open University of London, U.K.
He is the recipient of multiple accolades including Honorary Doctorates from the Vellore Institute of Technology, India and the Oklahoma Christian University, USA. He has also been awarded the Andrew Young Medal for Social Progress, the African National Achievement award, the ICT Africa Award and an Honorary Degree by the University of the Pacific, USA.
The President is a tennis and football fan and chief benefactor of the Kagame Interclub Cup (CECAFAClub Cup) that is contested by clubs from East and Central Africa and has in recent years been instrumental in promoting football in the continent.
Life of President Paul Kagame

The First Lady – Jeannette Kagame

Jeannette Kagame, the First Lady of Rwanda was born as Jeannette Nyiramongi on 10th August, 1962. She returned with her husband President Kagame to Rwanda following the tragic genocide of 1994.
As the First Lady, She is a major well wisher of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OALFA) in 2002 and served as its president from 2004 to 2006.
She has also been involved in a variety of charitable organizations in the country including those benefiting HIV patients, widows, orphans and the underprivileged. She hosted the First Ladies Summit on Children and HIV prevention in Kigali in May 2001. In addition, she is on the board of directors for several organizations that empower the poor, create awareness and promote education and health. These include the Friends of the Global Fund Africa and the Global Coalition of Women against HIV.
The First Couple Of Rwanda
It was during his years of hardship and exile that President Paul Kagame met Jeannette Nyiramongi. The meeting had been arranged by their relatives. Jeannette Kagame already held great respect for President Paul Kagame as she was familiar with the RPF’s work to topple the treacherous regimes in Africa. The President journeyed to Nairobi in Kenya (where Jeannette Kagame used to live) and persuaded her to travel to Uganda to meet him again. The now President Paul Kagame and First Lady of Rwanda – Jeannette Nyiramongi were married on June 10th, 1989. The First Lady adopted her husband’s sir name and became Jeannette Nyiramongi Kagame, referred commonly as Jeannette Kagame. The couple share an interest in serving the people and have been happily married and deeply devoted to each other.
President Paul Kagame & Jeannette Kagame
President Paul Kagame and the First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame at a UNICEF function

The Kagame Family

President Kagame and Jeannette Kagame started a family of their own in 1990 with the birth of their first child Cyomoro Ivan Kagame. They now have four children – three sons and a daughter.
Besides President Kagame and the First Lady, their family includes Ivan Kagame also Yvan kagame or Cyomoro Kagame; their only daughter Ange Kagame, Ian and Brian.
Although both Ivan and Ange, the eldest of President Kagame’s kids were educated abroad; the Kagame family always enjoys spending time with each other and share a strong bond. President Paul Kagame’s children also participated actively during the 2010 Rwanda presidential elections and helped their father win a landslide victory.
President Paul Kagame, Cyomoro Ivan Kagame, the First Lady Jeannette Nyiramongi Kagame and Ange Kagame(T)
The Kagame Family at an RPF rally, L-R: President Paul Kagame, Cyomoro Ivan Kagame, the First Lady Jeannette Nyiramongi Kagame and Ange Kagame

 Ivan Kagame
Ange Kagame (left), President Paul Kagame (Centre) and Cyomoro Ivan Kagame(T)Is the eldest of President Paul Kagame’s sons. He was educated abroad due to security and privacy concerns.
On being of legal age, he joined the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF). He was later enrolled to the West Point Academy in USA and returned to Rwanda after graduating the same.
As a child he was influenced by his mother and continues in her footsteps to participate in various charity and welfare events.
Ange Kagame

Is President Paul Kagame’s second child and only daughter. As President Kagame’s daughter, she completed her education abroad for security and privacy reasons.
Like her mother, she is passionate about social service and campaigns for several causes including Women Empowerment, Education and Poverty Eradication.Ian & Brian
Are the youngest of President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame’s children. They both study at the Eaglebrook Junior Boarding School for boys.
 An Editorial by Andrew Obeki
Link : http://newsofrwanda.com/english/15677/president-paul-kagame-jeannette-kagame-the-first-couple-of-rwanda/

Thursday, 13 December 2012

MPs endorse National Itorero Commission

GRADUATES OF ITORERO: Legislators have passed the bill establishing the National Itorero Commission. The New Times/File.
PARLIAMENT on Wednesday passed a bill establishing the National Itorero Commission (NIC), a platform for educating and training Rwandans on shared values and taboos in coexistence and contribution to national development.

