Rwanda: Cracks in the mirror as Rwanda prepares for elections

Published on by KANYARWANDA

Saturday, March 27, 2010

 

Cracks in the mirror as Rwanda prepares for elections

By Kris Berwouts
Director, EurAc
http://www.eurac-network.org/
21 March 2010

Cracks in the mirror as Rwanda prepares for elections
By Kris Berwouts,
Director of EurAc
Post-field visit report
March 2010

I visited Rwanda during the second week of March 2010. In recent years I have often passed through this country which I have been visiting since 1997, usually in transit to Goma, Bukavu or Bujumbura. Each time I have taken advantage and met some personal or professional contacts, but since 2007 I have never stayed more than 24 hours.I have, of course, always kept up to date with what was happening in Rwanda and, together with my colleagues at EurAc, I have made a continuing effort to provide information to understand the issues better and to discuss them objectively. Such a « leitmotiv » is relevant everywhere but it is especially important in the case of Rwanda: here very often the arguments between “believers” and “non- believers” are like the deaf listening to the dumb.In the weeks just before my arrival it was possible to feel considerable tension building up in the country. Of course we all expected the space for political dialogue to be reduced in the months leading to the election. The demonization of Victoire Ingabire when she returned to the country to lead a campaign for president as the candidate of the opposition party, FDU-Inkingi, led to increasing aggression against the other opposition parties present inside the country. On 19 February, a Friday evening, various well frequented places in the capital were the subject of three grenade attacks at the height of the rush hour resulting in two deaths and several people wounded. The Rwanda media first accused the FDLR, then Victoire Ingabire for these attacks. On Thursday 4 March 2010 in two further, almost simultaneous, bomb attacks in Kigali 16 more people were wounded. These acts of violence were followed by a wave of accusations and arrests. 

In the time between the two attacks, General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa left the country and went to South Africa. After his departure this former Chief of the General Staff of the Rwandan army was accused of being behind the grenade attacks of 19 February and of being associated with the former chief of foreign intelligence, Colonel Patrick Karegeya, who has been in South Africa since 2007.
On Saturday 6 March, the Rwanda authorities announced the arrest in Burundi of an opposition activist, Déo Mushayidi, accused by Kigali of being one of the authors of the recent grenade attacks. Gradually the bomb throwers started to outnumber the bombs. 

You can understand that I did not know very well what to expect. As the days went by I had a problem knowing exactly why the situation seemed to me to be different from what it was the other times I had visited the country. I noticed that the people felt fear, but that had long been the case. I saw a closing up of the political space but this had often been experienced before. I had not remembered grenade attacks in the recent past (but a little research after my return told me that there had been in April and December 2008 and in April and July 2009), but at the same time I had the impression that the grenades were a symptom rather than a cause of events. It was my wish and my duty to bring together all these bits of information in one solid piece of analysis.  

Finally what was really new dawned on me: I was watching a régime which was primarily not fighting its enemies; it was struggling to prevent its own disintegration. For ten years we had speculated about divisions within the inner circle of power. We always realized that there were disagreements but no-one could help me precisely define these divisions. Today when the régime looks at itself in the mirror it can see the cracks that belie the united and serene image which it wants to show to the public in Rwanda and internationally. The régime has come face to face with its own fragility; it is nervous and is reacting out of all proportion.

You will read in the following pages my findings, my impressions and my analysis. This does not reflect EurAc’s official position. It is based on the reflections of a single person and only he is committed by it – a person who, as usual, returns from a visit with more questions than answers.

Kris Berwouts
Director, EurAc
21 March 2010

1) Open debate in a closed political context?

Rwanda is not accustomed to open debate. Over the years the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), the party which has been in power since 1994 has built up a control over public life (including the political and judicial organs) on the lines of a one party system despite the existence of a number of other satellite political parties which operate on the fringes of power thanks to their basic loyalty to that power.

The electoral cycle (2001 – 2003) which marked the end of the transition period was organised with no open debate: the only opposition party, ADEP-Mizero, was never registered, and the main independent candidates for the presidential elections were disqualified just before the vote. President Kagame won his elections with a stalinist 95% of votes following a campaign marred by the disappearances, arrests and intimidation of voters, candidates and observers. The European Union found irregularities and serious fraud in both the legislative and presidential elections of 2003. The EU observation mission had similar findings during the legislative elections of September 2008. Although the wording of the report and in the declarations made at the time of its publication was very diplomatic and tried to avoid confrontation with the Rwandan régime, several of those who took part in this mission reported voting irregularities, in the handling of ballot boxes and in counting votes.

