Date of Transmission7 December 1993
Name of TapeC7/K 95
SourceMinistry of Information
Prosecution ExhibitP.36/8
Name of TranslatorWellars Mugabo
Date of Translation21 August 1997
Original PDF

R.T.L.M. Tape 0144

Side A

Speaker: Kantano HABIMANA, Journalist for R.T.L.M.

…he finally said that he would receive us tomorrow in the following words: thank you, Rwandans, for kidding me. And now we are awaiting the explanations he will give us. But, Gahigi, the problems related to ethnicity are too obvious. Even here at the hotel, in a few minutes ago, people tried to assault the Radio Rwanda car on board which we came.

Speaker: Gaspard GAHIGI, Editor-in-Chief of R.T.L.M.

Assaulted by whom?

Speaker: Kantano HABIMANA

Assaulted by people who are unhappy with it. Few minutes ago—

Speaker: Gaspard GAHIGI

Which people? Why don’t you tell us who they are since you are a journalist? Kantano answers:

Speaker: Kantano HABIMANA

People do not, eh, they are some people; right now we have hidden the car (Gahigi comments): Then you do not want to reveal their identities?

Speaker: Kantano HABIMANA

A few minutes ago, the deputies who were to arrive here from the Kayanza road failed to reach destination because there is no security there. It seems that people have blocked the road, Therefore, if insecurity continues, maybe we won’t be able to pass tomorrow. However, some have managed to come by plane.

Speaker: Gaspard GAHIGI

Kantano, I would like to ask you a question because time flies. At those ceremonies, did you see any military there? How did they behave? Did the members of the famous group attend the ceremonies? How were they? They are the ones who staged the coup d’état?

Speaker: Kantano HABIMANA

Regarding the military, Major Buyoya and his wife were there. Bagaza also came to the Church for a while, but he did not attend the reception. But the one who amazed us is Bikomagu. He brought a bunch of flowers in his capacity as the Army Chief of Staff. He was holding it together with the Gendarmerie Chief of Staff They came marching and people started whispering to each other saying, “That is the famous Bikomagu.”

Speaker: Gaspard GAHIGI

Were they dressed in military uniform?

Speaker: Kantano HABIMANA

Yes, together with their ranks.

Speaker: Gaspard GAHIGI

Is there any final word you would tell the R.T.L.M. listeners?

Speaker: Kantano HABIMANA

The final word is that we were especially curious to see Mr. Bikomagu and he has just said that he would receive us tomorrow at 7:30 AM in Muha military camp where President Ndadaye was killed. We will ask him a lot of questions so that tomorrow evening, if I’m lucky, I’ll come and tell about them in full. Right now, I do not tell you about them in full due to lack of time.

Speaker: Gaspard GAHIGI

So we wish you a safe trip back to Rwanda.

Speaker: Kantano HABIMANA

R.T.L.M. listeners, have a nice evening and you too, R.T.L.M. employees. See you tomorrow.

Speaker: Gaspard GAHIGI

See you.

