Excerpt from Rwandan newspaper The New Times website on 25 April, in which the newspaper asserts that the Rwandan print media were not alone “in this hate campaign”.
Let’s look at audio-visual media of which Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) takes the lead. The radio station was launched in mid-1993, as a private media house with a good latitude of independence. But, like Kangura newspaper, it had close connection to the government officials, FAR [Rwandan Armed Forces] and members of AKAZU [ruling clique]. The idea of creating a private radio station was hatched by extremists within the MRND [Republic National Movement for Democracy and Development] and appears to have emerged in response to the reforms within Radio Rwanda which had been put under pressure from opposition parties to grant them access to airwaves since 1991. [Passage omitted]
Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines, Societe Anonyme (RTLM SA) was established as a joint-founded company with 50 shareholders. It was officially registered on 8th July 1993. The official contract between the government and the radio station was later signed on 30th September by the minister of information Faustin Rucogoza and Felicien Kabuga [indicted by ICTR, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda], on behalf of RTLM.
Individuals, who were involved with RTLM, report that the board of directors was never appointed, although Felicien Kabuga, financial adviser to Habyarimana, served from the very beginning as president of the Board of Directors, which was not accountable to all donors and founding shareholders.
The 50 RTLM original shareholders were mostly high-profile figures ranging from bank managers, businessmen, journalists, army officers and government officials. Of the 50 individuals, 40 were from the northern and western part of Rwanda. 17 were from former Ruhengeri; 16 came from former Gisenyi, and seven from former Byumba province. This was because the north was the president’s powerbase whose elite dominated the inner circles of power.
Many of these had close personal ties with members of AKAZU or with the president himself, often through business or marriage links. Felicien Kabuga was an in-law to the president - his daughter Bernadet was married to Jean Pierre Habyarimana, the president’s son. Ernest Buroko was the protege of Zigiranyirazo Protais, brother to Agatha Habyarimana. Alphonce Ntirivamunda is the son-in-law of the former president Habyarimana. A former Radio Rwanda Journalist, Robert Simba, is the son of Alloys Simba, a retired colonel who played an important role in the coup d’etat which brought President Habyarimana to power.
Most of the founders belonged to MRND or CDR [Coalition to Defend the Republic]. Several of them served as outspoken persons or high-profile leaders for these parties; CDR Executive Central Committee, Stanslas Simbizi and Ferdinand Nahimana reportedly led the CDR rallies, although officially they were members of MRND. Jean Pierre Habyarimana, a civil engineer, was the president of MRND for the city of Kigali, while Joseph Nzirorera was a former minister of Public Works and close contact of Habyarimana. Simon Bikindi who composed several anti-Tutsi songs such as “I hate these Tutsis”, was repeatedly at CDR rallies and on RTLM. He was also among the 50 original shareholders. Beyond their political or ideological affiliations the founders are noticeable for the key positions which many of them held in the government both before April 1994 and throughout the genocide period. In some cases this meant that they were well placed to assist RTLM with practical issues.
Joseph Serugendo, [who pleaded not guilty to five counts of genocide and crimes against humanity at the ICTR], who had long worked as the head of technical service in ORINFOR, is alleged to have provided free technical services to RTLM, which does not appear to have employed an own technician.
(Source: The New Times website, Kigali, in English 25 Apr 06 via BBC Monitoring)