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Kagame court again denies bail to Victoire Ingabire

January 31, 2011

by Ann Garrison

Broadcast on KPFA Weekend News Jan. 22, 2011

On Jan. 20, Rwanda’s High Court once again rejected the bail appeal of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, chair of Rwanda’s FDU-Inkingi coalition of opposition parties.

Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is led from prison to court in handcuffs, wearing pink prison garb, with her head shaved by prison authorities
Her preventive detention order had expired during the Christmas holidays, but the judge ruled that her case had been transmitted to the court for the evidence stage thereafter. Ingabire remains in Kigali’s infamous 1930 maximum security prison.

On Jan. 18, two days before the verdict, President Paul Kagame informed a press conference that Ingabire will face the laws up to the exhaustion of the process.

“Who is the judge strong enough to contradict him in Rwanda?” asked FDU’s spokesperson Sixbert Musangamfura, writing from exile in Finland. “Only God.”

Jan. 16 was the anniversary of Ingabire’s return to Rwanda to attempt to run for president against incumbent and staunch U.S. ally Paul Kagame. She was arrested in April and charged with “genocide ideology,” a speech crime unique to Rwanda, which means disagreeing with the received history of Rwanda’s epic 1994 massacres known as the Rwanda Genocide and/or disagreeing with the Rwandan government. She was then confined to Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, and her party was not allowed to register or register her candidacy. On Oct. 14, she was arrested again and she has remained incarcerated since.

Bernard Ntaganda, another Rwandan presidential candidate who might have had a chance to win had he been allowed to run, also remains in Kigali’s 1930 maximum security prison while a judge considers the prosecution’s plea that he be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News, the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own blog, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, Weekend News on KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at ann@afrobeatcom. This story first appeared on Digital Journal.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza in Rwanda: Year one of the struggle for democracy and dignity

by Eugene Ndahayo, Chair of the Support Committee for FDU-Inkingi

Brussels – It’s already a year ago when Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, chairperson of the United Democratic Forces, FDU-Inkingi, knelt down for the first time and kissed her homeland that she had left 16 years before.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of Rwanda’s FDU-Inkingi coalition of opposition political parties, stands with her family prior to leaving Brussels for her return to Rwanda to run for president: from left, her husband, Lin Muyizere, their daughter, Raissa Ujeneza, Victoire, their younger son, Rist Shimwa, and their older son, Remy Ndizeye Niyigena
It’s been a year of achievements, dedication and courage – a real struggle for democracy, for freedom, for the right to life and personal security, the right of association, freedom of expression, for political rights. The iron fist of the dictatorship has been challenged.

It’s been a year of solidarity with Rwandans in the country for the right of remembrance for all victims of the Rwandan genocide and other crimes against humanity, for all victims’ rights, for all the voiceless, for the rehabilitation of second class citizens. It’s been a real struggle for equal access, equal opportunities for all the children of our homeland.

It’s been a wrestling against an unfair justice that has deprived Rwandans of the right to a defense of one’s choice and the right to due process. The controversial “Gacaca” justice parody has thrown hundreds of thousands of litigants into humiliating community service with no hope of return.

It’s been a year of solidarity with the people of Congo (DRC) facing the consequences of military invasions responsible of over 5 million victims and the plundering of the country’s natural resources. Since 1990, the whole region has been engulfed in endless turmoil.

The Rwandan president, praised by some people and some partisan media to be a champion, a super star, a development success story, believed himself to be politically invincible.

By her presence in Rwanda, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza has brought to light the true dimensions of the dictatorship: a totalitarian regime monopolized by a handful of military and ethnocentric militants who, by the means of political police and a sprawling network of secret services, has an upper hand over all public institutions, the judicial and civil society.

In just one year, the regime has accumulated political errors and serious violations of human rights:

- Assassination of André Kagwa Rwisereka, deputy chair of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, on July 13, 2010

Rwandan President Paul Kagame was sworn in for another seven-year term after the explosive Aug. 26 leak of a U.N. report documenting genocidal massacres of Rwandan Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutus by his army in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Assassination of the journalist Jean-Léonard Rugambage, editor of Umuvugizi newspaper, on June 24, 2010

- An attempt against the life of Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa on June 19, 2010

- Kidnapping and arrest of Deogratias Mushayidi, chair of PDP-Imanzi on March 3, 2010

- Arrest of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, chair of FDU-Inkingi on April 21, 2010; she was bailed out, placed under house arrest the next day and rearrested on Oct. 14, 2010

