The witch hunt for relatives of critics living abroad have started in earnest on the 13th December 2020, with visit by covert operatives, masquerading as reporters of Urugano TV, to relatives of one government critic Pierre Célestin Rwalinda, to intimidate them and to force him to stop his legitimate campaign against the reign of totalitarianism in Rwanda. It worth noting that during the last one month this channel has carried a smear campaign against other critics of government policies including Justin Bahunga, Marcel Sebatware, Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and Faustin Twagiramungu. Other pro-government social media attacked Iddi Nshimiyimana, another critic based in Belgium, saying that he should not criticize since his family still lives in Rwanda. One Kayitare Jean stated in a tweet that Urugano TV, one of TV channels sponsored by the Rwandan Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) “visited the family and relatives of Rwalinda Pierre Célestin, whom he described as “a person who spends all his time criticising the Rwandan leadership”. He quotes the sister of Rwalinda as having “called on his brother to come back home and serve his country”. We would like to recall that the command post of RPF armed group and its propaganda radio Muhabura were based in “Urugano” (Echuya Forest in Uganda) adjacent to the Rwandan border.
It is not surprising that totalitarian regimes in the past and present take families and relatives of people critical of government as hostages to force them give their fight for political and civil rights and to force their families and relatives to denounce them. This recalls a case recently revealed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation where one Noel Zihabamwe whom relatives were abducted from a bus by Rwandan police in September last year and have not been heard of since because he has refused to become a spy for the Kigali regime. We would like to recall also that some of the people who take oath to follow the RPF cult and surrender their lives if they sin against the cult confessed that they do it to protect relatives living in Rwanda.
What is shocking is that countries that proclaim to be champions of democratic values, rule of law and respect of human rights keep a blind eye to such conduct. For example, the Rwandan government remains donors’ darling, it will soon host the Commonwealth Summit, tantamount to an endorsement of the bad governance in Rwanda. This is not that we oppose aid or Rwanda being host to Commonwealth Summit, we simply oppose blind or guilt aid that is complacent over gross human rights violations that exacerbate internal grievances. We stand to affirm that human rights have to be observed anywhere, anytime.
In this regard FDU-Inkingi condemns in the strongest terms possible the terrorist behaviour of taking hostage and forcing families to denounce family members critical of government.
We would like to call on the international community to assume its responsibility and help bring the authorities in Rwanda to stop this kind of behaviour which violates international and national laws as well divides families. Furthermore, the Kigali regime must be made to understand that being opposed to and critical of government policy is not being an enemy of the country.
Done in Rouen December 15, 2020
Commissioner FDU-INKINGI in charge of Information and Communication