Saturday, 15 March 2014

South Africa, Rwanda engage in diplomatic row over so-called dissidents

Lt.-Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. Photo: File   
 A diplomatic row has broken out between Rwanda and South Africa in the wake of a recent attack on the residence of Rwandan dissident Lt Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa in Johannesburg. 
A diplomatic row has broken out between Rwanda and South Africa in the wake of a recent attack on the residence of Rwandan dissident Lt Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, only two months after the murder of another Rwandan in South Africa. 
Officials in Kigali confirmed that South African authorities on Friday gave two diplomats at the Rwandan High Commission in Pretoria 48 hours to leave the country. 
Details of the reasons for their expulsion were not given. The EastAfrican has established that Pretoria is investigating the murder of Rwanda’s former spy chief Patrick Karegeya on January 1, and a recent attack on the home of Lt Gen Nyamwasa. It is not clear if the expulsions are linked to the two incidents.
In retaliation, Rwanda expelled six high ranking South African diplomats on allegations of espionage. The six do not include the High Commissioner George Twala.
Rwanda’s foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo confirmed the expulsion of South Africa diplomats: “We have expelled six South African diplomats in reciprocity and concern at the country harbouring dissidents responsible for terrorist attacks in Rwanda,” she said on her Twitter account on Friday evening.
The South African government was yet to come up with an official position on the matter.
It is not the first time diplomatic ties between the two countries have suffered.
In August 2010, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Rwanda Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso, two months after an assassination attempt on Lt Gen Nyamwasa.
South Africa, however, said it did not have any intentions of expelling the Rwandan ambassador but said it recalled its own for “consultations.”
However, reports indicated that South Africa was angered after investigations revealed Kigali’s hand in the attack. 
Mending fences
In June 2011, President Jacob Zuma named a new envoy to Rwanda and relations between the two countries have been slowly getting back on track, until the murder of Col Karegeya, which has also been blamed on Kigali.
The South African government was yet to publish a report on the outcome of  the investigations when the recent attack on Lt Gen Nyamwasa’s home happened.
A group of armed men stormed Nyamwasa’s house in South Eastern Johannesburg on Monday “looking for him.”
The South African Police Spokesperson Paul Ramaloko said the men are yet to be identified.
Rwanda National Congress, the opposition party co-founded by General Nyamwasa, said that the former Army Chief of Staff and his family survived because at the time of the attack they were not in the house. 
Theogene Rudasingwa, the co-ordinator of the opposition group said that he “has no doubt that those who have always attempted to get rid of General Nyamwasa may also be behind the attack,” adding that there is no doubt they are linked to Kigali.

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