Oct. 14 marked the seventh anniversary of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire’s arrest shortly after she attempted to run for president against Rwanda’s military dictator, President Paul Kagame. The Brussels-based International Women’s Network for Democracy and Peace commemorates Oct. 14 as Ingabire Day, a day of solidarity with Victoire Ingabire and all political prisoners. I asked Claude Gatebuke, Rwandan genocide survivor and founder of the African Great Lakes Action Network, to explain Victoire Ingabire’s message.
After becoming the leader of the Rwandan Diaspora’s opposition to the authoritarian regime of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Victoire Ingabire returned to Rwanda to run against him in the 2010 election. She was instead placed under house arrest shortly after her return and is now serving a 15 year sentence. This week the African Court of Human and People’s Rights agreed to hear her case on appeal, in Arusha, Tanzania.
Supporters of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire will hold an all day sit-in outside the Rwandan Embassy in Brussels on Friday, Nov. 1, the day that Rwanda’s Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on her appeal. Ingabire has been behind bars in Rwanda’s 1930 maximum security prison for three years, since October of 2010.
On Aug. 7, Paul Rusesabagina, president of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, sent an open letter to international political and civil society leaders asking them not to bother with the upcoming Rwandan parliamentary elections. The letter follows: Please ignore Rwanda. Parliamentary elections are coming up in Rwanda this September, and the world should ignore them.
Congo’s Nov. 28 presidential and legislative elections were fraught with tremendous irregularities and widespread charges of fraud. The opposition categorically rejected the results as fraudulent. Nonetheless, Joseph Kabila was sworn into office on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
The past 12 months were very intense on the African continent. Some important elections stirred up a whole lot of interests. Shared zones of influence are being renegotiated between the old powers of the world, the Western powers, and the new power, China.
Assassinating Qaddafi is widely believed here to be the only reason NATO continues to re-bomb, some as many as five times, the so-called “command and control center” sites that these days could be just about anywhere in Tripoli.
I visited the residence of the Qaddafi family, bombed to smithereens by NATO. For a leader, the house seemed small in comparison, say, to the former Clinton family home in Chappaqua or the Obama family home. It was a small house in a typical residential area in Tripoli, surrounded by dozens of other family homes.
“All of our institutions have failed us if they do not use their power and act against this crime against humanity being carried out in Africa today. I received a call this morning from an Ivorian friend who calls it genocide what Sarkozy’s troops are doing there. Blood, blood, everywhere. Depleted uranium in Libya. Generations to come will suffer the health effects. We must try to stop President Obama. He has the power to say no. So far, he is good at saying yes to all the wrong people. So we must do more than we think we can. Anything less places more blood on everyone’s hands.” - Cynthia McKinney
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.
It wasn’t just Patrice Lumumba his assassins wanted to kill, it was the genuine self-determination, dreams and aspirations of African people, writes Horace Campbell, reflecting on the murder of the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Jan. 17, 1961. Two poems by Lumumba follow the story.
At the Cape Town film festival, Cynthia McKinney debuted Minister of Information JR's "Operation Small Axe," a film that will get folks ready for the venue change in the Oscar Grant killer cop case. It's screening Saturday, Oct. 17, 1:30 p.m., at the West Oakland Library, 18th & Adeline, for Black Panther History Month and Thursday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m., SF State Student Union for the Black Student Union.