Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne: Our hearts are rotten… Killing our people, day in day out. (Part II)

Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne is a Rwandan human right activist who, from Rwanda, published a series of youtube videos, starting from January 31 up to February 15, 2021, the day when the Rwandan Investigative Bureau (RIB) arrested her. This is Part 2 of her last video published on her last day of freedom. Please read through the transcript of the second part, from the min. 10.00 of the video to the min.20.00.

Having said that they use the genocide to sell the remains of our relatives to the world, where did I lie about that truth? Which normal person doesn’t know that Rwandans, the Rwandan government, the government of thieves which rules us, sells our relatives’ bodies and the remembrance sites (Inzibutso)? Who doesn’t know that? Wasn’t it recently that they published a press release telling Rwandans and foreigners that, even if they cannot come and visit, they were invited to send funds to take care of the remembrance sites? Aaaahhhh… please tell such a lie to the people who don’t know you well. How come you bury with honour your dead and then make them rest in peace. Why didn’t you bury the bodies of our relatives and let them rest, but keep them in place at the remembrance sites? Instead, why don’t you put in those sites, the tools that were used to kill our people. iiiii… while they dehumanised us. People would come and visit the sites, and get informed that through those sites they would then learn that a genocide occurred in Rwanda, it would be a place where everyone goes to remember and brings flowers, without seeing the remains of our people, neither their bodies arranged on shelves as packs of sugar for sale. But why doesn’t that get to your nerves? Why don’t you sharpened your eyes to see? Why don’t you see? Haven’t Jewish people experienced a genocide? However, don’t they go and visit the remembrance sites? However, they don’t take and expose on shelves the bodies of their victims in the eyes of the public. Shouldn’t you bury our dead and get them rest in peace. Why shouldn’t you make our relatives rest in peace? iiiiii… That they can rest in peace. And stop from putting on shows – for people to believe….- Let me ask you, people – is there anyone who could wake up and say this, “I am sad I just remembered my relatives, then let me take some flowers to the grave of my people? How can they? Impossible. How? All those considerations frustrate us. Even if you see many people’s hearts silent, even if there are those that you use but who don’t know about your working, who are still ignorant, me I have got out of such ignorance, that the reason you say that I dehumanise the genocide. Karasira got out of such ignorance, that’s the reason you said that he too was dehumanizing it. Kizito had overcome such ignorance, that’s the reason you killed him. Therefore, we are fed up. And many others overcame that ignorance. 

We are fed up with these situations. I would like to tell you that, be it a genocide survivor, be it any other Rwandan, for me what matters the most, as long as they are native Rwandans, having Rwandan blood, I don’t want any of them to be oppressed, I don’t want none of them to be left behind, I don’t want any of them to have human rights of the second category. All of us need to become equal and have equal rights. Become equal. The problem with these people is their cruelty in dividing so many people. And when you aren’t sure about how to deal with us, you then encourage us to flee the country. Me I won’t consider that option, I told you. I will stay put here until you kill me or put me in prison. I don’t have any problem with that. I speak out while being one of your children. Therefore I know you well. If I am mentally disturbed – do you know that you don’t know anything nor have any common sense – if they had found out that I had minimised the genocide, harassing and insulting me on social media, why didn’t they arrest me and put me in prison, because that would’ve been a punishable offence, therefore they could’ve arrested me and put me in prison, and then go into court and argue my case. What they were doing aimed at silencing me. It’s because they found out that I was on a mission that I was accomplishing, – I came ready – I told you that I knew from which corners Issa would attack me, knowing as well from where Tobia would attack me. Nobody could dare to terrorise me. Because my commissioner is stronger than you are. He is stronger than you are. I love Rwanda. I love Rwandans. I told you that even if I shed my blood, please know that I dearly love Rwandans. I will never, at any day, I will never dishonour the oath to Rwandans and lose their trust. I will never. As you like, you could arrest me, you might kill me, or imprison me in your famous and dark safe houses where you kill people.

