Arusha, 17 September 2007 (FH) - The term "Akazu" (small house in kinyarwanda) was created by the Democratic Republican Movement (MDR) for the purpose of "political marketing", explained Monday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) the former Rwandan minister for Foreign Affairs Jerome Bicamumpaka, one of the founders of this movement.

1 min 23Approximate reading time

"For political marketing purposes we needed a target" explained Bicamumpaka at the resumption of his testimony for his own defence. He explained why the "studies and programs" commission of the MDR had proposed this name in February 1992. One of the members of this commission, a linguist by the name of Boniface Ngurinzira, proposed this term to indicate those who surrounded the president without being officially designated or elected. This proposal was adopted by the political office of the MDR and used in various official statements before being used by all of the political opposition, the former minister underlined.
The akazu, whose membership is still mentioned in many ICTR indictments, according to experts, represents the inner circle of President Habyarimana, of which no administrative promotion or appointment was possible without their support.
The wife of the president, Agathe Habyarimana, is accused of having led this occult group without international justice ever worrying her.
The MDR, which Bicamumpaka was presented as one of the founders, had been created in July 1991, a month after the adoption of the law instating the multi-party system. It quickly established itself in the country, becoming the main legal opposition party to the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), former single party. A schism divided the MDR, some of its members joining the extremists and the others the moderates.
Rwanda, according to the 1991 census, counted 60% of its citizens of less than 21 years of age, explained Bicamumpaka. Also it was necessary, according to him, to have massive adhesions to the new party, in particular from the rural classes "because we wanted to change things", he continued. The defendant finally denied that the MDR ever maintained a militia. It is, however, public knowledge that the party had a youth wing called JDR.

© Hirondelle News Agency