The Deteriorating Political and Social Situation in Rwanda. Is the Kagame Government Responsible?
By Maurice M., Germany, 15 July 2010
A few days ago, I saw a press release from „Ökumenisches Netz Zentralafrika“1. They seem to be changing their attitude regards the dictatorial government of Kagame in Rwanda where the situation is deteriorating daily.
Rwandans inside and outside the country are living under constant threat of death and persecution. Refugees2 that fled the country seeking political asylum abroad and have forcefully been repatriated by those countries, are arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned. There is the case of Innocent Irankunda3. On 14 October 2009, he was deported from Germany to Rwanda, arrested on arrival, imprisoned and tortured. In court he was charged with treason, genocide ideology, and use of false official papers, found guilty of the charges and is now serving a four-year-prison-term. But what crime had he committed? He had fled his country and sought asylum in Germany.
Today everybody who dares to oppose the regime in Rwanda is arbitrarily accused of genocide denial, promotion of division among the people or exposure of the country’s security. Leaders of the political opposition, lawyers, and journalists are arbitrarily arrested, tortured and some even killed. At present, Mrs. Agnes Uwimana Nkusi, editor of „Umurabyo“, is in police custody. On 12 July 2010, two journalists, Mr. Patrick Kambale and Mrs. Daidati Mukakibibi were arrested for defaming President Kagame and negating the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi population. The genocide ideology seems to have become the latest tool of the Kagame regime to harass and repress the opposition in the country. If convicted Agnes Uwimana Nkusi and her colleagues could be spending the next three decades behind bars.
Peaceful demonstrations by the opposition are violently quashed in Rwanda. The planned demonstration to be held by the opposition on 24 June 2010, was sabotaged by the government when Maître Bernard Ntaganda, founding president of PS Imberakuri, was violently removed from his home by agents of the national police force. Since then he has been spending day and night in handcuffs in different police stations. The party’s secretary general, Mr. Theobald Mutarambirwa, and several members of the PS Imbarakuri were also arbitrarily arrested and tortured.4 On the same day, several members of the FDU Inkingi were arrested too. Though some have been released by now, others are still tortured and denied medical attention while in police custody. How can the incumbent president Paul Kagame, his regime and the police explain the arbitrary arrests, torture, inhuman and cruel treatment of the opposition leaders?
„We call on the Rwandan government to immediately release these political leaders without further delay and investigate the reported cases of torture and barbaric martyrdom“, said opposition leader Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.5 Who killed the editor of Umuvugizi Newspaper, Mr. Leonard Rugamabage6, while he was investigating who shot and wounded General Kayumba Nyamwasa7 in South Africa? Who killed and decapitated Mr. André Kagwa Rwisereka, vice-president of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda8? Rwisereka’s body was found on Wednesday dumped by a river in the south of the country, after he had been missing for a day. Who on 14 July 2010, shot dead ICRT9 Lawyer Professor Jwani Mwaikusa, the first defense counselor who successfully opposed the prosecutor’s motion to transfer the case of his client to a Rwandan court?
„The Rwandan opposition has been locked up for speaking out with non-violent means against the dictatorship. The schism between the government and the populatiomn is pushing the country to the brink of chaos: jail, torture, summary executions and a set of repressive laws are common for those branded as enemies opposed to the dictate of the ruling party. Rwandans have only one choice: follow or suffer“, explained Rwandan opposition icon Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.
Who will be safe in Rwanda while opposing the Kagame regime? Who can resist the harassment of the Rwandan security agents and officials? An American Lawyer helping defend presidential hopeful Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza against charges including the promotion of a genocide ideology was arrested and charged with genocide denial. Peter Erlinger10 was arrested by Rwandan police on 23 May 2010 when he travelled from America to Kigali to join the defence team of Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. She was released after being summoned to a Rwandan police station, much to the relief of her supporters, and reported that Erlinger had been arrested and charged with „genocide ideology“ a term unique to Rwanda which Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even the U.S. state department have denounced as a tool of political repression. Erlinger is a prominent critic of Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s regime. After one month he was released on bail on medical grounds11. It is believed that American authorities were behind his release.
But who is behind the political assassination of journalists and members of the opposition in Rwanda? Who is behind arbitrary arrests and illegal detention of political opponents? Who is causing chaos and insecurity in the country12? Kagame and his government of war-criminals! Since the international justice shows an interest and is now following the injustice of the high authorities, especially of Kagame13and his gang, the Rwandan authorities are leading the country into hell.
1 Ökomenisches Netz Zentralafrika beklagt Repressionen gegen politische Opposition und Zivilgesellschaft in Ruanda: http://www.oenz.de/oenz_aktuell/aktuell/detail/zurueck/pressemitteilungen/artikel/oekumenisches-netz-zentralafrika-beklagt-repressionen-gegen-politi-sche-opposition-und-zivilgesellsc/
2 More than 1300 fled Rwanda to Uganda: http//rwandarwabanyarwanda.over-blog.com/article-rwanda-uganda-refuses-rwandans-refugee-status-50131684.html
4 Opposition members released but the torture inquiry?: http://www.fdu-rwanda.org/en/rwanda/news-detail/article/bail-granted-to-some-opposition-members-but-silence-on-torture-inquiry/index.html
5 Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the opposition party FDU-UDF Inkingi: http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/victoire_ingabire_umuhoza
6 Leonard Rugambage, editor of Umuvugizi, shot dead: http//www.bbc.co.uk/news/104113793
7 General Kayumba Nyamwasa accused Kagame of corruption, favouritism and leading the country as dictator: http//www.monitor.co.ug/news/national/-/688334/928562/-/x9101/./index.html
8 André Kagwa Rwiserika, first president of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, was found dead on Wednesday. http://rwandinfo.com/eng/call-for-international-inquiry-into-the-assassination-of-rwandan-green-party-vice-chair-andre-rwisereka/
9 ICTR: International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICRT), based in Arusha, Tanzania
10 Professor Peter Erlinger: http//www.digitaljournal.com/article292624
11 Lawyer Peter Erlinger released on medical grounds.
12 Grenade blasts in Kigali, deepening political crisis in Rwanda: http:anngarrison.blogspot.com/2010/05/grenade-blasts-in-Kigali-deepening.html
13 Oklahoma Lawsuit Alleges Rwandan President Paul Kagame Triggered Rwanda Genocide: http://www.afroamerica.net/AfricaGL/2010/05/03/kagame-was-served-in-oklahoma/