Let me now calm down and tell you the whole truth. Our hearts are rotten. Our hearts are rotten. You are killing our people daily. Killing our people, day in day out. You organise killings then you lie (about them). Instead, let me ask you, genocide survivors. If the government of this tiny group loves you, with a real deep love about us, genocide survivors – I would instead say that CNLG is useless; that institution has to close. That institution needs to close. I order it to close. It is useless. An institution that lies, that is there to support genocide survivors but do nothing. It has to close and leave the country because it is useless. Where do our people disappear? Please tell me. You all, please tell me. What don’t you know? Who doesn’t know how Rwigara Assinapol died? Is there any Rwandan who don’t know how he died? Wasn’t he killed by that same Mugisha who was also recently after me trying to kill me as well? Why don’t you get your sharpened understanding? What was the motive of killing Rwigara Assinapol? They put down his house; they did everything imaginable to make his family miserable, in total injustices. They imprisoned his family in our total indifference. Why can’t we understand? Why can’t we upgrade ourselves with knowledge? Where is Makonen? I am still asking you about him. Someone they said he drown in the lake Kivu; though that individual, the woman from Transparency who was insulting me, wasn’t he working for her? Wasn’t he working for her, Immaculate? Where did you take Makonen? Me I am not coming out insulting you because I have manners from my family, I am not a street child. I am not competing with you with insults. As you do. An old woman in charge of Transparency, who comes out, without knowing what you should be doing given your responsibilities, instead you spend your time insulting a person who could be your child, and doing that on social media? iiiiii… Where did Makonen go? As we know he was your employee. They say that he drown in the lake Kivu. We are fed up with all these everyday deaths. Where has gone Assiel Kabera? As I always tell you! Where is Iramata? I am asking you. What about Mirimo? He died recently, then they took him out of the grave for a mysterious autopsy. Stop your nonsense. Why didn’t they do it in due course? Didn’t they destroy his properties in daylight while everybody was watching, his wife becoming crazy in front of us, with her children.

Do you get it?

What haven’t you yet truly understood? Where has gone Rwabukamba? They said that he committed suicide. Was he hungry to end up shooting himself? You tortured him. Have you ever seen someone committing suicide with two bullets? How far will we go? They said about Mucyo that he slipped and died. Why haven’t we heard about anybody else dying from slipping? Such a lie has expired. And then not too far back, you looked down on us, dared and killed Kizito. I told you. On the day you killed Kizito, I got energised. Even if you kill Idamange, another one will emerge. You won’t silence us eternally or killing us. There will be a time when your plans will come to end. I even know that you won’t kill me. You killed so many, but there are those who are easy to kill, and others who are riskier. … I told you that there are cases which have huge consequences. Barak sent a messenger to Balam saying: “Go and curse God’s tribe. He went then instead of cursing them, he sought God’s help on their behalf. He said that after observing them he found out that the tribe in question was unique, a tribe which doesn’t mix with other foreign tribes. There is a tribe that is special. Let me tell you this: … I told you that when times will become difficult, I will come out and shoot you. I told you and you refused to listen. I am going to shoot. I am going to shoot. Free God’s tribe. That Rwandans live peacefully. Release Rwandans so they can become free. I am ordering you to release the God’s tribe. Release the God’s tribe. Release the  God’s tribe. Some go to discuss with… I will get to that. Release Release. Those that you’ve killed are excessively enough. Those that you killed you claim that they disappeared. Those that you made disappear are immensely enough. 

(She sighs)

Where is Bahati? Where is he? Where is he? People have disappeared. Do some disappear under the ground? Where do people who disappear end up here in Rwanda? Where do they go? That Transparency, what does it? Transparency Rwanda, I order you to close offices. We don’t need Transparency Rwanda anymore. What does it? What does it? What does it? It has never done a report saying that there was someone who disappeared, while knowing that the concerned victim was in the hands of the Rwandan government’s security forces. How many people have disappeared so far? You sit there in your offices, then get paid citizens’ taxes, waist Rwandans’ wealth uselessly while killing their children.

aahhh…

Enough is Enough. I am telling you, Enough is Enough. I repeat for your intention. Release the God’s tribe. Release the God’s bribe. Enough is Enough. Release Rwandans and let them free. You better be aware that it’s not the genocide survivors who get killed only. There is a person they killed recently by cutting his throat. This whole blood covering all your hands is going very soon to come out for you. It’s not survivors they kill only. Perhaps you, who came back with them, haven’t yet sharpened your vigilance and looked around, or you continue to support unconditionally the criminal small group, you too they are going to kill you and finish you. What happened to Alexa Mupende? A young girl to be killed for being loved? A so young girl to end up that way! Your doings are disgusting. 