Previously, Itorero, which was launched in 2008, was a task force that operated under the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission.

According to the bill, the Commission shall have an overall mission of mobilising and sensitising Rwandans on cultural values and taboos.

Its responsibilities will also include educating and training Rwandans to make them espouse a culture of volunteerism by serving the country; be Intore who are “worthy Rwandans” and are catalysts for positive change.

Jean Baptiste Habyalimana, the Executive Secretary of the NURC told The New Times that a restructuring of the current NURC law was crucial to permit the responsibility of educating and training of Rwandans on values and taboos to be relocated to the NIC.

He added: “Ingando and Itorero activities helped the Commission [NURC] to build unity and reconciliation and NURC and NIC are going to continue working together, because one of values of Rwandan culture is the unity of Rwandans. But, the most important is the national service which is going to be in the NIC.”

Once the bill is promulgated, NIC will have new organs and probably new leadership. 

Boniface Rucagu, the Chairperson of the national Itorero task force told The New Times that “it is possible that I might continue heading it just as it is possible that other people might come in to lead it.”

Rucagu is optimistic the changes will usher in considerable value addition in building national unity and spurring development.

“This idea of the commission was requested by Rwandans and leaders at many occasions, after carefully looking at the pace of development programmes. It was realised that government programmes were not moving as fast as desired because of a level of understanding that was still low,” said Rucagu.

Rucagu said that a degree of sustainability was required and that could only be guaranteed by setting up the NIC since a mere task force would not effectively handle.

Youth sign performance contracts

The youth at Connekt Convention at Petit Stade on Wednesday. The New Times/John Mbanda.
FOLLOWING the conclusion of the inaugural National Youth Convention held on Wednesday, the youth signed performance contracts for the year 2012-2013 as their roadmap towards fast-tracking national development.

The contracts signed include establishment of an exemplary cooperative at each cell around the country and creation and submission of 3,000 projects to the financial institutions to be supported by Business Development Fund (BDF).

Other commitments included supporting one young person to initiate a business at the village level (providing start-up/seed capital), fighting against drugs and laziness among the youth and encouraging them in terms of ownership of government programmes.

According to Alphonse Nkuranga, the executive secretary in the National Youth Council, the performance contracts will increase the working conditions as each group has a designated role.

“We hope to deliver on the contracts at 100 per cent and we are optimistic. The youth were encouraged to join cooperatives that respond to the problems of the people,” said Nkuranga 

Contributing in Agaciro development fund was also the priority of the youth in the convention.

“Financial institutions partnering with BDF also still have low capacity to reach the youth at cell levels, we wish the capacity could be increased so that more youth can benefit from the funding,” he added 

Meanwhile the best performers were awarded for their potential businesses which are productive and employ a lot of people.

Ange Habimana representing the cooperative Inshuti za Nyungwe (Bee-keeping cooperative) scooped the award worth Rwf3 million from the Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR).

His cooperative employs over 50 permanent employees earning a monthly salary and over 600 casual labourers.

The second and the third who both received 1.5 million are Ephraim Nganji, representing a vine cooperative from Rwamagana, and Diogène Dusengimihigo from Nyarugenge, whose project is ICT-oriented.

The Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, appreciated the performance contracts signed by the youth and promised a sustainable support.

“The money to support your potential projects is available. We shall discuss with related sectors to see how to support your projects. We also plan to channel more funds through BDF to enable it support as many people as possible,” he said.

The other officials including the minister of youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengiyumva, the minister commerce and trade Francois Kanimba also pledged support for the youth with innovation and creativity.

First Lady urges Green Hills’ old students to be exemplary

It was an opportunity for the former students to network. The New Times/Courtesy.
THE First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, on Wednesday evening called upon old students of Green Hills Academy to lead by example.

While speaking during the launch of the Green Hills Academy alumni association, she urged the former students to always set good example for their young ones to follow.

She expressed gratitude towards the responsible individuals the former students have turned out to be.

