Rwanda: Sad 53rd anniversary of Democracy

On this January 28, 2014, it is indeed a sad anniversary of Democracy in Rwanda which happens when the Kigali regime assassinates its opponents in exile while the President confesses for the crime. We all recall that during the prayer breakfast of January 12, 2014 in Kigali, President Paul Kagame self-confessed for the murder of political opponent Colonel Patrick Karegeya in South Africa, on the night of New Year’s Eve and told the audience that he was surprised by the fact that the public opinion was shocked by such a murder and by his self-confession.

This sad anniversary is marked by a heavier sentence of 8-15 years in prison which was handed over by the Supreme Court to FDU-Inkingi’s Chair, Madam Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza for having committed the crime of lese majesty by announcing her intention to run for presidential elections in 2010. The FDU-Inkingi’s Secretary General, Mr. Sylvain Sibomana, following his first conviction to two years in prison, has just received a new sentence of 6 years in prison from the High Court of Karongi for having held a private meeting with his party members. Several other members of FDU- Inkingi are in prison for various sentences, accused of having exercised their constitutional right of peaceful assembly and membership in a political party of their choice.

Other opposition political leaders, such as Deo Mushayidi, Chairman of PDP-Imanzi, Bernard Ntaganda, President of PS-Imberakuri and Dr. Theoneste Niyitegeka, the unfortunate candidate in the 2003 presidential elections, are also languishing in prison for political reasons.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association, who travelled to Rwanda from 20 to 27 January 2014, politicians who oppose what Paul Kagame presents as a consensus are regularly prosecuted and accused of minimizing the genocide, bigotry, and collaboration with armed groups. And when it comes to former RPF members, they are accused of corruption.

In Paul Kagame’s Rwanda, when a political opponent is not murdered, he/she is imprisoned or forced into exile. It is high time to stop such an authoritarian drift of a bygone age that is encrusted in Rwanda so that Democracy can emerge again.

We shall have overcome such a regime!

Done in Lausanne, Switzerland, on January 28, 2014.

Dr. Nkiko Nsengimana,
FDU-INKINGI Coordinator

FDU-CC-01-28-14-triste anniversaire de la democratie (ENG)