Eastern Congolese and pro-women activists in Rwanda were reported to have protested over the weekend for what they described as former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s conspicuous silence over alleged repression and abuse of women under the administration of President Paul Kagame during her visit to that country last Friday, 27 April to receive the 2017 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Good Governance.
The award is accompanied by an envelope of $5 million that is to be disbursed over 10 years at $200,000 yearly. But the impression the ex-Liberian president left behind in that country is likely to haunt her, perhaps for the rest of her life.
According to Radio ReveiLFM International, based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congolese and Rwandan protestors were furious that Mrs. Sirleaf, champion for women’s rights and empowerment, who had promised to establish a center for women and development, would ignore alleged repression against women by her host President Kagame, while she was in Kigali for the Mo Ibrahim Award.
“This is a big disappointment in the Congolese community and for the pan-Africanists. Awarding of the Good Governance Award to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, an icon, in a country where female politicians are abused, raped and illegally imprisoned.
The women of Rwanda are alleged are subjected to inhuman treatment; the people of Rwanda and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo suffer the agony of Paul Kagame and his soldiery!
Daily sequestrations of the opposition, gagging and muzzling of the press and journalists, and the ban on public demonstrations”, the station reported.The protestors asked whether Mrs. Sirleaf was trapped by President Paul Kagame, and wonder why Kigali, Rwanda was chosen for the presentation of the Mo Ibrahim Award for Good Governance, a country where oppositions are reportedly suppressed and jailed. “This is more than a surprise for the observers. Why the choice of Kigali, Rwanda by Mo Ibrahim? What is really behind the awarding of the Mo Ibrahim Prize on Paul Kagame’s floor?”
“Is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf aware of any serious human rights violations, international rights, and even the African Union’s charter practiced by Paul Kagame with members of his Tutsi mono-ethnic government and his repressive services through justice, army, police and various security and intelligence services?”
The report culled here by this paper, says Rwanda is a country that tortures female political opponents, who dared to run for the Presidency against Paul Kagame, disclosing, “Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, President of FDU-Inkingi, is serving a 15-year sentence unfairly.
The judgment pronounced on 24 November 2017 by the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights in Case No. 003/2014 Victoire Ingabire against the Republic of Rwanda has established that she was not given due procedure and was denied her rights.”
The report further reveals that another female, Miss Diane Shima Rwigara, is currently in prison on charges that change over the course of the day, and that she is in jail with her sister and mother.
“Victoire Ingabire and Diane Rwigara, the two women are victims of the crime of “lèse-majesté” for having the courage to declare their intention to run for the presidency”, it adds.
“The Congolese women do not understand how a great women rights advocate like Madme Sirleaf could not have talked about her little girls who are held captive in Mr Paul Kagame’s prisons.
How could Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 7, 2011, remained silent and voiceless about the arrests and imprisonment of young Rwandan opponents by Paul Kagame’s regime?.”
The report reminds that Madam Sirleaf promised that after her presidency, the struggle for women’s empowerment would be her new challenge. “I will work with a small team to create the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, designed to support women’s empowerment, women as agents of change, creators of peace and drivers of progress”, she is quoted as saying in an earlier visit to Kigali during her presidency.