Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Monday, June 21, 2010

Murder of Denis Ntare Semadwinga

According to various sources, Denis Semadwinga was assassinated at his home in Gisenyi (Rwanda) at 8pm last night.

Semadwinga was an influential and senior member of the Goma elite. A Tutsi from Rutshuru territory, he was Chief of Staff (directeur de cabinet) to RCD Governor Eugene Serufuli and then to Laurent Nkunda in the CNDP. Before that, he had been in charge of Mobutu's presidential archives and had been administrator of the Centre de Commerce International du Zaire (CCIZ).

He had continued to be active in the CNDP even after Nkunda was arrested. Some say it was his activism for the CNDP that led problems between him and the Rwandan government. Numerous CNDP officials have been arrested in Rwanda this year, and Rwandan security officials have privately blamed the grenade attacks on CNDP members in cahoots with Kayumba Nyamwasa.

Semadwinga's death is likely to exacerbate the tensions between Kigali and the Congolese Tutsi community, especially the Banyejomba and the pro-Nkunda soldiers. As much as people believe the Tutsi community is united, this would not be the first time such rifts have appeared. In the early day of the RCD rebellion, two mutinies broke out in Goma and Bukavu, led by Tutsi from North Kivu and Banyamulenge, respectively. In Goma, Congolese Tutsi commander Murekezi was shot and killed by Rwandan officers for insubordination. In Bukavu, they were able to negotiate with Cmdr Venant Bisogo (today leader of the FRF). No such luck several years later with Banyamulenge Cmdr Patrick Masunzu, who launched another mutiny.

The complaints have often been the same: that for all the sacrifices the Congolese Tutsi have made for the Rwandan government, their standing in the Congo has never been secured; indeed, their leaders have often been arrested, as was the case with Nkunda.

We will have to wait and see whether any information about Semadwinga's death comes out. Gisenyi is a very safe place; it is highly unlikely these were simple robbers. And the coincidence with the assassination attempt against General Kayumba in South Africa is striking.


Unknown said...

where are we likely to go. Killing does not help. Can those who are involved in misunderstanding think of dialogue. (though Rwandese are known of avoiding dialogue)
Exclusion does not help.But now there no hutus to divide you, what are you missing. Is it the power you want or what else do you want? yesterday the hutu was a killer, who do you call yourself now?

Unknown said...

Good job, Jason S. You seem to be well versed in Congolese politics. Yes indeed, this Congolese politician was savagely killed in the comfort of his home in this peaceful border town. I was shocked by the news because I was wondering what ever happened to border security? Rwandese security officials need to stop blaming Congolese dissidents for those stupid grenades attacks in Kigali and sort out their own turf wars. Congolese dissidents have their own issues to worry about in Congo... The question is why was Semadwinga killed in Rwanda? Did he KNOW TOO MUCH??? Let's all pray for peace and prosperity in the Great Lakes region.

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