Rwanda: A coup in the air
Climate of fear and terror in Rwanda.
Next Monday, August 9, the presidential elections in Rwanda take place in a climate of fear and terror.
President Paul Kagame (RPF) is expected to win with a record score because the opposition has been neutralized in the recent months. “But there is an end-of-reign atmosphere. A palace revolution in the clan of Kagame is a greater threat than the political opposition,” said the renowned Rwanda-specialist Filip Reyntjens this week in Knack.
On June 19, General Kayumba, the former chief of staff who fled to South Africa, survived another attack. Three other generals were arrested in Rwanda itself. According to Reyntjens there is a coup in the air. “I think there is a real risk of a coup, and that can still happen before the elections. There are plenty of conspiracies, my sources tell me. The paranoia was already great, but now Kagame doesn’t not know anymore who he can trust.”
Even the opposition leader Victoire Ingabire (FDU), who after her arrest in Kigali has been in a form of house arrest, said in Knack that an internal power struggle is in progress: “The ruling party RPF is faced now with a split, and they will not solve that problem with these sham elections. I call for the boycott of this electoral masquerade.” Last week there was again a brutal police raid on her house, where two local FDU leaders were ruthlessly arrested.
After 16 years of exile in the Netherlands since the 1994 genocide, the perfect Dutch-speaking Victoire Ingabire has returned to Rwanda a half year ago. “I fear for my own safety, but I can not let my life be determined by fear,” she said. “I must overcome fear in order to continue with my struggle.”
Prof. Filip Reyntjens is irritated by the silence of Foreign Affairs in Brussels, despite the long series of political killings and arbitrary arrests. “A senior official in the State Department tells me that the Americans are very worried and assume that the regime is behind the killings,” said Reyntjens. “Rwanda is a volcano, temporarily still with a lid on. But sooner or later will jump that lid off.”
Original article in Dutch: Knack