By David Himbara
Speaking in Rwandan parliament on September 19, 2018, the Rwandan head of state, Major-General Paul Kagame threatened to reimprison Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. Mocking Ingabire as a “political star outside Rwanda”, Kagame warned her to be careful how she conducts herself. Without naming Ingabire, Kagame warned that if she does not lie low, he will throw her back into prison. Or, that Ingabire might become a street hustler outside Rwanda. Here are Kagame’s threats in his own words:
“The other day we freed some people, including the famous political stars worshipped by the outsiders by not by Rwandans. One of them is saying ‘I did not beg for mercy before I was released from prison. I was released because of external pressure.’ Pressure here? If she carries on like that, she will find herself back in prison. Or she will find herself outside Rwanda as a vagabond because she has no other skills. This new Rwanda here — we are immune to external pressure. You had better keep a low profile or else.”
General Kagame was evidently angered by Ingabire’s interview on the BBC in which she explained the circumstances in which she was released. In the interview, Ingabire explained that she asked for clemency in the sense that she was imprisoned on false charges. Ingabire also indicated that she has not intention of stopping her cause of challenging the authoritarian RPF regime that has silenced the people of Rwanda. Ingabire further asserted that she does not fear being thrown back into prison — the Rwandan struggle is bigger than her — she said. Others will take up the struggle for freedom. These Ingabire statements have evidently upset the Emperor of Rwanda.