OPEN LETTER TO MS. JENNIFER G. COOKE, AFRICA PROGRAM DIRECTOR, AT THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
Ms. Jennifer G. Cooke Washington DC, September 2nd, 2011
Africa Program Director,
Center for Strategic and International Studies
1800 K Street, NW # 400
Washington D.C., 20006
Tel: 202-887-0200 Fax: 202-775-3199
Re: Your recent report on Rwanda
The American chapter of the United Democratic Forces (FDU-INKINGI) would like to thank you and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for your thoughtful and well documented study entitled “Rwanda: Assessing Risks to Stability” that you published on June 30, 2011.
Although there certainly is room for improvement as for any worthwhile human endeavor, this report shows that Rwanda is neither the “Beacon of Africa” as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it a few years ago, nor the “Economic Miracle” as the World Bank portrays it. Rather, Rwanda is a ticking time bomb artificially maintained quiescent by a shaky economic lid made of international aid and the looting of mineral resources from neighboring DR Congo that give a false sense of stability. History has always shown that there can never be lasting economic and political stability when there is no freedom and democracy.
In the absence of fundamental civil liberties, such as freedom of speech, press, and association, security and stability can only be temporary and will always rely on a robust and pervasive security and intelligence apparatus as the one the CSIS described in the report. Additionally, this so-called stability often results from the brutal and arbitrary nature of the police and state secret services, a perverted justice system and an army that no longer protects the citizens against potential enemies but protects the ruling elites against their own people as a means of holding on to power. Hence only a strong and organized opposition inside and outside Rwanda can lay the ground work for true stability by demanding dreaded political, economic, and civil society reforms. People who are genuinely interested in a Rwanda that is stable and prosperous for all Rwandan citizens should therefore begin by supporting the democratic opposition.
The American chapter of FDU-INKINGI salutes the CSIS recognition of the existence of such an opposition abroad amid its brutal suppression inside Rwanda. However, we regrettably reject the CSIS characterization of the Rwandan opposition as being nascent and divided. FDU-INKINGI has been in existence since 2006, operating as a coalition of many political parties of Rwandan opposition scattered around the world. Our coalition cuts across the entire Rwandan political spectrum above and beyond the often oversimplified Hutu-Tutsi divide. As we all know, our international partners often use this divide to get a semblance of grasp on the otherwise complex political landscape in Rwanda.
Under the charismatic leadership of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza who, on politically motivated charges, is languishing in solitary confinement at the Kigali maximum security prison since October 2010, the party FDU-INKINGI signed a memorandum of collaboration with Rwanda National Congress (RNC-IHURIRO), which is a political party founded by disgruntled Tutsi exiles all former President Kagame’s confidents and RPF’s insiders with Hutus exiles joining in from a few other existing political parties abroad. The party FDU-INKINGI is committed to work within this broad coalition and to keep such a unifying momentum going in order to reassure our brothers of Tutsi or Hutu descent that FDU-INKINGI is not about ethnicity, but about Rwanda’s democracy, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness for all Rwandans. With the coalition FDU-RNC, FDU-INKINGI has become the central piece of Rwandan opposition abroad while also running a strong coalition with PS-IMBERAKURI against the arbitrary and oppressive machine of the RPF regime in Rwanda.
We therefore urge the CSIS, AFRICOM and the US Government to help FDU-INKINGI and its coalition members, to work hand in hand to reshape the political landscape of Rwanda for the US and Rwandan mutual interests by doing the following:
• Demand an immediate release of all political prisoners including FDU-INKINGI Chair Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Bernard Ntaganda, Chair PS-IMBERAKURI, Deo Mushayidi, Chair PDP-IMANZI, Charles Ntakirutinka, co-founder PDR-UBUYANJA, Theoneste Niyitegeka, former presidential candidate in 2003 and others, as well as all journalists arbitrary detained for their opinions.
• Subject US foreign aid to Rwanda to the respect of human rights and the opening up of the political space.
• Implement existing legislation barring illegal exploitation and commercialization of Congo minerals through the Rwandan military elite and help the Democratic Republic of Congo take control of the exploitation and commercialization of its mineral resources.
• Support reforms of the Rwandan justice system to make it an instrument of justice for all citizens and not a tool of oppression by the ruling elite.
• Extend the military leadership and police recruitments to all Rwandan citizens without distinction of ethnic background. Indeed, the security and intelligence services are run, operated and organized around the Tutsi elite. Almost all the military officers are from the minority Tutsi elite. Almost all the commanders of military branches, schools and training centers are Tutsi. All the commanders of military intelligence and security services are Tutsis.
• Foster a climate of peace and freedom among all Rwandan citizens for the return of numerous Rwandan refugees still languishing in refugee camps across the globe.
• Establish an ad hoc tribunal to prosecute the people who are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the Congolese territory by the Rwandan army and other armies from countries implicated by the UN Mapping Report in the conflict minerals of the Congo.
• Extend the mandate of the ICTR to try war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by RPF soldiers before, during and after the Rwandan genocide.
• Support an inter-Rwandan dialogue highly inclusive for Rwandans to settle their differences through peaceful means and to redefine their way forward for a lasting peace modeled to the South African truth and reconciliation commission.
We would like once again to reiterate our gratitude for your thoughtful study. At your convenient time we wish to have an opportunity to meet with you to expand on these recommendations and more.
The American Chapter