It is now four and a half months until the presidential elections due on 9 August 2010. The ruling party is taking them very seriously and making preparations, putting the party machine in order at local and national level and using all available means including its monopoly of the media.

At the same time other political groupings are preparing themselves too. They are trying to obtain registration as political parties and demanding a fair chance to make themselves known and heard by the electorate. The principal opposition parties are:

• The Parti Social Imberakuri, (PSI) with Bernard Ntaganda as President, formed by ex-members of the Parti Social Démocrate (PSD) which they left because they were frustrated that the PSD remained tied to the FPR.

• The Democratic Green Party, with a leadership drawn mainly from the Anglophones, is seen by many as an expression of discontent from within the FPR. Its President is Frank Habineza and its Secretary General Charles Kabanda, one of the founders of the FPR in the 80’s in Uganda.

• The FDU-Inkingi whose President, Victoire Ingabire, returned in mid-January to stand as a presidential candidate after an absence of 17 years.

The regime does not consider that these parties enrich Rwanda’s political life.

In 2009, the Parti Social Imberakuri tried to organise four congresses. Three of them were stopped by the regime for procedural reasons but one was held in June.The PS Imberakuri was recognised as a party in July 2009. Throughout this period the party president, Bernard Ntaganda, made very critical speeches on a number of social, political and judicial issues of concern to the people. For many Rwandans the fact that the regime was apparently allowing Ntaganda to speak so openly was an indication that there could be positive change and a new political openness.

In the end an offensive against Bernard Ntaganda was launched from within his own party. The Secretary General of the PSI, Noel Hakizimfura, accused his president of « divisionism and genocidal ideology ». In February Hakizimfura and another party member were expelled from the party for having accepted money from the FPR in order to destabilize the PSI. On Tuesday evening 16 March 2010, some leading members of the PS-Imberakuri were taken to the headquarters of the FPR where they were ordered to organise a party convention the following day, 17 March, to remove Ntaganda from his post. The convention was held and the party vice-president, Christine Mukabunani, declared afterwards that Bernard Ntaganda was no longer president of the party. As a result the institutional framework of the PSI has become very unclear.

In her case, Victoire Ingabire had for a long time been preparing her bid for the presidency of Rwanda from Holland where she had been living for 17 years. Ingabire arrived on Saturday 16 January in Rwanda: "I am ready to canvass for my candidature for head of state and victory is certain", she declared soon after stepping on to the tarmac at Kigali international airport. Her candidature and her direct way of speaking immediately caused tension within the regime which responded with immediate verbal aggression including in the media. Almost immediately she went to place flowers at the Gisozi Memorial. In part of her speech she said: "The road to reconciliation is still long. This memorial only commemorates the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis, whereas there were also massacres of Hutus », clearly alluding to the crimes committed in 1994 by members of the former Tutsi rebellion by the Rwanda Popular Front (FPR), now in power. “The Hutus who killed Tutsis must understand that they have to be punished. It is the same for the Tutsis who have killed Hutus." This declaration caused fury on the part of genocide victims, the media and the authorities who accused her of propagating “negativism”.

Since 10 February she has regularly been summoned by the police for investigation which has been very time consuming and has hindered her other activities and in which she has been accused of spreading « genocidal ideology, divisionism and contact with the FDLR”. Up to now no formal charges have been brought but a legal framework has been created which can lead to charges simply by transferring the police file to the courts.

At the same time the FDU-Inkingi was trying to organise its constituent assembly. This had not been formally forbidden by anyone but Ingabire faced “Kafkaesque” behaviour on the part of the authorities. The commune was willing to authorize the assembly on condition that the police would confirm that they would be present to ensure security. The police would be happy to ensure security provided that the commune gives its written authorisation, and so...

On 13 March, she received a letter from the communal authorities which forbade her to organise political meetings since she was subject to police investigation i.e. the February police interrogation was being used to prevent her exercising political rights today. She wanted to react by holding a press conference but all the hotels where she had booked a meeting room were threatened and cancelled the booking at the last minute.