TO BE CONTINUED 

Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne: “I cannot be patient anymore.” (Part 1)

Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne: “I cannot be patient anymore.” (Part 1)

Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne is a Rwandan human right activist who, from Rwanda, published a series of youtube videos, starting from January 31 up to February 15, 2021, the day when the Rwandan Investigative Bureau (RIB) arrested her. This is Part 1 of her last video published on her last day of freedom. In the video, – the concerned section will be translated in the coming days – she announced that, from reliable sources, she had evidence that the Rwandan President Kagame had died last year, and since then the country had no official leadership. In a previous video, she had called on General Kabarebe to rescue Rwanda. Please read through the transcript of the initial part, up to the min. 10.00 of the video.

I greet you.
Fellow Rwandans,
Men and Women,
Friends of Rwanda,
My Friends that I love very much.
I greet you today, on this day, 15/02/2021.
My names are Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne.
I live in Kimironko/ Gasabo District/ Kigali city (Rwanda).
I am a mother of four. I already told you this.
My telephone number is 07 888 30 576. This number is my easy address where anyone can get in touch if they need to contact me. 

Recently, I was here chatting and giving you a small message; I wasn’t seriously conversing, but in reality, I was giving out a short communication and inviting you to pray with me, every Rwandan wherever they are, to pray for our country. I was asking you to pray on 14/02/2021 until 15/02/2021 at 4:00 pm. That’s why I am coming back to complete all together that programme of prayers we agreed on. Besides, I thank you for having participated, considered that I didn’t give you any heads ups. But I sincerely thank you for having tried to come along. Also, I am sure God was with us. 

However, today I would like to start by apologising because I won’t proceed as previously, when I usually said that we would look at this item on the schedule, then the next one, and so forth. That’s how I got you used to such a presentation, telling you: “we will discuss this topic, this next one, and so forth, and when we finish this one, we would go to this next one.” But today is a special day. That explains the reason why we won’t discuss topics the same way as we usually do. We will exchange that way. I didn’t manage to distinguish…, because I didn’t want to. I saw fit to discuss the topics without separating them to be the best way. 

Today is an important day for us Rwandans and friends of Rwandans who love us because it’s an S.O.S Day (Umunsi w’Impuruza). An S.O.S for our originality (Impuruza ya Gakondo/ Umwimerere). That’s the heading of today’s talk. It’s an S.O.S Day for our uniqueness, our identity of the land of Rwanda. Our essence about our citizenship/ nationhood is, not the one enshrined only in documents, but the citizenship status that every citizen must-have. Today is a day – you must remember that concept – of advocating for our originality. It’s a day for fighting for Rwandans to be real genuine Rwandans – and not being Rwandans jokingly – when they won’t have rights as Rwandans.

(She sighs)

Many people continued to wonder about the meaning of what I said, terms that I used in different videos; my talks brought heated discussions, used terms brought debates, some criticising their selected ones, others coming up with their interpretation, today I came to explain them for you comprehensively, the way I expressed them with their true meaning. The way I presented them to you as they were: meaning their naked truth without elusive scythe. Rwandans say: “Instead of hiding behind guesses, it’s better telling the truth as it is, even if it might hurt.”

The reason I started by being intentionally unclear in my initial messages – without explaining as comprehensively as possible – I wanted only the concerned responsible authorities to understand what I was saying. Without making it crystal clear in the eyes of the general public. (I wanted them to) solve raised issues, consider those problems and sort them out – expecting that it would be between me and them – and probably a few more others capable of understanding the points raised – who would’ve been aware of the highlighted issues.

They didn’t show any willingness to correct those issues. That’s the reason I am coming back to tell you more clearly the essence of the problems.

Thus, this is the final warning. I want to tell you that I don’t have any more patience. I cannot continue to remain anymore silent. In contrast, God’s tribe is experiencing persistent oppression, and God’s tribe is living in slavery. It’s impossible. It’s impossible. I cannot accept that. (she raised her tone) Since I cannot take that, I am going to put out everything in the open for the public to see and understand while I am ready for all the possible consequences within a concise period of time.

(She sighs)

So

eeee… They accused me of many offences. They accuse me of denying the genocide, but they are trying covering up all the truths I uncovered and exposed. Because they are masters of dividing and ruling Rwandans; and their objective is to stop the message from getting to its supposed recipients. My fellow friends survivors, my colleagues in the suffering, I would like to tell you truly this: “Me Idamange that you see here, I don’t minimize the genocide; I repeat for you to understand, either you agree or not, I am a genocide victim, therefore I cannot minimize it. If I do, I would be an idiot without any common sense; I don’t either support anyone who would minimize it. What I don’t tolerate is one thing only: to use it for the interests of one particular small group, which wants to make Rwandans their perpetual slaves. That’s what I am fed up with.

