"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

3.24.2010

ingabire arrested

Late yesterday, Agence France Presse reported the following:
A Rwandan opposition leader who has been under police investigation for comments about the 1994 genocide was arrested as she tried to flee the country, state-run radio announced Tuesday.

Victoire Ingabire heads the United Democratic Forces (FDU), a party formed in exile but not registered because of the police investigation. The government accuses her of denying the genocide.

"Security forces arrested Victoire Ingabire as she tried to flee the country," Radio Rwanda announced.

On her return to the country on January 16, Ingabire called for the trial of those responsible for the death of Hutus in the 1994 genocide in which some 800,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis, were killed.

Ingabire, a Hutu, has since been summoned by the police several times over those comments.

"She was under police investigation about her remarks on genocide ideology and denying the genocide," the state radion radio said.

Last week, she accused authorities of blocking her party's registration in order to lock her out of running in presidential elections set for August.
And there you have it. None of this is surprising; the pattern of intimidation against significant opposition candidates and journalists who write real news has increased in recent months. I hope (but doubt) that the donor governments will have the good sense to call Kagame out on these abuses of his power. The fight over whether any of Ingabire's comments constitute "genocide ideology" or genocide denial will serve as a front for what this is really about: the fact that Kagame doesn't want to allow a significant challenge to his power.

I think this is an irrational stance. The RPF could stand on its record of re-establishing security and rebuilding the economy against an opposition that has no accomplishments to speak of. This strategy might actually overcome the problem of ethnically-based voting in which citizens vote on the basis of ethnicity along. But by continuing to silence dissent and pretend that ethnicity doesn't matter to most Rwandans, Kagame lets resentment of the RPF's rule fester. This may be a good way to hang on to power for another seven years, but it's a losing strategy in the long run.

Why? Because Hutus still vastly outnumber Tutsis, talk of the untrustworthiness of the other group is everywhere, and the RPF ranks are clearly divided over questions like the status of Laurent Nkunda. Unless Kagame is prepared to institute a campaign of extrajudicial killings and other blatant human rights abuses - and I absolutely do not think he is - he can't silence his opposition forever.

Here are some assorted posts & articles on Rwanda from the last week or so:
(As of 11pm EST, no other news outlets seemed to be reporting the story. Rwanda's government daily, the New Times, confirms that the arrest happened.)

UPDATE: Rwandan authorities now say that Ingabire was not arrested and that her movements are not restricted. It appears, however, that this does not include freedom of movement that involves leaving the country.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things.

Someone who has been out of the country for 16 years, and back now for about two months, cannot really be a credible candidate. The likelihood is that she is being used by opponents outside Rwanda who just want to try to destabilise the country.

So why was Ingabire trying to leave? So that she could claim she was at risk and had to run away, was that part of the plan?

The law is that registration of parties takes place in a window in June/July with campaigning to follow after that. So the registration of Ingabire's party cannot be blocked for the moment since it is not yet the time to register.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 9:16:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One further point.

According to both New Times and RNA today Ingabire was said by a UN report in 2009 to be a key supporter and fundraiser for the FDLR.

The FDLR's mission is to kill Rwandans and destabilise the country from the DRC and ultimately return and "finish" the Genocide.

To be a key supporter or fundraiser for the FDLR is likely to be against the law in Rwanda just as there is similar anti-terrorist legislation in the UK for example. In the UK you would be liable to indefinite detention without trial although bizarrely you might be allowed to leave the country.

It must be right for investigation of such alleged matters to proceed (and in a timely manner) before Ingabire leaves Rwanda, if that is her wish.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 11:09:00 AM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Right, but most academic observers I know think that her connection to the FDLR is tenuous at best and can't figure out why the UN included that in the report.

At any rate, there's obviously much more going on here than simply limiting Ingabire from leaving the country. I'm hearing all kinds of wild stuff this morning; will try to straighten it out as more information emerges.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 11:54:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the "academic observers" have not seen the UN's evidence? When Kigali was said to be behind Nkunda because the UN said he had a bank account in Kigali did the same "academic observers" describe that link as tenuous? And who are the "academic observers" and are any of them credible authorities on Rwanda anyway?