The newest opposition party is the Green Democratic Party, launched in August 2009 in Kigali, with the aim of creating a genuine and broad-based opposition with a progressive and ecological vision. This party has also been stopped several times in its efforts to organise its meetings. Faced with this situation, the three parties mentioned have set up a common structure (Conseil de Concertation Permanent des Partis de l’Opposition) in the hope that this coordination will enable them to widen the democratic “space” by having a common position on certain subjects and joint lobbying nationally and internationally.

However, these groups, acting alone or together, are very fragile faced with a regime which has no desire for real debate during the elections and which is restricting democratic space through :

• Its monopoly of the media, which continually demonize the opposition parties and their leaders

• Verbal and physical intimidation of opposition parties, their leaders, members and activists

• The creation of a legal framework in which proceedings can be brought very rapidly and where the opposition finds it hard to defend itself (since accusations of spreading genocidal ideology and divisionism are very broad and not clearly defined in law. This terminology is applied to all those who have a different understanding than the official one of the recent history of Rwanda. This means it can be used to paralyse the leaders of the opposition and to prevent them carrying out their daily duties and exercising their political rights.)

• An administrative policy which aims to prevent opposition groups being registered, setting themselves up, organising meetings or making themselves known to the general public. In this way two of the parties mentioned above have not yet been registered, while the third has not been given the right to organise activities on the ground.

• Infiltration of opposition parties in order to destabilise them from within.

These strategies do not necessarily imply that the regime wants completely to ban the opposition. It could easily have done that before. Perhaps it wants first to slow down the opposition, to stop it getting through to the people with a message different from its own and to stop it gaining credibility. The opposition leaders I have met fear that the government will prevent them getting registration in March. The process cannot go forward in April, the month when the country is loaded with emotions, with ceremonies and activities commemorating the genocide. This would mean starting again in May. If the authorities use the same delaying tactics it is not unlikely that opposition political parties would only be recognised several weeks before the elections. In this case they would take part in the elections without any normal preparation for the campaign or for the vote and without a chance of getting through to the electorate.

2) Hawks on the run

On Wednesday 3 March, President Kagame accused two high ranking Rwandan officers of attempting to destabilise Rwanda: the former chief of foreign intelligence, Colonel Patrick Karegeya, and General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, former Chief of the General Staff of the Rwandan army and Ambassador to India who had also fled to South Africa, according to the Rwandan judiciary. "Nobody, not a single person, not even Kayumba, can make a coup d'etat here. Think about it and you will conclude that no-one can make a coup d'etat in Rwanda”, President Kagame insisted. Around the same time the state prosecutor, Martin Ngoga, accused General Kayumba Nyamwasa of the grenade attacks of 19 February. For a long time these two soldiers originating from the Ugandan Anglophone diaspora had been among the regime’s key personalities.

Patrick Karegeya was not only the former intelligence chief, he was also the main man running the Congo Desk, a bureau run by the External Security Department which was created in order to manage the exploitation of the wealth of eastern DRC, the income from which did not appear in official government accounts. This system enabled the army and political leaders to conceal huge sums of money. In all the discussions and documents relating to the official withdrawal of the Rwandan army from the Congo in September 2002 it has been very hard to distinguish precisely between the role of the Rwandan state and that of the non-state political and military lobbies as regards the illicit exploitation of Congolese resources and the support given to military groups such as the CNDP. In the shadowy zone between the state and the Rwandan lobbies, Patrick Karegeya and the Congo Desk occupied a central position.

Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa grew up in the south of Uganda and he became one of the most powerful people in the Rwanda army. He led the military campaigns in the north east of the country in the years following the genocide. In 2001 he was replaced as head of the army by General Emmanuel Habyarimana, who was himself later replaced by James Kaberebe. Kayumba was sent for training to the United Kingdom. In 2004, he was appointed ambassador to India. Political insiders in Rwanda have always believed that this appointment (and even sending him earlier to England) was a step taken by President Kagame to remove Kayumba from the centre of politico-military affairs in Rwanda as he was starting to build his own base within the core group of power in Rwanda.

In November 2006, the French judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière, issued an international arrest warrant against Kayumba and eight other high ranking military men close to Kagame in connexion with the enquiry into the attack on President Juvénal Habyarimana’s airplane on 6 April 1994 which triggered the genocide. In February 2008, the Spanish magistrate, Fernando Andreu Merelles, issued fourty arrest warrants against senior officers in the Rwanda army (including Kayumba) for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism committed in Rwanda and in the DRC between 1 October 1990 and 2002. The cases had been submitted to the Spanish courts in 2000 by relatives of Spanish victims killed in Rwanda, religious and humanitarian workers and by exiled Rwandan organisations.

