The appointment of Paul Kagame’s RPF cabinet minister Dr Richard SEZIBERA as the next EAC secretary general is a very wrong signal for Rwandans and for the peoples of East Africa who see it as a dividend of Kagame’s criminal record, dictatorial nature and expansionist policies.Moreover, even though the Treaty provides that the post of Secretary General is occupied by a national from Partner States on a rotational basis, to allot that strategic slot to Rwanda under the current circumstances is a serious violation of the core values on which the community is based.This didn’t come as a surprise though. Indeed, by admitting Rwanda as a new member in 2007, EAC founding States ignored the fact that Paul Kagame’s Rwanda was not qualified for membership considering provisions of the treaty specifying that an application for membership is accepted prior to applicant’s « adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice ».
Since its inception, Paul Kagame’s Rwanda is a Police State in the hands of one person, a State based on ethnic exclusion, where force prevails over law, where basic human rights are suppressed or massively and regularly violated and social inequality is structural and rampant.
When Rwanda became party to the Treaty, the EAC had hopes that it would exert all the necessary pressure to ensure that political and social reforms are initiated and implemented for Rwanda to comply with EAC standards. Rwanda moved in the opposite direction. Indeed, after its admission into EAC, real or perceived political opponents are either killed or jailed or forced to operate from exile, independent media is banned or left with no option but exile, freedom of association is denied, freedom of movement is restricted. The political system doesn’t in fact allow any space to political opposition and civil society.
Besides, this appointment comes at a crucial moment in the process of regional integration since after the establishment of a Customs Union, the implementation of the Common Market Protocol is supposed to take off so as to pave the way to the next crucial steps, namely the Monetary Union and ultimately the Political Federation. It’s quite impossible to federate States with conflicting political systems, in this case Rwanda’s autocratic system and multiparty democracies in other Partner States. A monetary union would be difficult to manage if Rwanda remains structurally politically and socially unstable.
The UDF-INKINGI considers that Rwanda’s current structural instability will jeopardise all efforts being made in other Partner States and warns that possible eruption of political violence could undermine any meaningful achievements in that respect in the future if nothing changes.
The UDF-INKINGI calls upon Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to use the instruments at their disposal in the Treaty to prevent such a situation by pushing for fundamental political and social reforms in Rwanda in accordance with EAC principles and for the benefit of the peoples of East Africa, instead of providing more power levers for a status quo that will at last reverse the noble goals which our peoples strive to achieve.
Done in Lyon, April 20, 2011