GROWING SOCIAL AND POLITICAL TENSION IN RWANDA AHEAD OF AUGUST 2010 ELECTIONS
The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC)
C/O. B.P. 6334 Kigali, Rwanda, Tel: +250 788563039,+250 728636000, +250 788307145
Kigali, 3rd June 2010
Open Letter to,
The Secretary General,
East African Community Secretariat,
P.O. Box 1096,
Re: Growing Social and Political Tension in Rwanda Ahead of August 2010 Elections
We the undersigned, representatives of the Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda which brings together, the United Democratic Forces (FDU–Inkingi), the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, the Parti Social IMBERAKURI would like to draw your attention to the growing social and political tension in Rwanda in the run up to the planned elections in August 2010. We would like to request an urgent action from the part of the East African Community to use its influence to stop the situation from degenerating further, so that it does not threaten peace and security in Rwanda and indeed in the sub region.
It is our very considered view that the tension which is now felt both in the military and in the civil society in general is a result of the government’s repressive measures against those who do not toe the government line and a purge in the army where some of the most senior military officials have fled the country and others have been arrested just because they hold different views from that of the President, who is the commander in chief of the Army.
Rwanda being a member of the East African Community, our political organisations, would like to convey to you its serious concerns over the situation and over the violation, by the Rwandan government, of one of the fundamental principles that underpin the objectives of the Community as provided for under Articles 6 and 123 (3) (c) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. The latter calls for the development and consolidation of democracy, respect for the rule of law and respect for human rights in respective countries as a solid basis for peace and sustainable development.
What we are observing is that the Rwandan government is systematically closing down any avenues for transparent, free and fair elections during the presidential elections due in August 2010. The government is taking every step to rule out any serious political contest against the incumbent President by trumping up false charges against the FDU-Inkingi political party and her chairperson, interfering in the running of opposition political party PS Imberakuri and refusing to register the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda ever since it started in August 2009, as well as suspending newspapers that are critical of the government.
In this respect we hold the view that a proper process in the conduct of the forthcoming elections is a turning point in deciding the future political and social development in Rwanda. Supporting, condoning or turning a blind eye to a process that denies Rwandans a freedom of choice between different political programs through transparent competitive elections will be tantamount to complicity in creating seeds of political and social instability in Rwanda. We hold the view that the cycle of political violence in Rwanda whether under the monarchical regime or under republicanism has been due to repressive systems of government and lack of a democratic and transparent competition for and peaceful transfer of power.
In this regard we request your Excellency to use your personal influence and powers that your position, as Secretary General, gives you to safeguard the values of the EAC and request the government of Rwanda to take all measures to:
· Require the government to register the political parties ( FDU-Inkingi and Democratic Green Party of Rwanda) without any condition;
· Require the government to create an independent electoral commission in which opposition parties are represented as key actors in electoral process
· Stop the use of national resources to fund the campaign of the candidate of the regime in power
· Postpone elections until the political situation is conducive to holding free and transparent elections where all political parties are given the right to exercise their civil and political rights fully.
· Be on the side of the Rwandan people during these difficult times that the state is oppressing dissenting voices in an attempt to end the democratic process that had started.
· End all intimidation tactics against opposition political leaders and their members
We would like to reiterate the commitment of our political organisations to peaceful democratic process in the competition for and transfer of power and call on the international community and all well wishers for peace and stability in Rwanda to support our efforts by putting pressure on the Rwandan regime to respect the principles of the East African community and behave accordingly.
Our political parties are seriously concerned that flawed elections will further increase the social tension with unforeseeable consequences on the political and sustainable economic development of the country.
Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza
Chairperson, United Democratic Forces
Mr. Frank Habineza
Chairman, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda
Me. Bernard Ntaganda
Chairman, Parti Social IMBERAKURI
C.C: All members of the EAC in Rwanda