On October 10, 2011, more than one year after the August 9, 2010 sham presidential elections and two weeks after the so-called senatorial elections were concluded, after the appointment of a new prime minister on Friday October 7, 2011, a new leadership in the senate and new vice presidents in the chamber of deputies have been put in place by Paul Kagame, through ceremonial and remote controlled elections.
Nothing could be further from the political changes that are customary after presidential or senatorial elections in countries where there is a democratic dispensation. Instead of using this opportunity to free incarcerated political leaders and open up space to the democratic opposition, whether in exile or in the country, the autocratic regime in Kigali has chosen to play its same old game of « divide and rule ».
The appointment of little known Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, a man described by many as servile with no other asset than being from the Northern Province, as new Prime Minister was not the consequence of either change of policy or the resignation of his predecessor Bernard Makuza, a cousin to Paul Kagame, nor was it accompanied by any Cabinet reshuffle. It’s clear that his appointment was meant to respond to tactical objectives like the need for the regime to divide people from the former prefectures of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi, that it considers as supporters of the Habyarimana regime as much as it confirms that, that position is just functional and not political.
As for the appointment of leaders of the 26-member senate, apart from preserving the false impression of power sharing by allotting the presidency to Dr Ntawukuriryayo Jean Damascene from the RPF ally, the Social Democratic Party, the installation of former Prime Minister Bernard Makuza as vice-president of the senate sends a clear signal that he will be the real depositor of constitutional powers in the rubber stamp chamber of parliament.
For similar reasons, with the confirmation of a close aide to Paul Kagame that he indeed killed his predecessor Juvenal Habyarimana triggering the 1994 Tutsi genocide, the nomination as Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies of Evariste Kalisa from the Liberal Party, a satellite party of the ruling RPF, shows also the autocratic regime’s intention is to buy the loyalty of the Tutsi survivors who are the natural constituency of what remains from that party.
This happens when the so-called trial of the chairperson of UDF-Inkingi party Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza reveals the political nature of the charges levelled against her as well as all the legal discrepancies that have characterized the case. At the same time, efforts are being deployed to have the refugee status denied to all Rwandans in exile with the intention of having them forcefully repatriated come June 2012.
In short, the autocratic regime is once again showing that it has decided to ignore the legitimate demands of Rwandans for equal rights and democracy.
The UDF-Inkingi calls upon all Rwandans to keep on mobilizing and organizing for there’s no gain without pain when it comes to achieving liberty, freedom and democracy.
Done in Brussels, October 12, 2011
Dr Jean-Baptiste Mberabahizi
Secretary General and Spokesperson
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