By Antoine Nyetera
ARUSHA –All Rwandans in general, and Tutsis, in particular, are liars from childhood! However, it is not just any type of lying as the rest of the world know it as telling lies.
For Rwandan Tutsis, lying is more than telling lies – It is a science; their culture; a way of life!
The culture of lying – telling lies – is called Ubwenge in Rwanda.
Rwandans know how the founding herald of the Nyiginya dynasty said he had come down from heaven. This myth was propagated in all strata of society, in order to differentiate itself from ordinary people.
Tutsi children were taught from an early age to disguise, to conceal; never say what they thought; – this does not mean that they shouldn’t answer the question put to them, without revealing the truth, they would simply say that they don’t know or would lie outright; saying the opposite of what they know or of what they thought. Cross-dressing and concealing are qualities recognised in them.
A Tutsi – whether a descendant of the royal lineage or not, creates a personal myth for himself. He tries to surround himself with an impenetrable mystery; never reveal his thoughts to anyone, especially a stranger. The stranger to him is anyone who is not a family member or friend.
For instance, when two people meet on the way, especially if they do not know each other or if they are not real friends, one will ask the question of routine among Rwandans: where are you going? Where do you come from?
The answer will automatically be: “I don’t know where I’m going here in front, or else I don’t know where I’m coming from there behind us.”
No more questions will be asked on this subject. The conversation will revolve around other topics. Even in the other subjects one of the interlocutors will say, for example; “at this moment I was on the way, I do not know where I was going, I do not know who I met who told me this or that! The account will be correct but never say who said this or that.
To ensure the good education of a child in the sense of not telling the truth and concealment, we will ask the following question: ” Little one, what did you eat or what did you eat?” at home? “The child who has not been” educated ‘will say;” we ate this or that. While the ‘educated’ good will say: I do not know. It is the opposite of a European who says aloud what he ate yesterday or during a party, even without being asked.
There is no secret in eating, because we eat from anywhere – home or outside.
A child was taught never to pronounce his name in front of anyone, especially to a stranger, if the child seeks to know why, no will tell him that a child who pronounces his name will no longer grow. He will also not have to pronounce the names of his father and mother. Even adults who meet on the way greet each other without ever saying their names. If one might ask the other for the name, the other will respond with a question “Why are you asking me this question?” It is the opposite of a European who presents his hand to you by naming himself.
We will always wonder about the why of this lie or this mental restriction? Simply so as not to reveal yourself in front of anyone, because you never know. Usually a Tutsi will never tell you who his friend or enemy is. You never know. Lying and concealment are in a way a protection of oneself or of the group to which one belongs. To each question, the Tutsi stares at his interlocutor, scrutinises his thoughts and gives a vague – imprecise answer, which lets you guess what you want. When it comes to any authority, the first idea is to protect yourself or your own or your group. You never know! You never know, because Rwandans have always lived in terror and insecurity, they always expected a misfortune which would come from the authority or from another person who would seek to harm them. When it comes to a foreigner asking questions, one must first know where he comes from and why he is asking questions. We are on our guard. We cannot answer him, but we give him an answer that goes in the direction of the interlocutor.
The free expression of the individual or the protection of his rights must necessarily take into account the interests of the group. This way of thinking has repercussions on the political situation.
“Unlike the West, the truth does not bind the judge and is not even a goal of justice. Individual opinion remains entirely subordinate to the interests of the group. Justice is not to give everyone what they are due, but to restore social harmony, respect the social hierarchy and the established rules. Thus the family, the clan, the tribe are a whole of which each member is only a part.
“The relationship with authority imposes another vision of truth. A use of the truth for its own interests. The truth is that which comes closest to the opinion of the chief. We do not testify against any authority, we always try to be of the opinion of the authority; the poor will always lose in the process which opposes him to the leader or even to his influential.
