A Rwandan official disguised as “@RichardGoldston” reportedly tweeted recently that President Jacob Zuma was a “retard”, adding a minor note to the major row that is raging over Rwanda’s alleged assassination campaign against its dissidents living in South Africa.
On Wednesday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, the head of the security cluster of cabinet ministers, gave the first official confirmation that four diplomats, three Rwandan and one Burundian, had been expelled a week ago.
This was because of “illegal activities… attempted murders, including a murder, of Rwandan nationals who are in South Africa”, he said.
This referred not only to the alleged attempted assassination of the former Rwandan military chief of staff, General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, last week at a government safe house in Joburg. It also seemed to refer to two previous assassination attempts against him in 2010 and the murder of his fellow dissident, former military intelligence chief Colonel Patrick Karegeya, in a Sandton hotel on January 1.
Radebe said South Africa could not arrest the diplomats because they enjoyed immunity, so instead it had expelled them.
He warned that South Africa would not allow itself to be used as a “springboard” for such crimes, although he added that diplomatic relations with Rwanda remained good.
However, other officials said the possibility of recalling high commissioner George Twala was still under discussion because of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s “arrogant” tit-for-tat expulsion of six South Africans last Friday.
The Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper reported on Wednesday that Kagame’s office had made a “stunning confession” that the malicious tweets had been sent by an employee. He had been reprimanded and the account deleted.
The real Goldstone served as the first chief prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.