In case you check my entire background and go back to all the schools I attended, all my family’s life as a woman, I won’t have been minimizing the genocide and attended regularly the remembrance events (Kwibuka). I won’t be personally minimising the genocide, and announce publicly that ARG sponsored my studies; I won’t have had any reason of mentioning that. I could’ve left out such a fact from my message. (I insist) I don’t minimize the genocide. Karasira doesn’t minimise the genocide. But the problem is that we are individuals who can speak the truth we managed to uncover, and for that reason, we became subjects of their harassment, while they accuse us of minimising the genocide because they want to separate us from our fellow genocide survivors, so they cannot become aware of the truth; or from our other fellow Rwandan compatriots, so they cannot neither access the truth.

They throw at me everything. They started by calling me Interahamwe. Later on, they acknowledged that I was a genocide survivor, and believed that I was; then they found women I don’t know from where to testify that I wasn’t a genocide survivor, afterwards they tried everything possible – they even said that my father or grandfather wasn’t a genocide survivor. All those issues don’t constitute my focus. I would like to tell you that the issue I have isn’t about me being a genocide survivor, my focus is about being a  Rwandan, but a Rwandan who is seeking peace for his fellow compatriots, either genocide survivors, other Rwandans who aren’t survivors who lived in Rwanda, or other Rwandans who returned back home like us. Are you listening? I am not interested in ethnicity. I have overcome such considerations a long time ago. Because I have already found out that the problem our country has isn’t ethnicity. The problem we have consists of a small group of thieves and extremely greedy who want to rule over other people using oppression, applying the divide and rule principle, to separate people from each other, so that we never end up meeting and planning anything together. Why can’t you see that? Why don’t you see that?

If the Rwandan government cared for the genocide survivors and put in place CNLG, what kind of support does it give to them? If we don’t lie to ourselves, or be lied to. Students who are genocide survivors attending university in Butare, please go and ask them, me I did some research on the issue, check carefully, they are the ones who eat in dirty restaurants because they don’t get their financial support in due course, – they (the authorities) intentionally delay their allowances – so that they get in debts to get their food in those dirty restaurants which belong to the mentioned small group’s members. The government gambles with the lives of those students genocide survivors. They are the students most living in dire conditions of learning. I invite you to go and analyse systematically by yourselves to confirm what I said. Why don’t you go and proceed also to some research? If I said that we lived miserably, while the government wasn’t doing the minimum required for us, though it was getting huge amounts of  money and other resources destined to our support, – let me reveal it openly – I even have evidence that they also received funds for the sites of remembrance of the genocide victims. I just revealed this because – as I told you – “Instead of hiding behind guesses, it’s better telling the truth as it is, even if it might hurt.”

TO BE CONTINUED.

Rwanda’s malicious interference in the Laure Uwase’s nomination to a Belgian parliamentary commission.


On Thursday, August 6, 2020, the Belgian Parliament set up a special parliamentary commission to look into the country’s colonial past. Some posit that this initiative follows the George Floyd protests and the global Black Lives Matter movement. Laure Uwase, a young Rwandan-Belgian lawyer, affiliated to the Brussels’ Bar, features among the nominated members of the commission. Her nomination immediately led to a multitude of inflammatory attacks of defamatory and intimidation nature on her person; from the RPF propaganda machinery including the Rwandan parliament. Her attackers allege that she advocates genocidal ideology and is a negationist. These are unclear but extremely damaging accusations that the RPF regime has always used against anyone, Rwandan or foreign, critical of its policies and actions.

It is important to highlight that Laure Uwase was a toddler of only two years old in 1994. Carried by her family at the time, she didn’t for sure know what was happening around her, let alone the fact that a genocide was being perpetrated. With some divine help, she survived while millions of other Rwandans died. One would wonder if she was destined for a particular purpose. She found in Belgium a community which nurtured and helped her overcome the multitude of experienced traumas, and ultimately rose as an accomplished expert of the Great Lakes region. This piece tries to analyse the motivations behind these current attacks that target her, attacks which are, at the same time, calling the Belgian Parliament to reconsider the present set membership of the said commission.

