Saturday, 31 December 2016
Guns Over Kigali - Henry Kwami Anyidoho
Author: Henry Kwami Anyidoho
Publisher: Foundation Publishing
Photos/ Maps: 34/4
This book is a rendition of the author’s experiences as Deputy Force Commander and Chief of Staff for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) during the period of the Rwandan Genocide April – July 1994. Brig Anyidoho kept an extensive diary throughout his time with UNAMIR and drew upon these notes and his recollections to draft this treatise on his experiences and to provide a series of lessons learned from the disaster. The accuracy of his observations and recommendations and their relevance to future UN peacekeeping missions was confirmed when many of them were included in the Brahimi Report of 2000 which saw a fundamental overhaul of the UN support and operational ethos.
The author was intimately involved in the period leading up to the civil war and was present throughout the fighting. As such, he was either personally involved or privy to the myriad of challenges relating to negotiations and interactions with Rwandan forces (both Hutu and Tutsi), the international community as well as the UN itself. His insights into the bureaucracies, trials and idiosyncrasies of these organizations and their public and private agendas are extremely enlightening.
Throughout his account, the author comments upon the strengths and weaknesses of the UN system in particular, both logistically and operationally. His views are based on hard operational experience and, being noted at the time of observation, are astute and germane. While it is obvious that he was frustrated by what he perceived as inefficiencies, his approach is not one of blame but of a genuine desire to see the system improved.
He includes in his work an introduction to the causes and history of the Rwandan Crisis, a specific series of recommendations relating to national level command preparation and training, the UN and its policies (politically, operationally and logistically) and the shortcomings in the reactions/capabilities of the Organization of African Unity (precursor to the African Union) and how these may be addressed. Additionally, his work incorporates lessons learned throughout the narrative itself.