BY PROBLEM MASAU
RWANDAN authorities have expressed dismay on how the Zimbabwean government is portraying the 1994 genocide against Tutsis.
In an official statement released by Foreign Affairs minister Frederick Shava over the weekend, the government distanced itself from accusations that it had been harbouring one of the world’s most wanted Rwandan fugitives, Protais Mpiranya.
The carefully worded statement has, however, attracted a backlash from the Rwandese government.
“The embassy wishes to advise the correction of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda as opposed to the way it is mentioned in the statement,” the Rwandan embassy tweeted yesterday.
Zimbabwe has been in the eye of a storm following revelations by the United Nations that the authorities in Harare harboured Mpiranya who was responsible for the killing of 800 000 Tutsis.
In a report, the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals said Zimbabwean officials facilitated the entry of Mpiranya to the country at the height of their search during the late former President Robert Mugabe’s rule.
“Zimbabwean officials facilitated his entry to Zimbabwe and Mpiranya facilitated safe passage of his closest associates to Zimbabwe as well. His wife and daughters left Cameroon for Kinshasa, after which he facilitated their move to Zimbabwe, from where they were later able to leave for the United Kingdom,” the UN report read.
The report accuses the Zimbabwean authorities of continuing to conceal Mpiranya’s remains years after he died. He died in 2006.
In a statement on Sunday, Shava denied all the allegations, noting that the Zimbabwe government in fact was part of Mpiranya’s search.
“Zimbabwe fully co-operated with the UN Residual Mechanisms in its investigations of the Rwandese fugitive who was indicted in 2000 by the International Criminal Tribunal for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide,” Shava said.
Information ministry secretary Ndabaningi Mangwana also said: “Government of Zimbabwe met its entire obligation under international law. Government investigated all leads on fugitive Mpiranya and followed up on new leads.”