“We are very proud of who you have become. You are not only legends but our future is in your hands. With this attitude, you will lead this country,” she said.

Mrs. Kagame further pledged to facilitate the alumni association while working together with the other board members of the school.

Alpana Mukherjee, the Principal of the school, said that through the alumni association, the old students will be able to celebrate together the exceptional growth of the school since its inception in 1997.

Joseph Byiringiro, a teacher who has been there since the school began, said he was very happy to see his old students as grownups with a lot of success stories.

The association will help reconnect the students, and help them reflect on what role they can play in further growth of the school.

So far, over 400 students have gone through the school since 2003.

Resist western injustice – Kagame

L-R: President Kagame (C), with Senate president Dr Jean Damascène Ntawukuliryayo (L), Speaker Rose Mukantabana (2nd R) and Premier Habumuremyi at the 10th Umushyikirano at the Parliamentary Buildings yesterday. The New Times/Village Urugwiro.
PRESIDENT Paul Kagame yesterday called on Rwandans and Africans in general to continually fight against western injustices.

A cross section of participants at the Umushyikirano at the Parliamentary Buildings yesterday. The New Times/Village Urugwiro.
He was opening the 10th annual National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura, which attracted participants from within and outside the country, including senior officials, local government leaders, members of the civil society, and ordinary Rwandans.

The President said that while fighting for one’s dignity might be costly, the price of accepting to be used as a tool was much higher.

“The more we seek peace and self reliance, the more resistance we face from those outside Rwanda. We must stand up for ourselves and refuse to be accused of crimes committed by the very same people who accuse us,” Kagame said in reference to a UN report of experts accusing Rwanda of backing a rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He added, “We are being accused of a crime in DRC that was committed long ago against Congolese but today is blamed on Rwanda. Crimes are committed against Congolese by others and Rwanda is blackmailed to take the blame.”

Kagame compared the accusations to a situation where someone kills a person and then dumps the body on the doorsteps of another person’s home.

“In the morning they teach us about human rights, in the evening they take away our rights and tell us to do as they say,” the President said at the event, which was broadcast live on the local TV and radio stations. Thousands of people followed the live streaming online. 

He accused world powers of manipulating international systems to serve their selfish interests, and reaching uninformed conclusions and taking decisions before commissioning sham inquiries to legitimise their narrative. 

“Agaciro (dignity) has a very huge cost, the more you struggle to achieve agaciro, the more resistance you face…but we must own our destiny, it cannot be determined by others. We will continue to push back, fight back while keeping a smile; but even with a smile, we say no.”

The President was making reference to a UN panel of experts which accused Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels in an addendum released in June, prompting several donor countries to freeze aid to Rwanda even before the release of the final report.

Rwanda has denied links with the rebels, and urged support for a regional initiative designed to find a lasting solution to recurrent conflict in eastern DRC.

But Kagame also faulted some African leaders whom he said abuse their power, a phenomenon that is quickly exploited by the continent’s detractors to further their smear campaign.

“African leaders have been defined as corrupt, dictators and expected to fit that definition,” the President added.

 “We must be seen to have sufficient anger against injustice done to us and demonstrate it in ways we deal with our problems.”

Kagame noted that while the majority of people in the west have good intentions, a few with ulterior motives made the loudest noise, which he said in the end influence public opinion in the west.

He questioned the rationale of deploying a $1.4 billion UN peacekeeping force in the Congo, with 20,000 troops, yet the international community continues to pressurise Rwanda to address the same issues for which the force was deployed.

“We have our own problems to deal with. If you want me to carry the burden of neighbours, pay me. You can’t pay others and ask me to do the job,” the President said to a thunderous applause.

The two-day event, held under the theme, “Agaciro: Aiming for self-sufficiency”, saw thousands of the youth at Petit Stade in Remera, Kigali, participate in the Dialogue via a video link.

As always, central and local government leaders in the hall were tasked to respond to queries raised through live call-ins, SMS and social networking sites Twitter and Facebook messages.

Some of the questions concerned inadequate market for local produce, universal health care (mutuelle de santé), energy, education, and access to public services.

At the Dialogue, Prime Minister Damien Habumuremyi highlighted the achievements hitherto registered since last year’s event, noting that previous resolutions had been implemented at over 90 per cent.

