FDU-INKINGI STATEMENT ON THE OCCASION OF THE 61ST ANNIVERSARY OF THE RWANDAN REPUBLIC

Fellow Rwandans,
Dear friends of Rwanda,

Dear friends of Rwanda,

The 28th of January 2022 marks the 61st anniversary of the proclamation of the Rwandan Republic, a very important date in the process in the democratisation of governance in Rwanda. Indeed, on 28 January 1961, the elected representatives of the Rwandan people, namely the “Mayors and councillors ” (2873 out of the 3125 mayors and councillors in the country were present), met at the Gitarama football stadium on the initiative of the opposition parties and took the historic decision:

– to abolish the feudal monarchical regime that had ruled Rwanda for more than 400 years and replace it with a republican regime (Res Publica = public affairs = ibya Rubanda),

– to vote for the removal of the Mwami (king) as head of state and to elect, by secret ballot, the first President of Rwanda in the person of Dominique Mbonyumutwa, while Grégoire Kayibanda was elected as Prime Minister.

The monarchical power then decided to lodge an appeal with the United Nations to denounce what it called a political coup and the UN ruled that the issue would be decided by a referendum which was organised on the 25th of September 1961. The referendum confirmed the abolition of the feudal monarchy and the removal of the Mwami as head of state. After the popular consultations of 25 September 1961, the legislature gave priority to the question of the constitutional regime for the new republic officially recognised by the United Nations. The issue was debated in its session of 4 October 1961 and the Legislative Assembly decided in favour of a republican state and a strong presidential regime in which the President would be both Head of State and Head of Government. He would be elected by the Legislative Assembly from among its members, by secret ballot, and by a 2/3 majority. The election took place on the 26th of October 1961 and was won by Grégoire Kayibanda by 34 votes out of 44. On 1 July 1962, the independence of Rwanda was proclaimed. January 28, 1961, is the date when the Rwandan people, through their elected representatives, put an end to several centuries’ yoke of absolute feudal monarchy and chose republican governance, with leaders elected by the people, with terms of office determined by the people and accountable to the people. Unfortunately, it is clear that this honourable choice of the Rwandan people has been flouted by the various regimes that have succeeded one another in power. On this anniversary, the FDU-Inkingi would like to reaffirm that it vigorously condemns the lack of respect for republican and democratic institutions. Indeed, the situation that prevails today in Rwanda is far from being democratic and respectful of the will of the Rwandan people for a republican governance, by leaders elected by the people, with mandates determined by the people and accountable to the people. The RPF has been in power for over 27 years, Paul Kagame has been president of the Rwandan republic for 22 years and has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist (the strongman of Rwanda) for 27 years. His regime has monopolised all powers, doing away with the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial powers, pillars of democracy, thus creating a return to a de facto absolute monarchy. Indeed, the regime imposes its pervasive rule through terror. The judicial and legislative organs are used as tools for the persecution of the Rwandan people by the executive power. The fundamental rights of the Rwandan people are violated, the opposition and the press are muzzled, YouTube activists and journalists are summarily convicted in show trials and imprisoned in terrible conditions that include living in total isolation in dark humid cells, deprived of any social life and without contact with their relatives. Independent International charities and monitoring organisations have been banned from the Rwandan territory. Rwandans who oppose the regime’s injunctions are kidnapped by the government to be mistreated in torture houses and eventually go missing. Therefore FDU-Inkingi and Rwandans as a whole, continue to fight and demand loudly for the right to freedom of the press, freedom of expression and the opening of the political space. This struggle will continue until the desired change is achieved, in the interest of all Rwandans without exception. The FDU-Inkingi calls on the International Community, especially the financial backers of the Kigali regime, to take all necessary measures to put pressure on the Rwandan dictatorship and force it to open the political space so that the Rwandan people can finally regain the republican and democratic ideals that they have not enjoyed fully since their decision of the 28th of January 1961. Done in Paris, January 28, 2022 For FDU-Inkingi Dr Emmanuel MW

Done in Paris, January 28, 2022
For FDU-Inkingi
Dr Emmanuel MWISENEZA
First Vice-President

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