Press release N° 21/2016:

The Rwandan opposition political platform, composed of political organisations Amahoro PC, FDU-Inkingi, PDP- Imanzi, PS Imberakuri and the Rwanda National Congress- RNC has learnt with dismay that the leader of the Ishema party and his delegation were refused to embark on Kenya Airways destined to Kigali – Rwanda, on the 23rd November 2016.

Reliable sources, including the the leader of the delegation Fr Thomas Nahimana , Reuters and Radio France International , report that the Rwandan immigration authorities have put pressure on Kenya Airways not to allow the delegation to board its plane going to Kigali. We would like to recall out the Party had announced for some time now that it had decided to move its offices in Rwanda and carry its political activities in the country.

Indeed, if  the Rwandan authorities were to continue to refuse the Ishema party delegation to go to Rwanda, this would be yet another sign that the system has become paranoid about the fear of losing its grip on power to the point of “using a hammer to kill a fly” as President Kagame threatened one day. The regime with its alleged mighty army as described by the Minister of Defence, General Kabarebe, and its omnipresent intelligence services gets scared by a mere presence of a delegation of three people and an 7 month old boy

The incident is clearly showing a system cracking under its own contradictions and indeed this is what The UN special rapporteur Maina Kiai pointed out in his report to the General Assembly in June 2014, that “a society without room for critical voices to speak freely and peacefully is unsustainable”.

By not allowing Fr Thomas Nahimana and his delegation to Rwanda, the Rwandan regime has shot itself in the foots:

It has shown its disdain for the rule of law because it has violated its own constitution that allows the citizens to leave and re-enter their country freely

It has bust its hitherto powerful public relations machinery; for while it is telling the world that Rwandan refugees are free to come back home and even calling for the application of the cessation clause of the United Nations Convention on refugees, it bars some Rwandans from entering the country.

Its parliament passed a resolution condemning the European Parliament for condemning “all forms of repression, intimidation and detention of political activists, journalists and human rights activists” and urging the Rwandan authorities to immediately to release all individuals and other activists detained or convicted solely for exercising their rights of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly”. Its action speaks more than words or written statement.

It has shown the hollowness of the political recruitment programme of “come and see” and the malicious campaign of getting the extradition to Rwanda of critics that it chooses to accuse of genocide in order to subject them to inhuman and degrading treatment.

It has shown its political partners that the Rwandan regime cannot be trusted when signing treaties. It has ignored the East African Treaty regarding the movement of people and immigration rules regarding the promotion of tourism between the EA countries.

The Rwandan opposition political platform would like to denounce in the strongest terms possible the barring of the Ishema delegation from entering Rwanda which is a clear violation of their human rights and of the Rwandan constitution. It equally denounces the malicious tactics of the Rwandan dictatorial regime to close the political space.

It would like to draw the attention of the international community to the fact that such a system is not sustainable and needs to intervene to pre-empt another human catastrophe.

Brussel, November 25, 2016.

Jean-Damascène Munyampeta

Chair Platform

[email protected]