Posted: December 12, 2011 in Rwanda News
PROCLAMATION ESTABLISHING THE RWANDA NATIONAL CONGRESS
We, the Citizens of Rwanda who are signatories to this Proclamation, met in
Bethesda, Maryland, in the United States of America on 11 – 12 December
2010, to discuss strategies for resolving the explosive political impasse that
prevails in Rwanda and to envision a new nation embedded in human dignity,
mutual respect, freedom, liberty, justice, and democracy.
We firmly believe that all human beings have an inherent right to live in peace
and freedom and to the fair use of, and accessto, the resourceswith which their
nations are endowed for the promotion of the well-being of all citizens.. Every
person is entitled to the rights promulgated by the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the
African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and other international
conventions and instruments that explicitly establish and protect the full range of
universal human rights. The principal rationale for the existence of government
is to facilitate the realization of these fundamental and inalienable rights for all
Rwanda is an ancient nation. No doubt, every government that has exercised
control over the Rwandan state during the course of our country’s long history
can rightfully be credited for developments that have been of benefit to its
citizens. On balance, however, virtually every Rwandan government has
historically preyed on the citizenry and has suppressed the realization and
enjoyment of the inherent and universal rights of those whom it governed.
Autocratic government (in the form of a government controlled by an absolute
monarch or an all-powerful president) has generally been the norm during our
history. While Rwanda is a diverse society, the diversity of its national character
(based on class, ethnic identity, religion or region of origin) has often been
manipulated by elite political leaders to satisfy their selfish and egoistic interests
and to acquire or monopolize power and access to resources. Our people have
never had the opportunity to fully realize their aspirations for freedom, security
During its long history, Rwanda have never been provided with a political
environment wherein all of its citizens, regardless of their beliefs or origins, were
able to exercise their inherent rights. Instead, every group that has assumed
power – though at first proclaiming universal and democratic ideals – has in time
succumbed to the lure of the monopoly of power.
Each ruling group eventually found justification to exclude the majority of
Rwandans from the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. The ruling class
often assumed absolute power and governed with impunity, outside the rule of
law and outside universally recognized democratic norms; it prepared to
eliminate both real and perceived political opponents and competitors for the
privileges that flow from control of political power.
For ordinary Rwandans, they were rarely, if ever, entitled to their inherent
human rights and the right of expression of beliefs and free association. In the
past, and sadly to this day, political leaders determined who should live or who
should die, outside the rule of law. The struggle in Rwanda of competition for
power and access to resources has often unleashed cataclysmic conflict, killings
and untold human suffering, particularly over the last five decades. Horrendous
violence, including crimes against humanity and genocide, has in the past been
unleashed against innocent men, women and children caught in the crossfire of
elites struggling for political supremacy.
Upon assuming power at the end of the genocide in 1994, the Rwandese
Patriotic Front (RPF), the party that governs Rwanda today, promised to reverse
the violent history of the past; it promised to overturn a political culture of
violence, unaccountable government, and exclusion and marginalization of the
majority of the population. Regrettably, Rwanda is now far less free than it was
prior to just before the genocide.
The RPF has established a political system that maintains a false appearance of
multi-party democracy but does not provide real opportunity for political dialogue
or competition. Rwanda’s laws make it impossible for individuals and
organizations other than the RPF to participate meaningfully in politics and to
build the nation on behalf of all Rwan-dans. Rwandans do not have opportunities
for meaningful political participation and cannot exercise their fundamental right
to choose and change government. Instead,’ while Rwanda holds regular
elections, their outcomes are pre-determined.
Rwanda’s political system does not provide opportunity for checks and balances.
The entire machinery of government is controlled by the Head of State. The
legislature, virtually all of whose members belong to the ruling party, is a rubber
stamp for the executive and complies with its every demand. Further, the
judiciary lacks independence. Economic, social and political power is
concentrated in the hands of a small group of officials answerable only to the
President, who control all institutions of the state from behind the scenes. In
sum, the Rwandan Government is not accountable to the people of Rwanda.
The RPF maintains its monopoly of political power by means of repressive laws,
unfair and illegal administrative practices, fear, intimidation and violence.
Administrative, law enforcement, judicial and security institutions are used to
suppress the exercise of fundamental human rights of citizens who are not
members of the RPF. Draconian restrictions limit the ability of civil society,
including the media, to hold government accountable. The government uses the
security services to persecute opponents and critics of the government. Elements
of the security services regularly resort to issuing false charges, illegal detentions,
politically-motivated prosecutions, imprisonment of opponents, enforced
disappearances, and extra-judicial killings and other forms of violence to
maintain the RPF’s monopoly of power.
Rwanda’s poor record of governance enhances social polarization, stemming
from cleavages driven by perception of marginalization and exclusion based on
class, ethnicity, region, language and origin. The government’s failures result in
widespread and increasing poverty, especially among the rural population, and
perpetual conflict. Rwanda also suffers an endemic problem of refugees. It has
grappled with armed insurgency by groups based in the Democratic Republic of
Congo that the government has not been able to defeat.
