Call on President Kagame to Accord Immediate Justice and Diffuse National Tensions | Rwanda

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Call on President Kagame to Accord Immediate Justice and Diffuse National Tensions

Mr. President,

As Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces, Head of State-sworn in to protect the Rwandan constitution, state institutions and Rwandan people, we urgently call upon you to use all your powers and accord immediate justice to many suffering Rwandans in prisons and outside prisons, and also help diffuse the growing political and military tension in the country.

Mr. President, you are very much aware of all the sad events that happened to the Rwandan Opposition Parties before the presidential elections of August 2010, these sad events cannot just be wished away, they need to be addressed thoroughly, so that the nation can move ahead as a whole.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, would like to re-affirm its position that we strive for a fully democratic society in Rwanda : free of injustice, free of poverty, free of sending its sons and daughters into political exile, free from impunity, having a vibrant independent media and independent state institutions, working on the principle of sustainable development and rule of Law.

We would also like to request for your attention and provide immediate justice on the following cases :

1. Urgent Investigations into the Assassination of Green Party Vice President, Andre KAGWA RWISEREKA.

Mr. President, you are very much aware that our Vice President went missing on 13th July 2010 and the next day was found decapitated in Butare-Rwanda.

The police arrested one Thomas Ntivuguruzwa a few days later and assumed it was a business dispute, we ruled out that assumption, actually we found that version completely misleading, a few days later we heard that the above mentioned person was released from Police custody.

Our misery now is that ever since that release, we got a feeling that the investigators have adopted a posture of irresponsible passivity in the matter as we have never received any more information about these investigations. This is why we are appealing to you Mr. President to use all your powers and quicken these investigations, so that justice can be accorded and the criminals be brought to court and be punished. Then we can start having hope that such a thing will never happen again in modern Rwanda.

Mr. President, we are very committed to a peaceful democratization process of our country, but in such circumstances where a political leader is assassinated and justice is delayed, it increases political tensions.

Mr. President, as much as you promised Rwandans to sleep and not be bothered with insecurity threats, it is very hard for us to sleep and relax when we know that the killers of our Vice President are still out there at large waiting for the next prey to devour. Yet we know that if all security organs joined hands and started hunting down these criminals, they would not fail to arrest them and handle them over to relevant authorities, like they have done before in other cases.

2. Senior Military Officials in Detention need Immediate Justice.

Mr. President, the Rwanda Defense Forces Spokesman, confirmed the arrest of General Karenzi Karake and General Charles Muhire, in April 2010 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8...). Several months have passed and these two senior Rwandan citizens have not seen justice. We understand that the Military has its own way of doing things, but we are very concerned that they have not even appeared in any court of law and are possibly not held up in official detention facilities.

Recently, we have also heard the case of Lt.Colonel RUGIGANA, whose parents have failed to trace his whereabouts in all official military detention facilities. He has also not appeared in any court of law for over a month now and some Rwandans are very concerned whether this will be the trend of events in your Second Term of Office as President of Rwanda. The Military Spokesperson has confirmed his arrest.

There is also a pending case of a Congolese national, Gen. Laurent NKUNDA, who was arrested in Rwanda on 22nd January 2009, (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7846339.stm), since then he has never appeared in court, his family has expressed serious concerns, your intervention is called for.

In the course of the last few months at the time of the grenade attacks, some people have been arrested and confessed to the Rwandan Police not only to have been responsible but also to have belonged to FDLR- Rebel force based in Congo. However, they have never appeared in court, though later the case of grenades became wider, it now seems to become a new culture for people to be delayed to appear in courts. Who knows, may be they could be innocent or guilty but that is the work of judiciary.

The Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, which you vowed to protect a few weeks ago, (http://www.afriqueavenir.org/en/201...) gives these military men and all Rwandans a right to appear in court, we are hopeful that you will take this matter with utmost urgency and importance, as you always do Mr. President, since you are the Commander- in -Chief of all Armed Forces.

3. Opposition Parties Need Immediate Justice

Mr. President, Opposition Parties to your ruling party-RPF, namely : the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Parti Sociale Imberakuri (PS Imberakuri) and the United Democratic Forces (FDU Inkingi) have all faced very challenging circumstances beyond any human measure.

