Opposition leader kidnapped and expelled from his native Rwanda manu militari

Alexis Bakunzibake, 1st Vice President of PS-Imberakuri; he was kidnapped on Wednesday 5 September 2012 by security forces in Kigali around midday.

Ijwi Rya Rubanda, an online radio station operating from London announced today having managed to talk to Alexis Bakunzibake, 1st Vice President of the Rwandan opposition party PS-Imberakuri, from Uganda border with Rwanda, where Kagame’s security forces had dumped him alive.

Times are changing for the Rwandan Patriotic Front. If we remember, a little more than 2 years ago, on July 13, 2010 André Kagwa Rwisereka, vice-president of the Democratic Green Party, was reported missing. His car was then found near the southern town of Butare.

The following day, his mutilated body is found on the outskirts of Butare. He had been also kidnapped but as well unfortunately decapitated. Of course, at the time and even until today, Kagame’s government has denied any involvement in the assassination of this politician from the opposition.
Alexis Bakunzibake, whom we reported this week the kidnapping from his neighbourhood in Kigali, was apparently seriously beaten up and bear a number of scars and bruises on different parts of his body [arms and legs particularly]. That is what he communicated to Ijwi Rya Rubanda.

He indicated that on Wednesday, he had been forcibly removed from a taxi, the public around watching without any questioning thinking probably that he was another individual that Rwandan authorities were after for their own reasons. They put him in a car, blindfolded him, and drove to an unknown location. He was after taken into a room, handcuffed and leg-cuffed.

During the interrogation, he was asked why he was not working with the other faction of his party PS-Imberakuri that is affiliated to the Rwandan Patriotic Front. The source of funds they use was also part of many questions they wanted him to answer.

Victoire Ingabire – Leader of FDU-Inkingi – Iconic figure advocating democracy and reconciliation in Rwandan recent and unfolding history

The following day his kidnappers drove for hours on bumpy roads, and around 2 pm, they dumped him in an inhabited area in Uganda and close to Kabare. He had to walk 12 hours night and day to reach the first residential settlements in the region.

Though he had been dispossessed of all his accessories [shoes and particularly means of communication], he had managed to hide from his kidnappers a sim card, with which he was able to talk to the outside world and tell his dramatic encounter.

On the same day we write this story, we learnt that another politician from the opposition, Victoire Ingabire, leader of FDU-Inkingi, who is imprisoned in Kigali since 14 October 2012, and whose sentencing was meant to be read today, has seen her hearing postponed to 19 October 2012.

The court explained that the postponement was due to the fact it needed to consider the High Court reply to the review of the law on genocide, divisionism and revisionism, since the accused has challenged the Rwandan judiciary on its unconstitutional character.

As one can rightly assess, the Rwandan opposition has still significant challenges in its way before any different society where all citizens are treated equally and fairly by their political leaders, would emerge. The important on that journey is not to give up. While hope can sustain lives of many that Kagame oppresses, signs are there to show a shift in the balance of powers.

A last word on the interpretation of expelling Alexis Bakunzibake out of Rwanda is worth considering. By taking such drastic measure towards a Rwandan citizen, does that mean the victim could not be punishable by any law of the land if he had committed some offense or crime? Or does it send a strong message to all politicians from the opposition telling them that if they want to oppose Kagame, they better be outside the country? No wonder why at some time Victoire Ingabire was too once asked if she wanted to leave Rwanda, they could help her. But they forget that they are only postponing the inevitable.

The Rising Continent