- Arrest of Professor Peter Erlinder, a U.S. attorney, defense lawyer for Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, on June 17; he was bailed out after several weeks

- Arrest of Bernard Ntaganda, chair of PS-Imberakuri on June 24, 2010

- Arrest and detention of journalists Agnes Uwimana Nkusi and Saidati Mukakibibiof the Umurabyo newspaper, on July 8-10, 2010

- Arrest of a dozen of party leaders of FDU-Inkingi and PS-Imberakuri on June 24, 2010, who were then released on bail

- Arrest of Theogene Muhayeyezu, Rwandan lawyer for FDU-Inkingi, on June 24, 2010; he was released 15 days later

- Rigged presidential elections on Aug. 9, 2010, with total exclusion of the opposition

- Arrest of several high-ranking officers in the Rwandan Army: Gen. Charles Muhire, Maj. Gen. Karenzi Karake, Col. Rugigana Ngabo etc.

- Publication on Oct. 1, 2010, of the U.N. Mapping Report on war crimes, crimes against humanity and a possible genocide committed in Congo mainly by the Rwandan army

Yes, in less than a year, the superstar Paul Kagame has faded from the limelight! The touted and self-portrayed “African new generation leader” is merely a tyrant to avoid.

His apologists are confused and on the brink of losing credibility. How do they justify the total sealing off of political space, assassinations, arbitrary arrests and detentions of democracy leaders? How do they explain the landslide Stalin-style election score of 93 percent?

Bernard Ntaganda, founder and presidential candidate of Rwanda’s Parti Social-Imberakuri, greets Victoire at the Kigali Airport on her return to Rwanda Jan. 17, 2010. Rwandan police arrested him on June 24 after he called for a protest of the opposition’s exclusion from the election, saying, “Silence is acceptance.”
And gradually the economic miracle of sustained growth is appearing to be the result of an unfortunate combination of a criminal economy, unbalanced, uneven and sorry. The Congolese blood minerals and other natural resources have contributed to the miracle.

The gap caused by uneven national income distribution is very deep. According to the U.N. Development Program reports, 10 percent of Rwandans own over 50 percent of the national wealth, while 50 percent own less than 10 percent of the national wealth.

That is the record of a year of achievements of our chairperson, a record of FDU-Inkingi. Together with all our supporters, we are proud.

Our leader has been held in a maximum security prison since Oct. 14, 2010. We all keep in our minds her words, just a few days after she returned to our homeland:

“I believe in the political project that I share with my colleagues in this struggle, I love my country and all its inhabitants and I know I am not alone in this and Rwandans from all social classes, ethnic backgrounds and generations are with us. It is my source of strength and an oath that I would never betray. I will not waver in my dedication as I promised my colleagues and friends. I know and I have thoroughly thought about it, the regime may persecute me, imprison me. Let me say in conclusion that I am ready to face and endure all the difficulties and obstacles in my way until the final victory. And in case the regime attempts to take my life, I trust you shall continue from where I will fall.”

In prison, where she is incarcerated, the morale of our Chairperson Victoire Ingabire is high. She is free in her mind and soul. Not because of her innocence and belief that the justice system will set her free. No, she does not believe at all in the dictator’s justice. She saw how his judiciary works: trumped up accusations, fake witnesses, witness preparation and rehearsals, lack of independence, interference and orders taken from the State House.

No, she is simply strong because she is courageous and trusts that we shall empower the momentum of the wind of freedom and the seeds of democracy she already sowed.

It is the correctness of her political struggle that will set her free. It is the faith in our political project, it is our ability to organize, it is the strength and impact of our current and future political rationale and alliances that will set her free.

Thus, our determination, our consistency in the political struggle shall overcome the dictatorship and its international backers or lobbying organizations.

Together, we will set free the chairperson of FDU-Inkingi and, beyond that, we will set free our people.

To learn more, visit http://www.fdu-rwanda.org/and look for Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and FDU-Inkingi on Facebook.

11 thoughts on “Kagame court again denies bail to Victoire Ingabire

  1. therisingcontinent

    Injustices Rwandan people have experienced during the last sixteen years under Paul Kagame are overwhelming. The winds of change which are sweeping over Africa will touch base very soon in his country. US and their allies should by now have scenarios at hands to pressure their proxy mercenaries who lead in Rwanda and Uganda to prepare their smooth upcoming exits. If not they may make people hate them more than they do at the moment. Having allowed and supported these dictators to kill millions of Rwandans, Congolese and Ugandans will take generations to be forgiven.

