Election violence in Rwanda and Burundi, refugees in Uganda


by Ann Garrison

Violence, repression and human rights abuse continues to increase as 2010 elections approach in the East African neighbor nations of Rwanda and Burundi, whose ethnicity, politics and conflicts are closely intertwined.

This week Burundi ordered Human Rights Watch’s researcher out of the country by June 5, after she published her report on political violence, “We’ll Tie You Up and Shoot You.”

Neighboring Rwanda did the same thing several weeks ago, and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has continued to demand the forced repatriation of a million Rwandan refugees from Rwanda’s northern neighbor Uganda.

Didas Gasana, editor of Rwanda’s banned African language newspaper Umuseso, says that Kagame is demanding that Rwandan political refugees be forcibly repatriated from Uganda so as to prevent them from joining militias to invade Rwanda as he himself and his militia did from 1990 until they seized power in 1994.

Rwanda presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza agrees and says that Kagame most likely wants to repatriate those young enough to join a rebel militia, possibly one led by Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa and Rwandan soldiers who followed him into exile in Uganda.

Ingabire reaffirms her conviction that there is no military solution for Rwanda, that only opening political space to all Rwandans will bring lasting peace, even as she prepares to stand trial for crimes against the state which many say she has been charged with simply to prevent her from running against President Kagame.

Click to listen to a KPFA Radio News report that includes an interview with Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza about the refugee issue.

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in San Francisco, a regular contributor to the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper, Global Research and Digital Journal and a news producer for KPFA Radio, Berkeley. This story first appeared on Digital Journal, at http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/292381.


  1. The Rwanda President stategy to regitimate his election… read here..

    The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC)

    The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda which brings together, the United Democratic Forces (FDU–Inkingi), the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, the Parti Social IMBERAKURI, is very disturbed and deeply concerned with the new RPF strategy of doing away with the real political opposition and embrace its coalition partners for the last 16 years as the Political Opposition.

    This comes just a few weeks after the public Request by President Kagame in one of his Press Conferences held in April 2010, telling Liberal Party-PL and Social Democratic Party-PSD to start claiming for the political space the opposition has been calling for.

    Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, Rwanda’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament, cannot challenge President Paul Kagame and the RPF in the upcoming August presidential elections.

    Dr. Ntawukuriryayo is a former Health Minister and his Social Democratic Party (PSD) have been sleeping in the same bed with RPF since 1994 and in 2003 elections, PSD backed the RPF candidate. The President of PSD, Dr.Vincent BIRUTA, became the Speaker of Parliament then and there-after, till now the Speaker of the Rwandan Senate-the second Supreme Organ in the Country and Number two in hierarchy according to the Rwandan Constitution and also the Deputy Speaker of Parliament is not far away from the top hierarchy and decision makers of the Land.

    The usual master plan is already known : the right time the stooge candidate urges his supporters to vote for the incumbent.

    It’s very clear that PSD is an RPF satellite and affiliated Party and has never been in opposition since 1994. It is just coming in to escort and give legitimacy to the RPF Candidate and hoodwink the international community that the elections are free and fair.

    The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda strongly condemns this new RPF strategy of doing away with the real and genuine political opposition by embracing its coalition Partners, PSD and PL as its new opposition.

    PSD and PL have never stood up publically to challenge the RPF regime, they have never denounced the injustices of the RPF against the population, they have never confronted the RPF for the democratization of the country, they have always been comfortable with the RPF-established clientele system and they have always supported all RPF activities without giving any critic publically.

    An election, where the real opposition is not allowed to participate in, is just a wastage of national resources and wastage of time.

    We once again call for a level playing field for the 2010 presidential election ; the legitimacy of the results will remain a big problem if the real opposition is closed out.

    We also once again call the Rwandan Government to register the real opposition parties : FDU INKINGI and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda without any further hurdles.

    Issued at Kigali, 24th May 2010

    Signed by :

    Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

    Chairperson, United Democratic Forces

    Mr. Frank Habineza

    Chairman, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

    Me. Bernard Ntaganda

    Chairman, Parti Social IMBERAKURI

  2. People should fear the worse when dictatorial regimes expel human right organisations and ban independent journalists.
    These Rwandan refugees in Uganda shouldn't be repatriated forcibly. If they fled Paul Kagame's regime it's because they fear for their lives and security. Ugandan authorities and UNHCR shouldn't add to their misery. Let's hope their situation doesn't turn into another catastrophe.
    We know the whole of Rwanda is a prison where only free are those working with the regime. You are in Rwanda also free as long as you don't voice anything against the regime, or no one feels that you should be in prison.

  3. Don’t write about a country you’ve never been to. Please. You’re making us laugh too hard. If I want to believe it’s true, can get any pot head I want to back me up that dancing unicorns exist, and quote them in my article. :)

    Rwanda is fine, lady.

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