“The opponent is an enemy; because the latter preaches ideas contrary to the ideas of the leader. There is not even a place for abstention, because there has to be a position. The term apolitical has no place in the Rwandan mentality; you have to be for this or against that. Caution is required; this will lead to duplicity with regard to authority. The good truth is the very one which does not harm interests. The major interest is to be of the opinion of the authority, parental or political.”
The open opposition to an existing or received order is called revolt, therefore a crime of lèse-majesté, and repression will follow. This is what happened to the Hutus who dared to denounce who denounced the injustices exercised against them in their Manifesto in 1957 calling for the equitable sharing of the national heritage; these Hutus were accused of rebels insurgent against the royal authority, and so enemies of the country.
Charles Ntampaka – Editor Dialogue, 221 March-April 2001
Richard Kandt, the first civilian resident of Rwanda during the German colonial period, discovered very early on this education in lies and concealment, made his observations in his work published in 1921 in Berlin:
“… If he (the foreigner, especially the European) asks for mountain, said the chiefs to their subjects, indicate to him the fields which it carries on its slopes; if he asks for rivers, show him the oxen that drink there; if he asks for huts, look at the banana trees that shade them. Lie, lie, and lie. It is your strength”
“… their lie is the unconscious transposition of this charming and – among a Negro people – surprising game of guessing, by which, as children, they were already careful to animate their sociability;
“The lie does not offend the moral conceptions among the Tutsi, because it is for them a way not devoid of nobility to compete between two intelligences, tournament in which the vanquished is not dishonoured by defeat …”
Chalux also observed that lying among the Tutsi is not considered a fault, but a skill. It’s a gift! ”
Thirty years later, Paul Dresse, former Administrator of territory, published pointed out in his work published in 1940. I quote:
“The Batutsi are distinguished by a keen concern for apparent dress.
“To represent,” to make a beautiful and noble figure through everything… This disposition certainly has its good sides: it develops self-control, and the Mututsi must know how to control himself in anger. But it also promotes duplicity and this is what makes this race one of the most lying under the sun. ”
He adds: “It follows from these insights that the Batutsi are born diplomats. They will be circumspect in their words to the point that, if you ask one of them about a fact that he knows perfectly well, you may see him pass the question on to his neighbour, the better to give himself time to prepare his reply. However, the art of deception is not a purely verbal matter. The face, the whole countenance must support the beautiful artifice of the speech. This is why the Batutsi are master actors, able to compose the physiognomy for the occasion, and that instantly.”
“The absolutism of royal power makes all fortune precarious, puts it at the mercy of a sudden change in mood, of a simple whim. The Batutsi will therefore be courtiers experienced in all the tricks to defend themselves or push each other into the friendship of a prince…
“They followed the prince in his travels so as not to lose his favours, to ward off the intrigues of their enemies and to take advantage of the crumbs which fell from the royal table. (…) The life and the chatter of the court were fuelled by the intrigues of the envious, the rivalries, the bitter competition of power, the plots to gain and keep the favour, the perfidious innuendos of the enemies who pursued each other with hatred and decency, the brutal passions satisfied at all costs, the glaring disgraces and the official executions which were sometimes the consequence.
For his part, Father Pagès points out: “Always surrounded by jealous and often malicious rivals, they were the object of intrigue. Espionage and denunciation were rampant at court; this is why the great dignitaries stayed by the king’s side to deal with any event. (…)
We have collected the testimony of a Tutsi Abbot Stanislas Bushayija, a former member of the country’s Superior Council since its creation. He published an article titled; “At the origins of the Bahutu problem in Rwanda” , in the Revue Nouvelle, Tome XXVIII, N ° 12 of December 1958, pp. 594-597 who the lie of the Tutsi: I quote:
“(…) If the Mututsi recognises in the European his skills in the technical field – electricity, physics, mathematics, etc., – if he recognizes the intelligence of the book (ubwenge bwo mu gitabo), he deplores his lack of finesse of mind. Knowing how to disguise the truth, to give the change without arousing the slightest suspicion is a science which the European lacks and which the Mututsi is proud to possess; the genius of intrigue, the art of lying are in his eyes arts in which he prides himself on being very skilful: this is characteristic of the Mututsi and, by contagion and by reflex of defence, of everything Munyarwanda.
