A group of Rwandan exiles under their umbrella “Jambo ASBL” has provoked angry reaction in Belgium after they were granted permission to hold an event at parliament to discuss what they refer to as the “history of Rwanda”. The Rwandan embassy in Brussels has protested the event and wants it cancelled.
The genesis of the controversy is a bill before the Belgian parliament which seeks to amend Belgian laws to criminalise negation of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. Belgian lawmakers want to make the Genocide in Rwanda have the same legal standing as the Jewish holocaust.
The amended laws will also require that all Belgian official documents refer to the Genocide as “the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda” – in accordance with UN resolutions. The UN General Assembly last month designated April 7 as “International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.”
But even before the bill passed, a group calling itself “Jambo ASBL” wrote to lawmakers asking to be heard as part of the consultative process.
Jambo ASBL based its demand on the so called “freedom of information” rules that obliges the MPs to listen to them since they also hold Belgian citizenship.
The event to hear Jambo ASBL has been set for March 01, which prompted the intervention of the Rwandan Embassy and activists. On social media, there is unanimous condemnation of Jambo ASBL.
In their letter seeking audience, Jambo ASBL says they have “credible” information they want to share with the Belgian lawmakers about the “history of Rwanda”. The letter, and all their previous public statements, do not admit there was a Genocide targeting Tutsis in Rwanda.
So what is “Jambo ASBL”? Who are its members? Why has it provoked such bitter reaction from within and outside Belgium? Do they have a case to claim they have a credible narrative of the events? What makes “Jambo ASBL” such a toxic stain?
We have gone deep into their backgrounds to help you understand why this group is acting the way it does.
1) Jambo ASBL is a negationist platform hiding behind the banner of a diaspora youth movement. They use this cover to promote a negationist version of what happened in Rwanda in 1994 and prior.
Criminal liability may be personal, but members of Jambo ASBL are hiding behind their vitriol anger over the prosecution of their parents as a result of their role in the mass slaughter of Tutsis, to white-wash a dark agenda.
2) Placide Kayumba – founder and former leader of Jambo ASBL: He is the son of Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, former Sous-Préfet of Gisagara in Southern Province during the Genocide.
In 2010, Ntawukuriryayo was sentenced to 25 years by the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) over Genocide. He led the killings at Kabuye hill where more than 30,000 Tutsi were massacred.
3) Natacha Abingeneye – current leader of Jambo ASBL: She is the daughter to Juvénal Uwiringiyimana, a former Trade Minister and senior member of then ruling MRND party of President Juvenal Habyarimana. In June 2005, Uwiringiyimana was indicted by the ICTR for Genocide. He died before his case could be settled. By the time he passed on, he had taken a plea bargain and was collaborating with the ICTR prosecution to give crucial evidence against his accomplices.
4) Ruhumuza Mbonyumutwa – member: He is a son to Shingiro Mbonyumutwa and grandson of Dominique Mbonyumutwa, first leader of Rwanda in 1961. Mbonyumutwa is the one who set in motion the ethnic agenda that would be reinforced by his successors Gregoire Kayibanda and Juvenal Habyarimana. Shingiro Mbonyumutwa is a Genocide fugitive who was a member of MDR-Power extremist party. He served as DireCab (chief of staff) of Prime Minister Jean Kambanda during the Genocide.
Jean Kambanda oversaw the implementation of the Genocide, travelling around Rwanda mobilising local villagers and militias to “work”. In one particular location, that remains in the psyche of the whole world, Kambanda was on national TV distributing guns. He even displayed his pistol, to demonstrate how well-armed the Genocide machinery was.
5) Liliane Bahufite – member: She is the daughter of Col Juvénal Bahufite, who was the spokesperson of the Genocidal forces that were based in Bukavu, in eastern Zaire (now DR Congo), after they had been defeated by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) led by current President Paul Kagame.
Jambo ASBL was launched with a secret coded concept in which they branded themselves the “Hutu Diaspora”. The tactic was meant to appeal to all those who share their ideals so as to affirm their “Hutuness”. This same ethnic ideology was used by CDR – a supremacist political party, which sowed the hate that culminated into the Genocide against Tutsis.
Jambo ASBL members have websites and social media accounts that promote the agenda of the so called democratic forces for the liberation of Rwanda or FDLR, based in the jungles of DR Congo.
The Jambo ASBL group regularly undertake secret visits to the Congo bushes – from which they publish YouTube videos of FDLR camps and testimonies.
In July 2014, the group released a long video interview with FDLR commander Byiringiro ranting all sorts of anti-Tutsi propaganda. The video has since been deleted.
The names we have identified here are of those who have spoken publicly, but they have many other followers who use online anonymity to spread anti-Tutsi hate.
Their strategy has been to hide behind a claim that they are opposing the government of Rwanda. They deliberately refuse to recognize the 1994 Genocide as having targeted solely Tutsis.
They also advance the narrative that it was the shooting of the presidential plane on April 6 and eventual killing of Habyarimana, that sparked the “civil war”. Essentially, claiming Tutsis and Hutus were killing each other.
Back at the Belgian parliament, campaigners and activists have vowed not to let Jambo ASBL be granted such an honourable platform to spread their hate.