Rwanda: Green Party leader Frank Habineza denies allegations of defectors
Kigali: More drama continues to rock the yet-to-be registered Democratic Green Party as the party leader Frank Habineza says the controversial comments attributed to him were actually made by one of the officials who defected last week.
Founding Secretary General Mr. Charles Kabanda and two other officials Mr. Vincent Nshimirimana and Ms. Jean Marie Vianney Kantengwa told an impromptu press conference on Friday that they had dissociated themselves from party chief Mr. Frank Habineza.
The three accused Mr. Habineza of making statements at a conference in Uganda the previous week which they said were not approved by the party. According to the three defectors, Mr. Habineza misrepresented the views of the Green Party.
It is during that conference in Kampala that Frank Habineza has been elected as President of the Executive Committee of the Federation of African Greens on April 18th.
Mr. Habineza allegedly told the Kampala conference that Rwanda still had troops in DR Congo; that Rwanda was conniving with the United States and Britain to plunder DR Congo’s timber; and that the Green Party had two million members.
The three defectors said none of these assertions was true, and that they were not party to those comments.
Now, just back from a European tour, Mr. Habineza says the allegations against him are a “total lie”.
“It was actually Mr. Charles Kabanda who presented the report on Rwanda and not Frank Habineza,” says Mr. Habineza in a statement, in reference to one of the three defectors.
The elderly Mr. Kabanda was the first president of the now ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) back in the 1980s. He left the RPF, along with Habineza to found the Green Party in 2008 where he has since been Secretary General.
In the two-page rebuke of the defectors, Mr. Habineza says the “party leadership” has been having “serious concerns on” Mr. Kabanda and Mr. Nshimirimana.
“…ever since he became a member of the party, he has never publically condemned the harassment and intimidation done to the Green Party, yet as a Secretary General it was in his capacity and duties to do so, but rather he was always giving excuses of not wanting to talk to the media and also discouraging the Leadership from doing so,” says Habineza of Kabanda.
As for Mr. Nshimirimana, who has been in charge of media at the troubled party, Mr. Habineza accuses him of disclosing party secrets to unnamed outsiders.
“Some of our internal discussions and decisions in party meetings used to be heard outside the office and we would wonder who it was, taking the party secrets and internal information outside the party, even some party documents used to get lost and be seen somewhere else,” claims Habineza.
However, as for the soft-spoken lady member, Ms. Jean Marie Vianney Kantengwa, the party chief says she was “probably mislead by these two men”. Apparently, the two men could have “exerted a lot of pressure on her, that her life was in danger, if she remained in the party.”
Describing the defection of three top members as a “big blessing”, Mr. Habineza claims they have actually been “heavy burden” to the party.