On October 29, 2019, Voice of America’s Ruud Elmendorp interviewed Rwanda’s opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire. Despite the risk of being thrown into prison again, Ingabire shared her views on the socioeconomic and political challenges facing Rwanda. As Ingabire explained, in the political realm, genuine opposition is not allowed to operate in Rwanda. Mysterious deaths still claim members of genuine opposition. In the economic realm, only the rich enjoy the fruits of prosperity. Anyone who dares to voice these realities in public is harassed by the government. In the worst case, people get killed. Ingabire gave two examples of two recent deaths. In 2019 alone, two of her colleagues were murdered in March and September.
Is Ingabire not worried about her own safety?
Ingabire was asked if she is not worried about her own safety. Here is her response:
“Of course, sometimes I am afraid, but I don’t accept to live in fear because we really need to struggle for democracy in our country…”
Of course, Ingabire has already paid a heavy price. After all, Ingabire spent eight years in prison after trying to run against Rwandan strongman General Paul Kagame in 2010.
What is Ingabire’s vision for the future?
According to Ingabire, Kigali’s affluent city centre hides the fact that the majority of the capital’s population lives in slums without clean water or electricity. The rest of the country is dirt poor. This is not a viable future for Rwanda because “You can see the economic growth only in Kigali.” A more sustainable approach is to create and share wealth among all the people of Rwanda.
What is the future of her politics and political party?
Ingabire says she is attempting to get her FDU-Inkinge party registered and allowed to operate freely in Rwanda. She hopes to have the party registered in time to compete in the 2024 elections. She explains:
“If my political party gets registered, I will participate. But the priority for us is not to participate in the elections but the opening up of the political space in Rwanda.”
To watch the full VOA video interview of this courageous Rwandan opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire, click here.