By Erasme Rugemintwaza
The entrances of Rwanda’s prisons are wide open to any voice dissonant in Kagame’s ears, to anyone who dares to criticize the Kigali regime. This seems, more than ever, the irreversible and inexorable path that the authoritarian regime has already taken. Everyone sees it, everyone knows it, but certain powers, mainly France, are silent. And each day brings its share of victims!
It is an open secret to say that in Rwanda, to talk about Kagame’s policy without the permission of his lieutenants who have erected red lines that frame his military and minority Tutsi regime, is to throw oneself into lion’s fangs. On October 14, 2021, Rwandan authorities arrested six people, including a journalist and members of an opposition party accused of publishing rumors aimed at triggering an “uprising”.
According to the announcement of the Rwandan Bureau of Investigation (RIB), at least six people were arrested, including political opponents as well as journalist Théoneste Nsengimana, owner of a YouTube channel, UMUBAVU TV, which often broadcasts critical content which is not sweet to the government of Kigali.
“They are accused of publishing rumors intended to provoke an uprising or unrest among the population,” said Thierry Murangira, spokesperson for the Rwandan Bureau of Investigation (RIB). “They have things in common, they are an organized group with the intention of spreading rumors intended to cause uprising or unrest among the population using various social media platforms. ”
Others arrested include members and supporters of opposition leader Victoire Ingabire. “Members of DALFA-Umurinzi have been arrested again: We ask RIB to ensure that their rights are respected. We have not yet been informed of the reasons for their arrest, “Victoire Ingabire tweetered.
As a reminder, Ingabire returned from exile in 2010 to run in the presidential elections against current President Paul Kagame, but was arrested and imprisoned for eight years to finally be pardoned in 2018, by the presidency before expelling 15 years in prison as a sentence for charges including terrorism.
On Tuesday, Nsengimana posted a woman on his YouTube channel urging people to celebrate “Ingabire Day,” Thursday October 14, 2021, in honor of opposition figures who have been jailed, kidnapped and killed. Rwandan authorities have cracked down on critical YouTube channels, including that of former university professor, a Tutsi genocide survivor, Aimable Karasira, who was arrested in June 2021 and accused of denying the genocide against the Tutsis of 1994. This armageddon against the YouTubers was publicly announced by the Head of Rwandan Diplomacy Vincent BIRUTA.
In a statement, French MP Sébastien NADOT deplored this umpteenth campaign of “repression against the Rwandan democratic opposition” and concluded by asking President Macron to “urgently address his ‘friend Paul'”. On his tweeter account, NADOT writes: “While we are cheering and wandering off at the France-Africa summit in Montpellier, political repression is raging in Kigali against those close to the opponent Victoire Ingabirebe Umuhoza. If President Macron is a defender of democracy, let him urgently address his ‘friend Paul’. ”And here is the press release that Sébastien NADOT delivers:
Pendant qu’on s’égaie et s’égare au sommet #France #Afrique à #Montpellier la répression politique fait rage à #Kigali contre les proches de l’opposante @VictoireUmuhoza
Si le Président #Macron est un défenseur de la démocratie, qu’il s’adresse d’urgence à son "ami Paul" pic.twitter.com/5cUpx3etLM
— NADOT (@Sebastien_Nadot) October 14, 2021
-Who are the arrested? –
The RIB spokesperson did not immediately point out the article which could be the cause for the journalist’s arrest but said they were all arrested after a lengthy investigation. The RIB said the investigation was aimed at prosecuting crimes committed on the internet. And this was the cause for his arrest.
On the list of those arrested, is the name of Sibomana Sylvain, former secretary general of the not yet approved party of FDU, led by Madame Ingabire Umuhoza Victoire, who recently founded another party, DALFA Umurinzi
Sibomana Sylvain was recently released after eight years in prison for inciting public unrest and undermining the current regime.
The RIB said the detainees were being held at its Remera and Kicukiro stations and an investigation is underway to bring their cases to the prosecution.
Further more, this is not the first time that journalist Nsengimana has been arrested, as he was arrested in April 2020 for fraud and released in May of the same year after being acquitted.
The RIB recently warns or threatened, the users of social networks including YouTube.
This arrest is amongst the warning signs of a critical period in which Rwanda is entering: the presidential period of 2024. In the inner clique of the RPF-Inkotanyi, the paranoia reigns. The think-tanks like Tito Rutaremara are trying to terrify and confuse the country by creating and sowing hatred and discord in the population, a brilliant alibi to create a sort of state of siege in the country which calls for special intervention and why not a transition and other anti-constitutional ways for their advantage. But this time is also an exceptional occasion for the opposition to be more united and create tactical ways to better kick out the dictatorship of Kagame. Every good Rwandan citizen dreams of a Rwandan spring! Forewarned is forearmed!