Rwanda: The political space is still closed

On July 31, 2013, the Rwandan Minister of Local Government officially presented to the “Rwanda Governance Board-RGB”, a State institution in charge of governance, the document granting its powers on registration of political parties. On this occasion, Minister James Musoni said that it was evidence that there was democracy in Rwanda. The political party FDU-INKINGI is far from sharing this opinion for the following reasons:

1. RGB is a State institution established by the state. It is not independent because its political line is dictated by the State.

2. RGB was set up to be the watchful eye of the State in order to monitor religious denominations, the media, NGOs and political parties.

3. Although the new law on political parties does not require political to join the forum of political parties in accordance to Article 56 of the Rwandan Constitution, such a provision has never been removed from the constitution and may logically be used against any political party that is not beholden to the RPF-INKOTANYI.

4. For a political party to obtain registration, it must hold a constituent assembly, with an authorization duly granted by the administration of the locality where such a constituant assembly would be held. However, fresh memories show that these administrative bodies do not grant such permissions. For instance, in 2010 alone, the political party FDU-INKINGI was denied this authorization for 4 times for obscure reasons despite the provisions of the current constitution.

Currently, the RPF regime resorts to putting in jail anyone who has been in contact with a leader of a political party that is not beholden to the government. This is exactly what happened to 7 citizens from Rutsiro District who were recently sentenced to two years in prison for having met with Mr. Sylvain Sibomana, the Interim Secretary General of FDU-INKINGI.

Given the above reasons:

  • It is urgent that the RPF regime stop such a diversion aimed at brandishing fake multiparty system and allow political parties of the opposition to exist and operate freely.
  • The RPF regime must release all political opponents who are languishing behind bars for political reasons, as well as other members of the opposition that are victims of the free exercise of their inalienable political and civil rights.


Boniface Twagirimana

Interim Vice President