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Rwandan Diaspora and Friends of Rwanda urge the US government to push hard on General Kagame and the UN Security Council

By Ing Mah

Washington, DC-On Tuesday, November 9, 2010, members of the Rwandan Diaspora and Friends of Rwanda in US took to the streets of Washington, DC.

The protesters gathered in front of the White House from 10 am to 2 pm and later marched to the US State Department from 2 pm to 5 pm.

They called upon the US government to show leadership by urging the UN Security Council to address the recent UN Report of the Mapping Exercise which was released on October 1, 2010. The Report documents the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by Rwandan troops within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo against Rwandan Hutu refugees and Congolese people between 1993 and 2003.

The protesters also urged the US government to use their influence on Rwandan President Paul Kagame to secure immediate and unconditional release of all Rwandan political prisoners, including, Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Mr. Bernard Ntaganda, Mr. Deogratias Mushayidi, Mr. Theoneste Niyitegeka, Mr. Charles Ntakirutinka, and many others.

According to their statement, US taxpayers sent over one billion of tax dollars in foreign aid to Rwanda in the past decade alone.

“We therefore urge the United States Government to link future aid to Rwandan government on fostering genuine reconciliation, accountability and development for all Rwandans instead of supporting political agenda of the RPF ruling party”.

While in front of the White House, protesters unexpectedly encountered a counter protest led by the Staff from the Rwandan Embassy in US and their friends.

Fortunately, because these counter protesters failed to show to the security officers a required permit, they were asked to immediately leave the White House sidewalk. They gently walked across the street towards Lafayette Park where they stayed until the rally was over at 2 pm.

Starting at 2:30 pm, the Rwandan Diaspora and Friends of Rwanda in US were allowed to pursue their rally in the front yard of the US Department of State. Copies of their press release and the statement on Mrs. Ingabire’s High Court bail hearing last Monday November 8, 2010 were handed over by the protesters’ representative to Staff in charge of the Rwandan Desk at the US Department of State.

Upon their humiliation in front of the White House, the unfortunate Staff from the Rwandan Embassy in US and their friends did not give up. They made it to the US Department of State but were barred from approaching the courtyard because they once again failed to show a required permit.

Surprisingly, counter protesters from the Rwandan Embassy in US knowingly misled the Rwandan public opinion by falsely reporting to the New Times in Kigali that they urged U.S to act on fugitives despite the fact that they were not allowed access to neither the White House sidewalk nor the US Department of State courtyard!

[Hungry Of Truth]

November 13, 2010   1 Comment

Rwandan High Court denies bail to opposition leader Victoire Ingabire

by Eugene Ndahayo

Despite the poor evidence of the prosecution during the hearing on the 8th November 2010, the High Court has stunned Rwandans and all human rights community, and decided to follow the state prosecution. It has ruled that the chairperson of FDU-Inkingi be remanded in jail awaiting her trial. The verdict reading lasted from 15:50 pm to 16:40 pm before a huge crowd of spectators, including FDU-Inkingi party members.

You will remember that, during the hearing, the state prosecution had laboured in trying to convince the court of the legitimacy of maintaining Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza in remand, in order to avoid her tempering with investigation. Amid blatant contradictions and inconsistency, the state prosecution even ventured into bringing in the controversial sewage pit found at the home of Victoire Ingabire, a fact that amply shows the weakness of the case and her politically motivated nature.

The public will recall that before this arrest on 8th October, as well as even before the previous arrest of April 2010, the state prosecution had boasted of overwhelming evidence against the accused. Instead of adducing before court this evidence, the prosecution is busy manufacturing fake evidence, with a sole purpose of maintaining behind bars an innocent woman.

The ruling of the High Court betrays the government agenda of hijacking the judiciary in its endeavour to silence all critical voices. The regime is also using this much touted case, as a smoke screen in order to divert the public attention from the devastating UN Mapping exercise report, which brought in limelight the atrocities committed by its army in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC-, and portray it as a victim. This was proved by the strong propaganda team which was dispatched in Europe and whose agenda has inconsistently been to demonise the opposition and to belittle the crimes against humanity committed in DRC.

The entire membership of the party expresses its total solidarity with their chairperson and vows to upkeep her ideals, so that the struggle for justice initiated by Miss Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza keeps going. It calls all peace and justice loving Rwandan to join hands and achieve this goal. No amount of political repression will overcome the need for basic political and civil rights.

The leadership of the FDU Inkingi calls upon genuine friends of Rwanda to impress upon the regime to guaranty political space and desist from saying that political space is full, as such speeches only deepen the gap between the population and the government.

Instead, friends of Rwanda should join hands and ask for the setting up of an ad hoc judicial mechanism to identity and deal with people responsible for the crimes committed in DRC against Rwandan refugees and Congolese citizen, as per the UN Mapping Exercise report request. It is strange to see how the government is prompt to quote UN while trying to justify the arrest of Victoire Ingabire, and shy away when the same institution asks for accountability in crimes committed in DRC.

Condoning government attempts to thwart that report by crashing the political opposition is a dangerous path, as it strengthens the culture of impunity, which is the root cause of all the misery of the sub region.

As such, the Kigali regime leaves no chance to the democratic opposition which has long longed for a political peaceful change. It is high time that the Partner States of the Rwandan government realized that it is their support which contributes to the strengthening of political tyranny and maintains an entire nation in bondage. It is a decoy than basing regional stability in the medium term on a totalitarian government which, moreover, has committed very serious crimes under international humanitarian law and human rights.

We urge the major donors to review their complete cooperation with the government and, where appropriate, to consider economic sanctions and limitation of foreign travel of key political and military leaders and their immediate families.

Done in Brussels, 12th November 2010


FDU-Support Committee

November 13, 2010   No Comments