Friday, February 12, 2010

"Twas, Tutsis, and Hutus united against Kagame!"

On February 10, 2010, In Brussels, Rwandan exiles demonstrated outside the Rwandan Embassy, against the repression of opposition political parties in Rwanda's 2010 presidential election.   Some held signs reading "Twas, Tutsis, and Hutus united against Kagame!" in both English and French, the two European languages spoken in Rwanda. 

Others held signs of Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, the presidential candidate of the broadbased FDU-Inkingi Party, who was, on the same day, being questioned, for four hours, by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Rwandan Police, about "genocide ideology," "divisionism," and her relationship to the FDLR militia in Eastern Congo.  Also visible were signs that read, in French, "Liberez Joseph!" (Liberate Joseph), and pictures of Joseph Ntawangundi, Mrs. Ingabiré's aide, who was arrested several days after the two of them tried to register their party, and her presidential candidacy.

On the same day, Human Rights Watch issued a news release, "Rwanda: End Attacks on Opposition Parties," with a press release stating that "opposition party members are facing increasing threats, attacks, and harassment in advance of Rwanda's August 2010 presidential election, and urging the government "to investigate all such incidents and to ensure that opposition activists are able to go about their legitimate activities without fear."

The three viable Rwandan opposition parties have faced harassment, threats, bureaucratic roadblocks, arrest, and even violence as they've tried to register and convene so as to field presidential candidates in the race against incumbent President Paul Kagame, the former Rwandan Patriotic Front general trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in the U.S.  Neither the FDU-Inkingi nor the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda have been able to register and the government has threatened to revoke the Parti Social-Imberakuri's registration.

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