Monday, November 15, 2010

KPFA News: Ingabire, Gasana, Kambanda, and Rwanda, "a smoldering volcano"

Transcript, KPFA Weekend News, 11.14.2010

Rwanda's High Court in Kigali denied opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza's bail appeal hearing and sent her back to solitary confinement in Kigali's infamous 1930 prison, where another opposition leader Bernard Ntaganda also remains incarcerated.  Ingabire and Ntaganda both attempted to contest this year's presidential election against Rwandan President Paul Kagame, as did Democratic Green Party of Rwanda President Frank Habineza.  Ingabire and Ntaganda both landed in prison instead, charged with terrorism and genocide related crimes. Habineza has been in Sweden with his family, since his party's vice president was found beheaded, his body dumped in the wetlands of a river in Southern Rwanda, though he still intends to return to Rwanda. KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.

KPFA/Ann Garrison:
Rwandan and Congolese scholars and activists say that the Kagame regime imprisoned Ingabire to distract the international community from the UN Report released on October 1st, that documents the Rwandan army's war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocidal massacres of Hutu civilians in Rwanda's neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Didas Gasana, Editor of the Newsline East Africa, speaking to KPFA from Kampala, Uganda, said that Kagame's repression and exclusion of the majority of the Rwandan population is turning the tiny African nation into a smoldering volcano that could erupt at any time.  Charles Kambanda, a Rwandan American legal scholar, former member of Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front, and Gasana's former professor at Makerera University in Kampala, agrees. He spoke to KPFA from New York City:

Charles Kambanda:
Yes, indeed, what's happening in Rwanda under Kagame is a smoldering volcano that might erupt any time.  He has pushed people too far against the wall, and the only possible action that people are likely to take is to fight back.   What we have now in Rwanda, under Kagame, is that he is actually exterminating the people within and he's not stopping there.  He's going for voices from outside Rwanda, to assassinate them.  This is going too far, and eventually we are going to see people coming together and saying no, enough is enough, we have to fight back, because they have no other alternative but fight back.   And my fear is that we risk having the worst situation, worse than what we saw in 1994, because, on the one hand, Kagame has armed his people; he has so many young men who are now armed.  They are more or less like the former interahamwe.  And these people who are excluded will also arm their youth, and we are going to have people killing others in millions, if we are not careful.   A kind of history repeating itself.

KPFA/Ann Garrison:
Kambanda also says that Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza cannot possibly get a fair trial in Rwanda, no matter how skillful her lawyers are.

For Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I'm Ann Garrison.

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