The FDU-Inking would like to condemn in the strongest terms possible the taunting of orphans and widows that has been going on for so long time and has been epitomised in the vicious treatment of the orphans and widow of the late Assinapol Rwigara, a person who stood by the family of President Kagame and the RPF through thick and thin providing financial and moral support. He died in controversial circumstances in 2015 in car accident that the family allege was a foul play by the government over his resistance to demands to offer the regime shares in the family business ventures. Two years after his death, an alleged murderer, has not been produced in court under the pretext of the police that he is still traumatized to stand trial.
The family’s woes have not stopped since his death. The family hotel was destroyed under the pretext that it was badly built, his tobacco company, that employed two hundred workers has been closed under allegations of tax evasion, all the accounts frozen and the cash found at home during the arrest seized. The daughter Diane Rwigara, presidential hopeful in the election of 2017, and her mum are languishing in jail. President Kagame is on record taunting Ms Diane saying that she is “warming herself around a fire place in prison” (translation from Kinyarwanda) because, as the President said, “she was naïve to believe in the promise of foreign powers that they would stand by her if she got into problems for standing in presidential elections”; “They distanced themselves from her when we asked them” the President said in one of his speeches. The mum is accused of divisionism and inciting insurrection after she was heard in a confidential taped conversation with her sister comparing the RPF leadership to demons and the behaviour of security agents as worse than “Interahamwe”.
What is happening to these very vulnerable members of the Rwandan society is a direct challenge to the first family of President Kagame which claims to be guided by the moral and religious values. The Bible is very harsh on those who mistreat widows and orphans. “Who devour widows’ houses and make long prayers to cover it up, they will receive the greater condemnation (Mark 12:40)” and “Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow”.
The 1st lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame said exactly what needs to be done. She said it when she led a prayer at the United States National Prayer Breakfast held in Washington D.C on February 8, 2018. It was attended among others by U.S President Donald Trump. She invited the attendees to “Bring love where there is hatred. Bring pardon where there is offence. Bring truth where there is error. Bring hope where there is despair“. These widows and orphans are in despair. The FDU-Inkingi challenges President Kagame to start a new chapter by stopping the extortion of the property of Assinapol Rwigara and ending segregation among victims of the Rwandan tragedy.
The late Assinapol Rwigara, a Tutsi, fled the country with his family in 1990 in fear of persecution because he was accused by the government of supporting the RPF. He indeed supported the RPF and returned to Rwanda after its victory.
The arrest of the Rwigara family followed a public statement of President Kagame where he ordered those concerned not to hesitate in dealing with those who “evade taxeven if they tried to stand in presidential elections and then failed”, which was clearly pointing to Ms Diane Rwigara. In her campaigns Ms Rwigara criticised the regime of extending presidential terms, lack of security and justice for all the people, lack of political will to end poverty of most of the population and lack of freedom of expression and association.
The ill-treatment of orphans and widows of genocide against the Tutsi, i.e. the family of the late Rwigara, of the many orphans and widows of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the RPF regime is another clear demonstration that the RPF regime has lost political legitimacy. It also shows how the political base of the regime has been shrinking through the political marginalisation or forced exile of former ruling party-political leaders which has now extended to Tutsi survivors of genocide. The regime has failed to win the hearts and minds of the majority Hutu and has opted to silence them through the threat of being accused of genocide, minimising genocide, divisionism or harbouring genocide ideology.
It should be a wakeup call to the international community more particularly the Netherlands, Great Britain, Belgium, the USA and the EU, who sustain the regime financially and diplomatically to put pressure on him to release all political prisoners and who are in prison for having expressed their opinions. The regime’s fear of losing a grip on power has reached pathological levels that will manifest in more repression and hence push the country over the edge of another abyss.
FDU-Inkingi is calling on the international community to act quickly and decisively to prevent the country from falling over the edge and descending into an abyss again. The most urgent action is to force the regime to respect the rule of law by the threat of suspending aid. It worked effectively in stopping Rwandan support to the murderous M23 rebel group in 2012.
Done in London, on February 19, 2018.
Commissioner for External Relations and spokesperson.