Heavy sentence for UDF-INKINGI leader is a clarion call to resistance

This Tuesday, the 30th of October 2012, after two years of provisional detention, two years of judicial travesty, two years of media lynching and three postponements of verdict due to political expediency, the regime’s High Court in Kigali has eventually sentenced UDF-Inkingi leader Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza to 8 years of jail over politically concocted charges.

Even though that sentence was much expected, it is a very sad day for her biological family, a day of sorrow indeed, not only for our movement, but also for the whole Rwandan democratic forces and the people of Rwanda . For, this totally unjust and unjustified sentence is handed to a daughter, a spouse, a mother and a woman whose only crime is her unquenchable thirst for justice for all Rwandans irrespective of their ethnic background.

It is not the first time that this regime responds to legitimate demands of democracy and equal rights from society by court sentences. It systematically resorts to prison whenever it is challenged peacefully.

Former President of the Republic Pasteur Bizimungu and former minister of public works Charles Ntakirutinka, founders of the Party for Democracy and Renewal were respectively sentenced to 15 and 12 years in 2002. Deo Mushayidi, President of the People’s Democratic Pact is serving a life sentence in Muhanga Maximum Prison for politically motivated charges. Bernard Ntaganda, President of the Social Democratic Party was also convicted for four years on the same charges.

Today, the Great Lakes region, Africa and the whole World have seen once again the hideous face of Paul Kagame’s autocracy.

This heavy sentence is a resounding clarion call to resistance for the liberation of our country from dictatorship. Paul Kagame’s militarist and ethnic autocracy confirms to those who still doubted that he cannot tolerate any expression of dissenting opinions or any challenge to the status quo by peaceful means.

This day marks a fundamental shift in the struggle for the liberation of our country. Rwandan Democratic forces must unite, mobilize and organize our people for the triumph of democracy and shared prosperity over autocracy and exploitation by a clique, in a peaceful Rwanda for all its citizens and neighbours.

Done in Brussels , October 30, 2012

Dr Jean-Baptiste Mberabahizi
Secretary General and Spokesperson

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