He also gave an overview of the achievements since the inaugural National Dialogue in 2003. “We have the opportunity to accelerate our development process,” the Premier said.

The Minister of Finance, John Rwangombwa, talked about major targets under the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) II, saying the country needed an annual growth of at least 11 per cent to reach the targeted GDP per capita of $1200 by 2020 – twice the current per capita.

Rwangombwa noted that the country’s exports tripled over the last five years.

François Rutayisire, a delegate from the Rwandan Diaspora from France, said the Dialogue was an important platform to chart the country’s future.

“You realise that we actually have solutions to most of the challenges we face as a country,” Rutayisire told The New Times.

Stipulated in article 168 of the Constitution, Umushyikirano is one of several homegrown initiatives devised in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The Dialogue continues today with discussions focusing on values of self-reliance, EDPRS 2, innovative financing mechanisms, strategic skills development and youth employment.

City moves to ease construction permit issuance

KIGALI City is finalising plans to make construction permit application and issuance done online in a project scheduled to be piloted next month.

This was revealed during the mini launch of the construction permit management information system (MIS) platform on Wednesday at Kigali.

The platform is currently being developed in collaboration with the World Bank’s lending arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The project Director Dr Donna Rubinoff said the project’s objective is to improve the doing business climate by making construction permits processed in a short period of time and to improve customer service.

Through the system, the entire process will be online including applying for construction permits, payment and issuing of permits.

Thomas Juma, the webmaster and software developer said the applicants will have to open the website and open an account, and then the process will begin by filling the username and password.

“The message section will allow the applicants to send the message to reviewers asking to know the progress of application or asking any other information, then the reviewers will reply.’’

Dr Rubinoff said there will be training facilities for the applicants to facilitate them learn how to use the system.

“When you want to make technological change, you have to change people’s behavior. The reason why we will engage in training and capacity building,” she said.

The Mayor of Kigali City Fidele Ndayisaba said it is a cumbersome process to deal with the applications and issuing of construction permits for both administration and applicants.

Currently, it takes 30 days for a construction permit to be processed and this has been an impediment towards doing business.

“It has been our belief that ICT is the best solution. This will help us reach our goal of excelling in service delivery and increase transparency,” Ndayisaba said.

Health professionals’ council in the pipeline

THE Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday passed a draft law establishing the Rwanda Allied Health Professions’ Council, after approving the report and work done by the Standing Committee on Social Affairs.

Many of these professionals operate without proper regulation. There has been no organ to regulate them
During an extraordinary session, MP Esperance Mwiza, the chairperson of the committee, reminded the House that apart from providing a necessary regulatory framework, the law is among instruments that will facilitate King Faisal Hospital-Kigali to undergo a second accreditation phase early next year.

The new assessment will be conducted by the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA), a South African-based NGO that helps healthcare facilities on the continent to meet and maintain quality standards.

Shortly after MPs passed the bill, Christine Ukize, a legal advisor in the Ministry of Health, told The New Times that the law is mainly important because it will help regulate the profession.

Ukize said: “Many of these professionals operate without proper regulation. There has been no organ to regulate them, know their number, where they operate from, their scope of practice and educational background, all of which are important to know.”

Ukize said some are already undergoing training abroad, and when they return, it will be good having a suitable legal framework in place.

“Even regional practitioners mainly from the EAC member states who come to work in Rwanda due to free movement of labor, must find a good regulatory framework,” he explained.

Allied health professions are healthcare professions distinct from dentistry, nursing, medicine, and pharmacy.

There are 21 categories recognized in the bill and among these are; anaesthetic technicians, audiologists, clinical technologists, dental therapists, dieticians, environmental health officers, hearing aid acousticians, nutritionists and oral hygienists among others.

They usually make up a big percentage of the total health workforce.

Daniel Ledama, a clinical psychologist who graduated from the National University of Rwanda (NUR), this year, welcomed the development.

Ledama told The New Times that: “This is actually good news. We need licensing as clinical psychologists so that we can be able to do private practice. Before, there was no institution to license clinicians,” he noted.

According to the legislation, in case one’s application is unsuccessful, he or she may seek recourse from the Chairperson of the Board of Directors in not more than 30 days from the date they were notified of the decision.

