Brussels, 28 March 2013-Two Rwandan diaspora political parties, PDP-IMANZI (The People’s Defence Pact) and RDI-RWANDA RWIZA (The Rwandan Dream Initiative) have resorted to settle in home country as democratic opposition forces to the dictatorial regime of General Paul Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
RDI-RWANDA RWIZA in partnership withPDP-IMANZI:
-Whereas Rwanda is facing many political, economic and socio-cultural problems;
-Disturbed by the Rwandan crisis that keeps worsening every year due to the lack of ability and political will of the RPF-Kagame regime to apply relevant solutions to the plight of the Rwandan people;
-Condemning acts of assassination, imprisonment and intimidation against political opponents and independent journalists and other maneuvers by the Kigali regime to stifle freedom of expression and freedom of association;
-Protesting against this denial of fundamental freedoms as enshrined in a Constitution and laws tailored to rule out any political competition and to ensure lasting hegemony of the RPF and unchallenged power of General Paul Kagame;
-Denouncing the numerous constraints and intimidation suffered by parties which do not pay allegiance to the RPF, as they cannot be registered or allowed to operate freely in the country;
-Convinced of the urgent need for the opening of political space in Rwanda, in a way that enables allpolitical affiliations to freely have their say and to work in effective manner in order to restore democracy and to improve living conditions of the population;
-Aware of their responsibilities and committed to take all necessary measures to ensure the establishment of the much-needed political space;
-Strongly urging other Rwandan opposition parties in exile to follow suit in these efforts to install in Rwanda a real alternative to the dictatorial rule of President Kagame;
Thus, both parties wish to communicate to the national and the international public opinion what follows:
1. About the picture of the current regime in Kigali
Contrary to the propaganda widely spread by the RPF, the latter’s takeover in 1994 is far from having ended the Rwandan tragedy. Aside from mass and arbitrary imprisonments, massacres of innocents people by the hundreds of thousands within and outside Rwanda, and other serious violations of human rights, the Kagame rule is responsible of the deterioration of the living conditions of the Rwandan population. The regime has among others accentuated ethnic divisions and established a military-fascist dictatorship expertly masked to appear as respectable authority.
Propaganda, no less virulent, tends to depict Rwanda as “top reformer country” that has reached a good high level of development after the 1994 genocide. The truth is that any progress made is devoid of social justice. Indeed, the regime only attends to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. It represents the latter to foreign visitors and donors as a model of success with clean streets, organized public services, emerging residential neighborhoods, modern public and private buildings, all apparently in an atmosphere of peace, happiness, security and prosperity, while in rural areas 90% of the entire population, mostly the peasantry is ignored and left in dire poverty.
However, in reality, as far as human development is concerned, Rwanda remains far behind on the international rankings scale.
2. The need for political change in Rwanda
During her visit to Rwanda in November 2011, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice severely criticized the regime of President Kagame in clear terms, which read in part that, “The deepening and broadening of democracy can be the next great achievement of this great country and its remarkable people. In Rwanda, economic development and political openness should reinforce each other.”End of quote.
There are also more and more constant claims expressed by the Rwandan opposition in exile, speaking aloud the legitimate demands of the vast majority of people silenced within their own country and deprived of their basic rights and freedoms.
Social and economic considerations also dictate the necessity of change. Since its military victory in July 1994, the RPF has hardly been concerned about the living conditions of the population in rural areas. Peasants no longer have the right to freely dispose of their plots, while each year tens of thousands of people die from starvation, lack of clean water, medicines and primary health care… The Rwandan youth, including the educated, are very distraught as the vast majority has no access to employment. They cannot trust the leadership of the country once proven unable to provide any slightest hope of a better tomorrow.
Partly due to the dismissal of the vast majority of civil servants and teachers in service before 1994, and the closure of many small businesses following tax harassment seriously jeopardized the emerging Rwandan middle class. Meanwhile, the regime’s dignitaries have shockingly been growing richer through the looting wars both in Rwanda and in Congo, as well as the misuse of public funds and the international aid.
Furthermore, the RPF regime has failed horribly in providing a definitive solution to the issue of Rwandan refugees, be they pre-genocide or post-genocide. The former include king Kigeli V who left Rwanda in 1960s and lives now in the United States, while the recent include tens of thousands who are trying to survive in Congolese forests. Another example of the Kigali authorities’ bad faith is the recent agreements that they managed to obtain with UNHCR and some host countries as to ending refugee status for all Rwandan nationals by June 30, 2013, by using the argument that the concerned are free to return to Rwanda or to be naturalized by host countries.
It is therefore becoming increasingly urgent that a new regime takes over, eager to serve the public interest and provide reliable guarantees in terms of dignity and security to all Rwandan refugees wishing to return to their mother country.
3. About the role of the democratic opposition
The opposition has the duty to come together in the efforts to find a final and common solution to power struggle in Rwanda. It is imperative to establish a lasting peace, not only within Rwandan geographical boundaries, but also in its relations with neighboring countries, in particular with the Democratic Republic of Congo as a country that has suffered much at the hands the hegemonic General Kagame.
In partnership with other democratic forces working for change in Rwanda, PDP and RDI parties are determined to play a key role in the establishment of a new Rwandan regime through a national dialogue between the strands of major socio-political spectrum. The main objective of the approach is to guarantee a fair power sharing between all components of the Rwandan nation.
For efficient fulfillment of this heavy yet noble mission, both parties have embarked on a close collaboration as formalized in Paris on March 10, 2013 and expected to intensify over next months.RDI and PDP will be aiming to carry out together the necessary procedures leading to the establishment of two political parties in Rwanda, no later than the end of June 2013. It is obviously becoming a sine qua non requirement for all political organizations to operate within the country if they want to play any role in the advent of a new system in Rwanda.
To bring about the long awaited political change, symbiotic relationship is indeed necessary between opposition leaders and the population that is very keen to seeing new political horizons. To this end, the population needs to be constantly encouraged and get support by the presence at its side of leaders determined to face down RPF’s dictatorship. To this effect, the clear evidence among different others, is quite many messages regularly sent from Rwanda to our respective political parties. Youth from a variety of backgrounds, in particular the academic community, are expressing their will and eagerness to contribute to the long awaited process of change. In addition, it is the duty of the active opposition to get on the field in Rwanda in order to intensify pressure on President Kagame and demand the latter to immediately free all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
PDP-IMANZI and RDI-RWANDA RWIZA parties consider, rightly, that unconditional release of all the victims of the violation of freedoms of expression and association, is the prior step as to opening the political space in Rwanda. More specifically, they require the immediate release of Mr. Deo Mushayidi, Chair of PDP-IMANZI and Mr. Bernard Ntaganda, Chair of PS-IMBERAKURI, as well as Mrs. Victoire Ingabire, Chair of FDU-INKINGI. It is is all the more timely to release them since their place is not in jail, but at the forefront of the struggle for the democratization of our country. Politicians in captivity must be released and allowed to take part in the ever and urgent political struggle aimed to change the current RPF-Kagame dictatorial regime and replacing it by a consensual and democratic system, respectful of individual and citizen fundamental rights and freedoms.
For More Information:
RDI-Rwanda Rwiza : PDP-Imanzi :
Jean-Marie Mbonimpa Jean Munyampeta
Executive Secretary Secretary General
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