Rwanda: When political parties suffered suffocating burden of a despotic regime

The post colonial discriminative regimes that took control of Rwanda alienated other Rwandans especially the Tutsi, in all economic, social and political spheres. Many millions of Tutsis were killed, and others compelled to go into exile in neighbouring countries.

The post colonial discriminative regimes that took control of Rwanda alienated other Rwandans especially the Tutsi, in all economic, social and political spheres. Many millions of Tutsis were killed, and others compelled to go into exile in neighbouring countries.

Patriotic Rwandans in exile had no any other alter¬native but to pick arms and fight the despotic regime. This was done after all other diplomatic missions were deemed to be futile as the Arusha talks proved.

It is against this back¬ground again that the des¬potic regime that was under pressure from the RPF created a ‘Sham democracy’. Political parties mushroomed and a seemingly opposition was in place in the name of popular democracy.

It was nonetheless not easy for such a regime to embrace even what it was calling democracy. Opposition leaders were harassed and killed, and the whole country was in a total political turmoil that climaxed in the genocide immediately after the president’s death.

This climax is what the ne¬gationsts and revisionists shamelessly claim to be the cause of the genocide. No wonder therefore, the then regime used the liberation war and the confusion it had created as an escape goat; to implement a long planned Tutsi genocide.

It should however, be re¬membered too that, a handful Hutus who sympathized with Tutsi were not spared either.
After a long struggle, patriotic Rwandans managed to demolish and remove the despotic regime from power.

The leadership that took over laid an important foundation by forging a government of national unity as the earlier Arusha Peace Agreement stipulated. The government of national unity gained high credibility by embracing democracy, both at the national and international levels.

The government managed to; establish the rule of law and general security, share Power, Repatriate and resettle refugees (both internal and external) and integrate the former armed forces in the new Rwandan defense forces. This set a big blow to the critics of the new government.

Reconciling political parties

The Rwandan Patriotic party was the one that spear headed the struggle to oust the despotic regime and put in place a government of national unity. The party therefore opened a new world for other politi¬cal parties that had been si¬lenced for long.

“Political parties in the former regime had no equal rights and were identified with different negative groups (pro or anti divisionism) in most cases”, Protais Mitali, the president of the Liberal Party (PL) observed.

He adds that, “Liberty Party (PL) was formed in 1991 with the main aim of fighting the bad leadership of the time. We had three objectives to enhance: Justice, development and free movement of people. This was as a result of too much injustice at the time. But unfortunately it never worked the way we wanted. At the beginning of 1991, when political parties were born, things were good, PL collaborated with other parties like PSD and MDR, but when MDR changed to power (the Hutu extremists group), things fell apart and Genocide started that killed party leaders”.

Political party leaders who joined the bad wagon of those who planned the genocide and later on supervised its implantations, made no dif¬ference. This was of course after the hatred propaganda had gone to its heights.

Nevertheless, some (Hutu) never got involved in the preparation of genocide and were consequently victimized.

“But there were some people who were innocent and tortured for nothing just because they were Tutsis.
As a result, the party faced many challenges in operating.

Most of its leaders had died in the Genocide when political parties were given freedom to operate in the government of na¬tional unity. We had to mo¬biles the few survivors and joined the rest in building Rwanda”, Mitali says.

However, all the said above was not unique to PL and other parties that shared the same political agenda with it, suffered the wrath of extremists. Some of these parties include; Social Democratic Party (PSD) that was also created in 1991, when parties were allowed to operate.

These new parties were in constant disagreements with the ruling group and were involved in a number of confrontations.

They carried out demonstrations; public rallies asking for change and out of pressure, the Habyalimana government allowed political parties to participate in the Arusha negotiations.

Biruta says that, “the party (PSD) strongly opposed the government and its leaders where consequently killed during the 1994 Genocide. The leaders who were killed included: the first party chairman, Fredrick Nzamurambaho, then Vice chairmen, Felicien Ngago and Theoneste Gafaranga and Felicien Gatabazi, the party’s secretary general was killed in February 1994”.

The party president in a regrettable manner recalls the order of events during the horrible period of Tutsi genocide. He however, quickens to remark that there is need to change. He opined thus: “After 1994 Genocide, the country is undergoing reconstruction. It was not so easy to rebuild the party (PSD), but on a positive note the party participated in the 2003 elections and is represented in the parliament, cabinet and other in¬stitutions. It was so hard to begin, especially in terms of human resources because we had lost most of the leaders and members. We up to now, feel the consequences of the Genocide”.

Since then, the extremists formed different political parties aimed at fighting the government of national unity without success. Leaving alone the fact that rebellions are out fashioned in Africa, for any war to be successful, it must be justified.

The perpetrator’s parties and the so called wars are not justified and only lives to put them in a state of hopelessness.

Hon. Vincent Biruta: (PCD) President

Hon: Protais Mitali: (PL ) President

Contact: mutesif@yahoo.com

 

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