Hege meeting with Rwandan opposition figures in Europe, trashing mandate as he pursues political mission

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September 3, 2012 by soniauwimana

Steven Hege, coordinator of the Group of Experts on the DRC whose damning claims against Rwanda have led several countries to withhold millions in aid funding, has been revealed as an apologist for the terrorist FDLR group and a rabid opponent of the Rwandan government whom he derides as “Ugandan Tutsi elite”. This much has been well established.

But bias in his past writings, while surely enough to disqualify Hege on their own, are not even close to the worst crimes Hege has committed against Rwanda, and I use the term “crime” advisedly. The real crime is Hege’s abuse of the Group of Experts mechanism to translate his own biases into real and lasting damage to the government and people of Rwanda. I will not repeat the many ways he has done that here, but please take the time to explore this and other places where Rwandan citizens, with no power or authority of the kind the UN has misguidedly granted Hege, are trying our best to hold him to account.

On to the new revelations. For some time, I have been aware via hearsay accounts that Hege and colleagues have been trawling Europe, meeting with radical, dissident elements of the Rwandan diaspora to dig up dirt on Kigali. My sources were certain but I was unable to verify — and unlike Hege, I will not publish accusations without first verifying they are true. Now I have received first-hand confirmation of the following:

On the afternoon of 29 June 2012, Steve Hege and his GoE colleague (and ideological soulmate) Marie Plamadiala met with Jean Marie Micombero. Micombero is a Belgium-based activist with the Rwandan National Congress who deserted an RDF peacekeeping mission in Sudan in 2010 to make his lifestyle run to Europe. In 2007, he had been stripped of an administrative post at the Rwandan Ministry of Defence by a military court on corruption charges. During the past year, Micombero has been increasingly deployed by the RNC as a military propagandist to talk up a theory of dysfunction in the RDF (a point of view at apparent odds with the GoE who seem to believe the RDF are so ruthlessly effective they can send thousands of troops into the DRC without leaving behind a shred of physical evidence).

There is simply no way meetings such as these fall remotely within the mandate of the GoE. How does meeting an ex-RDF clerk, now dissident, who has no expertise on the DRC or its arms embargo regime? A man who has never served in any capacity that would allow him any particular insight into the current crisis or possibly possess any relevant evidence beyond more incendiary rhetoric aimed at Kigali. There is no way that Hege should be touring Europe meeting exiled opposition figures, let alone discredited deserters like Micombero. How can he possibly justify spending the time an money of the UN on this witchhunt seeking out enemies of Rwanda wherever he can find them? Micombero’s only conceivable value to Hege is that he can buttress the ideological and political case against Rwanda. It is way past time for him to resign or be sacked.

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