Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rwanda governance advisory council: Rwandans Fear Paul Kagame

This week Anastase Shyaka, head of the Rwanda governance advisory council, states:
"opposition party leaders like Ingabire made statements that created fear for both rulers and the communities”
Off course Anastase Shyaka cloaks his criticism of the current regime in a firm attack on Victoire Ingabire:
“The opposition don’t have the maturity to look at issues and policies and engage government on it. Studies show that opposition parties are not vibrant enough because they are not mature and have structural shortcomings."
However, in the context of Rwanda's political reality, these statements should be read as a brave and directly confronting message towards Rwanda's strongman Paul Kagame.

Just after the last presidential elections in Rwanda Anastase Shyaka researched fear among Rwandans, a very interesting read:
"The deep-rooted fear among Rwandans for those in power affects their ability to express themselves freely – which consequently has an impact on political participation, according to a new national survey by the Senate.

69 percent of those surveyed believe the fear of authority is the major obstacle to freedom of speech and political space, followed closely by the mindset of nepotism and the legacy of Genocide."
The report shows that Paul Kagame reached his campaign objective, as I wrote July 21th 2010:
"On the day (words gain their specific meaning through context and timing) that the assassinated vice-president of Rwandan Greens, André Kagwa Rwisereka, was burried, Paul Kagame did not express his regret or extended his condolences as did Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. No, he made this widely published and ambiguous statement:

"My job has not been to create an opposition, my job is to create the environment where legitimate things can happen."

The ambiguity of this statement is intentional. The statement can be interpreted in a lot of ways and can mean a lot of things. We have seen this same strategy employed when he talked about "those leaving the country are like human waste" a couple of months ago. He made a statement in public that could mean that he intended to kill Kayumba Nyamwasa (and the former General's wife clearly understood it that way) but it could also mean something else...."

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