FDU-INKINGI: Best Wishes 2015

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Dear Members and Friends of FDU Inkingi

Fellow Rwandans, friends of Rwanda

On the occasion of Christmas and New Year 2015 celebrations, I would like to convey to you on behalf of our Party FDU-Inkingi and of its President, Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza still languishing unjustly party in prison, my best wishes to you, your families and your loved ones.

However, even though we are in a festive period, we must bear in mind that our country is still going through difficult times, due, mainly, to bad leaders who continue to ignore the challenges facing the population. Instead of addressing the problems, they continue to crush those who point out these problems and call on leaders to resolve them. This amounts to no more than breaking a thermometer instead of addressing the real causes of the temperature rise.

Rwandan refugees in Congo under serious threats.

As some of us will be celebrating, our compatriots, estimated at 240,000 individuals who have spent nearly 20 years in the forests of Congo, will be starting to wander about again, if the warning made by the head of UN forces in the DRC, which responds to the wishes of the repressive RPF regime in Rwanda, to forcefully return refugees to Rwanda is implemented.

FDU-Inkingi would like to remind everyone that these refugees are in Congolese forests neither voluntarily nor because they are held hostage by anyone, as some cynical sources would like to claim.  We will recall that these refugees are all survivors of massacres perpetrated against them by the RPF Army to whom the International Community wants to hand them over. The plight of these refugees as survivors of the RPA systematic killings is contained in the UN Commission on Human Rights report, Mapping Report 2010. We may recall that none of those responsible for the slaughter of the refugees identified in the report has been prosecuted. Om the contrary some have received promotions.

It is obvious that asking survivors of the massacres to throw themselves wholeheartedly in the hands of those who hunted them down is hard to digest.  That is why FDU-Inkingi has repeatedly said that the issue of the Rwandan refugees in Congo, and all the others scattered all over the world, will not be resolved through military means but by political negotiations to ensure their safe return and integration. As an organization born outside the country, the RPF Inkotanyi should, better than anyone, understand that the reasonable path to resolve the refugee problem is political and not military.

 

The RPF-Inkotanyi prepares an unnamed war

Currently, there are many indications that the RPF Inkotanyi regime is preparing a war, but has not yet named the military target. Indeed, information that continues to trickle in reports is that the government continues to recall in the army some of its demobilized army soldiers. Furthermore the Rwandan government continues to encourage young people to join the army while lying to the international community that it is reducing its troop numbers. In addition the Rwandan government is touring prisons trying to convince all former soldiers who are in prison to reintegrate the army, even if they have serious charges against them.

You also have heard that plans are underway to spread security forces throughout the population. Now there are talks of a new special police security structure to replace the infamous “Local Defense Forces,” that terrorized the countryside where it wielded power of life and death. It is quite surprising that political leaders would be telling the whole world that security is total and at the same time continue to militarize the rural areas by scattering security forces in every nick and cranny of the countryside.

The language of the top political brass, including the President, during the dialogue conference “umushyikirano” reflects a looming war and a country was on a war footing.  Some did not hesitate to say that “the forces that beat them remain intact” (Jean de Dieu Mucyo). One would wonder if this is a sign that the State is so much afraid of its population that it wants to constantly intimidate it through a permanent show of force.  What is surprising is how a government that can’t afford to pay school fees for needy Rwandan children, finds means to maintain these plethoric armed forces, including the new Police Force in rural areas.

Plans to change the constitution

The Rwandan government is also resolutely preparing to change the Constitution to allow President Kagame to run again for re-election.  The FDU Inkingi party wonders what else President Kagame wants to bring to the country that he has failed to do over nearly 20-years he has been in power. It is quite vital that we all stand up and fight this charade that can only lead the country again into another disaster. It is not necessary that our country goes through the turmoil we’ve witnessed in Burkina Faso for the regime at home to realize show that peaceful political change is the only reasonable source of stability.

A precarious security in Rwanda

During the meeting “Umushyikirano” held recently, President Kagame himself said that the first human right is the “right to life”. FDU-Inkingi would add that it is the duty of each State to safeguard the right to life for all.  However you all have heard the very scary and horrendous cases of dead bodies that continue to be discovered all over the country, including at some borders with neighboring countries. This was the case of floating dead bodies in Lake Rweru and other found elsewhere in the country. It is appalling to note that to date the issue of the deaths remains a mystery, unaware of the identity of those who stripped these citizens of their right to life.

