OPEN LETTER To His Excellency Paul KAGAME President of Rwanda
Excellency Mr. President,
I have the honour to address your high authority so that you may do everything in your power to
ensure that all political organizations wishing to participate in the presidential elections scheduled
for August 2010 can enjoy and exercise their full rights. My political organisation, UDF-INKINGI has
decided to take part in these elections in order to prove to all political contenders that political
change in Rwanda is possible without resorting to violence as it has been the case up to now.
The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) should not shy away from free political competition after holding
power for 16 years, especially since it claims having achieved National Unity and Reconciliation and
having brought about an unprecedented economic development.
The UDF-Inkingi agreed to comply with applicable laws for the registration of political parties in
Rwanda. It is important that our rights are guaranteed by the Constitution of Rwanda in particular,
Articles 11, 16, 33, 35, 36, and statements stipulated in the UN Charter of 26 June 1945; the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948; the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights of December 19, 1966; the International Covenant on Civil Rights and Policies of
December 19, 1966; the African Charter on Human Rights and People of June 27, 1981; the African
Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance of January 30, 2007; all of which Rwanda has
joined in good faith.
Since my return to the homeland, I am constantly victim of a campaign of vilification, harassment and
intimidation orchestrated by public and partisan media, Public Administration and some members of
the government. You may also know, Your Excellency Mr. President, that I have been assaulted in the
offices of the administrative sector of Kinyinya on February 3, 2010. I have been many times
summoned to the criminal investigation department for illegal political activities, genocide ideology
and alleged contacts with FDLR rebellion. Despite of all those threats, I remain determined to defend
my political rights and the rights of every Rwandan citizen, especially when these rights are
guaranteed by the Constitution.
I condemn in the strongest terms the genocide against the Tutsi, and other crimes against humanity
committed in Rwanda. I firmly believe that without compassion or rehabilitation of all victims,
without prosecuting the authors of those horrible crimes, there is no chance to fight against impunity
and no true reconciliation can be achieved.
I am also accused of alliance with the FDLR. The supporting material for the allegation is mainly
based on a UN report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo of November 23,
2009. It is not necessary to repeat that informants voluntarily induced the UN investigators into error
by claiming that I have a family relationship with officials of the armed group. It is indecent to exploit
my participation in the meeting of the Intra-Rwandan Dialogue as a proof of my connection to the
rebel group because I was invited along other members from different Rwandan organisations and
members of your ruling party RPF which the report carefully and intentionally does not mention.
a peaceful solution to the political crisis in Rwanda were read by one of the genocide survivors
attending the meeting (http://www.veritasrwandafo
Moreover when the government has made and continues to make contacts with members of the
FDLR and has even incorporated some of FDLR generals in its army, one may clearly question the
genuine reason behind such a witch-hunt.
As for legal aspects related to my applications to hold the constitutional congress of my political
party, the position of the administration to deny the authorisation to convene is baseless.
Sections 18, 19 and 21 of the Constitution leave no shadow of doubt. I cannot be deprived of my
rights based on mere assumptions and facts to which I have not been charged nor convicted
(Constitution, Art 19). It is unusual that a government official, i.e. the Minister of Local Government,
Mr. James Musoni, openly violates the law in his remarks aired by the VOA on March 15, 2010
claiming that as long as the police is investigating, there will be no authorisation for the UDF-INKINGI
to convene anywhere in Rwanda.
Leave alone the fact that the above mentioned Minister has arrogated excessive powers to authorise
political meetings while the Organic Law 16/2003, 27/06/2003 in its Article 5 speaks simply of “prior
notice to the administrative authorities in writing” and only mentions the need for prior authorization in cases of public demonstrations (Article 5 paragraph 4). In an interview with the national radio on March 12, 2010, the Mayor of Nyarugenge (Kigali) added: “We cannot allow them to meet, because we do not know what message they tell the public”, a statement she confirmed to BBC-Kinyarwanda - Kirundi on March 15, 2010. This is a blatant violation of basic constitutional rights of expression and association guaranteed by the Constitution and other legal instruments and international conventions.
The current controversial Organic Law No. 19/2007 of 04/05/2007 modifying and complementing
Organic Law n ° 16/2003 of 27/06/2003 governing political organizations and politicians gives to the
Minister of Local Administration jurisdiction of registration and public meetings of political organizations. It is the highest authority in the hierarchical system and the final decision is within its jurisdiction. By refusing to UDF-Inkingi permission to hold its founding congress, the minister at the same time blocks the possibility for the party to register as a political party officially recognized because it would fail to specifically prove that it has been duly constituted. We denounce this blatant abuse of power that violates the Constitution.
Excellency Mr. President,
All the above developments clearly show that the political process without your ultimate intervention and arbitration is derailing. It is your responsibility as guarantor of the Constitution and
public institutions to take appropriate measures to ensure that:
- The government, its administration and institutions remain neutral and respect the laws and
particularly the Constitution and the Article 29 of Organic Law No. 16/2003 of 27/06/2003;
- All Rwandans enjoy freely their political rights;
- Political parties fully exercise their rights of expression and association (Article 1 Organic Law No.
16/2003 of 27/06/2003);
- As also recognized by the RPF on 18/08/1992 in the Memorandum of Agreement on the rule of law
in particular its chapter on democracy, Article 7 stated that both parties recognize that the multi
system implies the legitimacy of the existence of a democratic opposition, and consider legitimate
aspiration of all Rwandans to gain power by democratic means;
- The opposition parties have the political space that is needed and go toward the population to
discuss their social projects;
- The UDF-Inkingi is allowed to hold the Constitutional Congress in accordance with applicable laws
and without any further hindrance from the government.
Please accept, Excellency, the President, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza
Chair of UDF-Inkingi