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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.
Since seizing power in Rwanda in 1994, dictator and U.S. military partner Paul Kagame has ruled the tiny East African nation with an iron fist that includes a complex nationwide network of spies and surveillance technology. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the FDU-Inkingi Party, has been in prison since 2010, when she tried to run for president against Kagame. Now another woman, Diane Rwigara, who attempted to run against Kagame in this year’s election, has been arrested.
Starvation is the danger Victoire Ingabire is facing now in her seventh year in prison. Starvation! She requires a special diet which has been provided by our staff since her arrest. Two people have been authorized to see her, but they have both been arrested. No one else is allowed to see her. Kagame is facing growing dissent within his own party, his relations with neighbors are souring and his plan to oust Burundi’s leadership has failed. He fears retaliation.
How much longer can Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Benjamin Netanyahu, AIPAC and associated Zionist organizations cover for Rwandan President Paul Kagame? How much longer can they claim that he was Rwanda’s savior, that he stopped a genocide recalling the Holocaust, then helped Rwanda rise from the ashes? This week another woman who dared to challenge him for the presidency says he has taken vengeance on her and her family.