End of Year One of Ingabire’s open struggle for Democracy and Reconciliation in Rwanda
by Eugene Ndahayo
Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza in Rwanda: the year One of the struggle for democracy and dignity.
Dear friends of Rwanda,
January 16, 2010, it’s already a year ago, when Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Chairperson of the United Democratic Forces, FDU-INKINGI knelt down for the first time and kissed her homeland that she left 16 years before.
A year of achievements, dedication and courage. A real struggle for democracy, for freedom, for the right to life and personal security, the right of association, freedom of expression, for political rights. A thrash against the iron fist of the dictatorship.
A year of solidarity with Rwandans in the country for the right of remembrance for all victims of the Rwandan genocide and other crimes against humanity; for all victims’ rights; for all the voiceless; for the rehabilitation of second class citizens. A real struggle for equal access, equal opportunities for all the children of our homeland.
A wrestling against an unfair justice that has deprived Rwandans of the right to a defense of one’s choice and the right to a due process. The controversial “Gacaca” justice parody has thrown hundreds of thousands of litigants to humiliating community services with no hope of return.
A year of solidarity with the population of Congo (DRC) facing the consequences of military invasions responsible of over 5 millions of victims, and the plundering of the country’s natural resources. Since 1990, the whole region is engulfed in an endless turmoil.
The Rwandan President, praised by some people and some partisan media to be an all fields miracle champion, a super star, a country’s development success story, believed himself in his political invincibility.
By her presence in Rwanda, Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, has brought to light the true dimension of the dictatorship: a totalitarian regime monopolized by a handful of military and ethnocentric militants who, by the means of a political police and a sprawling network of secret services, has an upper hand over all public institutions, the judicial and the civil society.
In just one year, the regime has accumulated political errors and serious violations of human rights:
– Assassination of late André Kagwa Rwisereka, Deputy-Chair of the Democratic Green Party of Rwandan, on July 13, 2010,
– Assassination of the Journalist Jean-Léonard Rugambage, Editor of Umuvugizi newspaper, on June 24, 2010,
– Life attempt against General Kayumba Nyamwasa on June 19, 2010,
-Kidnapping followed by the arrest of Mr. Deogratias Mushayidi, Chair of PDP-IMANZI on March 3, 2010,
– Arrest of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Chair of FDU- INKINGI on April 21, 2010, bailed out, under house arrest the next day and rearrested on October 14, 2010,
– Arrest of Professor Peter Erlinder, US attorney, defense lawyer for Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza on June 17, then bailed out after weeks,
– Arrest of Mr. Bernard Ntaganda, Chair of PS-IMBERAKURI on June 24, 2010
– Arrest and detention of Journalists Ms. Agnes Uwimana Nkusi and Saidati Mukakibibi, (Umurabyo newspaper) on July 8-10, 2010,
– Arrest of a dozen of party leaders of FDU-INKINGI and PS-IMBERAKURI on June 24, 2010 then released on bail,
– Arrest of Mr. Theogene Muhayeyezu, Rwandan lawyer for FDU-INKINGI on June 24, 2010 then released 15 days later,
– Rigged Presidential elections on August 9, 2010 with total exclusion of the opposition,
– Arrest of several high-ranking officers in the Rwandan Army: General Charles Muhire, Major General Karenzi Karake, Colonel Rugigana Ngabo, etc.
– Publication on October 1, 2010 of the UN Mapping Report on war crimes, crimes against humanity and a possible genocide committed in Congo mainly by the Rwandan army.
Yes, in less than a year, the superstar Paul Kagame has faded from the limelight! The touted and self portrayed “African new generation leader” is just real, a tyrant to avoid.
His apologists are just confused and on the brink of loss of credibility. How do they justify the total seal off the political space; assassinations; arbitrary arrests and detentions of democracy leaders? How do they explain the repeated landslide Stalinist election score of 93%?
And gradually, the economic miracle of sustained growth appears to be the result of an unfortunate combination of a criminal economy, unbalanced, uneven and sorry. The Congolese blood minerals and other natural resources have a share in the miracle. There is a puncture of rural savings of 90% of the population in favor of an urban economy represented by 10% of the Rwandan population as well. The gap caused by uneven national income distribution is very deep. According to the UNDP reports, 10% of the richest population owns over 50% of the national wealth while 50% of the poorest population owns less than 10% of the national wealth.
That is the record of a year of achievements of our Chairperson, a record of FDU-INKINGI. Together with all our supporters, we are proud.
Our leader is in maximum prison since October 14, 2010. We all keep in our minds her words, just a few days back to the homeland:
“I believe in the political project that I share with my colleagues in this struggle, I love my country and all its inhabitants and I know I am not alone in this and Rwandans from all social classes, ethnic backgrounds and generations are with us. It is my source of strength and an oath that I would never betray. I will not waver in my dedication as I promised my colleagues and friends. I know and I have thoroughly thought about it, the regime may persecute me, imprison me. Let me say in conclusion that I am ready to face and endure all the difficulties and obstacles on my way until the final victory. And in case the regime attempts on my life, I trust you shall continue from where I will fall.”
In prison, where she is incarcerated, the morale of our Chairperson Ms. Victoire Ingabire is high. She is free in her mind and soul. Not because of her innocence and belief that the justice system will set her free. No, she does not believe at all in the dictator’s justice. She saw how his judicial works: trumped up accusations; fake witnesses; witness preparation and rehearsals; lack of independence; interferences and orders taken from the State House.
No, she is simply strong because she is courageous and trust that we shall empower the momentum of the wind of freedom and the seeds of democracy she already sowed.
It is the correctness of her political struggle that will set her free. It is the faith in our political project, it is our ability to organize, it is the strength and impact of our current and future political rationale and alliances that will set her free.
Thus, our determination, our consistency in the political struggle shall overcome the dictatorship and its international backers or lobbying organizations.
Together, we will set free the Chairperson of FDU-INKINGI and beyond, we set free our people.
Done in Brussels, on January 16, 2011
Chair of the Support Committee for FDU-INKINGI