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Premier Makuza Warns Opposition Leader Victoire Ingabire

Premier Bernard Makuza

Premier Bernard Makuza

KIGALI – Prime Minister Bernard Makuza has lashed out at Victoire Ingabire, the leader of the yet-to-be-registered political party – FDU-Inkingi, for what he said is an attempt to disrespect Rwandans and the country’s laws.

The Prime Minister said that Ingabire’s rhetoric showed utter disrespect for Rwandans and what they have worked hard to achieve over the past 16 years.

“Wanting to disrespect Rwandans [saying] that they live in fear, or belittling what they have achieved, like Gacaca which Rwandans created on their own, as well as other policies meant to bring about unity and reconciliation, is something Rwandans cannot accept,” Makuza said.

He accused Ingabire of trying to instil fear in people, strongly warning her against this path, especially the attempt to use ethnic card.

“Rwandans have long since done away with such fear and they cannot allow anyone to lead them into the politics of anarchy that takes them back while destroying what they have built”.

The PM made the remarks yesterday while briefing reporters outside his offices in Kimihurura, shortly after holding separate closed bilateral discussions with the new Ambassadors of DRC and Burundi.

He downplayed Ingabire’s recent summoning to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), saying that it was normal procedure.

The Premier stressed that with respect to the law, what was important was whether the people or institutions interrogating anyone have the legal authority to do so and are doing it within the confines of the country’s laws.

“I think that the institutions like the police have that right. If at all they did not do that, even Rwandans would question why those institutions do not carry out their duties yet they have that responsibility”.

Makuza stressed that Ingabire, or any other Rwandan, has the right to aspire to be a presidential candidate or any other post, but must not contravene the law.

“Rwanda is not a jungle where people do whatever they want. That is why there are laws – if you don’t respect the law, the law takes you to task,” the PM warned.

Victoire Ingabire

Victoire Ingabire

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza who returned to the country last month after 16 years in the Netherlands and who is the presidential candidate of the FDU-Inkingi for the upcoming presidential elections, has been an outspoken critic of the RPF government. She has angered Paul Kagame’s regime when she declared that Hutu who have been killed during the genocide should also be remembered and their killers brought to justice. Rwandan authorities consider her declarations as ‘divisive and revisionist’ and espousing the double genocide theory.


February 12, 2010   No Comments

Angry Paul Kagame Says Criticism of Rwandan Genocide Law is “nonsense”

Kagame, angry and upset!

Kagame, angry and upset!

Kigali: President Paul Kagame has angrily dismissed any criticism of the Genocide ideology law coming from donors, rights groups and exiled opposition, saying nobody has the right to undermine what happens in Rwanda, RNA reports.

Since the passing of a law in 2007 criminalizing negating the Genocide – described here as “Genocide Ideology”, fierce critics have claimed that it has been used to stifle free speech and squeeze the opposition. The harshest attack came last year from the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, which was opposed to Rwanda’s admission into the British Commonwealth block.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as the US government in its annual human rights reports, have repeated the same attacks. The latest came when York-based Human Rights Watch claimed Wednesday that government was using the law “as a way of targeting and discrediting its critics”.

Amnesty International has also argued that the terms of the law criminalizing “genocidal ideology”, are “vague and ambiguous”. The group also says this law could potentially restrict the ability of the accused to put forward a defence in criminal trials. The offence is punishable by 10 to 25 years’ imprisonment.

President Kagame on Friday seemed to have had enough. Addressing the judiciary, senior government officials and diplomats at the Parliamentary building at the start of the judicial year, Mr. Kagame described the criticism as “complete nonsense”.

The President wondered why international media and diplomats accredited to Kigali repeatedly claim the Genocide Ideology law is not clear.

“Sometimes a person wonders…‘but how come your laws criminalizing divisionism and others against negating the holocaust are not ambiguous?’ How come you implement them? What specialty do you have that others cannot have?”, said Mr. Kagame, in a mixture of English and Kinyarwanda.

“What they are trying to say is that all of you here seated with huts and robes have no brains,” he said, amid muted laughter from the audience. The President also accused the west of consistently undermining “Rwandans and Africans” by always being suspicious of everything done on the continent.

With an unusually high tone, suggesting that he was angry and also not reading from the prepared speech, Mr. Kagame fired in English: “We’ve lived this life. We’ve lived the consequences. So, we understand it better than anyone from anywhere else.”

“Apart from this over-bearing attitude of always wanting to decide for others what they should do, what do these people have in their brains…heads that we don’t have?. What is it? Why almost everyday question what people do for themselves?”

Turning to Kinyarwanda, President Kagame told his audience that critics can only be found to be wrong depending on how the country’s institutions are built.

“We ensure all is done with ultimate courage…explain to whoever doesn’t understand…such that even if we remain with some who do not want to understand, just like we even have them,” he said.

Mr. Kagame said criticism from the outside should not make those implementing policies internally to lose morale because they are doing it all for themselves and the country.

“This is the only way that we will silence those who are always speaking nonsense,” he summed.

The judiciary had earlier presented several achievement attained over the past year, and President Kagame was on hand – thanking them. He also promised to avail them with his contribution at anytime “because it is my responsibility”.

February 12, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda Launches The East Africa’s First eID Scheme

Rwanda Flag

Rwanda Flag

Kigali – The Ministry of Local Government in Rwanda has agreed with De La Rue Identity Systems, a UK-based world expert in secure e-government identity solutions, to design and roll-out East Africa’s first national eID project for the Government of Rwanda, as part of the ongoing Rwandan National ID project (NID). The plans for systems integration, to combine data from the current ID card, passport and driver’s licence, are already underway. The first eID documents are expected to be distributed in around six months, following successful completion of the pilot phase.

Rwanda’s existing national ID card, also produced by De La Rue, is currently held by all citizens over the age of 16. It is envisaged the new eID card will replace this and contain additional e-government information, such as health and social security details. This puts Rwanda at the forefront of regional IT advancement.

Pascal Nyamurinda-NID Project Coordinator

Pascal Nyamurinda-NID Project Coordinator

Pascal Nyamurinda, National ID Project Coordinator, Ministry of Local Government said “Rwanda is very proud to be launching East Africa’s first eID scheme. This project is of utmost importance for our country, providing our citizens with access to additional services through the use of a highly secure eID device. We have chosen to work with De La Rue for over ten years now and throughout that time we have been impressed by their constant efforts to exceed our expectations, always delivering an innovative and trusted solution.”

James Thorburn, Managing Director, De La Rue Identity Systems commented “De La Rue is delighted to be strengthening its relationship with Rwanda, focused on delivering a dynamic strategic project. We already provide the country’s passport, current ID card, driver’s licence and supporting systems so we are able to use our local knowledge and expertise, as well as experience from implementing over 50 national schemes, to ensure successful implementation of the new eID project.”
De La Rue is the world’s largest commercial security printer and papermaker, involved in the production of over 150 national currencies and a wide range of security documents such as passports, authentication labels and fiscal stamps. De La Rue employs over 4,000 people across 24 countries and is a member of the FTSE 250. Its ordinary shares are listed with the UK Listing Authority and trade on the market for listed securities on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol DLAR.

February 12, 2010   1 Comment