Taking the ball to African dictators’ hunting territory

When your oppressor takes away your memories, attacks your reason for living and destroys your hopes, nothing remains for you to live for.

Before it becomes too late for any possible reaction, you need to gather your remaining abilities to overcome ultimate death.

You then become the solution to your problems to survive.

The experience that Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the presidential candidate of the yet to be registered Rwandan political party, United Democratic Forces UDF-Inkingi, is living in Rwanda at the mercy of Paul Kagame regime is the translation of above statement for millions of Rwandans of all ethnic groups. Her example is not unique across the African continent. There are other politicians, journalists, activists, campaigners struggling to change oppressive structures developed by dictatorships, backed by the West.

As these courageous men and women of mother Africa are facing dictators on the ground, Africans of the diaspora, whose regimes back home are no different from dictatorships, primarily Rwandans (because of the cynical way their dictator is using their suffering to oppress them,  are invited  to stand up for the basic and civic rights of their compatriots in Africa. Those living in relatively democratic Western societies have space and capabilities to actively support democratic changes on the continent. But they need to be consistent in their endeavors to make it happen.

In Belgium, Joseph Matata of CLIIR (Centre de Lutte contre l’Injustice and l’Impunite au Rwanda) is staging public protests targeting American and British embassies, every two weeks since January 2010. In recent months, there have been a few other public protests in France, Luxembourg, Germany and UK.

Next month, at BBC World Service in London, there is another public protest themed Break the Silence addressing the millions of citizens from the Great Lakes Region of Africa who have been dying since the 90s but nearly unnoticed. Monthly public demonstrations around the world, in places where there are significant communities of Africans, are planned to  claim and lobby for democratic change in countries where African dictators are oppressing their citizens.

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