Thursday, October 14, 2010, at 12: 50 Rwanda time, more than six policemen in two police vehicles came to Victoire Ingabire’s house and arrested her. The source who communicated the information initially thought she was taken to an unknown location but it was later confirmed that it was to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Kacyiru, where the headquarters of this intelligence unit are located.
A few days ago, we had reported a heavy presence of police forces which had surrounded her house since Friday night. This was three days after Paul Kagame had, during the swearing-in ceremony of his new government, announced that, ‘the political space is well and fully occupied by the people of this country (Rwanda),’ implying that political parties of the banned opposition, namely FDU-Inkingi of Victoire Ingabire, Green Party of Frank Habineza and PS-Imberakuri, should forget about competing politically while he rules.
In his same public address on Wednesday October 6th, he went on to ridicule those accusing him of having committed genocide against Hutu refugees in Congo. He instead invited his audience, particularly his people in positions of leadership to ignore all the claims of lack of political space, democracy, etc, by human rights organizations, partner countries, and political opposition, and focus instead on their mission and avoid being disturbed in any way.
Hence Victoire Ingabire is today victim of someone zealous in government who is fulfilling Kagame’s recommendations from last week. She has been waiting for a court hearing about her judiciary case since April, but the government prosecutor has repeatedly indicated they were waiting some information from external sources to progress the judgment. But as it appears, it’s only a malicious tactic of depriving her of her civil rights of doing politics in Rwanda and representing her party.
Me Bernard Ntaganda, Chair of PS-Imberakuri, is another Rwandan political prisoner. On the human rights front, he has not been as lucky as Victoire Ingabire so far. He was imprisoned on June 24th, 2010, for organizing an illegal public demonstration according to the Rwandan general prosecutor. On Tuesday October 12, 2010, four policemen took him from where he is imprisoned in Kigali at the famous 1930 Prison, for unknown location. Those following his whereabouts feared for him. Apparently he was returned the following day. He had been taken for investigation about the requests of his party to let him to be visited by human rights organizations.
There are hundreds of political prisons in Kagame’s prisons. Many less known than others. Those who fall in the process and die get forgotten. That’s one of the many of the Rwandan president’s strategies of dealing with dissent voices, or only those he wants their number reduced. As he stressed last week that every inch of political space was already occupied, those among Rwandans who don’t want to be finished through his system of oppression, need to stand up for their rights since they still have some time.