Press Release (PDF)
On the 9th of March 2019, 30-year-old Anselme Mutuyimana, personal assistant of a leading politician Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, president of the United Democratic Forces party, was found murdered by strangulation, a recipe of the murder in a hotel in South Africa of Colonel Patrick Karegeya critic of donor darling President Kagame, on New Year eve 2014. Unlike Patrick Karegeya he was taken in broad daylight at around 1:30 GMT in view of people at Mahoko Taxi Park by uniformed men who reassured him that he was taken for questioning. His body was found dumped in Gishwati forest. According to eye witnesses, he arrived at Mahoko car taxi around 1:00 GMT on board taxi from the capital Kigali. He rented a motorcycle taxi then a red pickup, without car plate numbers, came to block his way. Two plain clothed men came out of this vehicle and tried to bundle him into the pickup. He resisted and managed to escape their hold, but uniformed officers came out of the same vehicle and ordered him to obey orders to enter the pickup. He did not resist because he knew he was innocent and thought it could a matter a mistaken identity.
This despicable crime follows the murder in cold blood of another colleague , enforced disappearances of 1st Vice President Boniface Twagirimana in October 2018 and of Mrs. Illuminee Iragena in March 2016, feared dead. Nine other members of FDU-Inkingi are languishing in prison without trial for more than a year in violation of existing Rwandan laws. It is very strange that several dissidents have been found dead inside Rwanda and in exile in unsolved cases in recent years. It is worth recalling the case of André Kagwa Rwisereka, another opposition politician, who was found dead with his head nearly severed just a month before the 2010 presidential vote.
As Human Rights Watch rightly points out, by accepting “the normality” of human abuses in Rwanda for political or economic reasons, the donors and the international community in general may be “contributing to the conditions that will produce the very repetition of bloody violence in Rwanda”. By commission funders of the regime are aiding violence because their aid frees up resources for the Rwandan government to use in its military adventures against neighbours, in buying military hardware to intimidate neighbours, in repression within and across borders against critics and luxury life style of President Kagame instead of investing the resources in projects that profit the people.
The tyranny meted on the Rwandan population is well documented by governments and institutions that give aid to Rwanda. For example the US report on human rights highlight that “the most significant human rights issues included: arbitrary killings and politically motivated disappearances by security forces; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest; security forces’ disregard for the rule of law; prolonged pre-trial detention; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights and on freedoms of speech, assembly, and association; restrictions on and harassment of media and some local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); restrictions on freedom to participate in the political process and the ability to change government through free and fair elections; harassment, arrest, and abuse of political opponents, human rights advocates, and individuals perceived to pose a threat to government control of social order; trafficking in persons; and restrictions on labor rights”.
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (2009) rightly points out, the regime “uses the constitution opportunistically as a façade, which hides the exclusionary and repressive nature of the regime; relies on power structures that sometimes run parallel to, and sometimes cross-cuts the formal government and in which the army plays a central role”. Rwanda is considered by Freedom House report 2018, Human Rights Watch reported torture by security agents including “sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, starvation, extraction of fingernails, electric shocks, scalding, melting of plastic bags over the head, suffocation, burning or branding, beating, and simulated drowning through confinement in cisterns filled with rainwater”.
The risks for such a tyranny are well known. The victors of the 2nd world war as contained in the preamble to the universal declaration of human rights namely that: “it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”.
UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, rightly pointed out in his June 2014 address to the Human Rights Council saying that, “a society without room for critical voices to speak freely and peacefully is unsustainable”.
Aid donors can stop the descent to hell. Aid suspension succeeded in stopping the Rwandan repressive regime from maintaining its support to the murderous M23 rebels. The key aid donors UK, USA and EU should suspend their aid to a tyrant until he opens the political space and accepts dialogue with the genuine political opposition that wants peaceful change.
The FDU-Inkingi call on the international community and on all peace, loving people to rein on President Kagame to stop terrorising his own people. We demand an independent enquiry in the murder of Anselme Mutuyimana. We don’t trust the outcome of an enquiry carried by the state organs like RIB that are mere tools of repression.
By supporting a tyrannical regime unconditionally, aid donors are aiding violence and taking heavy responsibility in accelerating Rwanda’s descent into hell again.
Done in Rouen March 15, 2019
FDU-Inkingi Commissioner for Communications