I disagree with whoever wants to tell me how I should live and the way I should think. I do not agree with the imbroglio-politicians whose views are full of bitterness and complicated disagreements whose impacts destroy psychologically a small ambitious citizen who is working to make a positive change in her/his family.
Those are some views of citizens who spoke to topafricanews.com during a round table discussion on the Victoire Ingabire’s post release comments she made via various media channels including the BBC radio programme which was broadcasted a day or two after Ingabire’s release from the Prison.
In an exclusive interview with DW radio, Victoire Ingabire said she is ready to advocate for the release of other political prisoners in Rwanda namely nine members of her political party who are in jail and more like Mushaidi Déo and Diane Rwigara.
Also this politician categorically denied that she had not liberated through presidential pardon, but, she adds, it was time to liberate her while referring to what is written in the law books concerning the detention and release of prisoners in Rwanda.
Who is Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza?
A little information that can be easily accessed by anyone shows that Victoire Ingabire is a Rwandan opposition politician whose husband Lin Muyizere is a Naturalized Dutch citizen originating in Rwanda too.
In the past years, Rwanda has asked the Netherlands to strip the husband of Victoire Ingabire, Lin Muyizere, of his nationality and to extradite him to Rwanda for his alleged role in the genocide.
Victoire Ingabire also is known for her political agenda after being arrested in 2010 when she returned to Rwanda to run for the Presidency.
Ingabire was then arrested and charged with serious crimes including charges of ‘spreading ethnic division and propagating a genocide ideology’.
Ingabire received Presidential pardon.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda pardoned thousands of prisoners on Friday last week with the most notable convict being Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.
Two days after the release of Ingabire, foreign media has been awash with quotes of Victoire Ingabire who claimed the President granted her clemency “because he was under pressure” to release her.
In the meantime, more letters written by Ingabire requesting President Kagame to pardon her for the wrongdoings she has done surfaced on Social media.
Political analysts warned that proclaiming that she was not pardoned is a very bad mistake which may create more problems that could lead her into jail again or deliberately decide to return to Netherlands or elsewhere she could find suitable for her political stand.
Through her comments apparently mentioned “Pressure” put on Kagame to release her.
Such declarations are to openly give space to those who want to continuously spread the demonizing rhetoric on the leadership and Governance of Rwanda to divert the agenda after the one that they were using on political prisoners is fading.
Is Victoire Ingabire becoming the mouthpiece of opposition Groups?
In the Letter no 1 written on 6/11/2011: Ingabire Victoire seeks clemency from Kagame.
Ingabire herself wrote that all her acts were based on information she obtained from various Rwandans while she was outside the country.
This means that Ingabire perhaps knew that some information was biased or wrong.
Most of Rwandans who live outside the country has little information on what is going on in Rwanda. A number of them view Rwanda in a pessimistic way due to various reasons including political agenda.
Others read online media and they can’t believe what is written by Rwandan Media because, to them, all media operating in Rwanda are RPF mouthpieces.
Ingabire regret what she said at Kigali Genocide Memorial
Speaking to DW reporter, when asked “Don’t you have any regrets about your past? Among the charges that were against you was genocidal ideology?”
She responded “No, I do not regret my past. I repeat, I have never said that in Rwanda there has been a double genocide. What I have done is to claim that there is also justice for crimes committed against the Hutu people. Maybe, what I regret is the place where I said this. This is a sensitive place for the survivors of Tutsi genocide. So I regret it, and I apologized, and I apologize again to those who were injured by the words I spoke in the wrong place.”
But, she insisted “What I said was the truth.”
In 2012, Ingabire was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Rwanda the following year, her conviction was upheld, and her sentence increased to 15 years. Prosecutors had also appealed and demanded not less than 25 years.
The Supreme Court found Ingabire guilty of spreading rumours with intention to incite the public to rise up against the State, endangering state security and minimizing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The Rwandan Government and its people stand are that “The 1994 Genocide in Rwanda was targeting Tutsis ethnic and hence it is “The Genocide against Tutsis.”
Since 1995, Rwandans join together every month of April every year to observe and remember the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis during which over a million of Rwandans were murdered due to the ethnic group they belonged in.
Also the Government knows that the Genocidal regime targeted and killed Hutus whose political views were against the plan of killing Tutsis.
Rwanda’s Unity and Reconciliation process
Since 1999 Rwanda created The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission to promote Unity and Reconciliation among Rwandans in the aftermath of the devastating 1994 genocide against Tutsis to mark a major milestone in changing, fundamentally, effects of bad governance based on discrimination and exclusion.
NURC has been a pivotal institution in the process of unity and reconciliation policy implementation, social trust and social cohesion towards the main goal achievement of building a united country.
The Commission’s mission is to Promote Unity, Reconciliation, and social cohesion among Rwandans and builds a country in which everyone has equal rights and contributing to good governance.
Analysts believe that NURC’s mission can’t be achieved in case some individuals are still promoting ideas which divide the population of the country which is still struggling with the healing process after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Through Ndi Umunyarwanda, the country intends to make its people to be proud of their country than sticking in ethnocentrism behaviors.
Ndi Umunyarwanda (I am Rwandan) was borne out of the YouthConnekt dialogue to help Rwandans, especially the youth, openly talk about their history, repent, forgive, and heal in the post-Genocide period.
What has not been said is that the Ndi Umunyarwanda has faced many challenges including Rwandans living abroad or inside who totally disagreed with the programme saying it is intended to minimize Hutu ethnics as well as the way of silencing the opposition politicians most of them promote the ethnocentrism ideology.
In 2013, when the Former Prime Minister Dr. Pierre Damien was Interviewed by the New Times Publication on Ndi Umunyarwanda, the then Prime Minister responded “‘The programme is inspired by the desire to build a strong, united society after it was torn apart during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. No Rwandan gets loans, fertilisers, scholarship or medical insurance based on being Hutu, Tutsi or Twa.
Rwandan identity prevails above any other. Seeking the truth, expressing the remorse for what happened during the Genocide, encouraging apologies and forgiveness and taking measures to ensure that what happened never happens again are the foundation of Ndi Umunyarwanda programme.’
Are Ingabire’s views also an obstacle to Ndi Umunyarwanda?
It is understood during various Ndi Umunyarwanda debates some serious issues were debated and according to media reports analysis the outcomes of the debates are centered towards the building of a united society with common values that will help the nation to go ahead and develop all sectors that touch and improve the people’s lives.
During his speech he delivered on September 19, 2018, after the swearing in of the recently elected parliamentarians, President Kagame warned Ingabire for the behaviors that she is demonstrating after being released.
Kagame said “In Rwanda, it is not pressure we respond to, it is our own thoughts. Where this country comes from has taught us that we must refuse to be a submissive people.”
Kagame who was touching on Ingabire’s behaviors said “If we did not give clemency, how many people would still be in prison? We would still have 100 of thousands in jail. But to build our country, we made the decision to rehabilitate our citizens and enable them to contribute to our country.”
He further added that “In Rwanda, things will change based on what we choose, not what we are told by others to choose.”
“We want cooperation. We want to work in harmony with others. We want thoughts and ideas that bring us forward. And we will not be afraid to tell you that we have no room for those that take us backwards.” He added as he was about to conclude his speech addressed to the newly elected parliamentarians.
President Kagame concludes: “We have to do everything that is in our power to build and transform our country into one that is self-reliant. I thank all of you for your continuous hard work.”