The shameful trial of UDF-Inkingi Chairperson Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and her four co-accused and main prosecution witnesses has lasted two weeks now. Since the 5th of September 2011, the prosecution has shown that what’s taking place in Kigali High Court has nothing to do with justice. It is clear that the purpose of that show of legal muscle is the criminalization of the whole organization with the intention of definitely blocking it from operating legally and peacefully in the country.
Basing their accusations on ‘confessions’ of the four co-accused Lt Col Tharcisse Nditurende, Lt Col Noel Habiyaremye, Maj Vital Uwumuremyi and Capt Jean-Marie Karuta who unsurprisingly plead guilty, prosecution alleges that UDF-Inkingi formed an armed wing named « Coalition of Democratic Forces » or CDF by acronym. They also allege that UDF-Inkingi received support from the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s government and entered into cooperation with the FDLR rebel movement based in that country. They pretend that the so-called CDF conducted sabotage operations in the country, in 2010.
The UDF-Inkingi denies categorically such accusations. As an organization, the UDF-Inkingi has never contemplated any form of armed resistance to the current dictatorship. That’s why the UDF-Inkingi Policy Council made an historic decision when on September 28, 2008, it decided that it would participate in the 2010 presidential elections. Should the UDF-Inkingi opt for an armed path, it’s certainly not a bunch of deserters from a defeated neocolonial government army that a revolutionary movement like the UDF-Inkingi would use as its armed wing. It’s an insult to our individual and collective leadership to even contemplate such nonsense.
The UDF-Inkingi instead managed to gather intriguing elements of information about that so-called armed wing, CDF, that point to the fact that it’s a pure creation by the Rwandan security services. For instance, at least one individual linked to government intelligence services and in contact with the prosecution played an active role in dispatching press releases of that shadowy rebel force.
Karuta’s confession shows also that Uwumuremyi was actually manipulated by the government intelligence services. For instance, he allegedly informed Karuta, who had repatriated voluntarily and followed a proper government demobilization program in December 2009 and was living an ordinary life in his village, that he was about to be arrested and proposed him money if he accepts to flee to neighbouring DRC. The RPF police later arrested him as Uwumuremyi had said and unsurprisingly they spread the concocted story that he was apprehended while trying to cross the border with DRC.
Nditurende’s allegations that UDF-Inkingi’s entire ‘political bureau’ held a meeting with him is an outright lie for the only reason that UDF-Inkingi doesn’t have such an organ. For him to further contend that the Chairperson and the Secretary General had different agendas in planning military action also shows that the RPF government through this ‘trial’ intends to sow seeds of mutual suspicion and disunity within our organization.
The UDF-Inkingi states clearly and categorically that it has never sought or received any form of support from any government in the sub-region or anywhere else in the world. Our means come exclusively from the support our own people give us through political and material mobilization.
It’s also alleged that the UDF-Inkingi has contacts with the FDLR rebel movement. This accusation is as surprising as it’s pointless. The only Rwandan political stakeholder that has consistent and prolonged interactions and deals with FDLR rebels is actually the ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front. They have even regularly, over several years incorporated FDLR elements in RDF/RPF ranks in different capacities as long as they serve their interests until they just dump them after use.
Moreover, it’s not criminal for UDF-Inkingi as a responsible organization aspiring to lead the country to have talks with other Rwandan political stakeholders, including other opposition organizations. What could be criminal might be the content of such interactions. The criminal character of such interactions has also to be proven by an independent judicial system. The current judiciary is a repressive tool in the hands of an autocratic and criminal leader, Paul Kagame. It does not have neither the moral authority nor the credentials to dispense an equitable and impartial justice to all Rwandans.
Finally, the UDF-Inkingi has never conducted any military operations in Rwanda. All those allegations are made with the purpose of turning opinion of stakeholders against UDF-Inkingi as a political organisation. The intention behind such utterances is denying UDF-Inkingi legal grounds to be registered and operate freely in the country. In fact, the ruling RPF, as a former rebel movement is aware that since its political base was already very narrow in 1994 and has almost vanished today, it can’t sustain any free political competition and would certainly be defeated by opposition forces if they were allowed to register and operate freely.
The UDF-Inkingi calls upon Paul Kagame and his government to stop all the useless and suicidal legal battles they engage against his real or perceived enemies, to free all political prisoners, to embrace democratic governance and to open up political space and allow Rwanda and the sub-region prevent another cycle of instability and human catastrophe.
Brussels, September 16, 2011