PRESS RELEASE n. 008/2017
The Rwandan political opposition 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 the raid of the family house of Ms Diane and her family members and taking them to an unknown location. The family was not given the opportunity to talk to its lawyer.
When questioned about the incident the police spokesman confirmed the raid, but said that it was carrying out preliminary investigations into suspected tax evasion and forgery.
The harassment of critics is a common practice of the Rwandan regime to punish anyone who poses a serious threat to President Kagame’s tight grip on power and to silence critics. Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, President of FDU-Inkingi, was arrested in 2010 for daring to challenge President Kagame in the presidential elections. She is now serving a 15-year sentence for her audacity. The crackdown on opposition members in that year also included, Deo Mushayidi, President of PDP-Imanzi and Bernard Ntaganda, President of PS Imberakuri.
Trumped up charges are not new. As it is hard to trump up charges based on denying, minimising genocide or divisionism or incitement to ethnic violence, the crimes of forgery and tax evasion have been deemed to be more convenient. The world knows that her only crime was trying to expose the false image of RPF. She has rightly pointed out that “Rwanda is like pretty girl with a lot of makeup, but the inside is dark and dirty’.
The trumped charges expose her to at least 7-year sentence that Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza has now served in the notorious Kigali prison. Yet this is a regime that brags of having empowered women and democracy.
We would like to recall that her father, Rwigara, who provided substantial financial support to the RPF, died in a road accident in February 2015, which the family cited as a foul play. The family is said to have unsuccessfully petitioned for a fresh investigation into the alleged accident.
The opposition political platform had warned the international community that repression by the regime would intensify even after the flawed elections process that enthroned President Paul Kagame. In fact, the policy of appeasement towards the repressive regime in Rwanda has incrementally emboldened it to act with impunity thus pushing the country on perilous path, potentially, to hell again.
The P5-Platform condemns the cynical behaviour of the regime towards Rwigara family and many other innocent families and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Diane Rwigara.
Done in London on August 30, 2017
Diplomacy Commission – P5-Platform