In an interview after his arrival in South Africa General Kayumba spoke of the transformation of Kagame’s regime into a dictatorship and of his own commitment to a democratic Rwanda. One must, however, make a distinction between hawks and doves inside Rwanda’s power structure – but Kayumba is most certainly no dove…

3) Déo Mushayidi

On Saturday 6 March 2010, the Rwandan authorities confirmed the arrest of the opposition leader, Déo Mushayidi. Mushayidi, had been living in recent months in Tanzania, was arrested by Tanzanian police in the town of Bukoba. On 4 March, he was taken to the Burundi frontier and transferred by the Burundian police to Bujumbura. On Friday 5 March he was extradited to Rwanda, despite the absence of an international arrest warrant or even any kind of legal procedure, and transferred to Kicukiro police station, Kigali.

Born in 1961 in the south east of Rwanda, Mushayidi was a genocide survivor who in 1995 resigned his post as assistant to the Secretary-General of the FPR, Major Théogène Rudasingwa. He became a journalist on several papers e.g. l’Ere de Liberté, Imboni where he began to denounce human rights violations and corruption. In 1996, he was elected president of the Association of Journalists of Rwanda (AJIR). He also became Executive Secretary of the Centre for the Promotion of Freedom of Expression and Tolerance in the Great Lakes Region. In 2000, persecuted and slandered by the government media, he requested and was granted asylum in Belgium.

There he involved himself in a number of political movements including the monarchist Alliance for Democracy and National Reconciliation (ADRN), Igihango and the Intwari Partnership in order to create in 2008 the Pact for the Defence of the People (PDP) of which he remains president until today. He left Belgium in order to continue his political activities closer to Rwanda.

After his arrest, Déo Mushayidi was accused of being implicated in the grenade attacks and of working with Kayumba et Karegeya. Amnesty International has organised an emergency action to support him.

4) The cracks in the mirror

The traditional opposition is not the main concern of the Rwandan regime at the present moment. When you have almost complete control over the legislative, executive and judicial institutions, when an independent press has almost completely disappeared, when that section of opinion which has not openly sided with you has attained an extraordinary level of sophistication in the noble art of self-censorship, when for a large part of national and international opinion you represent the ending of genocide and the return to stability, you are not going to lose the elections. Not against Victoire Ingabire who has not played any role in Rwandan public life and is therefore not known by the electorate in Rwanda. Not against Bernard Ntaganda either – his team is unstable and easily manipulated. And not against Frank Habineza, even though he has worked with people close to you including the first president (i.e. one of the first dissidents) of your country. They have a party which was still not in existence a year ago and which is not certain to be recognised in time to take part in the elections.

The Democratic Green Party is not going to defeat the FPR in the elections but it is making the regime nervous. This is because it shows how the Rwandan elite, the inner circle of power is losing its cohesion. This is not the only indication and it is not new, but Kayumba’s departure, the arrest of Mushayidi and the emergence of the Democratic Green Party prove that what the government sees when it looks in the mirror can be seen by everybody, not just by the government itself.

Nothing grows underneath a baobab

Part of the problem of tension inside the regime has nothing to do with the specific context of Rwanda. After the death of Fred Rwigema on the second day of the FPR armed struggle in October 1990, Paul Kagame took over the command of the rebellion and he still commands it today. He was the strong man during the war and after the victory, even though he reserved for himself the role of Minister of Defense, leaving Pasteur Bizimungu to head the institutions of state. This did not prevent anybody, inside Rwanda or not, being aware that it was he who was really running the country. Many in the international community had a high opinion of him: after the fall of the Mobutu generation, Kagame was for some people the incarnation of a new type of African leadership with an inspiring vision, an ability to mobilise and effective enough to achieve palpable and, in some areas, even spectacular results.

However, he is following the same track as other African heads of state (e.g. Museveni and Mugabe). His self-confidence is turning to arrogance and reading carefully the list of key people (high ranking military personnel, ministers, ambassadors) who have left the country shows that his rule has developed a self-destructive tendency, sawing off the branch on which he is sitting. Like Museveni, Mugabe and so many others, Kagame is turning himself into the “Roi Soleil” with no heir, a baobab tree beneath which nothing can grow.