  1. Laure Uwase is critical of the RPF regime

In the row caused by her nomination, Laure Uwase appears to be a victim of her compassion for Rwandans. She only adds her voice to that of others like her who presently educate the world about the plight of her compatriots. Judi Rever in her book ‘In praise of blood: the crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front’ writes that “…the RPF has never stopped the violence. Kagame killed before the genocide. He killed during the genocide. And he killed after the genocide (for 26 years and still counting). The West’s unbridled support only fed the regime’s sense of impunity.” The advocacy work of Uwase which covers the lives of the survivors of these crimes either inside or outside Rwanda harnesses her expertise.

The above-described context is the only framework that enables to understand the RPF’s rumblings around Uwase case. Unequivocably, Uwase being a highly educated Hutu woman, and fervent critical of the RPF regime, this was expected to attract her the storms from Rwanda, once selected for the mentioned commission. The entire picture falls into what Rwandans have always known as a discriminatory policy towards Hutus but rarely perceived as such by foreigners not well versed into the Rwandan politics.

For her advocacy work, Uwase evolves in the Jambo asbl, an association consisting mainly of young Belgians of Rwandan origin. The leadership and the majority of its members arrived in Belgium at a very young age. They grew up becoming more and more concerned by the situation of serious abuses of human rights in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region. They decided to take their destinies by both their hands and started expressing their views publicly. These views shed a new light to the truth deliberately buried by RPF’s sponsors. And the content shakes up the very existence of the RPF’s foundations, which are significantly built on lies.

  1. The RPF policy of making impossible the life of Hutus inside and in exile

General James Kabarebe and other prominent RPF personalities, such as Jean Leonard Dukuzumuremyi and Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana from the association IBUKA for the Tutsi survivors and the (Commission Nationale de Lutte contre le Genocide) CNLG respectively, have for years publicly warned Tutsis about preserving their gains. As a strategy to achieve that, they instructed them to harass, intimidate, chase Hutus in every possible way and make their lives difficult as much inside and even outside Rwanda where they found refuge.

Further to such criminal policies led from the top targeting Hutus everywhere, the number of unrecorded and unreported victims will be hard to know. Over the years, in different parts of the world where Hutus managed to settle as refugees, be it in countries like Malawi, Zambia, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere, cases of Hutu refugees who were killed or whose properties were destroyed, and careers irremediably interrupted by Rwandan agents are numerous.

The case of Dr Munyakazi Leopold who was a lecturer at a US university illustrates one of such stories of the harassment of Hutus living in exile. Though they had managed to overcome adversity, they end up again victims of the RPF’s regime. With the assistance of the US authorities, Munyakazi was ultimately and forcibly returned to Rwanda, tortured and imprisoned in 2016. In 2018 he was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment for revisionism. For years, the elite Hutu which survived 1994 and its aftermath has unfortunately lived in a permanent fear engineered by the RPF’s regime as a strategy to remain in power forever. Today it is Laure Uwase, yesterday it was the young Belgians of Rwandan origin candidates to local political positions, tomorrow it will be another similar case. 

  1. The continuation of the false narrative of the Rwandan contemporary history

The main features of the official narrative of the Rwandan recent history are that only Tutsis died as victims of the 1994 genocide and that Hutus who died during that period were either moderate who sympathized with the Tutsi victims or were either war’s collaterals. It is worth noting that since 2018, with the support of its external lobbies, Rwanda transformed the designation of that tragedy into only the genocide against the Tutsis, whereas it was initially called the Rwandan genocide when the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was set up. 

Surprisingly, in April 2020, US, UK and Japan, countries which normally aligned themselves with the official narrative at least publicly, contested the RPF’s regime intention to ignore or erase Hutu victims from the country’s most deadly tragedy in its entire history. The US Ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, said that “the United States is concerned that changes made to the text – starting in 2018 and extended today – narrow the focus of the resolution to the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and fail to fully capture the magnitude of the violence that was committed against other groups.  Many Hutu and others were also killed during the genocide, including those murdered for their opposition to the atrocities that were being committed.  Failing to honour and remember these victims presents an incomplete picture of this dark part of history.

For the RPF to insist that only Tutsis died during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, this is a critical policy with serious and damaging political consequences for the majority Hutu whose victims have been ignored so far. The discriminatory practices they have been suffering from since result from that position of the Tutsi ruling elite in Rwanda. And the Uwase case falls in the line of such orientations of excluding Hutu wherever possible in the life of the country.

