“I love my country and people that I am prepared to make any sacrifice including the ultimate sacrifice: my life, to spearhead the movement for democratic change in Rwanda”, Victoire Ingabire tells those who advised her not to risk her life going to challenge democratically, the RPF regime in Rwanda in 2010 presidential elections. What sends shivers in the spine of the regime is that this message has gone deep in the minds of young men and women who are not deterred by death, enforced disappearances and prison from joining her. One ruling party extremist, Tom Nadir has declared that her message is like Ebola while the people of Muhanga told a journalist that local officials say that followers of FDU-Inkingi have an indelible code in their heads. The regime fears contagion and therefore Victoire Ingabire must be “isolated” as suggested by Tom.
Since the 8th October 2019, the President of the Party Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza started her ordeal of being summoned by the Rwandan investigation Bureau, to answer questions relating to an attack by an alleged rebel group in the localities of Kinigi and Burera. She has been summoned four times since October 8, 2019. She is made to sit four hours before and after interrogation sessions lasting hours and sometime like on 15th October 2019, she called to sit even though they know she cannot be interrogated without her lawyer. She is to undergo another interrogation on 16 October 2019. All these seems to be done as a psychological ploy to wear down her mental capabilities and to humiliate her. Ironically this is the date that the 1st vice president of FDU-Inkingi, Boniface Twagirimana disappeared mysteriously from Mpanga international maximum-security prison one year ago.
As if a rehearsal of what happened to Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza when she arrived in Rwanda in 2010, she is now been subjected to attacks by pro-governmental newspapers, some extremist members of the ruling party to alienate her from the people and to end her political career. She is also being accused of a link to a terrorist organisation and subjected to laws skilfully tailored to put her in trouble or anyone challenging the regime.
This is quite disingenuous and shocking to link her to armed attack because Mrs Victoire Ingabire movements are controlled; she must report every month to the local office of the Prosecutor, and her telephones are monitored. Anyone would wonder how she could be linked to an imaginary armed group. Strangely, we are not aware, despite all the human and material resources of security agencies, of any officials responsible for security of persons and property, being questioned over the assassinations, enforced disappearances of her party members and even those who publicly and incessantly incite hatred and violence against her.
This attack which she condemned three days earlier (October 5, 2019) seems to have offered a golden opportunity to repeat the same operation that starts with attacks by pro-government papers, some extremist members of the ruling party to prepare the public mind to future arrest by the relevant government agencies controlled by the State. The same operation that was carried out in 2010 which ended in her arrest and detention. We may recall that African court for Human and Peoples’ rights overruled the sentence of Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and called for reparations which the Rwandan government simply ignored.
It might be very helpful to remind the public of declaration of public officials before her arrest and detention.
“This woman will certainly be where she belongs; now the outsiders who want so badly Ingabire to be an opposition leader here or later on be our President, well, they may wait for a while” he told the newspaper”. Statement of President Kagame to Ugandan newspaper the Monitor in May 2010. In his address to mark the 16th anniversary of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide on 7th April 2010, Mr. Kagame accused the opposition – specifically naming Victoire in person, of “political hooliganism”. Foreigners are imposing ‘hooligans’ like Ingabire on Rwanda,
“There is no place for people like Ingabire in Rwanda. Not now and not in many years”, Mrs Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs replied, when asked by a reporter, Kezio-Musoke of the East African Newspaper about Mrs Victoire Ingabire.
The Public Prosecutor, Martin Ngoga, speaking to The New Times newspaper of the 14th of May 2010 pointing out that: “the Prosecution is more specifically concerned with continued posting declarations and newspaper interviews she has been doing. The case against her is not one of robbery in which restraining physical movement would be enough to contain further damage. It is a case of destructive and divisive ideology whose damage does not require physical proximity of the offender.”
The same concerns that Mr. Ngoga aired about Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza seem to be the same today and one has reason to fear the worst. God forbid or rather may President Kagame forbid!
It is a very considered view of FDU-Inkingi that the best solution to the regime’s fears and in the best interests of the country, the regime should rather abandon heavy handedness and open the political space. Harassing the opposition is not the best message to send to members of the commonwealth preparing to come to the summit of June 2020.
The opposition, and the FDU-Inkingi for one, loves this country and criticize the government because they love Rwanda so much and want Rwandans to get the best from everyone. The current leadership should remember that at one time they were called enemies of the country because they opposed the government and should be aware of the consequences of such mind set.
We call on all peace loving people and particularly aid donors to help the Rwandan regime overcome extreme and dangerous fear of losing power and privileges linked to it, leading to extreme forms of intolerance and excessive repression which could play in the hands of those wanting to resort to force, a course that we have condemned all along.
Done in Rouen on October 15, 2019.
Commissioner of the FDU-Inkingi in charge of Information and Communication