South Africa’s government has finally had its patience tested to breaking point.
The activities of Rwanda and Burindi on South African soil have finally gone too far even for Pretoria. There have been three unsuccessful attempts to murder the exiled Rwandan former chief of staff, General Kayumba Nyamwasa. His ally, the former Rwandan intelligence chief, Patrick Karegeya was found murdered in a Sandton hotel on New Year’s Day.
President Zuma decided to act and expelled 3 Rwandan diplomats. No statement has been released by South Africa explaining its decisions. Actions speak louder than words. Rwanda responded by expelling 6 South African diplomats.
A Burundian diplomat was also expelled from South Africa, apparently for collaborating with the Rwandans. A South African official said Burundi had not retaliated because the evidence against its diplomat was “solid.” Burundi is said to be considering its response. “The Burundi diplomat is accused of collaborating with suspects,” Gervais Abayeho, senior media adviser at Burundi’s presidency, told Reuters when asked about the expulsion, referring to suspects in the raid on Nyamwasa’s home. “Burundi is reviewing information about South Africa’s decision before it can react,” he said.
In the past, Rwanda has been able to act almost with impunity across the world. Opponents of President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front have been targeted around the world. At least 11 dissidents who have been killed in countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon and Brussels. Even in London, dissidents have been threatened with their lives.
In the past Rwanda has been able to use the genocide as a means of blocking all criticism of its human rights abuses. That finally appears to be a reducing asset for the Rwandan regime, as other government’s run out of patience with its behaviour. It remains to be seen what steps the African Union takes to mend the badly damaged diplomatic relations between its member states.
This interview on South Africa’s Radio 702 is well worth listening to: