Victoire Ingabire the leader of the DALFA-Umurinzi party

Ingabire is an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame, who has been the dominant force in the country for three decades. He secured more than 90% of the votes in presidential elections in 2003, 2010 and 2017 — and changes to the constitution mean he could potentially stay in power for another 10 years. In 2010, Ingabire returned from exile in the Netherlands to take part in that year’s presidential election. But she was arrested, prevented from standing and later sentenced to 15 years in prison. After she was pardoned in 2018, she went on to found the Dalfa-Umurinzi opposition party. Despite criticism from human rights groups accusing 67-year-old President Paul Kagame of suppressing opposition, the leader has staunchly defended Rwanda’s human rights record, emphasizing the country’s commitment to political freedoms; version which is not reflected by the court verdict enshrining a vibrant infringement of fundamental rights of citizens. Rwanda’s upcoming elections in July hold implications that extend far beyond its borders, potentially impacting the United Kingdom’s stance on Rwanda as a safe destination for asylum seekers. The outcome of these elections could shape UK policies and even influence domestic politics, including forthcoming elections within the UK itself. External interference in Rwanda’s electoral processes could disrupt agreements between Rwanda and the UK regarding immigration, affecting legislation like the Rwanda Bill and shaping the UK’s foreign and immigration policies. Within the present lines, it turns out to discuss ins and outs of viral event which unmasks the Rwandan justice and diplomatic policy that still do not evolve.


Ingabire was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison; on appeal to the Supreme Court of Rwanda, her conviction was upheld, and her sentence increased to 15 years. Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza was released from prison under presidential grace in 2018 with certain conditions. Among the conditions, “she must seek authorization from the minister in charge of justice every time she wishes to leave Rwanda. Secondly, she must appear before the primary level prosecutor of her place of residence, office once a month. These conditions shall cease to apply at the end of the remaining period of imprisonment, which she was supposed to serve till 2025,” a family source told Sahara Reporters. Regrettably, the source said the activist had applied for permission to leave Rwanda more than two times but the applications were ignored by the Ministry of Justice in Rwanda. She then wrote President Paul Kagame requesting that he use his prerogative and remove the two conditions attached to her release order under humanitarian grounds. MS Ingabire Umuhoza wanted to travel to the Netherlands and visit her husband who is severely sick yet the President has not responded to her request yet. During the five years that she has been released from prison, Ms Ingabire has not been able to exercise her full rights. She cannot exercise her political rights. She has been enduring all these, despite that in 2017 the African Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) court cleared her and stated that the Rwandan government violated her rights to freedom of expression and denied her adequate defense. The Rwandan government has refused to recognize the ruling of ACHPR court to these days, even when the African Bar Association had passed two resolutions calling for Rwanda as a State Party to the African charter on Human and People’s Rights (African Charter) to obey the ACHPR court order on Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza vs Rwandan government case of 2017.Last year, Ms. Ingabire Umuhoza submitted a legal case to the Rwandan high court to seek rehabilitation, which would have if granted cleared her and allowed her the opportunity to travel to see her family and participate in the forthcoming elections,” the source said. However, in reaction to the decision of the court rejecting her application in a statement shared on her X account, the activist said that her resolve remained unshaken despite the setback. The path towards change is often fraught with obstacles, but it is through perseverance and collective effort that we can aspire to a more just and democratic society,” she said. She described the decision of the court as a stark reminder of the barriers to political participation and the urgent need for reform in Rwanda’s governance. Titled: “A Call for Justice and Democracy in Rwanda Today,” Ms. Ingabire stated: “In light of the High Court’s decision not to grant me rehabilitation today, I am compelled to share my profound disappointment. This verdict arrives at a critical moment, as Rwanda prepares for the legislative and presidential elections scheduled for July 2024, elections in which I hoped to participate as a candidate, advocating for change and democracy. The refusal of my rehabilitation is not merely a personal setback but is emblematic of the broader issues facing our nation, issues that human rights organizations and development partners of Rwanda have long criticized. It underscores the prevailing concerns about the independence of the judiciary, the restriction of political rights and the suppression of alternative voices in Rwanda. She added, “Today’s decision is a stark reminder of the barriers to political participation and the urgent need for reform in our country’s governance. This moment in Rwanda’s history should be marked as a turning point, the court’s decision is a missed opportunity for Rwanda to take meaningful strides toward establishing a genuine democracy. It not only impacts my ability to contribute to Rwanda’s political landscape but also restricts the Rwandan people’s capacity to explore diverse political perspectives. Despite today’s setback, my resolve remains unshaken. I am committed to continuing the struggle for the establishment of genuine democracy in Rwanda, advocating for respect for human rights and the rule of law. The path towards change is often fraught with obstacles, but it is through perseverance and collective effort that we can aspire to a more just and democratic society.”


1)a political regime that fears the slightest threat

Logically, under a despotic regime, the head of state has nothing to worry from contenders who act on fear climate; as long as they are on Rwandan soil; then there should be wondered the reasons for depriving the freedom of a desperate woman separated from her family who really wants to join them and no longer return to the country given the prison conditions she endured there. There are cases where the regime uselessly executed poor people. Alexia Uwera Mupende was assassinated because she had been in love with Bertrand Ndengeyingoma and thus she was rivaling with Ange Kagame. To prevent any bad words about this arranged/forced marriage, she deserved to be silenced by death. Four CEOs of BRD were either killed or jailed for having accessed to secret financial information of the regime: none ignores the fate of Theogene Turatsinze and Edith Gasana; Alex Kanyankore; Henri Gaperi. Bukuru Ntwari; Mucyo Jean de Dieu, Bishop Misago Augustin, Father Karekezi Dominique,Bahati Innocent and Anne Rwigara were sneakily lynched so that few people suspected the Kigali regime.