 

 

 

Elsewhere in the country, leaders have reinstated the abhorrent habit of whipping citizen which has resulted death of many innocent people. This has been reported in the Western and Eastern Provinces and in Mutara. It is hard to imagine how authorities can whip people to death and not be prosecuted? One of the cases includes the late Emmanuel Musirikare in Nyagatare. Another case relates to a person who was shot dead who was shot dead on his way to court. The person was in handcuffs on his way to court. The killer, an official of the state gave unsavory and flimsy allegation that the person was trying to flee.  The official has not been investigated. All of these people had also right to life, just like all the others who are unjustly languishing in prisons for crimes they did not commit.

Also look back at the mystery surrounding the deadly fires that occurred in Gitarama and Gisenyi prisons. The information coming to us indicates that the victims number in the thousands. This information is corroborated by the fact that survivors of these disasters are being lobbied not to say anything about what actually happened to them. These attempts to hide the truth have also been revealed in Kigali prison (the infamous 1930), where a pit full of human bodies, that were clearly not those of the victims of 1994, was recently discovered. What is the identity of people buried in this pit? How did their bodies get there? All these questions have not been answered.

Moreover the incidents related above are happening when some citizens complain about the disappearance of many of their loved ones. Some state authorities continue to put pressure on them by threatening that if they did not keep quiet, they will suffer the same fate as those of their loved ones that have disappeared.

 

Dear members,

Friends of FDU Inkingi,

Fellow Rwandans,

Justice is the true success indicator of development in any country. It is quite evident that the mere existence of a judiciary under the RPF leadership means that justice is served. The judiciary must be independent from the executive which not the case in Rwanda. In our country, the State continues to use the judiciary to suppress those who express different views from the official line. Indeed, instead of seeing them as citizens that are entitled to all of their constitutional rights, the Rwandan government continues to imprison them, simply killed or forced them into exile.

Other critics, real or imaginary continue to be abducted in the countries where they found refuge as part of Rwandan state sponsored terrorism. Nowadays, such terrorist actions have targeted potential witnesses in the shooting down of the plane of late President Habyarimana in 1994. Because the downing of that presidential aircraft was the spark that ignited the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, the RPF Inkotanyi government does everything possible to nip in the bud any full, open investigations in this matter, initiated in France and Spain. The Rwandan government is interested in the maintenance of its own narrative created to cover up its responsibility in this terrorist act.

On the international scene, FDU-Inkingi can, again, deplore that all reports showing the lack of justice in Rwanda continue to be swept under the carpet instead of being acted upon. Recently the media reported the non-renewal of the mandate of the Rwandan military officer who was the head of UN forces in Mali, General Jean Bosco Kazura, following serious allegations of his involvement in crimes against humanity.

It is not the first time that a mandate of a senior RPF-Inkotanyi army officer isn’t renewed by UN Peace Keeping Force due to allegations of involvement in criminal acts in Rwanda. General Karenzi Karake suffered the same fate when he was in Sudan Peace Keeping mission. All this reflects the fact that the UN is well aware that some members of the RPF-Inkotanyi army have serious allegations weighing against them, even though they have not yet been prosecuted. The fact that the RPF-Inkotanyi regime continues to protect these characters does not portray a good image of Rwanda for it shows that some that some citizens are above the law.

Unacceptable wealth inequalities

In our country, government authorities continue to boast about an unprecedented development of the country. However it is clear that the gap between the rich and the poor has never reached current heights in the entire Rwandan history. The salary of a teacher for example, who for a long time was the reference for the population development, are up to 20 times lower than salaries of  senior government civil servants, including those at the lowest level. Similarly many children from poor families continue to drop out of school due to their inability to pay school fees. Those who try to approach the state authorities asking for help are driven back, imprisoned or forced into exile.

In urban areas, many poor people are driven from their land without proper compensation in order to provide space to build up houses for the upper class or modern buildings for rent without proper market research on the need for the houses/flats.

 

In the countryside, people are complaining about the multitude of taxes that continue to weigh on them. The latest development in this area is a tax on land, never practiced in Rwanda before this RPF government. One can imagine the fright that the simple rural peasants are thrown into when asked to pay tax on their small plots of land that are the only source of livelihood. In the urban areas, businessmen who are not official members of the RPF-Inkotanyi are forced to pay party membership fees. In addition those who are not party members are subtly excluded from tendering for business contracts which they would normally be entitled to, in an operation nicknamed “Rwiyemezamirimo”.

The issue of land being taken away from peasants is also very worrisome and continues to increase tensions between Rwandan returnees and those who had stayed in the country.  FDU-Inkingi has already mentioned this problem in its press release of August 4, 2014 relating to a call for help that came from Nyamyumba where a person supported by the regime wanted to drive more than 140 farmers out their land, even though they had written affidavits from the Minister of the Interior establishing their ownership of the land.