However, it is regrettable to note that in the long run this culture of lies has won over all layers of the Rwandan population, as the Rwandan proverb illustrates well, which says: ” Umwambari w’umwana agenda nka shebuja ” (“The young page imitates the approach of his lord ”). The reason for the expansion of this culture lies in the age-old system of pastoral serfdom, Hutu servants have adopted this way of lying at all times, hence the proverb: “Ukuli wabwije shobuja ni ko uhakishwa “: ” the truth that had to be told to the boss will be hidden from him in order to gain his favors ”. Which corresponds to: Not all truth is good to say! In Rwanda it is said that ” ukuli kurazirwa”(” The truth kills”)!
These two proverbs are enough to understand the state of mind of the Rwandans created by this Tutsi domination which, it must be said, had found no other way to earn a living than to stay with the king or the chiefs to acquire power. Command the cows and the pasture or, through intrigue. The king was not the creator of the cows or of the pastures, because all were already distributed, he had to dispossess some to invest the others. In order not to be dispossessed, the chiefs or other notables had to stay all the time at the court of the king or a chief.
It was not uncommon for a clever master of slanderous lies to publicly accuse his enemy before the chief or the prince. The accused also had to keep his cool and by way of defence, find a false reply much more serious than the accusation.
In this regard, children learned from an early age the exercise of skill in lying – improvising a lying accusation against a comrade, if the accused got angry, it is a sign that he had not yet acquired the art of self-control. The good way out was to find a slander as quickly, even harsher than the accusation!
In a civil and criminal trial, the two parties had to prepare their witnesses, buy them if necessary, it was not necessary that these witnesses know the facts. If the complainant is a superior, whether he is his boss or not, the witness will always be on the side of the strongest to attract favour, or not to compromise himself because you never know…, when it comes to ‘a foreigner or an enemy of his group, each will present himself as a witness of the first order, taking himself as a factual witness, by inventing the circumstances which allowed him to know the charges against the accused.
The lie has its origin in the culture of idleness of the Tutsi leaders who never had the sense of work and who wanted to earn more without any physical effort, language was the only instrument to enrich oneself: knowing how to speak, knowing how to lie to please the leaders, knowing how to invent all kinds of calumnies to destroy and ruin one’s enemy. With the prince or the chief, the courtiers found nothing to say to him, if not to speak to him about his enemies to gain his favours, always with the aim of either demolishing an enemy or the enemy of his friends.
However, it is regrettable to note that in the long run, this culture of lies has won over all layers of the Rwandan population, as the Rwandan proverb clearly illustrates:
“ Umwambari w’umwana agenda nka shebuja” (“The young page imitates the approach of his lord”). The reason for the expansion of this culture is found in the age-old system of pastoral serfdom, Hutu servants have adopted this way of lying, concealing the truth at all times, hence the proverb: ” Ukuli wabwije shobuja ni ko uhakishwa”:“the truth that had to be told to the boss will be hidden from him in order to gain his favours”. Which corresponds to: Not all truth is good to say! We add another proverb which says: “ukuli kurazirwa” (“the truth kills or damages”)!
After the establishment of multi-partyism in Rwanda, the new parties united, to destroy the old MRND party, and without scruple did not hesitate to invent a lot of incredible stories, such as the “death squad”. “,” The zero horizon “and ” the Akazu, the small lineage or kinship, to designate the parents, and friends or entourage of the Head of State “, presenting it as a criminal network. In this community with a culture of lies and slander and slander, all means are good to achieve the goal, regardless of ethics.
The lie created their strength…:
Lying is not just from the old days. During its media propaganda, the RPF propagated everywhere that no Tutsi has access to secondary and university education, while all the Tutsi who have been appointed general directors and directors in ministries and in parastatal services, doctors and others, had completed university studies, either at the National University of Rwanda or abroad, having had their scholarships during the first and second republic.
The author of these pages was a civil servant at the rank of administrative secretary; his son had finished university as an agricultural engineer.
The Tutsi of the RPF have spread the rumours according to which the Tutsi are poor people, having no reliable economic activity! But, we are here to prove the contrary: During the Second Republic, the Tutsi were the main operators economic. Other examples of lies: During its recruitments, the RPF used lies, for example telling all the Hutus whom it knew to be the enemies of President Habyarimana, such as Colonel Alexis Kanyarengwe whom he found in exile in Tanzania, to Seth Sendashoga who was an international functionary in Nairobi, to Colonel Théoneste Lizinde and Commander Biseruka that the RPF had just released from Ruhengeri prison, to Emmanuel Gapyisi, son-in-law of the former President of the Republic Grégoire Kayibanda, to Faustin Twagiramungu , also the son-in-law of Grégoire Kayibanda who had just lost his place at the head of the STIR, to Félicien Gatabazi, former Minister of Social Affairs who had lost his portfolio; especially to Pasteur Bizimungu who had joined forces with Valens Kajeguhakwa, and who gave up his post at the head of ELECTOGAZ, the large state-owned company, with the promise of becoming President of the Republic, as well as to others …, telling them that the goal pursued by the Front is to rid the country of the great tyrant and dictator, Juvénal Habyarimana, that after him the country will recover a lasting peace and a democracy to perfection!
After extracting the maximum amount of information it needed on the army, armaments, etc., thus after seizing power, the RPF got rid of it without scruple; everyone knows what happened to these people and to the Hutus in general.
The RPF, to attract sympathy, lied enough when it shouted everywhere that its goal was only the return of the refugees driven out by the First and Second Republic and, above all, to establish democracy and human rights flouted. Everyone knows the rest. He lied by inflating the number of refugees up to 2,000,000 people!
In 1991 the UNHCR released totally different figures. Indeed, the figure put forward by the RPF concerns all the Tutsi who had been living abroad since 1937 when the Belgian authorities, having noted the demographic explosion in Rwanda, began to send Rwandans to the Congo, Hutu, Tutsi confused, and this system of disgorging the country stopped in 1955. By this time, the number of displaced persons had reached 200,000 individuals.
In 1956 Mutara III Ch. Rudahigwa, king of Rwanda, the Kabaka of Buganda, the Mukama of Ankore and king Mwambutsa of Burundi, had the idea of creating the Hima Empire regrouped the four kingdoms. Until 1958 Mutara III had already sent Rwandans to Uganda. In 1961, Mr. Louis Jaspers, the vice-consul of Belgium in Uganda counted 6000 people already installed and this group had founded an association called Abadahemuka, the faithful. Many of them bet on the Kabaka police in Buganda.
If we go back even further, to the time when the agreement between the British, the Belgians and the Germans in 1910 demarcated the borders of Rwanda, ¾ of Rwanda was annexed to the Congo and Uganda. The habitats of this region have remained outside the borders.
Another agreement was concluded between the British and the Belgians to cede an eastern part of Rwanda to the English in 1920. In 1924 Rwanda recovered this part, but a good number of Rwandans had already settled in Uganda and Tanzania. .
The RPF found the advantageous solution of calling everyone refugees driven out by the Hutus.
A former member of the RPF, Lieutenant Abdul Ruzibiza in his testimony, confirms that:”The lie of the RPF started since then, the RPF never confesses its crimes” Nobody knew the day when these massacres were to be carried out. This is different from what the RPF propagates, which maintains that a list of all Tutsis has been drawn up so that they can all be killed. This is a lie because if the Tutsi were to be killed simultaneously, it presupposes that each of them had to be executed by their neighbours, and these neighbours knew each other very well so that they did not have to bother to raise the issue. List of Tutsi, because even small children grew up hearing about them in the village”
“Kagame’s real RPF was not the one we described over the radio. As I said, this RPF which held its meetings in salons was different from that of Kanyarengwe. This parallel RPF movement had the following interests in assassinating Habyarimana! ”
Another lie, as blatant as others, was that of telling his Hutu allies to recruit combatants from among the population, to help the RPF oust Habyarimana from power. The young Hutu, once they arrived in the ranks, some were shot without any reason, others were placed in front, the Tutsi behind them, and were killed by bullets from the Rwandan Armed Forces, so that the seizure of power by the RPF, no Hutu soldier was still alive. It was the same thing to recruit young Tutsi in Burundi, Zaire and Rwanda.
