Please don’t get me wrong about this note. It is not trying to compare the two political personalities except what happened to them on those so close dates of the month of October of very different and distant years. I am also only explaining the context when their names crossed my mind almost simultaneously.
I incidentally did the connection when I was thinking about which individuals I should dedicate to the event scheduled this Saturday October 19th in London that the organizers have called Dying in the Great Lakes.
One of the persons who came to mind was Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the imprisoned leader of the Rwandan political party of the opposition FDU-Inkingi. People who have been following her case on these same pages in past years or elsewhere remember that she was put in jail on October 14th, 2010. Three years have passed. How fast time goes!
The major offense for which she was deprived of her human rights was that she dared to speak out against the injustices her Rwandan compatriots experienced and continue even today to live in the hands of the president Paul Kagame. She was also ready to compete for the highest office in the land on August 9th, 2010.
As for other people I thought about that the upcoming event in London could be dedicated to, there were:
1) People close and not so close, the hundreds of thousands of Rwandans who died and continue unduly dying in Kagame’s prisons; there are particularly other Rwandan political prisoners including Bernard Ntaganda, leader of PS Imberakuri, Deo Mushayidi, leader of PDR Imanzi and many others still alive or deceased;
2) Ms Agathe Habyarimana, the wife of former president Juvenal Hbyarimana who since the assassination of the latter by Paul Kagame, has suffered more than the share that any other widow could bear on earth. The RPF has accused her of having killed her husband, harassed and humiliated in many indescribable ways.
3) Rwandan and Congolese parents whose children are persistently kidnapped by Kagame’s security forces or supported militias in conquered territories of the Democratic Republic of Congo to fight in his wars and die on the battle field.
4) The hundreds of thousands of Congolese women and girls that Paul Kagame ordered and continues doing so to be systematically raped in order to clear wide areas in Eastern Congo for mining and resettlement of his selected Tutsi populations. Dying in the Great Lakes event is for these victims.
Back to Victoire Ingabire. For her courage, she is presently doing her time in prison for a sentence of 8 years she was unduly given by the Rwandan Patriotic Front regime.
Thomas Sankara, for anybody who might not know who he was, has been the charismatic Burkinabe and pan-africanist leader whose revolutionary ideas made him a typical target of imperialist forces opposed to the real development of Africa.
Only 3 years in office, he was assassinated on October 15th, 1987.
Of the same calibre as Patrice Lumumba and Nkrumah though they lived at different periods, his assassination deprived the continent of a leader who could’ve transformed Africa‘s stand in the world. Other people might have a different opinion on this assertion.
As I noticed people remembering Thomas Sankara this week, such thought made me on my side remember, as if this was only like yesterday, that Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza had been imprisoned on October 14th. The connection was straightforward.
Though the two personalities are different in stature, they have shown some common characteristics: they both demonstrated their strong principles against injustices suffered by their compatriots and they were ready to die for them or imprisoned.
Long live the ideas of all the true freedom fighters and cheerleaders of justice for all.