The time is 8:51 in our studio. There was a press conference that was held in Hotel des Diplomates yesterday evening. A word was said there which has personally satisfied me. It was pronounced by Bishop Chipenda from Angola. He said that those procedures often carried out by groups of people sitting together and concluding accords on power-sharing he mentioned the case of Mozambique, Angola and I would add Arusha—do not constitute democracy. As is always defined, democracy is the power given by the people and working for the people. Therefore when people put themselves together, sit down and share the power, that is no democracy because if democracy is the power given by the population, we feel that those people are not mandated by the population. When they say that there are special questions, let’s share the power and solve those problems and finally return the power to the owner--the latter being the population, It is not often the case because people who come to power in that way, do not want to let go of it and return it to the owner. This is especially so because the owners of the power do have the necessary strength—yes, they have the strength, but they do not know how to use it to seize the power from those who took it. That is why when you hear that people have sat down and shared the power, very often you hear that they call that situation “a transition” and you see that they often want to make it broad-based. This results in a difficult situation based on the Arusha Peace Accords: People said that R.P.F. attacked Rwanda with the aim of coming to power; there are members of the Opposition who want the power themselves; there are also those who were holding it; let’s sit down and share it. So, they sat down and shared it among themselves and they said: here is the broad-based transitional government. One wonders: when will the population be given their power so that they could give it themselves to whom they want? This is a problem. Because this was said by a bishop, I feel I could say something on the role of the church towards bringing democracy in our Africa because we see that the Church plays a role in today’s political events where people seize power and monopolize it while the church has said that it always sides with the weak, the masses, the destitute whom it should defend by rendering what is referred to as social justice. We therefore feel that the Catholic, Protestant Churches, and all the other Churches have a significant role to play in trying to see how countries could be well-run, in a democratic way, This is all the more so since I feel that the priests, the pastors and all religious people are not only concerned with the soul, but also with the body of the people as well as the social justice. The last phrase is theirs, so they must help the population to gain back their power and subsequently entrust it to whom they want, I do not know whether you are familiar with what is called “intelligence.” Evidence has emerged that the Vatican--i.e. the Catholic Church--has the best intelligence services according to what I hear in the history of intelligence services. Also, it seems it would have the best intelligence services all over the world which are far better than the American CIA, FBI, the Russian KGB, the French DGSE, and the Israeli MOSSAD. It is said that the Holy See has got the best intelligence service. This is due to the fact, we should not refrain from saying it, that the priests know all sorts of people. They know them well. The population provides them with information about people. The authorities themselves reveal information about the people they know. Their investigation goes even lower. Most intelligence services limit themselves to towns and villages, the churches’ intelligence --I cited the Vatican, but the same goes for all churches--reaches the towns, the authorities, and branches off into the hinterland up to the plain peasant--that is what I would call them. They know them. They know all sorts of people from the ordinary peasant in the countryside replete with birds and animals. The church men know all those people: they know the bad elements, the good ones, the killers, the betrayers, the wicked. Therefore, the Church must help the population not to promote the greedy, the criminals and the betrayers. If the Church truly believes that it is its responsibility to defend the weak, this means that it must also help not to promote people that will decimate the population, people that are killers, criminals and betrayers. We therefore feel that the Church has a role to play in all what is taking place. We even think that the Church should help the population by backing them up to recover the power from those who take it by force, those who usurp it pretending to have it on behalf of the population, thus causing the elections to take place and teaching the population to choose carefully. So the population would elect appropriate authorities instead of having people continue capturing and exercising power on behalf of the population while the latter has no role to play in that exercise. We really think that the press conference that was held at the Hotel des Diplomates in Kigali has led to recommendations that we commend; we therefore believe that the Church should not keep silent and let the power usurpers continue oppressing the population; rather, the Church should really side with the poor, the weak and then help them elect their authorities. As criticism must go both ways, the church also should not be seen taking sides; it should rather look for the truth. It should not stand up because this or that is said about it; it should rather stand up for the actual truth, the social welfare for the population; it should stand up for the setting up of authorities that are convenient for the population and appointed by the population through elections. The Church should therefore do its best so that a good climate is restored in our country, a climate that doesn’t aim at feeding the greedy, one aiming at the recovery of power by the people to entrust it to whom they want afterwards, I remember that it was once said in the history of the church that the authorities stand for God himself. It means that they have to be active; God is not greedy, so the Church has the responsibility of finding for the weak masses authorities that truly represent God. Such authorities would not be greedy, thieves or killers and then the Church would play a role in their selection so that the authorities could really stand for God according to the words of the Church.

You know where the transitional government has taken us; you know that. In any case, those who are reasonable know very well that it has led us onto the brink of collapsing because people are no longer working, people are looting; it is not the population that is looting, but those who call themselves “authorities.” I personally confirm that it is not the population who are looting, but those who call themselves representatives of the population in the administration. Because those who consider themselves as the Government’s senior or junior officials do not work any longer. Those who report to work, it is a mere formality. They go and return home, saying that it is a transitional period, so they go back home when they have had the courage to come; there are some who do not even so much as go but remain at home. There are others who report to work, but do not get any job due to the current party practices whereby following the power sharing, this or that ministry belongs to this or that party. An employee who was formerly working there is subsequently dismissed on the grounds that he/she is not a follower of the party that has won this or that ministry. So they tell him: since you are not a follower of our party, sit down, you do not have any job. They sow confusion among the employees. You come, but because you do not bear the party cap, they refuse to give you files to deal with. When you are registered with a ministry of your party, you say it is your party, no one will ask you for explanation, so you leave your coat on the chair and you go away; and you are considered to be working. The situation is very regrettable. Today people do misbehave. People say: we are going to “liberate” the marshes, the roads. Suddenly you see that a plot is given where it should not; you see someone suddenly erect a house in the road; you see that another one puts it where he pleases. In short, things have got disorganized; I don’t know where we shall stop them.