In the end, the RPF’s biggest lie was to make the international community believe its willingness to participate in the negotiations and the Arusha peace agreement and the democratic sharing of power through the ballot box; the international community, foreign governments called the facilitators, agreed to large sums of money to support these negotiations; the RPF for its part, did not want the outcome of the said agreements.
Louis Claes, then Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, declared before the Belgian senatorial inquiry which wanted ample information on the Rwandan events, to have met the leaders of the RPF in Kampala at the beginning of the year 1994, the latter declared to him that they will not participate in the broad-based transitional government provided for in the said agreements and signed in August 1993 by the two parties.
Minister Claes then addressed the Ugandan President so that he tries to reason with the RPF, the latter told him curtly that he has no orders to receive from Belgium!
In this regard, the same Abdul Ruzibiza declares and affirms: “What was told us by Kabarebe and Kayumba Nyamwasa was that even if there was a question of joining the transitional government, that there was no question of staying there. We were going to be installed on the border between Uganda and Rwanda with our equipment, which was going to be supplied to us discreetly, until it was possible to carry out a coup d’etat. In reality, nothing else was considered except to be able to sow trouble and seize power”!
Regarding testimony, Rwandans, especially Tutsi easily accept to bear false testimony, especially when they are paid or when it is a question of a foreigner or an enemy of his group. Unfortunately, it is often this type of false witness that is sent to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha. It is regrettable that the ICTR, apart from its mission to condemn the Hutu party only, not knowing this culture of lies and slander, which has become endemic and specific to Rwandans in general, has not tried to conduct its investigation, regardless of false witnesses provided to him by the government in Kigali.
As a defence witness, on many occasions in Arusha, I have observed that only the Prosecutor’s witnesses are best listened to and appreciated by the Tribunal, even when they contradict each other during cross-examination by the defence. More seriously still, the defendants do not benefit at all from the principle of doubt until the contrary is proved; they are automatically guilty, despite the invented indictments. Despite the competence of experienced judges, the ICTR is no different from the GACACA courts of Rwanda!
You have to have a deceitful and malicious spirit, hateful and vengeful like the Tutsi of the RPF, to commit the most abominable crimes and cry out for help! To be executioners and present oneself as a victim! It also takes exceptional courage, a heart as hard as steel, to condemn the innocent with cold blood.
The ICTR has always claimed to deliver judgments that would help Rwandans achieve reconciliation. But it is rather the opposite. The ICTR has divided the Rwandans into two camps: the bad Hutus and the wise Tutsi victims. Deliberately ignored the massacres committed in the border communes in the prefectures of Byumba and Ruhengeri by the Tutsi of the RPF since the start of the attack he directed against Rwanda in 1990, the selective massacres committed on the night of the 6th and during the day. Of April 7, 1994 in the communes of the capital Kigali that all credible witnesses keep reporting to the ICTR.
The ICTR, knowingly forgetting its clearly defined mission to judge acts of genocide and war crimes, crimes against humanity committed by the RPF from April 6, 1994, does not even want to talk about the plane attack presidential election of April 6 at 8:30pm. which cost the lives of two presidents: Habyarimana from Rwanda and Ntaryamira from Burundi as well as all their delegations and members of the crew.
Everyone believed that the International Criminal Court would serve as an example of justice in its fair judgements. On the contrary, it is bitter against the attacked and leaves the aggressors alone with absolute impunity. How can we still talk about the reconciliation of Rwandans?