  1. The presumption of ignorance attributed to the Belgian parliament

In 2019, the Belgian parliament voted a law against genocide denial extending its competence internationally on all the crimes against humanity. According to Lydie Ujeneza writing on her Facebook pages, the Rwandan parliament by acting the way it proceeded and attacking Uwase as an alleged genocide denial presumes the Belgian parliament’s incompetence in assessing the character and CV of one among its members of the special commission.

If that presumption of ignorance on the part of the Belgian parliament is not in itself an alleged insult to the competence of that institution, the way forward, particularly concerning the official response to the allegation, will determine how it defends its prerogatives and public obligations towards its constituency, the Belgian nation.

  1. The importance of other national issues in comparison

Since the inception of the Covid-19 pandemic, back in early March of this year, the Rwandan parliament has been completely silent on many important national issues, to the point that people started wondering if it hadn’t been dissolved and the general public kept in the dark on its lack of activity. It was not because there was not enough critical problems that jeopardized the lives of Rwandans.

Among the issues that remained undealt with during the pandemic period are 1) demolition of the houses of poor people in Kigali, 2) police forces’ extrajudicial executions, 3) RDF soldiers’ rape of 13 women of Bannyahe and public beating of a woman of Musanze by officials, 4) imprisonment of journalists including Cyuma Hassan Niyonsenga, 5) prolonged and unsafe detention of Covid19 related offenders, 6) population’s hunger as a consequence of the confinement, 7) disappearances and imprisonment of politicians from the opposition, 8) closure of the country’s borders, and 9) ban of Kinyarwanda from the primary school curriculum. 

The unelected but RPF designated parliament found insignificant all these problems. But it judged critical to make a strong stand on the nomination of Laure Uwase instead, though apparently, reliable sources confirm that the Rwandan members of parliament weren’t called to debate and neither make a decision on the issue. This means that some other structure in Rwanda acted on its behalf. The entire saga orchestrated in the name of the Rwandan parliament shows ultimately the nature of the Kagame’s dictatorship when it wants to preserve the status quo of its power.

In conclusion, the complexity of issues about the public dissatisfaction of the RPF caused by the nomination of Laure Uwase as a member of the special Belgian parliament commission is evident. By reading under the lines, one understands the motivations that pushed all the channels of the RPF regime to become nervous and oppose such nomination. Accepting it without public outrage from Kigali would’ve appeared illogical, given the discriminatory policies Kagame has been imposing on Rwandans from the outset. Kigali’s attitude shows consistency with the official line of its policies. Any different option would’ve been a detrimental direction. 

Instead of seeing Laure Uwase as the best thing that could come out of a human tragedy of the scale of the Rwandan genocide, the Rwandan parliament opted to go along with the extremists of the RPF regime and tarnish the brilliance of one of the Rwandan daughters, who, because of her competence and experience, was selected to be part of the special Belgian parliament on the colonial past of that country.

The ball is presently in the Belgian parliament’s camp. Will it reconsider the nomination of Laure Uwase to its special commission, that the Speaker Patrick Dewael considers as a variation of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission following South Africa’s fall of apartheid? Doing that and responding positively to the Rwandan parliament’s request will only question and jeopardize its independence of judgement and its sovereign character.

Ambrose Nzeyimana

PRESS RELEASE 16/06/2020 – The request for an immediate end to the harassment of the Rwandan opposition leaders, Victoire Ingabire and Bernard Ntaganda

On Saturday 13th June 2020, without a warrant, Rwandan security forces entered the homes of opposition leaders, Victoire Ingabire and Bernard Ntaganda.

The opposition leaders were falsely accused of conspiracy to liaise with terrorist organisations aiming to destabilise Rwanda. Their homes were forcibly searched, every communication device, i.e. laptops, USB drives, mobile phones and physical documents were seized and transported to the Rwandan Investigation Bureau.

Before Bernard Ntaganda’s home was invaded, he managed to send out a recording describing the situation. The security forces were said to be dressed in civilian clothes, jumping over his property fences, like trespassers. Some were carrying guns. The whole experience, he narrated, was extremely traumatic.