Apart from the allied health professions council bill, the others before parliament include those establishing three new councils; the pharmacy council, the medical and dental councils.

The three others included the drugs and food regulation bill and the Rwanda Biomedical Council (RBC) bills.

All these bills have been passed.

Local engineers lack professional body

An instructor at the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Kicukiro. Local engineers have decided to set up a legal professional body. The New Times/File.
LACK of a legally-binding professional body has been cited as the reason why local engineers missed out on the regional mutual recognition agreement signed between the East African Community countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

The agreement, which left out Rwanda and Burundi for lack of ‘professional conformity, seeks to help regional engineers by facilitating them to freely move and operate from any of the countries that signed the deal.

If Rwanda signs the agreement it means that local engineers will be allowed to explore the regional market and engineers from the member countries will have the rights to operate in Kigali without scrutinising of their academic credentials.

“We did not sign the agreement because we lacked the legal professional body. However, we will soon launch it, to enable us be party to the regional body,” Dismas Nkubana, the executive secretary of the association of engineers in Rwanda said.

He said that despite the fact that the association has been in place, it is yet to be recognised legally.

Nkubana said that the law regulating the establishment of such bodies was recently passed adding that they are now in the process of registering members who will form the body, and that deadline for registration is this week.

 “After putting the body in place we shall convene stakeholders meeting and invite our east African counterparts, after which we will formally request to sign the agreement,” he added.

Monica Rowena, an engineer at National Land Centre observed that Rwandans as citizens in the regional community should equally benefit from the integration process like the rest.

“I would also need to go and work in Nairobi or Kampala because the integration principle is all about competiveness meaning that we need to exercise our professions elsewhere in the region,” she said in an interview.

Cyuma Vuningoma a telecom engineer with MTN Rwanda said “it’s a good idea to move and share experience with others in the region but we cannot do it if we lack a national body that will guide us,” he said.

The agreement is seen as a developing factor to facilitate economic integration; increase availability of greater consumer choice of engineering services, increase opportunities for mutual learning and sharing regulatory experience.

DRC gov’t, M23 in closed door talks

PRELIMINARY negotiations between the DRC government and M23 rebels continued yesterday in closed sessions in Kampala, Uganda, with the facilitator and both sides consulting on the agenda of the talks.

Lt Col. Paddy Ankunda, Deputy Spokesman, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), said the two sides have for the last two days been deliberating on the rules of procedure and agenda of the talks.

“We hope that by the end of today (yesterday) this phase will be concluded and then meet tomorrow for the plenary that will endorse both items,” Ankunda said.

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) facilitator, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, Uganda’s Minister of Defence, mediated the sessions.

Both the Kinshasa and the M23 delegations have for the last few days treaded accusations, sometimes in the presence of journalists.

M23 delegation chief Francois Rucogoza said the security situation in the eastern Congo was down to the government’s refusal to recognise that “there are internal problems that need thorough diagnosis and treatment.”

“It is a consequence of poor governance,” Rucogoza said.

The government delegation is led by Foreign Affairs minister Raymond Tshibanda, who accused the rebels team of insulting the government in their opening statement.

The preliminary talks between the warring parties began a week after the M23 pulled back its fighters from the Congolese strategic towns of Goma and Sake under a regional arrangement that required President Joseph Kabila’s government to allow political talks.

The group was formed when hundreds of fighters deserted from the Congolese army early this year, accusing the government of reneging on a 2009 peace deal which had ended an earlier rebellion.

ICGLR, which is leading diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict, is a regional grouping composed of 12 countries.

Ivan Kagame, the First Son who prefers to do his laundry

Scroll through media and the stories you will find about children of presidents involve mainly
scandals. Some First Children are taken up by substance abuse and other anti-social vices. In the
case of Ivan Kagame and his siblings, the story reads differently.

For them, you will hear and read or watch them interviewed about what they are doing,
expectations. As the first born, Cyomoro finds himself in a very unusual position; the siblings
look up to him for guidance. He is particularly very close to Ange Kagame, the second born.

Publicly in Rwanda, Ivan Cyomoro Kagame is known as this handsome, slander and humble
looking young man! Without a conversation, you could underestimate him as being short of
words. But make no mistake; you will be in for a big surprise.

