Rwanda: “This woman will be where she belongs”, says Kagame about opposition leader Victoire Ingabire
In his exclusive interview with Monitor Managing Editor Daniel Kalinaki, President Paul Kagame shows, in strong terms, that he is determined to bar opposition leader Ms Victoire Ingabire from running for presidential office.
Here is what The Monitor reports:
Q/ How do you respond to criticism that the arrest of Victoire Ingabire has been done to try and prevent her from establishing a political party and running against you as a candidate, that you are using genocide laws to clamp down on political dissent…
“First, Ingabire is not accused of having been involved in the genocide because she was not here. She was abroad. She’s actually been out of the country for 17 years but that’s not the problem.
But while she was there, before she came to contest in these elections, she had been doing things that, in the end, would put her into trouble and she knew about it but of course these people always operate under the assumption that, you know, ‘we can do all this but when we come for things like elections in the country the international community will not allow these people to [do anything about it]’ even when they know they have been involved in wrong doing.
Even the UN itself has information; they wrote about this person, giving details about how she was connected with the FDLR, these genocidaires who live in the Congo and who have been killing Congolese and our own people.
On our side we have evidence, which has been brought to her attention, and about 10 things she has been denying. Now she’s saying that seven of them are actually true and this has come as a result of the overwhelming evidence that was put in front of her including the people she was working with, the former soldiers in the FDLR who are here in our hands, who are testifying to these accusations.”
Q/ What are the accusations?
“First of all that she had been visiting FDLR in the Congo just before she came.
Initially she had denied, that she only used to just give supportive comments. Then the evidence of these FDLR colonels who are here with us and when they confronted her they said ‘you were with us’ and she said ‘yeah, I’m sorry I visited you so many times’. This is in court of law.
Then they said you were contributing money, supplied money to FDLR she was saying no. In our collaboration in the Congo and so on, through their justice institutions and ours, they now have bank documents which prove that she actually supplied money, not once, not twice, but several times.
She visited them, not once, not twice. When initially she was being accused, she did not know that we had these people in our custody.
When we confronted her afterwards she almost collapsed. This is in broad daylight, in courts of law.
This is somebody, a candidate, a so-praised opposition leader, yes, but wait a minute; if there are cases to answer, you answer them.
It doesn’t matter how outsiders talk about it and insult us and abuse us and all sorts of things and praise her for being so Godly and being a very powerful opposition leader but there are cases here to answer.
Yes we’ve earned a bad name for no good reason but issues are being sorted out. This woman will certainly be where she belongs.
She was charged in the court of law, she’s now out on bail but the matters are serious and are there as a matter of fact.
How then do I explain myself or for this country beyond that? Now the outsiders who want so badly Ingabire to be an opposition leader here or later on be our president, well, they may wait for a while.”