The political opposition, composed of the following political organisations, namely AMAHORO PC; FDU-Inkingi; PDP Imanzi; PS Imberakuri and RNC (Rwanda National Congress), calls on peace loving people, governments and organisations and particularly friends of Rwanda to impress upon the Rwandan government the need to enter dialogue with the opposition on the basis of the Arusha Peace Agreement which was derailed by the resumption of war in 1994 that gave total victory to one protagonist, the RPF/RPA. We feel very strongly that the conditions that led to war in 1990 and subsequent social upheaval and genocide 1994 are more acute and explosive that they were at the time.
These included, authoritarian form of government, unresolved problem of refugees, regionalism, nepotism, favouritism, lack of a free press, freedom of expression and association. Economic disparities much lower than they are today. Disparities have doubled in the last 20 years and Rwanda is now among the top 15% of the most unequal countries in the world, in a country that is most aided in the region, and where 60% of the population live under poverty line.
The apparent stability masks deep seated tensions and unresolved grievances that are kept under check by the most repressive regime that Rwanda has ever had, which operates beyond borders to hunt down critics and assassinate them. Just to give a few examples, the former Home Affairs Minister Seth Sendashonga, and former member of Parliament Colonel Lizinde were gunned down in Nairobi; while the former Chief Spy, Colonel Patrick Karegeya, was strangled in South Africa. In August, a South African court convicted two Rwandans and two Tanzanians of the attempted murder of General Kayumba Nyamwasa—a former senior military official and leading RNC member—in South Africa in 2010, and sentenced them in September to eight years’ imprisonment. The judge stated that the attack was politically motivated and emanated from a group of people in Rwanda.
With regards to the problem of refugees, Rwanda has now the highest number of refugees of all time, and for the 1st time Rwandan refugees include people of all ethnic groups, Hutu, Tutsi and Twa, of all social status and age, military, business men, young and old people.
The social capital i.e. relationship of trust and frank collaboration between a social grouping like a family, community values and social norms that glue members of a community together have been destroyed by the ruling party indoctrination programme that promotes loyalty to the party and its leader than to any other social network including family.
We are convinced that the cycle of brutal massacres that have bedevilled Rwanda are not a product of congenital brutal hatreds between Hutu and Tutsi but the failure of the political leadership to manage peacefully the naturally divergent interests of people and societal demands without resorting to violence or appealing to ethnic sentiments.
The long negotiations in Arusha in 1992- 1994 had tried to find a formula to end the cycle of violence but was derailed for opportunistic reasons.
The various stakeholders had done a lot of ground work that can be used as a foundation for a new dialogue taking into account the new environment. We feel that the arrogant and militarist attitude of the present Rwandan leadership might lead eventually to another violent change of regime.
We are calling for an all-inclusive national dialogue of all stakeholders in the Rwandan conflict to agree on legal and institutional mechanisms to end the cycle of violence in Rwanda and build a real reconciled, peaceful, prosperous and democratic society.
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa.
Washington DC June 24, 2016