Now I would like to inform you that--once I told you that I will tell you about the song entitled “Letter to the General Director,” I therefore thank a man called Haguma working with MINITRANSCO who has just brought it to me and I will let you listen to it after the song of a peasant named Ngirabagenza Jean Marie Vianney, from Rutare commune. The song discusses the way the transitional period is run: people are looting; people are no longer attending to their usual duties; the country is gradually falling into sheer poverty. There is a man called Franco who renamed himself Luambo Malciadi at the time of the Zairian Revolution. That man called Franco put himself in the place of the population and wrote to the administration of the transitional Government, he wrote to the Director General saying: Director General, you are a human being, when you were still a student, you used to say that you’ll change things at the speed of an airplane, Now you are occupying the post of the Director General, you have forgotten your initial principles; the files are heaped in front of you up to your head; you are sleepy because you spent the night moving in search of girls. Therefore, Director General, one doesn’t tie their goat beside a bad one; when you started, you had good objectives and now see how you manage the public affairs. I will thus have you listen to the song and maybe I will say something about it again, but I don’t feel it is necessary, it is in Lingala that can be easily made out, and for those who do not speak Lingala, there is a lot of French in it; you can follow the French words alone. However, that man called Luambo Malciadi seems as if he put himself in the place of the population, and he wrote a long letter to the Director General as follows: this is how you manage the public affairs; your studies are useless; instead of helping the population develop, you take them backwards into poverty. In this country, we have also educated people we can write to. We can call them Directors General and we ask them what they are doing against eh country. The first people we would write to are those were put in charge of the Savings Fund of Rwanda. Recently, they suddenly said that the Savings Fund had gone bankrupt. They said that the thing to be done urgently was to give the money back to the people, which would be a good thing indeed, if one could ask those in charge this question. What the devil has caused the Savings Fund to go bankrupt? They are educated and responsible for the management of that fund; what is behind that bankruptcy? What caused them to fail since they are educated and have the authority and power to punish? What brought the Savings Fund to go bankrupt?

Now let’s write to those in charge of the transition, it is true that the Savings Fund has gone bankrupt, you are an educated person and an educated person is characterized by having long-term plans. Have you ever examined where you will reassign the employees that were working with the Savings Fund? Have you ever asked yourself where those employees will be reassigned? Are those employees responsible for the bankruptcy? If you fire them, do you think that you will be congratulated on your management studies while you do not even know to how to manage human resources? We therefore feel that educated people should feel ashamed of saying that this or that has happened and fail to foresee its consequences. You say that if the Savings Fund has gone bankrupt, give the money back to the people. And as there is no money available, the Government will pay for it, Even if the money is paid, those employees --because there some employees who have performed well at the Savings Fund-- are not the ones who have misused the money; it is clear there are some employees who worked diligently; and then you say that this or that employee should be fired while in fact they are not the ones to be blamed for mismanagement as they have performed well. We think that is not fair. And the letter we are going to address the Director General, we are going to target the Savings Bank authorities, and even all the authorities because all those things are discussed in the Cabinet’s meeting. The government represents the people. We, the population, have the right to write to it and ask the following: you were quick to liquidate the savings Bank, why have not we heard about any of your quick action to recover the recover the debts owed to the Savings Bank? Let me remind you that people owe the Savings Bank an amount equal to 900 million, I think. No, I think it is maybe RWF 9 million 8 hundred thousand. Or it is in billion, I do not have the exact figure; I will check soon. I think that the debt amounts to 9 billion 8 hundred million. Nobody has ever tried to rush to recover that money from the debtors. We therefore feel that such a situation is not acceptable. As Luambo Makiadi says, the letter we should send to those authorities, they should understand that they are not managing the country’s property accurately and it is their responsibility to manage it; if they are educated, they have become so for the interests of the population, therefore they must run the country adequately. I would like to have you listen to the song, that letter the population sent to the people in charge of the country, especially those in charge during the transition. I personally dedicate this song to them.

