On January 1st, 2014, the strangled body of an opposition leader, the late Colonel Patrick Karegeya , was found in Michelangelo Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. The South African government has “called upon the responsible officials to expedite the investigation”.
According to Associated Press, Paul Kagame said today that: “You cannot betray Rwanda and get away with it. There are consequences for betraying your country.” “It’s a matter of time, whoever betrayed the nation cannot escape the consequences,” Kagame said in Kinyarwanda during a national prayer breakfast meeting. President Kagame informed that all those opposing his regime should be treated the same way, and that nobody in his government should be apologetic about the fate of his enemies.
This presidential confession strengthened similar statements made earlier by other Rwandan government officials. Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Habumuremyi tweeted on Monday, 6th January, 2014: “Betraying citizens and their country that made you a man shall always bear consequences to you.” Foreign Affairs Minister, Madam Louise Mushikiwabo tweeted and later confirmed in an interview that Karegeya was a “self-declared enemy” of her government and that what happens to its enemies should not make it lose sleep. In her interview, she insisted that late Patrick deserved to be killed because of betraying the country that created him. Speaking at a governmental controversial “Ndi Umunyarwanda” campaign in Rubavu district on 11th January, 2014, the Defence Minister, General James Kabarebe, joined other officials in confirming the regime’s role in the assassination. “Do not waste your time on reports that so and so was strangled with a rope on the 7th floor in whatever country.” “When you choose to be a dog, you die like a dog, and the cleaners will wipe away the trash so that it does not stink for them. Actually, such consequences are faced by those who have chosen such a path. There is nothing we can do about it, and we should not be interrogated over it.”
The assassination and incarceration of the opposition in particular, and Rwandans in general, has now reached unacceptable levels. Political figures and critic journalists are murdered inside and outside the country. Political leaders of the opposition are handed long sentences, including life sentence for Deo Mushayidi (PDP Imanzi); 15 years in jail for Madam Victoire Ingabire (chair of FDU-INKINGI); 4 years for Bernard Ntaganda (President of PS Imberakuri); 2 years for Sylvain Sibomana (Secretary General FDU-INKINGI); 15 years for Dr. Theoneste Niyitegeka (presidential challenger in 2003), etc. Since 1994, President Kagame’s regime has committed horrendous abuses of human rights in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly acts of genocide. Political space has been closed, press freedoms curtailed, civil society silenced, and Rwanda in a state of permanent siege, fear and insecurity reminiscent of the pre-1994 genocide period. The Rwandan state, instead of defending and protecting citizens, has been criminalized to frightening levels, projecting terror into and beyond the Great Lakes region.Through silence, covert and overt protection of the regime from accounting for these crimes and violent dictatorship, the international community has encouraged President Kagame to act with impunity.
Rwandan democratic voices have, over the last several years, called for a peaceful settlement of Rwanda’s problems through dialogue. President Kagame has rejected peace and dialogue, and opted for a violent path, by assassinating and jailing his opponents, and declaring war on all Rwandans who demand freedom.
In view of the above, we call upon:
1) President Paul Kagame and his criminal regime to resign immediately since he has lost all legitimacy to govern;
2) The Rwandan people to reject fear and intimidation, remain calm, united, and be more determined to continue the just and legitimate struggle for freedom;
3) The international community to invoke “RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT”, the new international security and human rights norm to address the international community’s responsibility to prevent and stop genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity;
4) The international community to compel President Paul Kagame and his agents of terror to account for the crimes they have committed before, during and after 1994; and,
5) The international community to support the Rwandan people who seek a new political dispensation characterised by truth, justice, the rule of law, genuine reconciliation and healing.
We would like to assure the Rwandan people that though the struggle for freedom, unity, democracy, justice and shared prosperity is long and difficult, ultimately, freedom will triumph over dictatorship, and pursuit of a better life for all over imposition of death.
For the Platform,
Dr. Nkiko Nsengimana, Coordinator
Etienne Masozera, President
AMAHORO People’s Congress
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, Coordinator
Rwanda National Congress (RNC)
Washington DC, USA