It has been in the public domain since April this year that Victoire Ingabire, leader of the main Rwandan opposition political party, lives under house arrest, with particular restrictions on her freedom of movement. She is not allowed to travel beyond Kigali, the capital. Since her passport has been also confiscated, for the last nine months, she has been unable to visit her family which lives in The Netherlands.
At one time the Rwandan minister of internal affairs menaced her of further trouble if she continued to give interviews to international media. In addition, her different landlords were pressured to cancel their rent contracts at several occasions. But this aspect of harassment may be temporary on hold. Though she has been evicted from the elite of Kigali’s neighbourhood, not because she couldn’t afford it, but because of economic discrimination prevailing in Rwanda against a fraction of the population.
Being the voice of millions of Rwandans who cannot express themselves for fear of direct consequences on their lives or their families, Victoire Ingabire, has continued undeterred to speak out against injustices her compatriots experience on a daily based.
This week she denounced the Education Minister, Mr. Charles Muligande, who last week had revealed that the government was stopping the subsistence portion of the student loan/bursary without offering any other alternative. Victoire Ingabire and her party FDU-Inkingi called upon the government not to touch the already small student’s subsistence token but instead to find compensations from other items of the national budget such as the presidential security systems and trips, the governmental propaganda expenses and travels.
Through a press release which also went out this week Victoire Ingabire criticised the president who had said during the swearing-in ceremony of the new government that there was no more political space left for the opposition and that he had no lessons to receive from perfidious donors.
Saturday October 9th, at Victoire Ingabire’s office in Kigali they issued a public note saying, ‘Since last night around 22:00 pm a large number of Defense Forces and from 4:00 am the Police forces are being reported in the area surrounding the residence of Mrs. Victoire Ingabire. Last nights, shopkeepers were asked to close their shops. A presence of at least six police officers with firearms can be observed from the residence of the president of FDU-Inkingi in Kigali.’ The office indicated it would provide updates later.
Victoire Ingabire is publicly the only person in the country who has been courageously standing against Paul Kagame’s policies in a persistent way. For that reason, she is the target of the president’s frustration about his present downfall on the international stage.
Ann Garrison, a Californian independent journalist, who heard about the latest development said, ‘ I fear for Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, because of reports that a large number of Rwandan Defense Force troops are in her neighborhood, that shops have been shut down, and that her home is surrounded by armed police.’