Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch

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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:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

RWANDA:We receive serious threats, says Rwandan opposition

| By Saskia Houttuin (Photo: Saskia Houttuin
 Rumours about Rwandan refugees and exiles receiving threats, mysteriously disappearing or being murdered are nothing new. However, as Rwandans are becoming increasingly critical of the government, opposition leaders warn that Kigali may pose a more serious threat, even in Europe. British police recently warned two Rwandans that they may be at risk of being assassinated by their government. But are these concerns justified?

About 300 Rwandans from Europe attended the public meeting ‘Agenda for change’ in Brussels, capital of Belgium, organized by FDU-Inkingi (United Democratic Forces) and RNC (Rwanda National Congress) last Sunday. Members are happy to meet again and greet each other warmly, but it is time for serious talks.
The rage over the detention and prosecution of Victoire Ingabire, leader of the FDU Inkingi and candidate at the 2010 presidential election in Rwanda, has stimulated opposition parties to take action. “It is necessary, but also causes a major problem” says Charles Ndereyehe, FDU-Inkingi politician who lives in The Netherlands. “Many refugees openly challenge the regime. Lately the Rwandan government has been threatening opponents in Belgium, France, and recently in Great-Britain.”
“It’s a worsening issue” adds Gérard Karangwa Semushi, vice president of PDP-Imanzi (PDP =Pacte de Défense du Peuple, People’s Defense Pact), also an inhabitant of The Netherlands: “Not only are they hunting for opponents, they have found new methods to commit murders, like poison.”
Valid allegations?
In May 2011, the British newspaper The Independent revealed that the Rwandan government was allegedly planning to assassinate two dissidents in Britain for being critical about the regime. Both attended the meeting in Brussels. One of them is Rene Mugenzi, who publicly criticized Rwandan president Paul Kagame on television. He was warned by The Metropolitan Police that he faced a possible threat of assassination. “It was much unexpected” says Mugenzi. “I knew I have divergent ideas, but I had no idea they would want to kill me”.
The Rwandan Government denies all allegations. Immaculee Uwanyiligira, Rwandan ambassador in The Netherlands: “These indictments do not make sense at all. Why would it be in our interest to damage our own reputation? Frankly, why would we commit a terror act to a friendly country? We have a good relationship with Britain. Why would we upset that relationship?”
Danger in the Netherlands
What about potential threats in The Netherlands? Wim van der Weegen, spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry and Security and Justice, told RNW that the ministry is aware of what happened in England, but they did not comment about possible threats to Dutch residents. “If people are threatened, we recommend they go to the police. We are always alert for possible danger, in any form whatsoever.”
“The opposition party is very politically motivated.” Says Uwanyiligira. “This strategy is part of their campaign. They are trying to dismantle the solid reputation Rwanda has built since the genocide. There is nothing to worry about in the Netherlands.”
Ndereyehe admits he has not been directly threatened in The Netherlands; therefore it has not been necessary to alert the Dutch police. “But still, I watch my step.” He says. “I hope The Netherlands remain vigilant, that they also communicate with other European countries.”

Also according to Karangwa Semushi danger may still be lurking around the corner: “We strongly suspect that there are some invaders in the Netherlands who keep an eye on the opposition. How come I'm so sure? Let’s just say we have our own sources, including from Kigali.”
Life is still normal
It seems that for the time being there is no reason to raise the alarm bells in Europe, but nevertheless the Rwandan Diaspora remains vigilant. “The police have taken specific measures to secure me, but I don’t feel very safe.” Says Mugenzi. “At the same time, life is still normal. Sometimes I think about it, but I try not to...otherwise I can’t move on.”