Those who know Ivan Kagame during his secondary school days say he is a very approachable
individual, and very polite as well. With his imposing height similar to an American basketball
player may keep you at bay as he looks over you. This is a typical fit with people of a like-
Ivan kagame with his family

Ivan Cyomoro completed part of his high school at one of the most prestigious schools in the
United States in May 2009. He later got enrolled to the prestigious military school of WEST

This institution boasts among its alumni some of the greatest military figures in American
history. Note though that Cyomoro was not accepted due to the influence of his Father as many
may misleadingly tend to think; he worked, and hard, for it.

It is on record that most of greatest officers who undertook studies at West Point had fathers who
had been great Generals before them. Case in point is General MacArthur. But when it comes to
Cyomoro, believe it or not, the lad was accepted from his own sweat, as goes the African saying.

Ivan Cyomoro was judged on his own merit. He is also the one who proposed to the family that
he would like to have a military background.

Despite the grinding drillings that go with the selection process at WEST POINT, which remains
a very selective military academy, cadet Cyomoro was among only 18 foreigners who made it.
He scored 99percent in ACADEMICS overall and passed all the PHYSICAL. Like they say, the
rest is history.

Images of Ivan Kagame

Ivan Cyomoro said to be that guy who would like to see things done as planned. It actually
said he sometimes wants to wash his clothes. Very often, he does the laundry for himself and
always leaves the surroundings around him neatly arranged.

Ivan Kagame became well-known during his Father’s campaign for 2010 Presidential elections,
when the President was contesting for another term to be Rwanda’s leader.

He stood by his Father’s side and was always seen jumping to the tunes like all the ordinary
people who had come in their thousands for the campaign rallies. At a distance, all were taken
aback by his notable height.

No matter how many view him, Cyomoro remains the simple guy who happens to be the
President’s son.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Rwanda : Questions Arise Over MTN Expert In Kayumba Nyamwasa Shooting Case

