Dear members of FDU-Inkingi,
Dear friends of Rwanda,
As we are ending the year 2015, and entering the New Year 2016, it is a good opportunity to exchange good Season’s wishes. I would also like to take this opportunity to convey to you my best wishes for happiness, good health and prosperity in the year 2016.
I would also like to seize this occasion to thank you members of our party for having bravely borne all the sacrifices and threats to your lives and social status because of your stand vis a vis a system that does not tolerate dissent, cracks down on civil society, imprisons peaceful reformers like ourselves and enacts legislation that violates basic human freedoms like the freedom of speech, association and assembly. This is opposed to our vision of a reconciled nation and democratic governance where national stability and prosperity are based on open debate that allows the country to benefit from the full energy and talent of all its citizens, and from the innovation that the unrestricted flow of ideas create. Particular thanks to our members in the country who bear the full brunt of the persecution.
I would also like to express special thanks to all those individuals, organisations and governments who have supported and continue to support the cause we are fighting for, i.e. democratic change and genuine reconciliation in Rwanda. I count them as real friends of Rwandans, for I am just a tool through which they can express their support for a better Rwanda. This genuine support is invaluable to me morally to be able to bear the burden of injustice that I carry for the sake of our people but more importantly the hope that the support gives to the people of Rwanda.
My sincere prayer for the year 2016 is that in the face of the huge difficulties that the RPF regime has raised, members of our party, Rwandans of good will and their supporters all over the world will be more resolved to work towards the fulfilment of the deepest aspirations of all Rwandans which is a fundamental change to a peaceful reconciled Rwanda where the rule of law, democracy, equal opportunity, social justice and the respect of human rights are a reality for every citizen, a change to a society where human difference is valued and celebrated as source of strength rather a cause for self-destruction, a change from militarism and violence to a country at peace with itself and at peace with her neighbours. Dictatorship and criminality cannot be equated with ethnicity. This is the reason why the rule of law will be the cornerstone of our policy.
The Events of this New Year will have been extremely difficult for our country with the change of the constitution to allow the incumbent President Paul Kagame to rule for ever. No one could be more right than the President of the United States, Barack Obama, when he told African Heads of State in Addis Ababa that: “When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife; “And this is often just a first step down a perilous path.” Apart from the political risk, the continued denial of fundamental human rights will also lead to economic disaster as the US State Department rights observes :”At some point — if unchecked — human rights violations will begin to affect Rwanda’s economic performance, stability and the willingness of foreign investors to pump in outside capital and do business.”
We challenge those who claim to be friends of Rwandans and not just of the regime to stand out and put pressure on the Rwandan regime to abandon this perilous path. If they believe that the present government is popular then there should be no reasons to fear competing political programmes in an election. We challenge the government and its supporters to open the political space, free all political prisoners and allow parties to present to the people alternative political programmes.
The stakes are too high to sit on the fence for as Martin Luther King Jr rightly observes, “he who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it”.
We are confident because history is on our side, believe in the power of our ideas as well as the courage of the Rwandan people to make necessary sacrifices in order to live in dignity and as masters of their destiny. We are confident that physical and moral terrorism will not break their will to demand their inalienable human rights.
Members of FDU-Inkingi,
We must spearhead the struggle to bring about durable peace and reconciliation in Rwanda. We must mobilise ourselves to usher in an era of the rule of law, democracy, equal opportunity and justice. You will agree with me that fundamental human rights are non-negotiable.
My earnest wish for the year 2016 is dialogue among Rwandans, openness and self-confidence as a nation and one people in all its social components and in particular keeping level headed after all the hardships that we are forced to confront. The spirit of oneness as Rwandans must help us transcend individual and group selfishness.
Members of FDU-Inkingi , fellow Rwandans ,
I am sending this message to all of you who aspire for political change in our country. We must rise up head high to defend the higher interest of the Rwandan nation and fight together to propose an alternative political programme underpinned by in peace and harmony. The alternative that we are offering is: peace, prosperity, mutual trust and justice. It is our fundamental right to propose an alternative policy as it should be in any system that claims to be democratic.
Let us work together build together a society where all Rwandans enjoy, without discrimination their political, economic, social and cultural rights where human difference is valued and celebrated as source of strength and not buried under the carpet for political propaganda.
Once again, I convey to you all my very best wishes. Let us build one Rwanda, drawing strength from in all its ethnic components.
For Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza
Chairperson of UDF-Inkingi
December 31, 2015.
On her Behalf: