Is Victoire Ingabire “the poster child” for the Western Press?
In an exchange of views between Geoffrey York and Christopher Vourlias about the Rwandan political opponent Victoire Ingabire, Geoffrey York writes:
Christopher Vourlias criticises Geoffrey York in these terms:
… The UN’s damning report on mineral and weapons trafficking in the Congo last year directly linked Ingabire’s UDF-INKINGI party to FDLR elements, and Ingabire herself has repeatedly refused to answer questions related to the bankrolling of her campaign. This is not something to gloss over – especially when your audience would most likely miss this point entirely.
The FDLR is considered a terrorist group by the UN; its ambitions for the eradication of the Tutsi people are widely known. By failing to draw this connection for your readers, you ignore one of the central points of dispute between the government and Ms. Ingabire. When she ruefully said, “I don’t know why the government is so afraid of me,” it would have been a good time to push her on the subject of her relationship to the FDLR. At the very least, it would have given her a chance to dispute the most damning accusations made against her in The New Times.
I agree that the Kagame government has a lot to answer for, especially in how it regards the opposition and the press. But I still feel Ingabire has a lot to answer for, too, even as she is being snatched up by the Western press as the poster child of the repressive Kagame regime.
Geoffrey York answers: March 9, 2010.
Chris — you’re being rather glib and facile when you describe her as “the poster child” for the Western press.
First of all, she is one of the major opposition leaders, like it or not. She is the only politician who is attacked daily in the New Times, suggesting that she is the leader who is most feared by the government. And as a Hutu leader, she is obviously the greatest threat to the RPF in an election. So it’s only logical that her campaign should be watched closely by any media.
We’re not creating her from nothing. She exists, and the RPF’s reaction to her is a fascinating story.
As for the UN report: look again. It’s a 99-page report which contains only 2 brief sentences about Ingabire. It basically says that she attended meetings where FDLR representatives were present.
I did, in fact, quiz her about this. (You are quite wrong to say that I gave her a “free pass” on this.) She says she organized an “inter-Rwandan dialogue” (which the UN report also confirms) and the dialogue was attended by representatives of all factions, including the RPF, not just FDLR.
The New Times is twisting this by claiming that Ingabire has been “blacklisted by the UN” and “put on the UN terrorist list” which is manifestly not true.
Now, is there evidence that some FDU members have some links to the FDLR? Perhaps there is, but I’ve seen nothing that directly implicates Ingabire personally for direct funding links to the FDLR. If you have such evidence, please cite it publicly, but I think you have to go beyond the UN report.
See also our article:
Is Victoire Ingabire Connected To FDLR?