Exiled army officers Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa and Col Patrick Karegeya have vowed to “redouble efforts to cause internal change” in Rwanda, Chimpreports exclusively reports.
FDU-RNC members after the Johannesburg meeting
In a five-day joint meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa on February 19, it was agreed among oppositihon parties FDU-INKINGI and Rwanda National Congress (RNC) that members commit themselves to “pursue their efforts in order to empower the structures and reach the goal to transform the country.”
Members further concurred to “reinforce information dissemination and to enlighten our people about the precarious situation in the country.”
According to resolutions of the meeting, the opposition groups further agreed “to continue and deepen our diplomatic outreach and coordinate resource mobilization inside and outside the country (Rwanda).”
This is the latest meeting of the main Rwandan opposition groups seeking to remove President Paul Kagame from power.
Kagame has in the past accused Kayumba and Karegeya of indulging in subversive activities.
Speaking at a press conference in Kampala in 2011, the Rwandan leader said he had information linking Kayumba to rebel activities in Congo.
“If Nyamwasa decides to pick up guns, because there are such signs, we have medicine for him,” Kagame noted.
Nyamwasa, who survived an assassination attempt in South Africa in 2010, has denied any involvement in subversive activities.
Kagame said “the likes of Kayumba have a loud mouth but time will come when they will shut up.”
The President further clarified reports that Rwanda masterminded the plot to kill Kayumba in South Africa were untrue and baseless.
Speaking to Time Magazine last year, Kagame noted: “This one in South Africa, [dissident General] Kayumba [Nyamwasa, former Rwandan army chief of staff, now living in self-imposed exile in South Africa, where two attempts have been made on his life] is saying in the press in South Africa, actually I was trying to make a coup happen.”
“If you have somebody out there saying ‘I wanted to carry out a coup,’ and later on he is shot, maybe he deserves it,” the President added.
Nyamwasa was recently quoted by City Press admitting he was involved in plans to topple President Kagame.
“Because a coup means he wanted to kill people here. You are really indicting yourself by saying ‘I wanted to kill people in order to make a change happen.’ It’s like you are really declaring war on a country,” elaborated Kagame.
And speaking during a Citizen Outreach programme in Gicumbi last year, Kagame warned: “Those in exile who may intend to destroy what we have achieved should know that we will not accept this. When you build something, you have to ensure it lasts, and guard it against destruction.”
Members of the coordinating committees of FDU-INKINGI and RNC who attended the Johannesburg meeting were Nkiko Nsengimana, Charles Ndereyehe, Sixbert Musangamfura from FDU-INKINGI and Condo Gervais, Kayumba Nyamwasa, Patrick Karegeya and Paulin Murayi of RNC.
The participants expressed their gratitude to the coordinators of the joint platform for the tremendous work accomplished within two years since its inception and the signature of the joint memorandum of understanding in Montreux, Switzerland on 25 January 2010.
They agreed to strengthen the partnership; set up a joint working committee after internal consultation within the components; appoint members of the joint task forces as soon as possible and enhance cooperation with other political parties.
“To this end, to put in place a mechanism to hasten the process of their subsequent participation in the activities of the platform; to reaffirm our commitment to struggle for democratisation and civil liberties in our homeland that have alluded us for decades but more so under the RPF government and are determined to mobilise Rwandans to fight for the independence of those crucial institutions,” the opposition members resolved.
The meeting further “condemned in the strongest terms possible the current manoeuvres by President Paul Kagame to amend the constitution allowing him to stand for a third term and continue exacting human rights violations in Rwanda and in the Great Lakes region.”
During recent Citizen Outreach tours, Rwandans have called on Kagame to seek another term in office after 2017. Kagame has previously said he has no intentions to stand for president again.
But recently, he directed top leaders of RPF to reach out to the people at the grassroots to seek their views on the matter.
The Johannesburg meeting called upon all Rwandans, all neighbouring countries and the international community to “roundly condemn the efforts by President Kagame to endlessly perpetuate himself in power in Rwanda.”
The meeting also supported the efforts by SADC countries for their contribution to the international force in the DRC to “safeguard the lives of our Congolese sisters and brothers, and to halt the bloody conflict perpetuated by Rwanda under the pretext of M23.”
The RPF has won international admiration for radical infrastructural programmes, increased access to medical care, uplifting of economic status of millions of Rwandans and halting the 1994 genocide that cost over one million lives.
But the government has also equally come under pressure from western countries for allegedly backing M23 rebels, a charge Kigali vehemently denies.