  The first opposition party, PS-imberakuri got registered in July 2009 after a long period of serious challenges ; it is now divided into two factions and its founding President Maître Bernard NTAGANDA is in prison since 24th June 2010 in all probability on politically motivated charges. Several PS Imberakuri members are also in prison, they all need justice.

  Mr. President, the Second opposition Party that was born last year is the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, which was launched officially on 14th August 2009, we have faced so many challenges, we were beaten-up, our people arrested, denied legal papers to have a founding congress and of recent our Vice President was assassinated-in such an alarming manner, we need fair justice and fair standards.

  Our coordinator for Kigali City, Ms.Seraphine MUKAMANA is suffering in Kigali Maximum prison since November 2009 on trumped up charges of bribing a police officer with 40 USD which had been asked as a fine to release her husband who had been arbitrary arrested. When she appealed her prison sentence of five years after having been denied bail. The court decided to program her hearing in 2012, by that time she will have been in prison for almost three years. Indeed Justice delayed is justice denied. We appeal to you Mr. President to intervene. She is a mother of four and was the main bread earner of the family, her children risk to become street kids.

  Mr. President, during your first media interview after the August Presidential elections, which is also available on (http://www.newtimes.co.rw/index.php...), you said that we failed to get the 200 signatures and did not follow the procedure to register the party. This was not the case, in our last congress of 30th October 2009 at St.Paul, we had over 1500 delegates and the one of 2nd October 2009 at CANA Conference hall, we had 900 delegates, all much above what the Law requires. We never failed to get the 200 signatures ; we fulfilled all the legal requirements but were blocked by different government officials, using different unfair mechanisms. Mr. President, we are pleased to inform you that we never fought amongst ourselves, but we were beaten and the names of the people who attacked us were given to police but they have never been arrested.

  Mr. President, you need to personally intervene in this situation, because you had promised on CNN’s Christiane Amanipour’s program on 17th March 2010 (http://amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2010/...), that you will let us participate in the elections if we fulfilled all the legal requirements, but this never happened. We never missed out on any legal requirement ; actually it’s the District of Gasabo that finally refused to respond to our last quest to have the Congress on 4rd June 2010, details about our registration struggle can be found here (http://rwandagreendemocrats.org/spi...).

  The Third opposition Party is United Democratic Forces –FDU Inkingi, it was functioning from exile (Netherlands) and in January 2010, its Leader Ms. Victoire INGABIRE decided to come back home and register it as a party under Rwandan Law, so that she could be able to stand in the Presidential elections.

  She has faced a lot of challenges. You are very familiar with her case, but she needs justice, she has been under extended house arrest since April 2010. FDU Inkingi has also tried several times to get registered but faced several stumbling blocks, many of its members are suffering in prison and they need justice.

In Conclusion, all the three opposition parties were not allowed to participate in the August 2010 presidential elections, Mr. President, this is not something your party can just wish away. These are very serious concerns that you need to address as a Head of State, so that the country can be on the right track towards sustainable peace and development.

There cannot be sustainable economic development without democracy ; Rwanda should not be a sample of economic development versus democracy.

Democracy and human rights are not niceties as you said Mr. President on 29th May 2010, in the UK’s Independent Newspaper (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...). In the same Interview you also said that Rwanda is not ready for the medicine of democracy. We Rwandans are ready for democracy and we need it now. It is part and partial of our sustainable future. Without democracy the future of our country is at risk. It is the medicine we need to heal all our sickness and other problems. You have a role to play.

We would like to once again appeal to you, Mr. President to release all political prisoners, independent journalists especially Ms.Agnes Nkusi Uwimana and Ms.Saidat MUKAKIBIBI, Editors of Umurabyo Newspaper, lift a ban on the Independent media and allow Newspapers critical of Government to work.

All the Opposition Parties have expressed a desire to have an open and honest dialogue with you Mr. President and your ruling RPF and iron out serious issues of national importance. It is your call.

Issued on 27th September 2010

Frank HABINEZA

Founding President

Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

 

For immediate contact :

Phone : +46737588927

Email : fhabineza@africangreens.org