Open Letter to the Ambassador Of the United States of America | Rwanda
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Open Letter to the Ambassador Of the United States of America

The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC) C/O. B.P. 6334 Kigali , Rwanda , Tel : +250 788563039,+250 728636000, +250 788307145

Kigali, 4th June 2010


Open Letter to the Ambassador Of the United States of America Kigali, Rwanda

Your Excellency,

The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda which brings together, the United Democratic Forces (FDU–Inkingi), the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, the Parti Social IMBERAKURI strongly believe that your leverage as the Ambassador of the United States of America in Rwanda can help diffuse tensions as the presidential elections loom and unveiled deep military crisis background deepens.

Improving the security situation in Africa is one of the United States of America Government’s key goals. "Effective conflict prevention also requires a capacity to respond promptly to an emerging crisis before any conflict party resorts to force".

On 25 may 2010, the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Mr. Johnnie Carson in his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, has confirmed that the USA policy priority in Rwanda is to further internal stability and social cohesion by promoting national reconciliation, economic growth, good governance, justice, and democratic values.

The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda appreciates this commitment of your Government in our country. Today we are pleased to write to you hoping you can help to impress upon the Rwandan Government to open the political space and ensure that the electoral process for the presidential elections are free, fair and transparent.

We have decided to take part in these elections in order to show to all political contenders that political change in Rwanda is possible without resorting to violence as it has been the case up to now.

While we praise wholeheartedly the commitment to help build the capacity of Rwanda to tackle poverty and attract meaningful investment, it is our very considered view that unless these efforts are underpinned by democracy, freedom and the rule of law, the achievements in that area will not be sustainable. This is why we request you to use the influence of your country to impress upon the regime that opening the political space is the best guarantee of sustainable development.

As you may be aware, our position that we are dealing with a dictatorial form of Government that is not prepared to accept a political opposition is documented by human rights organisations i.e. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and even the US State Department report on Human rights (2009), under the vague law on genocide ideology, divisionism and negationism.

The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda would like the US Government to consider the following :

1. We are very convinced that political parties play a vital role in a democratic system. Freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary, like political pluralism are equally strong pillars of a democratic system. There cannot be any meaningful democracy without a functioning multiparty system. This creates an enabling environment for political tolerance, peaceful competition and transfer of power and for accountability of political leaders to the people who delegate power to them through a democratic election. This is only possible where the freedom of expression, association and assembly including the right to peaceful public demonstrations over the whole territory, without fear and intimidation are guaranteed.

2. We believe that the Law N°18/2008 on Genocide ideology of 2008 should be more clarified and fine-tuned so that it is not used by anyone to freeze political thoughts and descent voices on pretext that they have a genocide ideology. This would minimize the constitutional guarantee of the freedom of expression. The provisions of the current law of 2002 related to divisionism, which is contrary to article 9 of the international convention on civil and political rights and of 1966 to which Rwanda is party, must be reviewed. Also the press law must provide for the review to bring it to the international standards. It is quite clear that the punishment of imprisonment for “defamation and attack on honour” as stipulated in the present law must be scrapped.

3. The security services including the army have to be apolitical. They should avoid any interference in political matters and should only use their rightful role of ensuring internal security and defending the territorial integrity of the country. They should not accept to be used by individuals or political parties to oppress the people.

4. The Rwandan Government has to postpone elections until the political situation is conducive to holding free, transparent elections and all political parties are given the right to exercise their civil and political rights fully. We are convinced that the only solution in the growing social and political tension in Rwanda depend more on the resolution of the internal political problems. Therefore, there is no other way than a dialogue between Rwandans political actors to map out a political landscape which can set the parameters for a functioning democratic system with a better system of governance and proper management of power. In this regard, the dialogue will lead to an agreement on institutional arrangements that allow political pluralism and provides guarantees for the security and safety of each citizen.

Hoping that your Government will be able to contribute positively to getting us out of this impasse that leads to polarise positions and exacerbate antagonisms, please accept your Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.

Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Chairperson, United Democratic Forces

Mr. Frank Habineza Chairman, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

Me. Bernard Ntaganda Chairman, Parti Social IMBERAKURI