Commissioner for Foreign Relations
The year 2012, started with two important developments for the Rwandan opposition.
On 24th February, 2012, Deogratius Mushayidi, leader of People’s Defence Pact (PDP-Imanzi) was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Rwandan political courts. He was accused and, unsurprisingly enough, found guilty of planning to cause State insecurity through means of war and spreading propaganda. His true crime was to oppose President Kagame and his RPF government.
On March 1, Ntakirutinka Charles co-founder of Democratic Party for Renewal (PDR-Ubuyanja) was released from prison after serving a ten year jail term having been found guilty, by the same political courts, of “inciting civil disobedience and associating with criminal elements”. His real ‘crime’ was to form an opposition party PDR-Ubuyanja..
These two developments above constitute acts of the on-going political tragedy that has befallenRwandaand its people since the coming to power of RPF. Imprisoning people for any duration purely because they disagree with your views and approach and because you are more powerful than they are, is criminal in itself. Many other regrettable and condemnable acts of injustice and criminality have been committed by Kagame dictatorship for the past seventeen years.
Last year 2011, Ntaganda Bernard leader of the Social Party (PS-Imberakuri) was imprisoned for four years having been found guilty of ‘divisionism, breaching state security and planning an unauthorised demonstration’. His actual crime was rejecting entering a coalition with RPF-Inkotanyi who planned to use PS-Imberakuri as they have used other willing parties in parliament.
Umuhoza Ingabire Victoire, Chairperson of United Democratic Forces (UDF-Inkingi) was arrested on October 14, 2010 for allegedly uttering a divisive speech. Ever since, charges against her have evolved, multiplied and changed as government prosecution sees it fit. One year and a half down the road, Victoire Ingabire is still in prison even though she has not been found guilty of any crime. In Rwandan Law, an accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The two years that Victoire has been in prison are matter-of-factly, at the pleasure of President Kagame.
The list is too long for these pages, of those who were imprisoned, killed, went missing, ran into exile, and thousands other victims of the unlimited excesses of a brutal regime in Kigali.
All the above has happened at the backdrop of a regime that waged a four year civil war ostensibly to bring about democracy and national unity.