Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Victoire Ingabire and the Great Lakes Region of Africa

Victoire Ingabire

KPFA Evening News, 06.05.2011:

KPFA Weekend News Host David Landau:  Last year she was a candidate in Rwanda's presidential election.  Now she's on trial and facing the possibility of life in prison.  Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza's trial opened today in Kigali, Rwanda's capitol city.  She is charged with terrorism and with a crime known as promoting genocide ideology. The trial has implications for the entire Great Lakes Region of Southeasten Africa still feeling the after effects of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide that claimed at least a million lives. Of the two other candidates who challenged incumbent President Paul Kagame last year, one is already in prison and the other fled to Europe following the murder of another leader of his political party. KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.
KPFA/Ann Garrison:  Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza has been in Kigali, Rwanda’s 1930 maximum security prison since October last year, when she was arrested on charges of terrorism and  genocide ideology, which means disagreeing with the official history of the Rwanda Genocide, or with the Rwandan government of President Paul Kagame.  Kagame has repeatedly sent his army into the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the blessing of the international community, to hunt down Hutu genocidaires said to be solely responsible for the Rwanda Genocide.  Victoire Ingabire’s refusal to deny, as Rwandan law requires, that Hutu people also died in ethnic violence before, during, and after the genocide, threatens to undermine the justification of  both Kagame’s Tutsi dictatorship in Rwanda and his relentless military incursions and de facto occupation of eastern Congo.  For this she is charged with violating Rwanda’s genocide ideology statutes.

She is also charged with funding and conspiring with four leaders of a Hutu militia, the FDLR, or Federation for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda, based in Congo, to overthrow the government of Rwanda.  The four men on trial for conspiring with Ingabire are also testifying against her, though she says that she doesn’t know them and has never conspired with them.

Raissa Ujeneza
Victoire Ingabire’s daughter Raissa Ujeneeza in the Netherlands agreed that her mother’s first day in court saw two victories for the defense but says that she is only very cautiously heartened because no one has expected her mother to receive a fair trial.
Raissa Ujeneeza:  Actually, we were pleased to see that the judge did not agree with the prosecutor, and, as far as we know, they will try to postpone the whole trial.  And, I think that in time, eventually, we can get ahead, but it will take a long time, because they don't have evidence. This is their way of trying to keep her locked and trying to demotivate her from her political ideas.
KPFA:  Ingabire’s husband. Lyn Muyizere, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide Africa that he fully expects his wife to receive the life sentence requested by the prosecution.
For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

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