|SOURCE: 256 NEWS"Donors Wasting Their Money On Rwanda' .The leader of the opposition FDU-INKINGI party in Rwanda, Victoire Ingabire, has broken her silence and spoken from a besieged location in Kigali. |
In a statement to 256news.com, among other pinnings, Ms. Ingabire addresses herself to Rwanda's political furnace after President Kagame's recent landslide victory and says donors are pumping their money into a "bottomless pit."
Below is her full statement verbatim:
“Pour un Etat de Droit, la Democratie et l’Egalité de chances”; "For the rule of law, democracy and equal opportunity"
Kigali, September 2010
RWANDA: DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS NEED TO SUPPORT LASTING SOLUTION
The problem of aid and political conditionality and especially good governance and
democratisation process has been a recurrent topic in the discussions between donor countries
and beneficiaries. This has obliged some dictatorships to open up the political space and level
the playing field or like in the case of Rwanda to police up a controlled democratisation
process with no opposition or elections with no competitors.
The current political and
military crisis is dragging the country to the brink of chaos. Will the donors prioritize the
stability of the country or just back up the regime with no questions asked? This is the right
time to judge the sincerity of bilateral and international development partners. Will they once
again turn a blind eye to the unfolding crossroads or will they put pressure for a transitional
negotiated process between the incumbent and his opposition?
The failure of the democratization process
Last month, officially General Paul KAGAME, in a very much touted landslide Presidential
election victory, scored more than 93%. It took him a whole month to align in full his already
existing cabinet and to announce tougher measures against non armed dissents.
Prior to August 2010 presidential election, human rights organisations and international media
widely reported increased massive political repression and crackdown on independent media.
A political key figure and a journalist were slaughtered. No independent investigation has
been allowed and instead the “confessing” arrested-suspects have been released.
Human Rights Watch on 2nd August 2010 documented a worrying pattern of intimidation, harassment
and other abuses - ranging from killings and arrests to restrictive administrative measures
against opposition parties, journalists, members of civil society and other critics. Opposition
parties were either prevented to register, either their leaders were and still are incarcerated or
indefinitely kept under extended house arrest.
On 11th August 2010 in Brussels the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy, Catherine Ashton, and EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs on the
Presidential Elections in Rwanda commended the calm atmosphere but reminded:
“The EU is still concerned about the serious incidents which marred the pre-electoral period and urges the
Rwandese authorities to ensure that the investigations and judicial proceedings regarding
these events are carried out in full transparency and as rapidly as possible.
Further opening of the political space and strengthening the public debate throughout the
country would significantly contribute to safeguarding Rwanda's achievements and will
benefit all Rwandese”.
The report of the Commonwealth election observer group noted the peaceful aspect of the
election but mentioned that “however, while the campaign was fairly active, albeit dominated
by the largest party, the fact that the four candidates were all drawn from the governing
coalition meant there was a lack of critical opposition voices. A number of opposition parties
had earlier stated their intention to stand but faced either legal or administrative problems,
which resulted in their non-participation”.
Many other organisations and nations have expressed their concerns over the level of exclusion of the opposition.
It's our right now to question clearly and publicly the legitimacy of the election results until dialogue, negotiation and compromise are reached.
Arm-wrestling contest with the UN over large scale mass killings in the DRC
Early September 2010, a leaked report, by the office of the UN high commissioner for human
rights (OHCHR), detailing undoubtedly war crimes and what "could be classified as crimes
of genocide" committed by the RPF government and the army during the invasions and
subsequent "relentless pursuit and mass killing" of Hutus in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo sparkled an arm-wrestling between the UN and the regime.
The government of General Paul KAGAME angrily threatened to pull 3,500 troops out of a Darfur peace keeping
mission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced that the report of the
Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between 1993 and 2003 will be made public on 1 October 2010.
This report brings to surface other thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity
committed in Rwanda by the RPF during and after the genocide in 1994.