    Reply
    1. Mwinyi J.Paul

      How do talk injustice in Rwanda for sixteen years yet all peaple are free to leave in the country unlike before where only few were accepted to leave in the country but now when peaple enjoy equal rights then you talk injustice or how can you say these countries have killed peaple yet Rwanda was protecting them from being killed when they stoped genocide and still protecting them in sudan.
      How can you dictator in a country where there is free and fair elections and peaple elect there own leaders of there choice and you call them dictators thats redicurous hope you do not know what ur talking about

      Reply
    2. Robert Matabaro

      Injustices?! what do you know about injustices? was 1959, 73 and 94 your moments of justice? What Kagame has done so far is bring justice where it never existed. He brought dignity to Rwandans and Rwanda. Is the injustice you are talking about the failure to complete your original plan? Is 16 years to long enough for you to forget the atrocities, caused by the very people you support and without shame say that Kagame's regime is responsible for killing millions of Rwandans?. It is just ridiculous. Actually Kagame's regime has saved millions of Rwandans in all aspects of their lives and the reason Rwanda's allies have turned a deaf ear to the likes of you is that his record is there for everyone to see.
      Rwandans are happy for what they have achieved so far, their social economic development has improved and it is getting better. The winds of change hit Rwanda 16 years ago and guess what Rwandans are enjoying it.

      Reply
    3. @successniyo

      When you talk of Injustice I really WONDER, have you ever known how to do right and wrong, if he who is right is praised and motivated, what about a wrong doer, for whatever the case justice has to be applied, but I do understand he who is wrong when punished says there is injustice- but when you leave him shine will think you do not know what is right. Lets face reality Kagame is a leader who thinks BIG and does Big good things-Now criticising him is what you guys can do because you can do nothing but criticise

      Reply
  2. Paul Muvunyi

    It is obvious that this newspaper is the mouthpiece of Hutu extremists such as Victiore Ingabire and Rusesabagina. I think you have failed to make Ingabire another Mandela. It is embarrassing to see how the western countries have ignored Ingabire even when her supporters multiples accusations that Kagame of so called dictatorship. Have you noticed that the more you accuse him the more he becomes the darling of the World. The world knows that Ingabire is not a democratic, she is a hutu rights militant.

    Reply
    1. @successniyo

      You are right Paul, She came in the camouflage of peace and democracy but within seconds of arrival she started denying genocide, criticising democracy, tribalistic ideas and many dirty things If I were these funny people, Iwould have learnt how things are done proffessionally and bring positive change aiming at developing the country not criticising what they never even thought for life
      He is a hard working Man thats why they criticise him by the way the world knows the truth but you guys you want the world to accept your stupidity as in hiding the truth about genocide, we shall keep on finding you and we shall put you to justice as it happened for Ingabire

      Reply
  3. mugabondekwe

    We should not speculate our ideas based on sentiments in Rwanda like therisingcontient and paul muvunyi ve gone far to extremes we who reside in Rwanda facts a bitter we are enjoying unity & reconciliation hear says destorts what the Rwandan gov't has achieved more awards in different fileds ve been worn talk also the postive parts then have your critics

    Reply
    1. @successniyo

      these guys fear the truth because they know truth hurts, but we should work harder to develop our country and these guys shall remain critics for life and time will never be in their favor but the truth shall keep on shaking them-Rwanda is in the right chanel-keep Rwandesehow can you praise a

      Reply
  4. @successniyo

    Rwanda have economically grown,politically improved,socially maintained, religiously harmionised
    for people who leave there knows the truth and for those who depends on hearsays OHH mY God you come and see yourself what happens and you shall compare what Rwanda used to be 16 years ago

    Reply
  5. Alexis Kiray

    I have recently traveled to Rwanda and this was my second trip there in the last 3 years. I have to honestly tell people that Rwanda is rapidly charging for better and better every single day. Those who never been there need to go and see for themselves before they post their biased views. I cannot imagine Mrs Ingabire as a president and Mr Kagame a simple civilian? You have to be joking!!! Kagame and Ingabire are in different leagues and totaly two different species in the world of politics. Yes, extremist or ignorance could only be the motive of some crazy pundits on this article but believe me you, Rwanda has gone a milestone — A suivre–

    Reply

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