Questions arise over MTN expert in Kayumba Nyamwasa shooting case
A technical expert from MTN South Africa brought by state prosecutors in the assassination case of Kayumba Nyamwasa has been found to be questionable after it emerged today in court that much of her testimony may have been fabricated.
The witness is Ms. Hilda Du Plessis, a Data Analyst with MTN Group. Since it is alleged that the six suspects who tried to kill Kayumba had used phones to communicate, the witness was brought in to analyse the data on the phones obtained from the suspects. It is that evidence that she provided to the Jeppestown magistrate court in Johannesburg in the previous sessions presided over by Magistrate Stanley Mkhari.
However, when the court resumed today (November 30), and it was time for the defence attorneys to cross examine her, it emerged that much of what she has testified was made-up evidence. As the witness was being torn apart, Kayumba Nyamwasa watched unmoved, next to his son Mark, and several people who seemed to be his associates.
Witness not knowledgeable?
In a particular case, Ms Du Plessis confessed that she was not a qualified Engineer – suggesting she did not have the knowledge to be able to analyse phone data. The witness also admitted that she does not have the technical knowledge specifically on the frequency of towers and only relied on training she received from MTN.
In her original testimony, the witness said the phone towers around where Kayumba was shot at, had picked up signal from the phones of the accused because they were within the fixed 5km radius. However, it emerged in court today that the phone towers can pick signals from phones as far as 50km away.
Using analysis from telecommunications experts, the defense also informed the court that a person can make a call in Johannesburg and if the nearest tower is busy, then the next tower can automatically pick a signal, and that this can be 60 kilometres away.
In the original testimony, Ms Du Plessis was linking particular phones to each of the six suspects by name. However, when she was asked how she found out that phones actually belonged to the suspects, the MTN witness said no voices had been recorded. Ms Du Plessis also added that to her, the evidence presented was only numbers, but that they were linked to the suspects by the South African State prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams.
No records of conversations
For example, she was asked by one of the defence advocates how she knew that a particular phone number belonged to Accused 5 (Hemedi Denego Sefu). Ms Du Plessis responded that she had been given the information by State prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams.
In yet another setback for the prosecution, the defence complained in court that it had not received the section 205 subpoena to “exhibit DD DD”, which is the phone number – allegedly belonging to Pascal Kanyandekwe. He is the suspect whom the prosecution claims funded the assassination plot, and that he tried to bribe police officers with a US$1million offer – which they refused, and instead arrested him.
Section 205 subpoena refers to a document that was used by prosecution and defence to request for permission to analyse the phones of the accused. The phones were in possession of police as it is detectives who allegedly recovered them from the suspects.
The defense also complained that they did not receive section 205 subpoena to “exhibit FF FF”, the phone SIM card allegedly belonging to Sady Adouu – one of the six suspects.
More controversy
More controversy emerged from the MTN witness’ original testimony. Ms Du Plessis was also asked today to clarify what she meant when she said in her original testimony that Accused 5 (Hemedi Denego Sefu) was speaking to Accused 4 (Richard Bachisa) at a given time of the shooting on June 19, 2010.
She responded that ‘Conversations were not recorded and there were no records for conversations’. The MTN witness said that she may point to the conversations, but does not know “what was being talked about”.
As per the deduction of the defense advocate: When Ms Du Plessis said that Accused 5 (Hemedi Denego Sefu) was in conversation with Accused 4 (Bachisa), it might as well be that it was Accused 1 (Amani Aruwani) who was talking to Accused 2 (Hassani Hoamedi Nduli) since you cannot tell who was in conversation with who by merely using the numbers.
Anger in court
In other damning evidence, the advocate pointed that in exhibit LL LL (phone belonging to Isa Mohamed), the MTN witness originally said that Accused 5 (Hemedi Denego Sefu) and Accused 4 (Richard Bachisa) were in conversation with this number, when in fact she cannot tell who was in conversation with whom.
The advocate said: “Instead of implying that Accused 5 (Hemedi Denego Sefu) was in conversation with Accused 6 (Kanyandekwe), she should have said such number 078……was calling such number 076….”
With this level of contradictions merely 30minutes into the opening of the session, the magistrate called both the defense and prosecution to decide another sitting. The three sides agreed that the case be reopened on January 14-18, 2013, and would continue in May 06-17, 2013.
Our correspondent in court says that when the magistrate announced the new dates, there was open hostility on court from the suspects who say they have been in custody for too long. Kayumba Nyamwasa rushed out of the courtroom from the backdoor with state prosecutor Abrahams.
Back in the court, the six suspects refused to stand up from their benches, bitterly complaining that the case was unnecessarily dragging on. The families of the accused also said they were getting fed up of having to supply food to the accused.

Rwanda | Gicumbi: Local Leaders Rise To Fight Illiteracy Among Adults

 Local leaders rise to fight illiteracy among adults
An old man writing on the black board as the rest of the class looks on
The vice mayor for social affairs in Gicumbi district, Therese Mujawamariya has remarked that fighting illiteracy is opening the gates to residents’ sustainable development.
Mujawamariya revealed this on November 28th 2012 during the meeting to devise modern techniques in teaching the elderly how to read, write and count.
Julienne Uwamahoro in charge of education explains that adult education in this area has not been done in a disorganized manner without supervision to know which level this group or that has reached.
Uwamahoro highlights that general supervision of teaching guides will ensure improved teaching system.
“General supervision will ensure that adults study well, do same exams in Gicumbi district and know the level of understanding they have attained.
This will be beneficial to the adults who have learnt how to read, write and count and to the development of the district at large.
This is because after fighting illiteracy, residents will do different projects and develop socially and economically.

