Alain Bernard Mukuralinda, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Rwandan Government, expressed strong opinions in an interview with the pro-government news outlet, Igihe.com. Mukuralinda criticized those opposing the Rwanda-UK immigration deal and accused them of aligning with genocide deniers. This statement has ignited a notable controversy, especially with individuals and groups like Jambo ASBL, led by Norman Nishimwe, who have actively opposed the agreement.
Mukuralinda emphasized that since the announcement of the Rwanda-UK deal in April 2022, certain UK politicians have joined forces with extremists who deny or downplay the Genocide against the Tutsi. He pointed out that these critics overlook Rwanda’s capacity to host over 130,000 refugees, unfairly targeting the nation and its progress post-genocide. Mukuralinda also highlighted Rwanda’s significant economic growth and improvements in the average lifespan of its citizens, stressing the country’s positive trajectory in the last 30 years.
Conversely, Norman Nishimwe of Jambo ASBL responded to Mukuralinda’s comments on his X account, raising questions about Mukuralinda’s past and his current stance. Nishimwe highlighted Mukuralinda’s history as a co-founder of AVICA (“Assistance to Victims of Conflicts in Central Africa”) and his initial efforts in advocating for the victims of the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front). He noted that AVICA played a crucial role in bringing attention to RPF’s actions, leading to significant legal developments, including the issuance of arrest warrants against RPF officers by the Spanish judiciary.
However, Nishimwe pointed out a shift in Mukuralinda’s perspective, suggesting that financial incentives from the RPF influenced his change in narrative. He contrasted the consistent advocacy of Jambo ASBL for justice for all victims, regardless of their background, with Mukuralinda’s contradictory positions over the years.
This debate reflects the complexities of Rwanda’s socio-political landscape, particularly in relation to its history and ongoing efforts to address past atrocities. The contentious Rwanda-UK immigration deal serves as a backdrop to these debates, highlighting differing perspectives on justice, reconciliation, and Rwanda’s role on the international stage.