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Rwanda Ombudsman dares to compare Kagame with Nelson Mandela

Kigali – In an interview offered to The New Times journalist Fred Oluoch-Ojiwah, the Rwandan Chief Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara, goes to the surprising length of comparing Paul Kagame with Nelson Mandela!

… Let me interject by saying that while there is political progress some critics of the progress you are pointing out, are saying that Rwandans have been starved of political space. What is your response?

Tito Rutaremara:
Such critics have to define political space.

For instance these critics say that the upcoming polls are not likely to be competitive.

Tito Rutaremara:

What these critics need to know is that the President Kagame, as an incumbent is just about the only good leader Rwandans can relate to as the polls approach. What is wrong with that? That is not the incumbent’s problem. I must point out that such situations are not unique to Rwanda even right here in Africa. Look at South Africa’s situation with Nelson Mandela.

If Nelson Mandela would make a come back no one would stand a chance of beating him. It is all about a leader’s character. When such a situation obtains, one cannot say that there is no political space. That assumption would be totally wrong.

[All Africa]
Rwanda: 16 Years On, the Struggle Still Continues – Tito Rutaremara

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July 1, 2010   1 Comment

Rwanda can not allow FDU-Inkingi to operate – Ombudsman

Kigali – In an interview offered to Fred Oluoch-Ojiwah of The New Times, the Chief Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara, says that FDU-Inkingi can not be allowed to operate in Rwanda.

Still on the polls complaints abound from external sources to the effect that some political parties are not going to field a candidate like the unregistered FDU-Inkingi.

“It is a question of interpretation of what is good from what is bad. This political party that you are talking about has been branded as cooperating with known terrorist elements by the same western critics.

Once this same organization has been branded that way, how does the same western nation expect us to treat this political organization back at home? Do they want us to allow them to operate? The answer is a plain no. For us FDU-Inkingi is facing justice, rendering it technically incapable of participating in the upcoming polls. Investigations for this case is actually being sourced from these very western countries.

In conclusion, I can only comment by saying that such critical views whether they are from the West or wherever, can only be termed as hypocritical.”
Tito Rutaremara
Chief Ombudsman.

[All Africa]
Rwanda: 16 Years On, the Struggle Still Continues – Tito Rutaremara

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July 1, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: the presidential campaign takes off with red marks

by Victoire Ingabire, FDU-Inkingi.

The first day of the official registration of presidential candidates (24th of June 2010) was marred with mass arrests of opposition leaders and a brutal repression of peaceful demonstrators calling for the opening of the political space.
The clampdown on the opposition members was marked by torture, arbitrary arrests, disappearances and ethnic demonisation.
The assassination, the same day, of Jean-Léonard Rugambage journalist of the newspaper Umuvugizi, critical of the government was a death blow to any independent newspaper critical of the regime and the incumbent.
The landmarks of the red line of the no-go zone beyond which the opposition and the media are not allowed to cross are clear. The silence of bilateral partners of the regime over such a situation is tantamount to complicity in the repression.

The United Democratic Forces FDU-Inkingi condemns in the strongest terms possible arbitrary arrests of two members of the Executive Committee, Mr. Sylvain Sibomana, Secretary General and of Ms. Alice Muhirwa, Treasurer as well a the party official in Kigali city, M. Théoneste Sibomana. Other FDU members including Martin Ntavuka are still missing since the arrest. M. Osée Michel Nshimiyimana was admitted to a private clinic in Gikondo and is receiving treatment as a result of torture by the Security forces. Many members of our party arraigned by the police have reported cases of torture, inhuman and degrading treatments. The torturers were bragging to extirpate “genocide remnants” from the society. The ill treatments and other physical assaults took place in Police stations, in the Directorate of Military intelligence and in private residences.
We would like to recall that the Founder Chairman of PS Imberakuri, Bernard Ntaganda, and the Secretary General, M. Théobald Mutarambirwa, are still in detention.

The repression against peaceful demonstrators comes in the wake of a media lynching campaign which has been scandalously sectarian.

In fact the governmental mouthpiece Imvahonshya commenting on the decision taken by opposition leaders Mr. Bernard Ntaganda (parti social Imberakuli) and Ms. Victoire Ingabire (FDU- Inkingi) to stand for presidential elections, in its issue nr. 1980 (8-11April 2010, p.7), wrote that “descendants of Nazis are banned from standing for election in Europe whereas in Rwanda, they want to do so”. The Media High Council and the government never denounced that statement, meaning that they condone it.

The comparison made between opposition presidential candidates and Nazis by a governmental owned newspaper in order to belittle their rights and block them from the electoral exercise is racist and reflects an underlying collective criminalization of a section of the population, leave alone the incalculable consequences to our society. Those who are spreading the ideology that someone can be a genocidaire by birth, from generation to generation perpetuates the evil that led to genocide.

We consider that the criminalization of a whole section of the population for crimes committed by extremists and hardliners is also a crime. Condoning and espousing such a divisive ideology by members of the regime of President Kagame is an irrefutable proof that the policy of national reconciliation has failed.

Our political ambition has always been to present and defend a national political programme that transcends ethnic affiliation and brings people together around a common political platform and not ethnic identity. Branding people as « candidates for hutus » is an insult and is at the same time an attempt by the detractors to conserve dirty ethnicity inside rwandan politics. One way to pre-empt politics based on ethnicity is to open the political space and to allow the population to go beyond and freely make choices based on political vision and programmes. The RPF regime has failed to do that.

We are calling on the Government to release immediately all our members and other political prisoners and to bring to justice people responsible for tortures and inhuman and degrading treatments.

Our country is on the brink of chaos. The rising tension, nervousness, repression and the shrinking of the political space call for the postponement of the presidential elections. Otherwise the elections masquerade parading only the ruling party and its allied groups while excluding the opposition leaders and their political parties open questions to the legitimacy of the poll results.

Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

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July 1, 2010   No Comments

Rwandan opposition leader Bernard Ntaganda still detained without charges

Bernard Ntaganda - Leader of PS-Imberakuri

Bernard Ntaganda - Leader of PS-Imberakuri

Ntaganda Bernard: Prosecution “still preparing court dossier”

Kigali: The National Prosecution Authority said Wednesday that there was no need to rush to court as opposition politician Bernard Ntaganda can still be detained without charges, RNA reports.

“The law prescribes that a suspect can be held by Police for three days and seven days by prosecution,” said prosecution spokesmen Augustin Nkusi. “We are still preparing the charges and he will be presented in court anytime soon.”

Ntaganda will be presented in court soon, says prosecution

Bernard Ntaganda who heads a faction of PS Imberakuri party was arrested on the morning of June 24 on ethnic divisionism charges and links to a failed arson attack on Christine Mukabunane – from another faction.

The same day, up to 30 demonstrators were arrested as they prepared to protest against the National Electoral Commission. Opposition groups said Ntaganda was arrested to counter the impending protest. Police said the arrests were a coincidence.

Green Party politician Frank Habineza was briefly detained along with several of the protestors, but set free after about an hour. Reports said the same day FDU-Inkingi leader Victoire Ingabire was prevented from leaving her home.

Police Spokesman Eric Kayiranga said today that Ntaganda was released from Police custody and handed to prosecution on Monday.

But Nkusi from prosecution declined to say where the controversial government critic was being held.

“He is in the custody of a competent authority as investigations continue,” said Nkusi.

Put to him that the law sets out a 72-hour period of detention for suspects, Nkusi said: “What I have explained to you is what the law says. I don’t know where you get that.”


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July 1, 2010   No Comments