USAID impressed with Rwanda’s progress on fighting HIV

USAID impressed with Rwanda’s progressThe Director of the Office of East African Affairs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Susan Fine, has said that Rwanda has made tremendous progress in fighting HIV/Aids and USAID is proud to partner with Rwanda in these efforts.
“It is exciting to witness Rwanda’s impressive progress in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and I want to encourage us all – the Government of Rwanda, NGOs, health professionals, communities, and individuals – to renew our efforts this World AIDS Day to preventing the spread of HIV and caring for those living with HIV/AIDS in our communities” Fine remarked.
Fine made the remarks during her visit to Rwanda, this December 1, 2012, on World AIDS Day. During her visit, Fine toured ROADS II project site in Rusizi where she was able to learn more about the project’s efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS amongst Rwanda’s most at-risk populations.
Regional Outreach Addressing AIDS through Development Strategies—is a USAID-supported health project which seeks to holistically address the causes of HIV/AIDS amongst vulnerable populations including: commercial sex workers, low-income women, as well as mobile groups like truck drivers and fisherman.
The project is a five-year, $14.9 million project implemented by FHI360, and operating in five communities throughout the country, chosen for their high percentage of transient populations. The project sites include: Kigali City, Gatuna, Bugarama, Rusizi, and Gisenyi.
Ms. Fine also visited the Gihundwe Health Center and the Budike Landing Site on Lake Kivu in the western province of Rwanda, allowing her to see the project’s integration of clinical health services, peer education, and economic strengthening activities in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the foreign assistance agency of the United States Government. USAID supports $150 million of development assistance annually to Rwanda, with programs in health, economic development, education, and democracy and governance.
Rwanda has stepped up efforts to prevent new HIV infections to achieve the 2015 global target of zero new infections and government has put in place several initiatives to ensure a 0% record of new infections by 2015- such as the circumcision campaign, we would reduce new infections by 50%.
Other areas of focus have been seen in containing the HIV incidents that lead to new infections mainly in some target groups like the commercial sex workers of whom the HIV/AIDS prevalence is 51% and campaigns to ensure a reasonable reduction in the transmission of Mother to Child Infections.
Rwanda’s HIV/AIDS prevalence is 3% an equivalent of about 400,000 people from 7% in 2002 when the government set up measures to address the issue of HIV/Aids at a large scale by involving communities and local leaders.

Rwanda | Ngoma: Leaders vow to increase health insurance

Different cell leaders and health insurance officials have agreed that health insurance coverage in Ngoma district must be 100 percent by the end of 2012. 
This was resolved on November 26th 2012 at district headquarters during the meeting of health officials and cell leaders with providence Kirenga, the vice mayor for social affairs in Ngoma district.
The purpose of the meeting was to devise new measures of sensitizing residents to embrace the health insurance program and ensure security within the area.
The vice-mayor asserted that apart from it being a must for every Rwandan to have mutuelle de santé, every resident should just sit comfortably without health insurance.
“Though we have always been concerned with raising the coverage to 91 percent, it is has to change because the lives of 9 percent people will be at stake. The issue of health insurance brings discomfort especially when a resident without it falls sick,” he remarks.
However, local leaders reveal that residents are battling with poverty which is the biggest hindrance to embracing the health insurance program.
“We are set to work with SACCO so that residents get money and socially develop. Also, all cooperatives must secure health insurance for their members before they qualify to get loans,” explains one of the cell executive secretaries present.
Ngoma district has 61 percent of health insurance coverage but hope to have 100 percent coverage in one month’s time.

Rwanda | Ngoma: Residents urged to prevent malaria outbreak

The director of Ngoma Hospital, Dr William Namanya has asked residents to prevent themselves from malaria, which is on the raise according to the medical reports from different health posts in this place.
 This follows after laboratory tests revealed that 13000 people in Ngoma district have suffered from malaria in the past 10 months.
 Dr. Namanya explains that this is a big number of people saying measures should be taken to sensitize residents on sleeping under mosquito nets to prevent malaria.
 Talking on why malaria is on increase, Dr William asserts: “Residents relax and forget all about preventive measures when there is no malaria. Some people have mosquito nets but are keeping them.”
The most malaria affected people are the residents in sectors that neighbor swamps and lakes.
 Community health workers revealed some of the homes that have no mosquito nets and the advocacy will be done to avail treated mosquito nets to them in addition to spraying their houses, narrates Dr William.
 Another problem is that some people hang mosquito nets above their beds but never sleep in them complaining they are hot.
 Kibungo hospital is facing a challenge of patients that are brought ill to this place without medical insurance, which impacts loss to the hospital.
 Kibungo district has made up to Rwf9 million over patients without health insurance since Ngoma district is at 61 percent health insurance coverage.
 The vice mayor of Ngoma district, Providence Kirenga asserts that local leaders have been asked to ensure that all residents get mutual health insurance 100 percent before 2012 ends.

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