Part of the discontent within the party and the associated community results from a build up of frustration among those who hang on to the coat tails of power without having access to it, people who thought that the FPR could be the motive force to drag them out of poverty. They can see people they grew up with in the refugee camps in Uganda who are now billionaires but they see no way in to that closed circle.

A generational aspect to their exclusion from power is also developing. The generation which took up arms won the war and took over the running of the country invested a lot in the education of their sons and daughters who are now returning home. Their intellectual and technical level far exceeds that of their fathers’ generation and they want to play a leading role in running the country.

International justice: the sword of Damocles

The legal procedures initiated by Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière in France and Fernando Andreu Merelles in Spain have badly shaken the inner circle of power. The Rwanda government can rely on the loyalty of a number of countries and international institutions, and this is at least partly based on feelings of guilt on the part of the international community for not having been able to prevent the genocide (and, frankly, not having tried too much to prevent it).

To preserve international support it is vital for the Rwandan regime to be sure of the interpretation the world makes of Rwanda’s recent history. Since 1994, the country has been managed in a psychological climate of winners of the war versus its losers, the victims of the crimes against their executioners, in which, for example, a whole system has been put in place through the gacaca courts to deal with crimes of genocide against Tutsis while at the same time there is a complete taboo regarding crimes committed by the FPR since the start of the war. This taboo reduces the positive effect that gacaca should have been able to have: instead of being the means of taking on board its traumatic past, gacaca has become a strategy for consolidating the winners/victims versus losers/ criminals scenario.

It is true that the initiatives of de Bruguière and Andreu are very irritating. They disrupt the picture and spoil the image. And they lead to worry on the part of those who feel concerned. Even though it is highly improbable that the current leaders of Rwanda would be brought to trial in France or Spain, perhaps the image the country wishes to present is not tenable in the medium term. It cannot be ruled out, even if this does not happen tomorrow, that the question will become: « What are we going to admit ? Who shall we sacrifice?». Such questions do not greatly help to create cohesion. The immediate future of Kayumba is a major concern of the regime. What will he say and before what audience? What if he is extradited to Spain? Hence the pressure on the South African government to send him back to Rwanda.

Rwanda’s involvement in the Congo

Since 1996 the Congo has taken a lot of space in Rwanda’s foreign policy, and on several occasions what happened in the Congo has been a bone of contention which has haunted the regime. For example Kayumba was opposed to the confrontation with Uganda in 2000 and 2002.

A recent example is the arrest of Laurent Nkunda at the start of the joint operation, Umoja Wetu. The operation was led by John Numbi (for the Congo) and James Kabarebe (for Rwanda) and one of the first actions was to arrest Laurent Nkunda who was the subject of a plan by Bosco Ntaganda to replace him at the head of the CNDP. This arrest provoked much animosity in Rwanda, not only in Congolese Rwandophone refugee circles and camps in Rwanda, but also in the army. After all, Nkunda had served in the FPR and elements of the FPR had served in Nkunda forces. This collaboration created strong links and common interests.

Clearly a great part of the Congo’s importance for Rwanda is the illegal trafficking of the Congo’s resources through Rwanda. This traffic is evidently not controlled by the Congo government but a good part is also outside the control of the Rwanda government even though it serves the interests of key people in the Rwandan politico-military establishment. Such business interests can be very various and do not always contribute to the cohesion of the regime either. It is partly for this reason that one can understand the nervousness about the current obligation that the Rwandan rulers must report their wealth and their income transparently.

Directly linked to the Rwandan involvement in the Congo is the problem of demobilised soldiers. Now that a direct presence in the Congo is no longer an option, Rwanda finds itself with much too large an army. Part of the surplus can be deployed by the African Union but that is a limited option. The remainder has to be demobilised, and many of these ex-soldiers feel basically abandoned by the regime which they have fought for, often in very tough circumstances.

The language issue

We all know about the linguistic tension in Rwanda: the FPR introduced English since the rebellion was led by those who had grown up in Uganda. The fact that they had taken power gave English a much more important status in the public life of the country than could be imagined from the numbers that actually spoke it. Over the years the balance has gradually shifted in favour of English and this was accompanied by a feeling of discrimination among many Francophones.

A decisive moment was in 2008 when English was recognised as the official language in education. For some this was a visionary decision to open up the country to the regional, continental and global reality; for others it was a decision to set in stone the ambition of a minority regime to monopolize communication and the country’s intellectual life, to dominate the country’s youth, to rewrite history and in the end to take control of the country’s collective memory.

