We, the Amahoriwacu 2017 Campaign denounce in the strongest terms the refusal by the government of Rwanda for some Rwandans to return to their homeland. The most recent case being that of Father Thomas Nahimana and his delegation who have twice been refused entry into Rwanda as they sought to go and get involved in campaigning for the presidency of that country, an office that has now been held by one individual for nearly 2 decades.
To lawfully return to one’s country is a right that should be afforded to every Rwandan as is to other citizens of any country. The government of Rwanda has made a point to shout from the mountaintop their apparent desire for Rwandans to return to their country, and yet on 23rd November 2016 refuses entry to Padri Nahimana, who intends to run for President in the elections scheduled for August this year. Everyone in his delegation was made Persona Non-Grata including a seven month old baby who now remains in exile. President Kagame should recall or perhaps be reminded of his own ordeal, exiling his country at the age of three, living as a refugee only to return fighting at the age of thirty three. Is this the same ordeal that this regime wants to subject the children of Rwanda to? Many of who are still exiling it’s brutality to this day?
Recent events have continued to prove to us Rwandans that the RPF regime in Rwanda is determined to hold onto power at any cost, and that Rwandans who wish to challenge it politically are not welcome in Rwanda. Silence and compliance is the only acceptable status for all Rwandans, even as the regime remains a repressive dictatorship and political space remains closed.
As such, Amahoriwacu 2017 Campaign wishes for the international community to take further note of this continued repression of Rwandans, especially those who challenge the government. We then say that this should be taken as evidence that the upcoming elections in August of this year will not be free and fair, and will therefore not be legitimate in the eyes of Rwandans, and consequently should hold no legitimacy with the international community. The process to this elections and the subsequent result should not be recognized by the international community as we Rwandans will not recognize or accept them for their lack of democratic credibility, as was the foregone referendum that the regime claimed to be legitimate but has been condemned by most observers as a sham. Hence, a government that will result from these elections will be illegitimate and should not be seen to represent the people of Rwanda.
The only remedy to this fate is for the RPF regime in Kigali to clearly communicate a welcome for Rwandans to be welcomed to the country to participate in the political future of their country and for the political prisoners that are languishing in Rwandan jails to be freed and afforded their political rights. The repressive nature in Rwanda which has seen the thwarting of opposition movements and figures, has resulted in almost all opposition figures being killed, imprisoned and exiled. Those that remain in Rwanda cannot freely organize a credible opposition due to a state machinery that is hell-bent on stopping their progress. The RPF regime needs to clearly allow opponents who have been forced into exile to return and make their case to the Rwandan people.
The people of Rwanda make this demand as a matter of urgency and the refusal to meet this demand will clearly spell an unwillingness on the part of the current regime to allow for democracy and the rights of all Rwandan people. At that juncture, we will call upon the international community to stand with us to delegitimize the elections and their result in Rwanda and join us on our quest for Freedom and Democracy.