On the 7th of May 2016, a 28 year old lady, Ms Uwamahoro Theodosie alias Mahoro (meaning peace in English) was beaten to death by a member of the government para-military for being a street vendor.
This is happening as the Rwanda government is busy making the Rwandan capital Kigali ready to receive important delegates for the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa scheduled for the 11-13 May 2016. The guests include ten African heads of state and government
The Rwandan capital Kigali is reputed for order and cleanliness, achieved through the heavy handed methods of the police and army. As the Human Rights Report 2015 pointed out the socially and politically excluded i.e. street vendors, sex workers, beggars, homeless people, and suspected petty criminals are forcefully collected as refuse from the streets of Kigali and dumped in a centre in Gikondo away the eyes of external visitors. HRW report points out that they are held in deplorable conditions for periods ranging from a few days to several months, “with insufficient supplies of food and water, poor sanitation and hygiene facilities, and inadequate access to medical treatment. They are routinely beaten, humiliated, extorted, or punished for trivial actions such as talking too loudly or not forming an orderly line for the toilets”. Visits by family, friends, and lawyers are almost impossible. Their crime is that they are undesirable in the city for the well to do.
It is quite clear that the extreme punishment meted on this poor lady was meant to be a strong deterrent to any of these poor folks who would want to show up and be seen by distinguished delegates to the Global Economic Forum meeting in Kigali. The totalitarian regime of Paul Kagame which is in a desperate need of a lifeline after shocking the world by changing the constitution in order to pave the way to become life President, is intent on presenting Kigali as a model city for Africa and the world.
Our political platform composed of political organisations Amahoro PC, FDU-Inkingi, PDP- Imanzi, PS Imberakuri and Rwanda National Congress- RNC would like to condemn in the strongest terms possible the brutal behaviour of the regime’s paramilitaries and the policy of fighting poverty by physically eliminating the poor instead of creating employment for them.
Washington May 10, 2016.
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
Chair of the Platform