The issue of land grabbing goes is compounded by the policy of forcing peasants to grow specific crops on their land. Peasants are forced to grow crops that have no market opportunities and therefore are unable to get cash to buy food and meet other needs. It is time that all the policy on land use be reviewed, because it is an important factor to recurrent famines in the rural population. Indeed, as long as people will be, endemic hunger will prevail.

At the end of this year, there is mention of two news stories that may have serious consequences for the Rwanda economy, even as leaders continue to claim that all is well. The first one is the reduction of foreign currency reserve largely due to the reduced quantities of minerals Rwanda exports abroad. This is because the amount of minerals that came from the Democratic Republic of Congo greatly diminished since the routing of M23 rebels group.

The second story is the reduction of foreign aid because of non-respect for human rights. In this regard, we will recall the recent case of Belgium, which has just declared that it will not release the EUR 40 million that were intended to Rwanda due to its lack of progress on the human rights front, as it had been agreed.  Here we shall not forget to congratulate Belgium for this action, because this is the only effective way to bring about changes peacefully.

Rwandans need freedom

As it was demonstrated by the special envoy of the UN in charge of the rights of association and opinion, Mr. Maina Kiai, Rwanda continues to oppress those who are trying to create opposition parties or associations which are not subservient to the regime. Thus, whether in his interim report or in his final report to the UN, the UN envoy has shown that existing laws are made in such a way that no room for free expression is left for opposition parties or associations that are not subservient to the regime.

 

 

 

The report highlights the fact that it is surprising that an investor can obtain registration approval within one week, while it may take more than 5 years for a political party trying to obtain permission to register. Even if an authorization is granted, it comes with so many constraints that prevent them from doing any anything tangible or the state will interfere to split it into factions. That has certainly been the case with political parties but also with civil societies such as LIPRODHOR whose real leaders are now under serious threats of imprisonment.  These practices are a testimony to the false beliefs held by Rwandan leaders that it is them alone who have the monopoly of ideas that are good for the country’s development.

 

 

 

With regard to independent journalism, it is shrinking as a result of unrelenting persecution. This was evidenced by, among others, the case of independent journalist Ingabire who was murdered in Uganda, while others continue to be harassed, some even taking the path of exile. Currently the state is even working to suspend broadcasts of certain media that carry different views from the government.

 

 

 

The party FDU Inkingi believes that Rwandan leaders should accept what is asked of them by the international community regarding the provision of political space to opposition political parties, as long as they are willing to work in peace. Insulting and displaying arrogance to the international community, telling them things like “they can keep their money if they want,” is certainly not what will help them solve the problems Rwanda faces.

 

 

 

In this regard, the FDU-Inkingi party requests that the Rwandan government releases unconditionally all political prisoners in the country, that it stops hunting down and kidnapping refugees in their country of asylum or citizens living inside the country, and to give to media practitioners all of their constitutional rights.

These are the basic elements that could lead to lasting peace and genuine reconciliation. That is what could convince refugees to voluntarily return home, instead of the government going on a hunting spree to kill them, in the counties of asylum.

The Rwandan government must also improve its relations with some countries in the region and replace its aggressive foreign policy by a policy of good neighbourliness as was the case before its seizure of power.

Dear members,

Friends of FDU-Inkingi,

My fellow Rwandans,

The party FDU Inkingi has the will and the ability to bring about true reconciliation among Rwandans. No true reconciliation will come from the politics of “Ndi umunyarwanda”, “Intore” or “Umushyikirano”.

As it became clear from the visits of the Head of State abroad “Intore”, instead of being a bridge between Rwandans living outside and inside Rwanda it has become the mouthpiece of RPF government and a terror to refugees and others who refuse to toe the regime’s official line.

Regarding the policy of the “Umushyikirano” the words that were used at the 2014 conference confirm our fears. Indeed, instead of providing space and opportunity to reassure Rwandans, it turned out to be an opportunity to sing the victory of the RPF Inkotanyi, a show of force and an attempt to scare off people hold different views from those of the RPF-Inkotanyi. Instead of being a space to express all shades of opinion it has become a place to shower praises on the RPF Inkotanyi. This is certainly not the best way to promote true understanding and true reconciliation.

FDU-Inkingi invites every Rwandan to fight for his/her constitutional right to have a say on the governance of his/her country. This right will not be granted by the RPF Inkotanyi to us, we all will have to fight for it. Here I would like to repeat the words Pope Paul II addressed to the Polish citizens, at the time they were under the yoke of dictatorship, saying “do not be afraid”. FDU-Inkingi will continue to walk side by side with you in the peaceful struggle for that constitutional right, and if we stick together, we will win.

I wish you Merry Christmas and New Year 2015

Together we will win.

Done at Brussels on 23.12.2014

FDU-Inkingi

Joseph Bukeye

Second Vice President