Fight for a World Free
Of the IMF, World Bank
Mr. Ndarubagiye is a representative of the National Committee for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD) in Burundi. He delivered the following address to a conference panel entitled "Peace through Development in Africa: The Moral Challenge for Europe," on May 5.
I start my speech by remembering our friend [Taras Muranivsky] from Russia, who passed away and who was with us here last year; I beg our Russian friends present in this forum to convey our condolences to his bereaved family. [See Tributes in Memory of Prof. Taras Muranivsky (in Russian).] After this note of sorrow, I now express a different note of respect by greeting our friends who are now free after long and painful years in jail in America as political prisoners. I salute their own courage and the patience of their families. No matter how difficult the struggle is or may be, let us all stick together as a family around Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche.
My name is Leonce Ndarubagiye. I am from Burundi, and it is an honor for me to be here representing the Chairman of our liberation movement, the CNDD, the Honorable Leonard Nyangoma. I am sincerely grateful to the Schiller Institute for having invited me and my colleague Jean-Baptiste Bigirimana to participate in this seminar. I always say that when I leave here after a seminar, I go back home less stupid than I came in, because I learn things that are not even taught in universities, about what is going on around the globe. You particularly opened my eyes about the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank.
This is my second time to participate, and I certainly will learn more once again. When I was here last Summer, little did I know that I would be witnessing the result of your campaign through the protests against the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization in Seattle and Ottawa, as well as elsewhere in the world. Even if some of those protesting don't even know the existence of the Schiller Institute, they all learned from you in one way or another, because you certainly were the first people and organization to talk about the misdeeds of these Bretton Woods institutions. I therefore take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. LaRouche and your team.
Having said this, please allow me now to develop the topic I have been assigned to, namely, the situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, which comprises the following states: Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
The Crisis in Burundi
Burundi, this small country in the heart of Africa, is in a dramatic crisis which takes its origins on Oct. 21, 1993, when the army assassinated the democratically elected President, [FIGURE 21]the late Melchior Ndadaye, and overthrew his government, which we were part of. I was then the Governor of one of the 16 provinces in Burundi, and I escaped death by a miracle, by quickly leaving my residence for a hideout only five minutes before a lorry of 24 soldiers armed to the teeth arrived, searching for me, with firm instructions from people I well know to come and kill me. If I am still alive, it is thanks to a Chinese lady and her team who made up the Chinese Health Mission in the province where I was the Governor. They took me in refuge into their house and hid me at that crucial time.
So, when the army assassinated the President and overthrew the government, the leaders who escaped assassination decided to organize the masses into an armed struggle of resistance, with the aim of restoring democracy in Burundi. That is how our liberation movement, the CNDD, was created, led by the Hon. Leonard Nyangoma. The truth about the civil war in Burundi, is that it pits the military dictatorship and its army, on the one hand, and the people and their elected leaders, on the other hand.
Yet, you will all have heard from the not-so-neutral world press that the civil war pits some backward and primitive tribes called the Hutu and the Tutsi of Burundi, [which are] exterminating each other with no other apparent reason than the tribe [affiliations]. This way of misleading the public and telling lies is a cunning trick to hide the invisible hand of "civilized" governments who support the military dictator, Maj. Pierre Buyoya—who is presented by the same media as a "moderate," although more than 300,000 people have been slaughtered since he came to power through the coup putsch.
Please be informed that you find both Hutu and Tutsi in the oligarchy, as well as in the armed struggle. So, the whole thing is about democratic principles, and not about tribes. The best example of what I just said, is that my colleague Jean-Baptiste Bigirimana is a Hutu and I am a Tutsi, yet we are both faithful members of the CNDD and of its delegation here. Our two colleagues from Rwanda are Hutu, but I as a Tutsi have no quarrel with them. So, please let no one fool you that the war in Burundi is a Hutu-Tutsi conflict; it is all about democracy versus dictatorship.