Watch out for "wild stuff". There is no shortage of people willing to make wild allegations about Rwanda .

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 12:32:00 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Anon, my network of contacts in the academic world collectively has about 150 years of experience studying Rwanda and regional political and security dynamics. So, yeah, I'd say those opinions are pretty reliable. If nothing else, I've learned over the years to never assume that anything you hear from one source is correct.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 2:33:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous: in case you didn't know this, kagame and his party(RPF) are colaborating with the RPF to steal minerals from eastern DRC, early in 2009, the RPF went on a campaign to get rid of the 6,000 FDLR rebels that they claimed were in the area. They sent 15,000 well trained troops against rebels who've been living in the jungle without medical care for some 16 years! And they haven't annihilated them?? PLUS, there are high ranking members of FDLR amongst the RPF as I write this! So,in other words, the RPF knows what's up...don't be fooled!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 3:59:00 PM

 
Blogger Cory said...

*** sorry, that last comment should have read: " the RPF IS COLABORATING WITH THE FDLR" not the rpf, that wouldn't make any sense. sorry***

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 4:58:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do some rwandans in rwanda seem OBLIVIOUS to obvious problems....

how can u say that you live in DEMOCRACY and PEACE if FDU-Inkingi has been stopped from holding debates because the RPF are not sure what 'they are planning on telling the public'

whatever FDU-Inkingi will tell rwandans, if its not true YOU DONT HAVE TO BELIEVE IT, if it is BELIEVE IT
FDU is not there to force u to believe anythiing...
so honestly RPF= Dictatorship and they said it themselves,..they will stop people from speaking because they are not sure what they are going to say...

makes my blood boil... how can rwandans TOLERATE this?
Are you guys babies that u need someone to hear and judge for you??? Do u need kagame to decide whatd good and whats bad for you?
dont you have a mind of your own? dont you have intellegence?
QUESTIONS YOURSELVES

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 6:07:00 PM

 
Blogger Mamadou Kouyate said...

"The law is that registration of parties takes place in a window in June/July with campaigning to follow after that. So the registration of Ingabire's party cannot be blocked for the moment since it is not yet the time to register".

This is another RPF lie propaganda.

Do you think that one can hold a constitutional congres for his or her political party, register the party, choose a candidate and organize electoral campaign within 2 month of election day?

FYI, the Rwandan goverment is till lagging behind its established schedule.

Do you have any clue on why the new electoral law that was expected to be published by February 2010 is yet to be seen?

Here is an excerpt from the 2010 election schedule:


-Announcement of date to submit candidatures for President of the Republic: June 07 to July 5, 2010;

-Reception and approval of presidential candidates:
(i.e. Nomination of presidential candidate: June 24 to July 02, 2010 and Declaration of the final list of candidates as approved by National Electoral commission (NEC): July 07, 2010);

-Electoral campaign of candidates: July 20 to August 08, 2010

For more info on 2010 Presidential Elections calendar here is the link:

(http://www.comelena.gov.rw/PdfDocs/PELECTIONSCAL_ENG.pdf)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 8:44:00 PM

 
Anonymous sb said...

the first comment says: "Someone who has been out of the country for 16 years, and back now for about two months, cannot really be a credible candidate."

but someone who has been out of the country for 30 yeas can be really a credible president????

Thursday, March 25, 2010 1:14:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of you here are just talking nosense because if we all remember just 16 years ago the entire country turned mad and started killing innocent people (students killed their teachers, pastors and priests killed christians, husbands killed their own wives and children...)and why? Because...we Rwandans were all still not good enough to make our own judgements especially when it comes down to blood politics! So, anyone with the views based on ethnicity such as Ingabire's one will and should not be tolerated simple as that. If democracy is about the majority with silly ideology such as divisionism and so on then I guess we don't need that democracy in Rwanda. We fought to stop such stupidity and believe me we will fight now and in the future to stop it being brought back. May God keep blessing Rwanda and all Rwandans who are proud to just Rwandans not anything else.

Thursday, April 22, 2010 4:07:00 AM

 

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