Presidential hopeful Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, descended on the country, to launch her presidential campaign in a bid to win votes from Rwandans, which is ok and part of the democratization process that has progressively been built over the past 15 years.
Given that the vote itself was as elusive , as was peace and security for Rwandan citizens 15 years ago, this historical competition among political rivals, is a fundamental tenet of the new dispensation towards a more democratic society, that Rwanda’s leadership under President Paul Kagame have ushered in.
However, what is problematic is the nature of the campaign Ingabire has shamelessly undertaken, marked by its dubious intention of taking Rwandans back to the primitive era, of institutionalized hatred; where citizens were defined more by their ethnicity and not the fundamental values that shape the co-existence, of people in a society.
Characterisations, imposed upon Rwandans, as a crucial strategy by colonialists in dividing and ruling over a people, who otherwise had co-existed, adopted by subsequent dictatorial regimes, in segregating communities on ethnic grounds, the consequence of which was the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which claimed over a million lives.
Madame Ingabire, and many privileged others fled the country missing out on the benefit of partaking in nation building efforts towards a new order in a post- Genocide Rwanda, one whose triumph over hatred and divisionism they are at pains to acknowledge, the kind of selective amnesia, which was demonstrated in her totally reckless remarks upon arrival in Kigali.
But the recklessness is part of a broader strategy - whip up emotions among Rwandans, remind them they are different, undermine the reconciliation processes, and have the society back in the dark ages of rule by ‘machete’.
Her mindset is still stuck in the Rwanda of yesteryear where people were ‘othered’ , denied citizenship, for was it not the late Juvénal Habyarimana who proclaimed that Rwanda was too small to accommodate the exiled Tutsi community?
A Rwanda in which citizens were denied basic rights such as health and education – both of which have become universally accessible for every Rwandan, regardless of ethnicity or class.
An era that produced the horrors of horrors still firmly etched in the world’s memory, one that the vow ‘Never Again’ simply means the political recklessness on the part of Ingabire and her cohorts will have no space or room to flourish again.
The human rights lingo did not exist in Ingabire’s vocabulary then.
One would be excused for thinking that 16 years in Europe, would impart a little decorum on the Presidential hopeful, but no the hard line position, has remained, whose frustration at positive developments in Kigali, unleashed itself in a rather deadly fashion, over the dead bodies - taken literary, of those who perished in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Surely, the departed must have turned in their graves as the woman sought to undermine the gravity of the cause of their deaths, of their reason for not being with their families today – pleading a case instead for those in whose hands they met their untimely deaths. Such is the insensitivity Ingabire has brought back home with her from Europe.
How very un-European for is it not there that a serious abhorrence of extremism in political conduct exists? To date parties such as the British National Party, agonize to make an imprint on the national agenda as they face stiff resistance from progressive members of society or the banning in Belgium of the Vlaams Blok, for espousing policies that were in contempt of laws against xenophobia – examples galore!
Africans in general and in particular Rwandans have suffered enough violence and civil strife, if madame Ingabire is serious about being taken seriously on Rwanda’s national political scene then she has to atone for her retrogressive statements.
The burden is on her to prove she can be part of the solution, as of now she can safely be dismissed as being part of the problem, lacking in statesmanship.
Not only did she fail to chose her words , as she espoused the double genocide ideology; but even the choice of campaign strategy of desecrating the Gisozi Memorial site, is indicative of total disrespect for the dead of diabolic satanic proportions - an abomination in African culture.
Ingabire is under no obligation to love or support Kagame, however, as a leader with ambitions of her magnitude, she must understand that Banyarwanda have values they cherish beyond political allegiance, as they seek to build a new society, different to the one she left years ago, she wishes to take them back to.
Her move left many of those who survived the genocide deeply hurt at being reminded of events that have left them scarred and traumatized for the rest of their lives.
Even more dangerous in this campaign strategy is the insinuation of violence upon which it is premised, which should send warning signals to anyone who cares to keep the peace and stability, currently being enjoyed by Rwandans.
Fears of a violent campaign are not without basis. A group of experts appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, authoritatively links Ingabire’s organization, UDF-Inkingi to FDLR operations in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The carnage , rape and looting in the eastern Congo, by the notorious FDLR, remains a pain for many leaders in the international community, who wish for peace for citizens there.
A situation likely to be compounded by the sheer recklessness of a woman whose ambition is to hold the highest office on the land, at any cost.
The only reminder to madame Ingabire is that Rwandans suffered enough violence and bad leadership, the gains of the past 15 years are irreversible, the sooner that sinks in her deranged mind, the better for all our sakes.