Quite independently of the point of view from which this question is viewed, it is obvious that the decision has strengthened some and marginalised others. It deepens the already existing gulf between those who came out of Uganda and formed the nucleus of the regime and the others, where genocide survivors found themselves in an even more uncomfortable situation than that found by those who returned from Burundi or the Congo in 1994.

Power and the clan structure

The clan structure around the Rwanda royal family, even though it has not reigned for over half a century, is still seen by many as a factor. The monarchist movement around King Kigeli V (currently in the United States) continues to play a political role and it wants to participate in running the country. Some Rwandan analysts point out that membership of these clans is an important aspect of the identity of a number of those currently active on the political stage. In particular the ancestral tension between Banyiginya and Bega is one of the cracks which enable us better to understand the goings on side the power structure: Kagame is a Mwega, whereas Kayumba, Karegeya, Nyetera, Kazura, Sebarenzi and many others are Banyiginya.

I am not at all an expert in this subject to understand to what degree clans play a serious role in the present situation but I thought I should at least mention it.

Conclusion: more questions than answers

Is the Rwandan regime in crisis? It is possible, certainly. Given the over-reaction of the authorities when confronted by new situations on the ground, we get the impression that the regime believes so, even while the authorities keep declaring that everything is under control. Is the reign of the FPR approaching its end? I meet many people who hope so, but that remains to be seen. Even though I believe that the Rwanda government is not working towards a lasting solution to its problems, it seems clear that the control which it has established remains solid based as it is on a culture of silence and a tradition of obedience to authority. Is the country about to implode again? We definitely hope it isn’t. It is very hard to imagine that Rwanda and its people have anything to gain from that, and any such event would have serious consequences for the whole region – for the essential but fragile peace process in Burundi for example; or for the people in eastern Congo who have seen many changes since the Umoja Wetu operation without any resulting sign of future lasting peace.

What is certain is that things are not going well. People are not comparing the situation with the pre-electoral atmosphere in 2003 but with that of 1993. The grenade attacks have provoked fear. The question: « Who threw them? » remains unanswered. Victoire Ingabire and the presidents of the other opposition parties simply want a really free and transparent electoral process. For them the present climate is counter productive. Kayumba ? There are plenty of precedents in the history of post-colonial Africa of generals trying to take power but I do not remember any case where they began their campaign by throwing grenades at a bus stop. The FDLR ? I have just been in eastern Congo and I had a strong impression that the FDLR had other things on their mind. Déo Mushayidi ? Frustrated demobilised soldiers? People who were angry because they found that Sarkozy was not forced to make a proper apology (that was one of the suggestions I heard)? Not very likely. In fact there are no probable explanations but one of the least improbable ones is that the regime itself organised the attacks so as to create a climate where citizens could be arrested and intimidated. I met many people who were frightened and there were others I was not able to meet as they were so frightened that they did not dare meet me.

The pre-electoral situation remains volatile. It is hard to foresee what Rwanda will be like during and after the elections if the opposition remains muzzled, harassed or crushed. It is important for the Rwandan regime to receive signals from the international community that it must stop this intimidation. At the present time this community gives the impression that it is not at all concerned. It seems to believe that the pre-election tension was predictable, that the situation is under control, that the nervousness might increase a little before the election but that in the end Kagame will win with a comfortable, even crushing, majority. Then the international community will continue business as usual. This is a rather weak analysis. It underestimates the destabilising potential of the present situation and it serves very badly the chances for democracy in Rwanda in the medium and longer term.

From our point of view we must recommend that the international community put pressure on the regime to take measures that will help create political stability in Rwanda and the holding of truly free and transparent elections. Such pressures should principally consist of:

• urging the regime not to refuse to register opposition parties, not to prevent them from working on the ground and not destroying them;

• stopping political and police harassment of the leaders and members of the opposition ;

• asking the government not to use the public media to demonise its opponents;

• demand that a new electoral law be published and an independent electoral commission be set up;

• rapidly deploy an international electoral observer mission.

Beyond the immediate question of the election, it is really important for the FPR to reverse trend to restriction and exclusion and to put its effort into solving the antagonisms which exist, but this falls outside the Terms of Reference of my March visit. EurAc will come back to this matter in a future document.
For further details:
Kris Berwouts
Rue des Tanneurs, 165 B - 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 213 04 000
@: kris.berwouts@eurac-network.org

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