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Rwanda: FDU to Kagame: “Warmongering politics is misplaced”

Press release

Warmongering politics is misplaced at the Commemoration of Rwanda genocide

President Kagame’s address on the 16th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide marked a very dangerous escalation in his merciless violent attacks on the opposition. The president has seriously failed to the obligation of reserve, for the dignity of the supreme function requires him to express his opinion with great restraint and not to insult his political and military opponents.
In an unprecedented mood, the president accused among others Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, chairperson of UDF-Inkingi, of “political hooliganism“, before calling opposition “useless people“. In a
separate declaration, he talked of “killing those mosquitoes with a hammer“. The president went further challenging his critics into “a fight”, a threat he has uttered many times. He seemed to forget
the context of the day, turning his speech into an exposé of nostalgic personal war achievements, which roused unusual applause among the audience.
These utterances from a head of state, aspiring for a new bail in office are very revealing of the gap between the president agenda and the wishes of the people he is supposed to lead.
Indeed, spitting fire to the opposition and foreign critics at the commemoration of the saddest period of our history is misplaced. Inciting to violence and threatening to wage war against his
political opponents at the expenses of genocide survivors’ suffering is cynical and bad politics.

The commemoration should rather be an opportunity for healing wounds, for reconciling people, for calling for more tolerance and harmony between Rwandans.
Sweeping under the carpet all critics and labelling them all kind of abuses shows a lack of political vision and dedication to the country’s interests.
As far as UDF-Inkingi is concerned, the wind of change is on the move and no amount of intimidation will stop it. There is no honor for a torrent to boast of having removed a reed. UDF-Inkingi is of the
view that calling for more political space, more freedom of association and expression is in no way political hooliganism.
Alluding to political hooliganism is mistaking political opponents with enemies, instead of challengers. A hooligan is a follower of sport that uses violence to influence the outcome of a sporting event. Calling people like that is unacceptable when we know full well that violence is not on our side and that the regime monopolizes the political arena.
The role of political opposition is to oppose any policy that rejects the democratic debate, marginalizes the rural and peri-urban population, seeks to truncate the memory and has no plans for national cohesion.

Done in Kigali, April 8, 2010.

UDF-Inkingi
Secretary General
Sylvain Sibomana

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