I agree that there was a genocide by Hutu extremists against the Tutsis, that is the reality. The people who did this need to face justice. But there were also other crimes against humanity, including the killing of Hutus.
I don’t believe in violence and war is not the solution to the problems that face this country.
People say there’s stability in Rwanda but this stability is based on repression … We need stability based on freedom. I don’t understand how democratic countries can remain friends with a government that doesn’t allow democracy. The democratic UK is supporting a dictatorship.
Shall I die or live, be detained or released what we have achieved will not go back. This movement is stronger than me. Remanding me in captivity or silencing my voice can only postpone the revolution. It cannot stop the movement.
Unity and Reconciliation Speech at Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre
On the 16th January 2010, Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, having stayed abroad for 16 years, returned to her country to register her political party and run for presidential elections. It was her first time back in Rwanda since the genocide committed against Tutsi people. On her very first day in Rwanda, she went to lay a wreath of flowers at the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre and made a speech on unity and reconciliation.
Her speech, translated in English below, has been submitted as evidence in the court of law on divisionism and revisionism charges leveled against her.
“I would like to say that today, I came back to my country after 16 years, and there was a tragedy that took place in this country. We know very well that there was a genocide, extermination. Therefore, I could not have returned after 16 years to the same country after such actions took place. They took place when I was not in the country. I could not have fallen asleep without first passing by the place where those actions took place. I had to see the place. I had to visit the place.
“The flowers I brought with me are a sign of remembrance from the members of my party FDU and its executive committee. They gave me a message to pass by here and tell Rwandans that what we wish for is for us to work together, to make sure that such a tragedy will never take place again. That is one of the reasons why the FDU Party made a decision to return to the country peacefully, without resorting to violence. Some think that the solution to Rwanda’s problems is to resort to armed struggle. We do not believe that shedding blood resolves problems. When you shed blood, the blood comes back to haunt you.
“Therefore, we in FDU wish that all we Rwandans can work together, join our different ideas so that the tragedy that befell our nation will never happen again. It is clear that the path of reconciliation has a long way to go. It has a long way to go because if you look at the number of people who died in this country, it is not something that you can get over quickly. But then again, if you look around you realize that there is no real political policy to help Rwandans achieve reconciliation. For example, if we look at this memorial, it only stops at people who died during the Tutsi genocide. Hutus who lost their people are also sad and they think about their lost ones and wonder, ‘When will our dead ones be remembered?’
“For us to reach reconciliation, we need to empathize with everyone’s sadness. It is necessary that for the Tutsis who were killed, those Hutus who killed them understand that they need to be punished for it. It is also necessary that for the Hutus who were killed, those people who killed them understand that they need to be punished for it too. Furthermore, it is important that all of us, Rwandans from different ethnic groups, understand that we need to unite, respect each other and build our country in peace.
“What brought us back to the country is for us to start that path of reconciliation together and find a way to stop injustices so that all of us Rwandans can live together with basic freedoms in our country.”