2) A judiciary under the injunctions 

The Rwandan courts never released an opposition personality despite lack of charging proofs from the prosecution; illustrations are legion: Pasteur Bizimungu; Charles Ntakirutinka; Dr. Niyitegeka Theoneste; Dr.Munyakazi Leopold; Rusesabagina Paul; Mushaidi Deo; a number of journalists whose media were deemed dangerous for the regime were convicted and sentenced to many years of jail; Kizito Mihigo; Me Mutunzi; Dr Kasakure; Alfred Nsengimana; Mupende Kalisa, were killed under correctional facilities. Me Toy Nzamwita did not face justice as he was shot by traffic police allegedly by mistake but he was previously subject of police surveillance and his bank accounts interfered by intelligence agents; this was then an occasion to anonymously get rid of him.

Understandably, the case of Ingabire Victoire was ruled under a phone call from anonymous authorities given that she overtly fulfilled all requirements to be granted a rehabilitation. Regrettably, we cannot expect from Rwandan courts any fair justice. Indeed, in Rwanda, the high court; the court of appeal and supreme court are made up of unprofessional jurists unworthy of the name who are appointed on political basis and cannot decide in fairness as they are well paid to distort justice principles in the profit of their boss i.e. the leading party. It is this vein that they make themselves ridiculous by rendering decisions without motivation trampling on all laws to satisfy an often unusual political desire.

3) A head of state without worthy advisors

When people fear you, they only comply with your wishes, however unusual they may be. In these circumstances, if I was an advisor of the Rwandan President, I would ensure him that releasing a political figure like Ingabire instead restores his image in the eyes of the international community and no danger will arise from such a gesture because even by running for president, she cannot win as long as he will campaign reporting his achievements and the electoral commission is at his mercy.

4) Laws enacted to intentionally repress political contenders

According to the Nº 027/2019 of 19/09/2019 relating to the Criminal Procedure, a convicted person applies for rehabilitation in writing to the High Court or the Military High Court for cases tried by military courts. The application specifies the date of conviction and all places where the convicted person has lived since the time of release. The Court immediately forwards the application to the Public Prosecution or Military Prosecution for advice on the conduct of the person applying for rehabilitation. The Public Prosecution must provide advice on the application within thirty (30) days from reception of the file. The High Court or the Military High Court decides on the application within one (1) months from the date of advice of the prosecution. After considering the advice of the Public Prosecution and hearing the opinion of the applicant, the court can accept or reject the application for rehabilitation. If the first application is rejected due to non- observance of the time provided for in Article 246 of this Law, the application can be renewed only after the expiration of the prescribed period of time. However, if the application for rehabilitation is rejected for other reasons, it is not re-submitted before the expiration of two (2) years. Overtly by extending appeal deadlines apparently for no good reason as justice delayed is justice denied, this provisions governing proceedings in case of rehabilitation were conceived to worsen the situation of the applicant who planned to appeal against the injustice thus suffered and constitutes a legalized denial of justice.

5)Rwanda reveals its true image

“We have beautiful laws, among the best in the world. But they are not obeyed.” Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system free of undue obstacles to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings? The government-controlled Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) is responsible for registering political parties. In practice it can deny registration at its discretion without proper justification. The government has a long history of repressing its political opponents, and members of opposition parties face the threat of disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention, and assassination. Diane Rwigara, who sought to contest the 2017 presidential election, was arrested and imprisoned that year, along with her mother and sister, on multiple charges. The charges against her sister were dropped; Diane Rwigara and her mother were released on bail in 2018 and acquitted later that year. Separately, several members of the Dalfa-Umurinzi party, led by 2010 presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire, were convicted in 2020 of involvement with an “irregular armed force” and “offenses against the state,” receiving prison terms ranging from 7 to 10 years. One defendant who was acquitted, Venant Abayisenga, was reported missing later that year and was believed to have been forcibly disappeared or killed. Both voters and candidates face significant intimidation aimed at controlling their political choices. Rwandans living outside the country have been threatened, attacked, forcibly disappeared, or killed, apparently in retaliation for their public or suspected opposition to the regime.

Conclusion: long path to freedom

Western countries, and particularly the United States, have become infatuated with the little Rwanda and have long supported its president. But he remains a ruthless dictator, certainly, because despite the appearances of a democratic system, the all-powerful Kagame runs his country as an autocrat and it is hardly recommended to stand up to him. But with time his supporters had to become disillusioned. Firstly, because it is proven that Rwanda is pillaging the mineral wealth of its Congolese neighbor and fueling violence there. And then because Paul Kagame has an unfortunate tendency to order the physical elimination of his opponents. We are aware of the assassinations he daily plots against his detractors around the world; the most recent is the murder of the little brother of the late Révocat Karemangingo also shot by Kigali henchmen in Mozambique. Who will survive him? the world should realize his cruelty and get rid of him; otherwise he turns out to be a tree hiding a dangerously dense forest.