President Paul Kagame justifies these draconian restrictions on the exercise of
civil and political rights on the grounds that the restrictions are necessary to
prevent manipulation of ethnicity and recurrence of genocide. As a result of
these restrictions and violations of universal rights and liberties, Rwanda’s
government lacks popular legitimacy. This failure of legitimacy on the part of the
government presents grave implications for peace and stability.
In spite of the traumatic experiences that Rwandans have experienced and
continue to endure, they share common aspirations to live in peace, free from
fear of becoming victims of power struggles among competing elites. Rwandans
are eager to work to meet their own needs and to become self-sufficient. They
long to live in a nation whose growth is focused on ensuring that every individual,
family and community has equal access to the full range of human rights,
including access to health, education, work or land for farming. Our people
yearn to live in freedom, in a state that honors and respects their inherent rights
to human dignity, human rights and the right to determine their own future in
freedom and security.
Rwanda’s recovery from the ravages of war and genocide has been remarkable,
but is evidently not sustainable. Freedom, peace and economic and social
development are intimately linked. Freedom is the ultimate expression of human
dignity and equality. Freedom is essential for human happiness and well-being.
But until today, the absence of freedom is the most critical obstacle to the
achievement of our people’s dreams and aspirations.
As a direct result of the current government’s intransigent refusal to embrace
democracy and respect of our people’s fundamental and inalienable rights, the
threat of violent conflict and bloodshed again looms large over our motherland.
Rwanda needs profound political reform to avert the risk of violent conflict -
conflict that could be of the same or worse catastrophic proportions as the war
and genocide of the 1990s – and to ensure peace and sustainable development.
We are convinced that only profound change, rooted in popular aspiration for
freedom, peaceand mutual material well-being can avert the looming crisis.
We, the signatories of this Proclamation, share deeply-held convictions that the
policies of the current Rwandan government may, in the long- term, lead to
violent conflict and bloodshed. We are determined to work together with likeminded
Rwandansto avert this impending calamity and chart a new course that
will ensure sustainable peace for all our people. We believe that fundamental
political change is a pre-requisite for building and sustaining peace in Rwanda.
We are determined to work together and bring an end to dictatorship; we will
together usher in a new era of freedom, unity, democracy and the rule of law.
The present government, instead of working to address the issues that so
severely threaten the very survival of the nation, adamantly refuses to
acknowledge the need for political reform. We have, consequently, resolved to
establish, and hereby proclaim, the establishment of the Rwanda National
Congress to spearhead a national peaceful struggle to end the current
dictatorship, establish democracy and ensure sustainable peacefor all Rwandans.
We envision a new Rwanda infused with freedom, unity, peaceand prosperity for
all, without discrimination The Rwanda National Congress is not a political party.
It is an umbrella, broad-based orqanization for all Rwandans to exert pressure
and advocate for democratic change through peaceful means.
We envision a new Rwanda that will be a united, democratic, and prosperous
nation inhabited by free citizens with harmonious and safe communities who will
live together in peace, dignity and mutual respect, regardless of class, ethnicity,
language, region, origin or other differences, within a democracy governed
according to universal principles of human rights and the rule of law.
The political-and societal- transformation we seek to bring about in Rwanda can
only be achieved if it is rooted in values that are both relevant to our people’s
cultural heritage and reflect the aspirations of the majority of Rwandans at this
time in history. These values, which shall be the foundation of our nationrebuilding
process, include human dignity and respect for human rights, equality
and non-discrimination, mutual respect, democracy and the rule of law, integrity,
empathy, solidarity, patriotism, humility, forgiveness, the right and responsibility
of citizens to hold leaders accountable, accountable leadership, truth, justice,
The objectives of our cause are to:
1. Stop and prevent violent conflict, including genocide and grave human
rights violations that Rwanda’s people have periodically suffered and
that have historically extended to citizens – men, women, and children
- of neighboring states;
2. Eradicate a culture of impunity for human rights violations;
3. Create a conducive and progressive environment for inclusive social
and economic development for all the people of Rwanda;
4. Establish, nurture and institutionalize democratic governance,
particularly the rule of law in all its aspects;
5. Establish independent, non-partisan, professional civil service and
6. Build a stable society that promotes and protects equality, embraces
and celebrates diversity, and fosters inclusion in all aspects of national
7. Promote individual, community and national reconciliation and healing;
8. Promote harmonious relations, reconciliation and mutually- beneficial
collaboration with the peoples and governments of neighboring states;
9. Resolve the chronic problem of Rwandan refugees;
10. Nurture a culture of tolerance to diverse ideas, freedom of discussion,
and debate of critical issues.
We promulgate this Proclamation in the earnest hope that it will encourage all
Rwandans of good will to overcome fear and mistrust, and to dedicate
themselves to the pursuit of the ideals, values, principles and goals that this
Proclamation embodies. We view this Declaration as a living document that will
evolve over time. We believe this Proclamation must reflect the collective will of
all Rwandans who, like us, envision a peaceful, democratic, and free nation for
themselves and for posterity.
We, the founders of the Rwanda National Congress gathered at Bethesda,
Maryland, in the United States of America, representing a wide diversity of our
nation, do hereby adopt this Proclamation this lih day of December, 2010.
3.Lt. Gen. Kayumba :Nyamwasa
lO.Jean Paul Turayishimye