EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Rwanda Opposition Respond To Kagame


viagra buy geneva; font-size: small;”>The statement came on the heels of a recent Kigali trip by senior US diplomat Susan Rice.

In her address, Rice said much as Kigali had taken a big leap in transforming Rwanda from a war-ravaged nation into a prosperous and corruption-free country, there was urgent need to “open up political space.”

Kagame, however, says only Rwandans will determine their own destiny.

In an interview with editor Giles Muhame, the leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Frank Habineza responds to Kagame’s statements.

GM: If you were elected President today, what would you contribute to Rwanda which President Paul Kagame has not done?

FH: First of all, I would open up political space by allowing registration and active participation of opposition political parties. Secondly, I would allow the independent media to work freely and professionally. Thirdly, I would promote a culture of dialogue with the members of the opposition to solve national problems. I would as well promote the green economy and other green principles.

GM: The ICC has let free Rwanda rebel Callixte Mbarushimana due to lack of evidence to pin him for atrocities in Congo. By releasing this man, don’t you think the international community, after falling short of averting genocide in Rwanda, is now creating a breeding ground for another era of political instability?

FH: The ICC is not the one to provide solutions to all Rwandan problems. We Rwandans cannot allow our country to go back to abyss.

GM: Rwanda Opposition Voices are viewed by the masses as Opportunistic groups that have nothing to present to Rwandans since RPF seems to be more pro-people in delivery and Reconciliation and commands a best position as party that ended Genocide. Is this true?

FH: The Rwandan opposition has faced very serious challenges, we are not opportunistic groups, we have real issues that we always call upon the Rwandan Government to address. RPF has failed to deliver on its main objectives that it fought for.

GM: Do you believe in the violent change of regime in Rwanda?

FH: No, I do not believe in violent change of the regime in Rwanda. I believe in non-violence and all peaceful means of conflict resolution.

GM: President Paul Kagame says it’s not true that there is no space for political participation in Rwanda. He argues that the recent 9th National Dialogue is a good example that Rwandans are free to express their greivances in an open fora. Do you beleive him?

FH: No, I do not believe him. The people in that meeting were “intore,” a new group of RPF cadres, so basically all the participants in that meeting were RPF members and/or supporters, so how could they question him?.

GM: The opposition has of recent linked Kagame to assassination of his opponents in foreign countries. Is there any evidence to prove these allegations? On the other hand, he has accused opposition groups of killing each other’s members.

FH: You have to understand the circumstances that make us behave the way we do, our party was started in August 2009, we tried over six times to have our party registered but in vain.

In one of our national delegates’ conference on 30th October 2009, where we had over 1500 delegates, we were sabotaged violently-beaten up and our meeting cancelled by police-citing insecurity.

We were refused permission to meet once again. My Vice President, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka was assassinated on 14th July 2010 and till now his killers have not yet been arrested.

Other opposition leaders are all in prison. Am also currently in Sweden. Despite all that, we have no lost hope, we plan to continue the peaceful struggle inside the country, some time soon.

GM: President Kagame said Rwanda needs to be self-reliant. Does the Democratic Green Party have plans of making Rwanda completely self-reliant?

FH: Yes, we have better policies than RPF of making Rwanda self-reliant

GM: Rwanda security minister Fazil recently said Kagame should seek re-election, statements that have sparked overwhelming debate. Kagame now says he will serve Rwanda in another position after his tenure has expired. Do you think Kagame could turn around like other African Presidents to seek another term in office?

FH: The fact that this debate is going on, is indeed absurd. You know also that in Uganda, the debate started like that and finally the Constitution was changed. We are completely against that debate.

GM: President Kagame says: “Some of us accused of stifling freedom, have been freedom fighters since childhood. We have fought for our freedom and other people’s (Uganda) freedom since childhood.” Do you think, despite being a freedom fighter, Kagame believes in civil liberties?

FH: President Kagame should prove to the whole world that he is indeed a freedom fighter by opening up political space and allow opposition parties to question his policies. He should start listening to dissenting voices and stop threatening critics.

GM: What is your last word for the army of two million readers who include Rwandans?

FH: Freedom does not come on silver plate. We shall overcome.


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