Luambo Makiadi wrote a letter to the Directors General, saying: You directors general--I too seem to be addressing those in charge of the transitional government because, as I told you, this song is dedicated to those in charge of the transitional government—, then he says: you who are the authorities of the transitional government, do not put the blame on me, I have never heard of anyone born Director general or an administrator; you become an administrator for you to work in the interests of the population; then do work for them. In that letter, he adds the following: Honorable Directors General, Honorable authorities of the transitional Government, do work for the interests of the country and not your selfish interests. That is, I believe, the kind of lesson one would draw from the letter Luambo wrote to the Directors General, but he appeared to do it in the name of the entire population saying: Honorable Directors General, stop working for your own bellies, and work for the interests of the country. Besides, no one was Director General, and one is appointed to the position so that they can work for the country. Indeed, one becomes an authority to lead the population and not to mislead them nor misappropriate their property. This the lesson we can take from this long letter that Luambo wrote to the leaders. We too at the R.T.L.M. we addressed it to the leaders of the transitional government telling them: if one could stop looting the public property, things would go right because misappropriation of property has gone too far during the transitional government. I do not think that, as people say, even the good administrators will find anything left.

You who were listening to this song, I greet you. But I warn you that you should be cautious especially you who are preparing to marry each other. So do not rush when you see a gazelle move around, nor should you grow wings when you see well-built girls. I would like you to be careful because you can love a girl while she is loved by someone else. That is why I dedicate this song to you. Those who want to get married in town areas should be careful because you may love someone while she is loved by someone else or you may love him/her while they do not love you.

There are also other issues. There is also the crucial problem of the cell members. The cabinet meeting has convened today and is discussing the issue. Those who are complicating the problem still block it; that is how matters stand. The cabinet meeting is therefore discussing the issue of the cell members and we should wait for the outcome. But we told you that the issue had caused a lot of turmoil, and we have a man called Ntawutagiripfa Jean, commonly known as “Congolese,” who was the first cell member to ask that question. At the moment, the Cabinet meeting is examining their problem, “Congolese”—Ntawutagiripfa commonly called “Congolese”-- says: My fellow cell members, our question demonstrates that some authorities and even the parties’ representatives are competing for administrative posts and their aim is not to help the population develop, but rather to oppress them. He poses a question: what problem does the remuneration for the cell members cause to any authority as regards what he is entitled to? What I would ask my fellow cell members, “Congolese” continues to say, is to not lose heart and betray the majority population they work for because it is now clear that what those administrators do results from orders taken from the known enemy of the country who is constantly decimating the majority population.

Speaker: Kantano HABIMANA

Shortly after the burial of His Excellency Ndadaye, the Tutsi did not approach the roadside, they were observing from far away. There are also FRODEBU followers dressed in T-shirts bearing NDADAYE’s photo. They were on line where the military and the other high-ranking officials passed accompanying NDADAYE’s coffin. One does wonder: where will that situation lead? In any case, it is clear that the problem based on ethnic lines has become crucial. I asked some of the government’s civil servants how they worked. At night, the Tutsi are moving around on night patrols; then during day time, they cannot work because they sleep. As for the Hutu, they spent the night in the bushes or change houses, so they sleep uncomfortably. Furthermore, they have been mourning their president so that they could not go to work. In Burundi, there has been more than a month without working. In the meantime—which is understandable because it is always the case in a place where there is anarchy--highway bandits from all ethnic groups have come into existence and they have all sorts of pretexts to assault people, When you fall into a group of outlawed Tutsi, you die. Similarly, when you fall into a group of Hutu who have constituted themselves as policemen and something like that, you are killed as well That trend of banditry that has come into being in Bujumbura is another thing that worries the population because they do not know very well who those bandits are. Thus, this is a serious source of concern for the Bujumbura residents.

In the countryside in areas where we have been able to pass, people in provinces such as Kayanza have resumed their activities--the occupation for the peasants is agriculture, But, there are Tutsi refugees, I saw them eh… where did I see them? I do not remember well, I do not see the place very well, but it is a place when you have passed Kayanza near a place called Bugarama, there are Tutsi refugees sheltered in classrooms and guarded by the military. Obviously, the Hutu refugees have taken refuge beyond the Akanyaru River. But when you look around, you can see that people visit each other, offering beer to each other to the point that you can see that life is returning to normalcy. On the roadside, there are no houses damaged, apart from the fact that people start coming back timidly wondering what the situation is. In short, that is the situation prevailing in Bujumbura and in the countryside where we could pass by.

Soon we’ll get to Bikomagu. Right now, I am telling you about the situation in Bujumbura, Minutes ago, we were talking about the situation prevailing in Bujumbura and in the countryside. I told you that in Bujumbura, just like Rwandans, when a Burundian asks his fellow, “What is the news?” the other answers “the news is good,” but when you observe carefully, you find out that there is something hidden behind especially that, when you bear in mind there is no authority, you conclude that the situation is critical.

As for the power--before we get to Bikomagu--, starting from Bujumbura, the administration has been seriously affected. The ministers are no longer working in their offices, but in the Tanganyika Hotel. There they are guarded by the French.

Just to see how Bikomagu is cunning, they do not approach the hotel, but they have dug holes behind the Hotel so that when the French military go to ensure protection to the remaining Burundian ministers, the Burundian military come to jointly guard them. There is even a warship in the lake. So, when you come to think of it, one cannot know whether the French are protecting the Government or the French are guarded by the Burundian military. You can see that those people are hopeless. As regards the multinational force, you listen to Bikomagu talking about the issue, he is not supportive of the idea because he often says that he does not see what that force can do. Very often, he comes back to the word “government,” “government.” Then there is the government issue: the Prime Minister says, “Go out and join your ministries. But see where the trouble is: let me start with the example of Sylvestre NTIBANTUNGANYA. Now he has become the interim President of FRODEBU party, thus succeeding late President Ndadaye. He is now the Minister of Foreign Affairs. But remember that 50 military were sent to look for that Sylvestre Ntibantunganya. When they missed him, they cried a lot saying: “it is not possible; we had to get him even if we had to miss all the others.” Then they went away. When they came back to check whether he had been back, they missed him again. So they killed his wife and another neighbor woman. Then they went away filled with sadness. Even if he is moving alive, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya--he is that Hutu you would even recognize in the dark--is afraid. Not because they fear that he could become the President of the Republic—it is said he is a suitable candidate for that position—but he is afraid because those who send those military to kill him are still there. Those who came to hunt him down are still there; none of those who killed his wife has been arrested. That is why, at the burial ceremony, he said: You too my wife, farewell. It is as if he were saying: “This coffin was mine, I was the one to be in it, and so you sacrificed yourself for me.” How do you think he can work? His heart would be peaceful if he could know that those who murdered his wife are arrested and if those who ordered the murder of his wife were arrested. Now then, the government has split into two sides. As the whole issue is centered on ethnicity, Sylvie Kinigi tries to play the card of her ethnic group because she is also afraid of the military. Even if they are her brothers, she fears them because they are the ones who have power. She therefore tries to side with her ethnic group, it is obvious. The others also remain skeptic about her wondering why she does not arrest some of her brothers and put them in prison. Also, each side fears that what has been discussed in the meeting is disclosed to the others so that no decisions are made, As a result, the power weakens gradually so that it will hardly stabilize. There are even those who say this. “The maker of this government was Ndadaye, he was the mediator. Now that he is no longer there, it is better that all this collapses and we start some new order, Who would put in place that new order as the army is still the same and keeps an oppressive control over them?” This is the real problem, but there is also another problem in the government: the problem of Palipehutu. As people believe in Burundi, they say that if, instead of the Frodebu, the Palipehutu party had been officially approved, and it would have taken advantage of the votes of the Frodebu party. Now people say that if the Frodebu is experiencing problems, is not this an opportunity for the Palipehutu party to take positions or to say that it is time for them to join the government now that the profiteers have gone? Therefore, even if you put aside the problem of ethnicity, there remains a problem of political parties. Because people say this: those who were against Palipehutu should change the Constitution to allow Palipehutu to join the Government. The Frodebu followers who had already started to see the ‘national cake’ come closer to them—the rule of greed is found everywhere and what we observe in Rwanda is also traceable in Burundi--feel also at a loss. This is also a source of concern. And as I discussed with…

End of Tape.