The two political leaders were terrorised; their homes were ransacked, their personal belongings, sentimental and valuable, were forcibly removed away by the security agents. Victoire Ingabire and Bernard Ntaganda remained out of reach for several hours, unable to communicate with any friends, families or colleagues. When they did manage, they informed their contacts that they had yet to be imprisoned.

This troubling incident is the latest in a long history of assassinations, disappearances and imprisonment of dissident voices within Rwanda and beyond, in the diaspora. The murder of Kizito Mihigo on February 17 this year in police custody was the most significant in recent memory as it demonstrated a willingness to silence celebrity dissident voices; Mihigo was an adored Gospel musician and a national cultural icon.

As recently as April, 10 journalists were arrested. Among them was Cyuma Niyonsenga Dieudonne, who broke the story of Kizito Mihigo’s assassination; reporting that he had seen physical signs of torture on his body before the burial in late February. During the same period, he also reported the case of the soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Front who went on a raping spree of 13 women in the suburb of Bannyahe, where the Rwandan authorities have been accused of ransacking homes and making local populations homeless as a consequence.

On Saturday, June 6, Venant Abayisenga, a member of the political party DALFA-Umurinzi was kidnapped by unknown attackers who took him away whilst he was running errands. Since his disappearance, a week later, the president of his party, Victoire Ingabire, has been harassed, searched and left extremely anxious.

Despite the relentless harassment and false imprisonment of political opponents, Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, continues to receive financial support from the UK, the USA, Canada, Belgium, Japan, The Netherlands, and Germany. International institutions like the International Monetary Fund – IMF are also complicit in their support of this unlawfulness.

The intensity of the harassment of the Rwandan politicians, journalists and human right activists has reached the sixth step on the pathway to a genocide that Professor Gregory H Stanton, Founding President of Genocide Watch calls polarisation, during which:

  • Leaders in targeted groups are the next to be arrested and murdered. 
  • The dominant group passes emergency laws or decrees that grants them total power over the targeted group.  
  • The laws erode fundamental civil rights and liberties. 
  • Targeted groups are disarmed to make them incapable of self-defence, and to ensure that the dominant group has total control. 

To the Rwandan president Paul Kagame and his supporters, be it international organisations or sovereign states, I strongly request the end of the harassment of Victoire Ingabire and Bernard Ntaganda, leaders of the political parties DALFA-Umurinzi and PS-Imberakuri respectively, and all other Rwandans seeking peaceful, democratic change in their country. We ought to recognise that we cannot afford for history to repeat itself. And we have it within our power to ensure that it does not.

Ambrose Nzeyimana
Human Right Activist

Email: nzeyimanaambrose@gmail.com

(Note: if you are Rwandan or not, reading this press release, but strongly compassionate to the suffering of the millions of individuals that Kagame and his clique oppress for more than 25 years, you are allowed to use the present text and make it yours to advocate on their behalf in your network of contacts, including media outlets and parliamentarians.)

TRIBUTE TO MY BELOVED SISTER BARBARA ALLIMADI—FIGHTER FOR JUSTICE IN UGANDA

MILTON G. ALLIMADI

Barbara Allimadi. 

Many people who know my sister Barbara Allimadi who passed away on Monday night in Uganda will remember her as a tireless and fearless fighter for justice, human rights, and democracy. She’s being referred to as a “lioness” by many of her colleagues in the struggle on social media postings.  

Many will recall the many marches and protests she led in Kampala against militarism and police brutality and how, at her own expense, she often purchased food and delivered them to those who’d been wrongfully incarcerated by the regime. My sister gained wide notice when she led a protest against police brutality after Ingrid Turinawe, a prominent leader in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) opposition party was violently assaulted in broad daylight. Policemen arresting her, grabbed her by her breast while she was seated in her car behind the wheels, and tried to pull her out. 

Barbara and a group of young women held a protest outside police headquarters. They opened their shirts, exposing their bras, symbolically denouncing the desecration of womanhood. They demanded action by Gen. Kale Kayihura, the notorious former police commander. Barbara later became an activist with the FDC party. When Mugisha Muntu, formerly of the FDC, launched the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), Barbara joined. She became the party’s spokesperson for International and Diaspora affairs. 

Barbara was totally committed to the total liberation of Uganda and Africa from authoritarianism,  neocolonialism, and all their attendant crimes. She envisioned a Uganda whose resources would be used to create products, jobs, wealth and prosperity, for Ugandans, not foreign powers.   

