On August 4, 2017. President Paul Kagame elected himself to a life-Presidency through the rubber stamp elections in which he scored a perfect vote of 99%, earning himself a permanent place alongside Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Un and many other dictators, dead or alive. The costly and sham elections were preceded by the so-called referendum to change the constitution, allowing him to be President until 2034.
The ISHAKWE- Rwanda Freedom Movement considers the results of this show electoral exercise null and void. As such, the Rwanda Freedom Movement will henceforth consider Paul Kagame’s Presidency as a continuing blatant illegitimate power grab that all Rwandans must resist.
The results of the just concluded costly electoral exercise have not come as a surprise to Paul Kagame, Rwandans and other interested observers of Rwandan politics. On July 14, 2017, President Paul Kagame publicly declared that everyone knows the outcome of the elections. Nevertheless, he imposed useless elections that cost impoverished taxpayers five billion Rwanda Francs.
Every nation that is transformed into a fiefdom of tyrannical rule denies citizens the right to choose and aims to convert them into slaves, who either have to submit to the enslaving authority or resist to overcome it.
There are several reasons why Paul Kagame seeks to remain in power indefinitely. One of them is to prevent accountability for the crimes that he and those under his command have committed against Rwandans, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The silence or complicity of the international community reinforces Paul Kagame to rule with impunity. Coupled with pervasive fear that stems from rule by cliques, international indifference has been a factor in Rwanda’s cyclical bloodshed in search of regime changes that have never redressed the structures of power from Rwanda’s founding as a nation until now.
Nor have Rwanda’s neighbors been spared the destabilizing effects of spillovers from its internal crises. Paul Kagame’s regime has now become the principal destabilizing force in the Great Lakes region of Africa, notably the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
Acting on its own appetite for natural resources from neighboring countries, or championing foreign commercial and geostrategic interests, Kagame’s RPF/DMI regime has acquired the role previously played by dictators like President Mobutu of former Zaire during the Cold War.
At each turning point, as Rwanda witnessed cataclysmic upheaval characterized by extensive death and destruction, the international community abandoned defenseless people at the hands of violent cliques. Two political organizations- MRND (Hutu clique) and RPF (Tutsi clique) that succeeded it in 1994- have inflicted unparalleled damage to Rwandan society in its centuries old history as a nation. In 1994, as the MRND establishment unleashed its security forces and militia against Tutsi in the fastest genocide ever recorded in human history, the international community abandoned Rwandans. Before, and in the aftermath of the Tutsi genocide, the new RPF establishment, through Directorate of Military Intelligence and some Tutsi officers directly under Paul Kagame’s command descended on the Hutu population in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, executing with ruthless efficiency what is now a well documented and yet unrecognized genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The International community abandoned Rwandans by deliberately failing to bring Kagame’s RPF/DMI regime to account for these atrocities/
The international community has once again abandoned Rwandans. Despite overt and covert support that such a regime receives from some members of the international community, Rwandan democratic forces struggling for peaceful change still hope that the international community could be a reliable partner in Rwanda’s social, economic and political development.
Dreadful as this reality is, it becomes crystal clear, urgent, and important for Rwandans to seek Rwandan solutions for Rwandan problems.
As history repeatedly demonstrates, the long term consequences of this role as destabilizer, looter, war-maker, and tyrant can be ignored for some time but are nevertheless grave and real. For now, peace may seem a distant dream for the majority of Rwandans. Evidently, the price of uprooting the evil and entrenched roots of tyranny in Rwanda is likely to be high, a product of united action, executed in the short, medium and long term.
There is no quick and cheap fix for tyranny. We call upon all Rwandan to resist and struggle for their fundamental human rights, justice, democracy and the rule of law.
ISHAKWE-Rwanda Freedom Movement is fully committed to being a vanguard in the struggle to unite all Rwandans and lay sustainable foundations for a free and prosperous Rwanda.