By Freddy Usabuwera
For the last 23 years, Rwandans have been living under the Rule of president Paul kagame and his political party the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) that took power by military force in 1994, the year in which the Rwandan genocide happened.
After they took the power, Kagame and his men kept on killing the population in big numbers and also anyone even foreigners that he thought would be an obstacle to his dictatorial regime. With these actions, Kagame created a climate of fear in the country which enabled him to easily control the population.
By August 1995, just one year after the RPF took power, the coalition government led by Faustin Twagiramungu had already pushed to resignation by Kagame, and most of its Hutu members fled to foreign countries including Twagiramungu himself and some others. By the end of 1998, just 4 years after taking the country militarily, Kagame had already eliminated physically or jailed anyone in the country who would be the voice that could oppose his dictatorship, or denounce human rights abuse by his army or his government. Journalists, priests, politicians, human rights activists… have been killed in numbers, disappeared or jailed; and some others have already fled the country for fear of death. He had also attacked militarily Rwandan refugee camps which in eastern Congo, where he killed hundred thousand of them. In march 2000, Kagame made his last move of becoming the president of Rwanda by pushing out the then president Pasteur Bizimungu. During Bizimungu’s administration (1994-2000), many believed that he was merely a figurehead, and Kagame held the real power.
From 2000 to today, Rwanda has more become an open sky prison for its citizen, with Kagame considering the county as his own farm or private company. Most of the economic activities are in the hands of Kagame, his family and Cristal Venture an RPF conglomerate managed by Kagame himself. What used to be a problem for Hutus only started for the Tutsis also. Many Tutsis top politicians, top military personnel and business man have been killed, or fled the country for the las 16 years. The aid money is being used to oppress the people rather that helping them. Inside the country, people continue being killed, disappearing or put in jail for political motivated reasons.
Since then, the culture of personality-cults and absolute power invested in one individual has been detrimental to people’s development and individual freedoms in Rwanda. Teams and policies have been put in place to organise brainwashing cessions and seminars inside and outside the country for that purpose.
The last two presidential elections that took place in Rwanda in 2003 and 2010 resulted in the current president claiming 93.08% and 95.1% of the vote respectively, with 96.2% and 95.05% of the voting population apparently turning out to vote respectively. Not only for those that know Rwanda well, but also common sense would indicate that this picture is false. In a country beleaguered with tensions, for a President that is perceived by most in Rwanda and outside to be authoritarian and brutal against any form of political opposition and free speech, it is impossible that he would gain a majority vote in a free election, let alone the absurdly high figures as suggested by these outcomes.
Those who dared to run against Kagame in those elections have been intimidated, killed or jailed on fabricated accusation. Faustin Twagiramungu intimidated in 2003 presidential election, André Kagwa Rwisereka Killed and beheaded in 2010 and Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza arrested and jailed on fabricated accusation.
This year, Kagame’s second term as president is to end and elections scheduled for this summer. In order to help Kagame run for 3rd term a process to change the constitution and to allow him to potentially rule for life has completed in December 2015. The process has taken place under an authoritarian regime, in an atmosphere of fear. As a result, on December 17th 2015 Rwandans have been forced to vote in a scheme referendum on changing the constitution and the official announced result are of 98% votes for yes and a turnout of 98.03%.
In an attempt not to allow anyone else to run against him, Rwandan authorities just refused Father Thomas Nahimana, 2017 presidential candidate for ishema party to go in Rwanda. He is banned to go back in his country and participate as a citizen. He is being refused a right given by the constitution.
It is now time for all Rwandans to join their forces in a campaigning for change in Rwanda in 2017.
As a campaign for change in Rwanda, Amahoriwacu2017 is calling you all to join us in our actions and campaign for change in Rwanda. It is time that Rwandans are given a chance to have a democracy that is driven by a political space, justice, human rights which will lead to everlasting peace in Rwanda and the region.
The overcoming presidential elections that are scheduled for August 2017 should be the end of dictatorship and the start of freedom and democracy that most Rwandans deserve and been dreaming about.
More information about our campaign visit us at www.amahoriwacu.org