Kigali, 09 January 2012
On Friday 06 January 2012, some members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, accepted a few live questions from prisoners inside the Kigali Central Prison. The political prisoner Ms. Victoire Ingabire, FDU-INKINGI Chair, engaged the Senators on the plight of political prisoners in Rwandaand urged them to promote laws granting more freedoms and democracy in the country before they finish their term in the Senate.
“What do you think about the issue of political prisoners here? My visitation right has been restricted. I don’t have rights to attend church service or pray with others and was told that no change is to be seen until Easter. You have been appointed for 8 years. Rwandans expect your mandate to abolish vague laws that generate political prisoners. People need more freedoms and democracy in this country. Otherwise, there will be no real reconciliation, no sustainable development and no political stability … ”.
Her comments were followed by a wave of applause through the crowd of prisoners. “She has some bad influence here”, murmured a security officer to a member of the delegation who mumbled “they are just prisoners”! The visiting members of the Senate promised to discuss the issue with to whom it may concern.
The delegation was chaired by Senator Jean Damascene BIZIMANA, the head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security. This is no special event as the committee has been touring different prisons i.e. 29 November 2011 visit to NYAGATARE prison and GABIRO community service program for prisoners (TIG). Before his appointment in the Senate, Dr Jean Damascene BIZIMANA, a former Minister of Infrastructure, held positions in the government, including being the Executive Secretary of the so called Travaux d’Intérêts Généraux (TIG), a controversial post-genocide institution that acknowledged that the whereabouts of 27,000 prisoners remain a mystery (IGIHE.COM, 04 January 2012).
In 2010, a study commissioned by the Rwandan Senate on political pluralism and power sharing in Rwanda revealed that 69 percent of those surveyed believe the fear of authority is the major obstacle to freedom of speech and political space, followed closely by the mindset of nepotism and the legacy of Genocide.
Today, FDU-INKINGI welcomes the liberation of Executive member of the party, Mr. Gratien NSABIYAREMYE abducted and beaten by Captain RUTABURINGOGA of the marine unit in Gisenyi on 02 January 2012. Prosecutor Chantal Uwamahoro issued a release order but he will be reporting to the local police station every Tuesday. The impunity granted to Captain RUTABURINGOGA raiding homes of innocent civilians in the night and beating people in public contributes to a climate of terror and uncertainty among the population. This is one of the faces of the current judicial in Rwanda.
Interim Vice President