Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rwanda's 1994 genocide and 2010 election


Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the Unified Democratic Forces of Rwanda spoke to the press upon her arrival at the Kigali Airport on 01.17.2009.


by Ann Garrison

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the United Democratic Forces of Rwanda arrived at the Kigali, Rwanda Airport on 01.17.2010, returning from 16 years in exile to register her party, in preparation for Rwanda's August 2010 Rwanda elections.  Frank Habineza, leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and Bernard Ntaganda, leader of the Parti Social Imberakuri, met her at the airport.    If these three parties are allowed to register and participate, they have a good chance of defeating Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)  Party.
But that's a big IF.   To register and get a ballot line in Rwanda, a party must first convene, and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has now tried to convene five times, only to be met with bureaucratic obfuscation and, on October 30th, violence.  Their members have been harassed and arrested.

The Parti Social Imberakuri has been allowed to register, but the Rwandan Parliament now threatens to take their registration away.  

The FDU will now begin its own attempt to register, but Rwandan Minister of Internal Security Sheikh Mussa Fazil Harerimana has already warned the FDU's Umuhoza "against revisionist and Genocide denial pronouncements." 

The memory, consequence, and disputed histories of what we know as the Rwanda Genocide of 1994, hang heavy over this election, and the nation's future.    Hence, the headline in the Sunday version of the Rwanda New Times, referred not to the upcoming election but to Ingabire's assertion that not only Tutsis, but also Hutus were killed in the Rwanda Genocide of 1994:

Ingabire espouses Double Genocide Theory

BY EDMUND KAGIRE

KIGALI - After 16 years of self exile in Europe, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the president of the United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi), arrived in the country yesterday to register her party ahead of this year’s Presidential elections, according to her declarations.

Ingabire arrived aboard a Kenya Airways flight at around 15:00 from Amsterdam via Nairobi where she spent a night. She was accompanied by three other persons.

The heads of two controversial political parties; Bernard Ntaganda of PS Imberakuri and Frank Habineza of the  yet-be-registered Green Party of Rwanda, were on hand to receive her.

Speaking to the press shortly before heading straight to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Site at Gisozi, Ingabire said that she is here to relieve Rwandans ‘from fear, poverty and inefficient Gacaca’.

She claimed that “Rwandans live in fear” and that “there is need for all Rwandans to work together in their different parties and religious affiliations to fight the fear”.

In words that clearly suggested the “Double Genocide” theory, Ingabire who has expressed her intentions to contest for the Presidency, said that ‘the reconciliation road has a long way to go unless those who killed Hutus during the Genocide are brought to book.

“If you look at this memorial centre, it only shows one side of the Genocide committed against the Tutsi. There is another side of the Genocide committed against the Hutu because they are also hurting and asking themselves when their grievances will be settled.”

Despite stating that she was paying tribute to the over 250,000 people buried at Gisozi, her visit to the memorial site was seen by many as a mockery to those who died in the Genocide, an observation supported by her past utterances which reveal a deep sense of revisionism.

“These ‘double Genocide’ claims are the same that revisionists in Europe use to deny that Genocide was committed against the Tutsi. To utter those words, standing on the victims’ graves, is the worst insult against Genocide survivors,” Simon-Pierre Rwakana, who had come to visit the memorial site said.

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