Barbara studied engineering in the U.K., and operated businesses for a few years. Recently, she’d become more interested in history and economics, earning a Masters degree in human rights at Makerere University. I had encouraged her to pursue a doctoral degree. 

We often bounced ideas off each other. She insisted that I share with her materials I assigned to my students at John Jay College here in New York City. As a result, she’d started reading more deeply the works of Kwame Nkrumah, Anta Diop, John Henrik Clarke, Thomas Sankara, Steve Biko, Walter Rodney, and Samir Amin. Last week, Barbara told me that she’d just read, once again, the introduction to Nkrumah’s “Neocolonialism, The Last Stage of Imperialism,” where Nkrumah lays out his thesis that so long as Africa remains divided the outside powers will continue to exploit the continent’s resources. “Our people need to know more of our history,” she said. 

Many people know Barbara the public figure. I, of course, being 10 years her senior, had the advantage of placing her on my laps and teaching her how to read. She was  brilliant; here’s one story that offers some insight. It was during the 1970s, when Barbara was around three years old, and my family was living in exile from Gen. Idi Amin’s regime in Tanzania. We were reading one of her favorite books when something puzzling happened. When I opened a certain page, the words she uttered didn’t match the words on the page. Then I noticed that two pages had stuck together; we’d skipped the page Barbara was meant to be reading. Could it be that she’d memorized that page? When I flipped randomly to another page without following the sequence, she struggled. I realized that the child had memorized the material contained in the entire book—and all the other books—based on the sequence of the pages. So, we went back to the basics and studied our alphabets; soon, she could read any book. 

Due to Uganda’s turbulent politics, our family was scattered around the world. The last time I actually saw my sister in the flesh was in October, 2007, in London, when our beloved mother, Alice Lamunu Allimadi lost her battle with cancer. Our father, Erifasi Otema Allimadi, former prime minister, had joined the ancestors earlier, in 2001. 

After our parents were deceased, Barbara returned to Uganda. She was in business for a few years. But beyond just making profit she wanted a higher calling and so she followed in our father’s footsteps and entered politics. Like him, Barbara too was a Pan-African and a nationalist. She loved Ugandans, regardless of what part of the country they came from, what God they prayed to, or the political party they followed. She had magnetic charisma, beauty, intelligence, and a great sense of humor. She could engage with all. 

The struggle against authoritarianism can be lonely. It can take its toll on everyone, physically, and emotionally. Barbara remained hopeful because she could not bear living in a Uganda that she knew could be a much better country. She inspired the youth, and was inspired by them. 

She also knew that there were very many more comrades in the struggle. She once told me that when she was arrested multiple times for leading protests against the regime, sometimes the officers bundling her into police vehicles would say “Sister, we are with you, we are just doing our job.” She had frank conversations with some ministers, one of whom told her, he supported the struggle. Then he asked, “But who will take care of my family if something happened to me?” 

This is not the correct question; such individuals must ask: “What will become of Uganda if we do nothing?” These silent Ugandans must make their voices heard. 

Barbara was dedicated to creating a Uganda where political disagreements did not mean that the party in power had to drive opponents into exile, jail them, or eliminate them. In recent months, as a member of the ANT, she’d been reaching out to Ugandans of all political affiliations in diaspora. Political differences pale in comparison to the common desire to create a Uganda where the constitution is supreme. 

My sister was a unique and beautiful asset to Uganda. She had contributed much to making ours a better country. She still had much to offer. 

You can imagine the shock and pain our family felt when we were informed that Barbara was found, lying on the living room floor of her house outside Kampala, dead on Monday night. I had just communicated with her at 10:40 AM on Sunday. Her last earthly message to me read, “I hope you’re having a blessed Sunday. Mine is fine…”  How can it be that a few hours later she was gone? 

To all of Barbara’s friends, people who loved her, people who were inspired by her, people who worked with her in the trenches to create a better Uganda—the best tribute would be to ensure that all her sacrifice for the struggle was not in vain. 

We must march those extra miles and create a new Uganda. Barbara did not live to see that day. We owe it to her to make sure that day arrives. We might close by paraphrasing Dr. King who famously said: “…I’ve seen the promised land…I may not get there with you…we as a people will get to the promised land.” 

Barbara, Rest In Peace with our beloved parents and other ancestors. Until we meet again, dear sister, we love you. 

Aluta continua!

SOURCE: BLACK STAR NEWS

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