Jan. 16 marks 8 years since Victoire Ingabire launched nonviolent movement for democracy in Rwanda

by Justin Bahunga, Commissioner for External Relations and spokesperson, FDU-Inkingi

On the 16th of January 2010, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza landed in Kigali to launch the nonviolent movement for democracy, peace and justice for all. On that day, she gave a serious hammer blow to the cornerstone of the regime fortress: fear.

Victoire-Ingabire-returns-from-Netherlands-Kigali-Rwanda-airport-011610-300x166, Jan. 16 marks 8 years since Victoire Ingabire launched nonviolent movement for democracy in Rwanda, World News & Views
When Victoire Ingabire returned home from exile in The Netherlands, arriving in Kigali, Rwanda, on Jan. 16, 2010, she brought a message that profoundly challenged Paul Kagame and his regime. Not only did she file to oppose him in the presidential election, but she corrected his description of the Rwandan Genocide as Hutus killing Tutsis to add that Hutus were victims too.

The fortress is shaking, the fear has shifted from fear of democrats and peacemakers to fear of the regime, as reflected in erratic diplomatic behavior and more repression. The regime has been totally exposed.

To her supporters, she was a hero. To her critics, she was naïve. To ordinary minds, it was too risky to take on the president in his heyday of power.

However, those close to her know well that she was sowing a mustard seed of democracy and genuine reconciliation and was ready to pay the highest price for these values: prison or death. Hence the message to the Rwandan general prosecutor, who wanted to convince her to apologize and abandon her opposition to the regime in return for her freedom:

“The cause is bigger than me. Whether you decide to keep me in prison, release me or kill me, the movement for democracy is unstoppable.”

Victoire-Ingabire-montage-300x147, Jan. 16 marks 8 years since Victoire Ingabire launched nonviolent movement for democracy in Rwanda, World News & Views
Victoire Ingabire, in the eight years since her homecoming to Rwanda, was surrounded by press on her arrival at the airport in Kigali, jailed rather than allowed to campaign for president as she’d intended, tried and convicted of telling the truth about the Rwandan Genocide, to ultimately become the moral leader of her nation who, by her example, inspires millions to keep the faith.

She was undeterred by the fact that the prosecutor was relaying the message of his boss, President Kagame, who had told a news reporter of the Ugandan newspaper, The Monitor, saying: “This woman will certainly be where she belongs. Now the outsiders who want so badly for Ingabire to be an opposition leader here or later on to be our president, well, they may wait for a while.”

The mustard seed has grown with new martyrs in her party who need to be remembered today. Some were killed, kidnapped and tortured, and we have no idea about their fate now. Others are languishing in prison for four months while the prosecution is trying hard to concoct evidence against them.

We are proud of them! May their courageous sacrifice inspire us all to work for the greater good, well aware that the cause we are fighting for is greater than ourselves. It is an honor to pay even the ultimate price.

The list of the FDU Inkingi Party’s martyrs follows.


  1. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, President
  2. Boniface Twagirimana, First Vice-President
  3. Sylvain Sibomana, Secretary General
  4. Fabien Twagirayezu
  5. Gratien Nsabiyaremye
  6. Leonille Gasengayire
  7. Theophile Ntirutwa
  8. Venant Abayisenga
  9. Anselme Mutuyimana
  10. Evode Mbarushimana
  11. Norbert Ufitamahoro
  12. Ernest Nkiko


  1. Samuel Hitimana
  2. James Nigirente
  3. Aimable Rusangwa
  4. Jean Damascene Iyakaremye
  5. Valens Nsabimana
  6. Dominique Shyirambere
  7. Emmanuel Ntakirutimana


  1. Jean Damascene Habarugira
  2. Eric Hakizimana
  3. Illuminee Iragena
  4. Chadrack Niwungize
  5. Eugène Siborurema
  6. Jean Damascène Munyeshyaka
  7. Phocas Habiyaremye
  8. Serge Ndanyuzwe
  9. Emmanuel Kamanayo
  10. Jean Paul Habimana

This list is not exhaustive as some relatives fear that the publication of their names would bring them trouble with the regime.

The FDU-Inkingi Party would like to make an appeal to all peace-loving people, institutions and governments, and more particularly The Netherlands, Great Britain, Belgium, the USA and the EU, to put pressure on the tyrannical regime of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) headed by President Paul Kagame to release all political prisoners and those who are in prison for having expressed their opinions.

Done in London, on Jan. 16, 2018.

Justin Bahunga, Commissioner for External Relations and spokesperson for FDU-Inkingi, can be reached at infocomrelext@fdu-rwanda.com, info@fdu-rwanda.com or +44-7988-883-576. FDU-Inkingi (Forces Démocratiques Unifiées or United Democratic Forces) can be reached at (+250)728636000, (+32)484635254, (+33)650293997, (+44)7982381717 or info@fdu-rwanda.com. Visit http://fdurwanda.com and http://victoireingabire.com. Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoire-Ingabire-Umuhoza-for-President/109504816547. Watch us on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/FDUInkingi123. Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/VictoireUmuhoza. “Pour un Etat de Droit, la Démocratie et l’Egalité de chances.” “For the rule of law, democracy and equal opportunity.”