Victoire Ingabire has become an icon of peace and democracy in the war ravaged Great Lakes Region of Africa. She returned to Rwanda in 2010, announcing her intention to run against sitting Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who responded by imprisoning her instead. Opponents in Rwanda are neutralized, and they try to do that with people abroad too. This is what is happening now with Victoire Ingabire’s husband Lin Muyizere.
Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire is spending her second Christmas in Rwanda’s maximum security prison. Her ongoing trial, on charges of terrorism and genocide ideology, has implications not only for Rwanda, but also for the entire Great Lakes Region of Africa – most of all, for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Victoire Ingabire left Rwanda almost two years ago in January 2010 to return to her native Rwanda in hopes of challenging Rwandan President Paul Kagame in the country’s 2010 presidential election. Her party was not allowed to register, she was not allowed to run, and she has spent the last year not as the president of Rwanda, but as a prisoner in Kigali’s 1930 maximum security prison.
The bell tolls for the chains of the dictatorship. It is time for Rwandans to claim their inalienable rights, to refuse the abject feeling of being despised. Our response to sham elections is a non-violent resistance to challenge the legitimacy of the looming masquerade and its subsequent results.
Opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza stood before a judge in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 22 after the Kagame government arrested and charged her with “associating with terrorists” and “genocide ideology,” a crime unique to Rwanda which includes “divisionism” and “revisionism,” meaning politics and/or attempting to revise the received history of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
I am calling upon the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, to let me recover my full freedom and liberties, so that I can enjoy my political rights which are the reason I came back home from exile, hold the constitutional congress of my political party, register the party, compete during the elections and let the Rwandan people decide.