As results of Monday August 9th presidential election in Rwanda came in, everyone from opponents to proponents, agreed on the landslide score the incumbent Paul Kagame obtained. Celebrations of victory started even before announcement of the results, since the winner was known even before the race. Choreography of events was following a nearly rigorously crafted path that apparently nothing seemed to alter.
It is forty seven days after the shooting of Jean Leonard Rugambage, journalist of the banned Umuvugizi newspaper, in front of his house. Only nearly a month has passed after the almost beheading of Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, Vice President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda. Maybe forensic specialists could tell us whether bodies of these victims wore still some flesh on their bones by the time celebrations for elections’ victory were going on.
Martin Mavuka, a local leader of the political party FDU-Inkingi is languishing in prison since July 24th. The police found T-Shirts with inscriptions saying ‘We Need Democracy’ in his car and arrested him and a colleague for alleged threats to national security. Bernard Ntaganda, chairman of PS-Imberakuri, has been imprisoned on June 24th. He is in isolation in prison, apparently always handcuffed and without anyone to bring him food. Initial pictures of him at court hearings showed a malnourished person and made the public to assume that he was probably on hunger strike because of the mistreatment he and his colleagues were subject to. A source confirmed that he was being deprived of food by prison guards.
After the attempt of assassination on Lt. General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa, there are sources saying that he and Colonel Karegeya, both military people and dissidents who fall out with Paul Kagame, have moved houses. They are apparently under special protection so that new assassins don’t get to them if sent by whoever had sent the initial perpetrators.
And yet after an election marred with widely disputable democratic credentials from the ruling party of Paul Kagame, western mainstream media is inviting donors and investors to work with the elected Rwandan leader. ‘They will likely be satisfied with a Kagame victory as it should ensure continued stability and development in a region long hamstrung by conflict. Kagame has also backed greater economic integration within the East African Community – a bloc made up of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi,’ Reuters says.
Colonel Karegeya invites Rwandans to bring down their dictator. There are many other voices in the wider Rwandan community who don’t favor military option to oust Paul Kagame. Memories of devastations caused by war are still fresh in their minds. 1990 onward period throughout to the 1994 genocide and its aftermath are not far away. The elect president constitutes a major obstacle to Rwandan real reconciliation, democracy and fairer justice system. The option that will prevail will depend on how much clouds it can bring around its momentum. The question that the two camps have is not why Paul Kagame should go but how.