Whatever will be the outcome of the pressure and hidden negotiations to alter the draft report the credibility of the government of General Paul KAGAME and his ruling RPF remains an
Poverty reduction scam
Most development partners of Rwanda rely on the ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT &
POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY 2008 – 2012 discussed previously with the
government. It is a paper painting a glowing picture of a "stable nation, on the path to
achieving better lives for each and every one of (the country's) citizens".
The FDU Inkingi does not share this optimistic diagnosis. Indeed, the so called achievements
are not self sustainable in the medium and long term as they are based on heavy external aid.
For example, for the fiscal year 2010-2011, out of a total budget of billions 984 RWF, 345
billions are expected to be foreign funded.
This is a result of the government economic priorities which do not address the most urgent
problems of national cohesion, economic equal opportunity and self sustainability.
Ascertaining that poverty has fallen under the leadership of the current regime is far from the
truth. Indeed the bottom line should not be 1994, but well before the war. According to
UNDP, the total number of people living under severe poverty is 60% (see also table 2.2.).
This figure was 47% under the previous regime.
Exit strategy that is put forward by the government paper suggests among other to increase
paid employment (page 24). Yet, even some of the paid workers live now under the poverty
line. A recent survey by our economic desk shows that a medical worker (infirmier) earns
90.000 RWF. Assuming that he is married and has two children, which is well conservative.
He will spend, according to our survey, a minimum of 141.000 RWF per month on basic items like foods, transport fees, and house rent. This leaves a deficit of over 50.000RWF to this medical worker. The situation is worse for primary school teacher. Some of them are simply deserting their profession as they can no longer sustain their families with their salaries.
As acknowledged by government paper (item 2.20) income inequality is increasing, both between rural and urban areas, and between Eastern province and the rest of the country, the
Southern province lagging well behind. The GINI coefficient (page 142, figure 7.3) rose from
47% in 2001/2002 to 51% in 2005/2006. Rwanda was well above the average of the other
African countries’ Gini coefficients.
In other word, around 40% of the national wealth is in
the hands of 10% of the rich. The so much lauded economic growth has therefore not
contributed to the reduction of poverty, as it mainly benefited to the already rich class.
Reducing poverty is not just a window-dressing, it is more than cleaning the streets of Kigali
or planting flowers along the streets. Reducing poverty is fighting it where it is the most
severe, i.e. in rural and suburb areas. It is unacceptable that "68% of the total poverty
reduction in the country be accounted for by a single province (page 25), which is by any
standard the most populated.
Serious step towards a long lasting solution are needed.
In the background of the shrinking credibility and legitimacy of the Rwandan regime unfolds
a deeper military crisis as well. A political and military decomposition of dictatorships have
incalculable consequences in developing nations. The only way to avoid total disintegration,
chaos and a possible other Somalia is to tighten a strong international pressure to work on a
solution to the political impasse. The government should release all political prisoners i.e. Mr. Deogratias MUSHAYIDI (life sentence); Mr. Charles NTAKIRUTINKA (15 years); Dr. Théoneste NIYITEGEKA (15 years); Mr. Bernard NTAGANDA, Mr. Martin NTAVUKA and drop all politically motivated charges against the PS Imberakuri and the FDU INKINGI leaders including myself.
Independent inquiry on the murder of the Vice President of the Green Democratic Party of Rwanda Mr. André KAGWA RWISEREKA, and the assassination of the journalist Jean Léonard RUGAMBAGE should start now.
We need an immediate mediation process for a negotiated solution which allows face to be
saved and an agreement for an all inclusive transitional system that will prepare a total
democratisation of Rwanda.
Our plea to the donors is to "seek ways to ensure that it builds institutional capacity for the
country’s continued progress, not political capacity for KAGAME’s continued power" . This is well described by Charles Landow (associate director of the Civil Society, Markets and Democracy Initiative at the Council on Foreign Relations. The KAGAME Dilemma, September 8, 2010): “a constrained political climate punctuated by violence is hardly the way
to preserve economic stability and poverty reduction in a country still recovering from wars
and in a region full of conflict and the potential for more”.
Continuing to dish in financial aid without taking into account this reality is like pouring water in a bottomless pit.
Ms. Victoire INGABIRE UMUHOZA
Chair, FDU INKINGI
Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch
Welcome to Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library