The racist South African regime had accused the leaders of the African National Congress of 221 accounts of sabotage designed to overthrow the Apartheid system.
The Rivonia trial, as it was called, was essentially a mechanism through which the apartheid government would hurt or mute the ANC and allied organisations.
Mandela well aware of the righteousness of his movement political struggle made a long speech [I am prepared to die] before the court at the start of his trial. Among other points he stated this:
“…During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
On Monday, April 16th, 2012, Victoire Ingabire, leader of FDU-Inkingi, who is accused of terrorism, divisionism and negationism by the Rwandan Patriotic Front regime, and has been in prison since October 14th, 2010, announced to the High Court in Kigali her decision to boycott hearings in her trial.
She accuses the court of evident collusion with the Rwandan prosecutor in miscarrying justice at her detriment.
A particular element in her statement to boycott the court, which highlights the subtlety of the regime tactics of intimidation and level of rottenness, is worth pointing out.
Victoire Ingabire discloses the content of confidential discussions held on April 8th, 2011 [the following day of the official anniversary of the Rwandan genocide – the timing could not be less critical for psychological intimidation] at the request of Martin Ngoga, the Rwandan General Prosecutor.
During that secret meeting, the latter said:
“I [Victoire Ingabire] was arrested because I have caused a political stand-off with the government alleging that we are promoting a new Hutu rule because I and my party are accusing RPF of crimes against the Hutu populations…”
What is surprising about the General Prosecutor’s allegations is that, instead of seeing in Ingabire’s political struggle a legitimate process to access equal rights and democracy for all Rwandans, a relatively similar fight Mandela and his colleagues had against apartheid rule, he demonstrates that by acknowledging that RPF killed Hutu populations, Kagame’s government he represents will have lost its legitimacy to rule the country.
The prosecutor could’ve been more courageous if he had demonstrated to Ingabire that RPF was being wrongly accused of such crimes.
In the same statement, Victoire Ingabire declares:
“Shall I die or live, be detained or freed, what we have achieved will never go back. This movement is even stronger than me.”
The two political leaders were prepared to die for the cause they champion: Mandela then, Ingabire today.
Mandela spent 27 years in prison after the Rivoni trial and was only freed in 1990.
Let’s hope Ingabire’s release from Kagame’s prison won’t take so long.