Rwanda Ruling Party RPF Orchestrated Destabilisation Of Opposition Party PS-Imberakuri
Ousted opposition leader resurfaces on asylum rumours
Kigali: The embattled former leader of PS Imberakuri party has resurfaced a day after he went into hiding as a small number, but vocal and furious party officials voted to oust him on Wednesday. Based on various accounts, RNA also brings you what transpired.
As news spread yesterday morning indicating that renegade senior party colleagues had organised an impromptu congress to vote on the party leadership, Mr. Bernard Ntaganda went into hiding.
The seemingly reluctant delegates, transported from across the country, converged at a building at Nyabugogo and by 1400hours, PS Imberakuri had new leadership. The soft-spoken former Vice President Ms. Christine Mukabunane took over a leader, backed by fire-brand lower level officials Augustin Niyitegeka and VP Pastor Noel Hakizimana.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Ntaganda and his remaining loyalists had planned to hold a press conference which did not take place. Mr. Ntaganda abandoned his phone to his assistant, who told RNA and other media that his boss was not available to speak to the media.
By 1600hours, Mr. Ntaganda’s vehicle was still packed at his office in Nyamirambo – in the same spot it had been all day. A guard at the building said he had not seen Mr. Ntaganda leave as the building has just one exit.
A rumour then surfaced suggesting that Mr. Ntaganda had sought asylum in the U.S. Embassy in Kacyiru – an upscale Kigali suburb. In the evening, a source in the coalition of opposition parties – in which PS Imberakuri is member, told RNA that the American embassy had confirmed that Mr. Ntaganda was not in their premises.
“But we are very worried because nobody knows anything about his whereabouts,” the source said. “Even his assistant with the phone says he has no clue.”
In a rare interview with Radio Rwanda Wednesday evening, Mr. Ntaganda’s assistant fired back at the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) for usurping PS Imberakuri by fronting people of its own preference.
He claimed that there are members who were with him at that moment that had refused to accept the new party leadership. We have all the details of how this coup against us was planned by the RPF, he said.
On Thursday morning, RNA was informed that Mr. Ntaganda would hold a press conference to respond to the events of Wednesday – which resulted into him losing the party that renegade members accuse him of managing like personal property. If he indeed appears at the event, it will be his time to brand renegade colleagues as stooges.
However, the new team said Mr. Ntaganda will remain a member of PS Imberakuri.
Viewers of state TV were also treated to more drama during the evening Kinyarwanda news, and subsequent French and English bulletins. Indifferent from the new party leaders who seemed to send the impression that the ousting of Mr. Ntaganda was long over-due, the delegates – including mainly youths, looked like they were not sure why they were there.
TV images showed some hiding their faces from the cameras – preferring not to be filmed. Though with part flags in-hand, some members could be seen not even chanting along with others. With delegates inside the building seated on plastic chairs, some stayed out looking like they were not bothered with events.
When it came to discussing the only issue on agenda – the leadership of Mr. Ntaganda, the vocal Mr. Niyitegeka Augustin and Pastor Noel Hakizimana were the ones taking most of the time to speak despite having the new lady president at the front.
All through the function lasting about an hour during lunchtime, Ms. Mukabonane was regularly interjected by the two men. When it came to speaking to journalists outside the building, the two men spoke with vigour as she stood to their side.
The two hard-talking men also laboured to convince journalists that the decision to call for a party congress was not from the disgruntled officials but members who asked the Vice President Ms. Mukabonane to organize it. Defending their action, the new team also told journalists about 900 members had attended the congress.
Describing themselves as interim, the new PS Imberakuri hierarchy says as per the party constitution, a delegates’ congress will be held within 60days to vote on the permanent structures.