Arusha, 10 February 2009 (FH) - At the first day of his testimony for his defence before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the former cabinet director of the ministry of the interior, Callixte Kalimanzira, drew Tuesday a negative assessment of the multi-party system from 1991 to 1994 in his country.

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"What was said in the political meetings was regrettable; they were insults; some benefited to drive out by the force their administrative authorities", told the former Rwandan senior civil servant.

"I wanted to change it but an orderly change, not a violent change (...) the multi-party system was a failure in Rwanda", affirmed Kalimanzira who testified in Kinyarwandan.

"The opposition parties did not have society projects nor political programs; it was a fight for power at all costs", alleged the agronomist by training who belonged to the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), the presidential party at the time.

About his relationship with Tutsis, this Hutu who is a native of the Butare prefecture, southern Rwanda, denied ever having practiced ethnic discrimination in his professional or social life.

"I treated everyone in the same way. My father had a Tutsi wife; she was like a mother for us, and my youngest sister married a Tutsi", he declared.

He also affirmed that the godfathers and godmothers of his children were Tutsis.

His wife, Salome Mukantwali, who testified for him on Thursday, was present Monday in the public gallery.

Kalimanzira was appointed cabinet director of the minister of the interior, Faustin Munyazesa, in September 1992.

As the second-in-command of this department, he assured its direction in April and May 1994, Minister Munyazesa had chosen not to return from his mission to Tanzania after the assassination of President Juvénal Habyarimana.

The prosecutor accuses Kalimanzira of having brought his support to the policies of the interim government, under which the genocide was perpetrated, and, especially, of having used, his influence, to incite the massacres of Tutsis in his native region of Butare.

Kalimanzira, who claims his innocence, will continue his testimony on Wednesday.


© Hirondelle News Agency