Rwanda and Uganda
Concerning Rwanda and Uganda, both countries have a similar situation of dictatorship, where the rule of law is replaced by the rule of one major-general, be it [Paul] Kagame or [Yoweri] Museveni. Both men are the proxies of the IMF, the World Bank, and whoever hides behind these Bretton Woods financial institutions. Both countries are ruled by a single-party political system, but believe me, there is also resistance against these dictatorships. Yet, they are given as examples in Africa of development, and no one tells them to hurry up in democratizing their regimes, like in other parts of Africa. You are certainly aware that these two regimes invaded the Congo, under the pretext of protecting their respective borders from would-be terrorists supposedly coming from the Congo. We happen to know that when they attacked, they went straight, landing their paratroopers in the western coast of the Congo in the towns of Kitona, Banana, Moanda, Boma, and conquering Matadi, Mbanzangungu, while simultaneously invading the eastern part of the Congo. How can those people be so unscrupulous to tell such lies of defending their borders 2,500 kilometers away, at the other end of Congo on the Atlantic coast! It is like Norway defending its borders somewhere in North Africa.
The naked truth is that Rwanda and Uganda are on somebody else's contract to prevent the Congo from controlling its own mines or selling them to any undesired buyer, especially such sensitive mines as uranium, cobalt, and others. Allow me to tell you this: You have recently learned about a United Nations report accusing Rwanda and Uganda of looting Congolese wealth. Did you guess the meaning of this report? Its aim was to remind Rwanda and Uganda that they have been paid and sent to the Congo as watchmen of their masters, yet the watchmen are stealing from the granary. You will take notice that no one makes report about the looting done by Lebanese and Israelis in the Congo, because these are authorized agents or authorized looters. Burundi has also sent troops into Congo and has been accused of looting too.
Doomed in the Name of Liberalization
Concerning the Congo, we can say that this country is a victim of its wealth. Everybody wants to take a slice of the huge and sweet cake, except the legitimate owners, the Congolese, who have been prevented from defending their property. The people of the Congo must take their responsibility and fight whoever invades their land. It is irrelevant to rely on foreign troops to defend one's property without putting up a minimum of resistance. The wealth that lies under the surface of their land is a God-given right.
I do not have much to say about Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia, except that these countries share with the four others named above, Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, the unfortunate fate of crumbling under the burden of the debt. Please let me remind you that in the 1970s, developing countries owed $2.3 trillion to the lenders who call themselves donors—as Mr. LaRouche said yesterday, correctly, today those [donor] countries [themselves] owe more than $70 trillion and have a debt service of $230 billion a year; who can survive under such circumstances?
To come back to the countries of the Great Lakes region of Africa, they all share a colonial past, the neo-colonial present, and the tragedies caused by the globalization dictated by the IMF, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. They are told to liberalize their economies, to privatize their domestic companies, to cut off their customs duties and tariffs, to borrow money for the white elephant of Structural Adjustment Program, to open up their markets to foreign investments. The result is that these countries are relinquishing more and more their sovereignty.
One would like to know, who will take care of the citizens of these countries, once multinational companies will have acquired everything in the land? Will Africans request, then, Coca-Cola and IBM, Elf-Aquitaine, Telekom, Mitsubishi, and others, to build schools, hospitals, roads, and bridges? Of course not. Africans will be doomed and abandoned to their tragic fate. All that in the name of liberalization: This globalization is the easiest way of destroying nation-states, while trampling on their sovereignty and honor.
We have information according to which large African countries will be cut to size, by encouraging secessions, especially those who happen to have the potentiality of becoming strong, once organized. So, a country like Congo will be divided into six separate so-called independent, weak states, to be dictated by multinationals and from which to loot mercilessly. All this will happen while America and Europe are uniting their respective continents into bigger entities, which will then be able to swallow the weak. It is very cynical indeed.
Our proposal is that we study at this seminar the ways and means to fight for a better world for all, free from the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and selective international courts.
Thank you all.