From RDR to DALFA-Umurinzi: Why Victoire Ingabire has never changed

When the Genocide against the Tutsi was brought to a halt in 1994, Rwandans embarked on the journey of reconstruction, which required resilient citizens and a focused leadership. The country faced criminals who were supported or used by foreigners. They are either patronising characters or nostalgic of divisionism.

The Genocide was rooted in the colonial system. It deepened under the divide-and-rule system. That is how the killings were organised, systematically planned and executed.

Recently, an organisation that calls itself “DALFA-UMURINZI” was created. Its founder, Ingabire Victoire Umuhoza, is a convicted criminal who was never rehabilitated. She is not a politician, an opposition leader, but a criminal.

The architects of the “Umurinzi” include those who wrote Rwanda’s divisive constitution of 1978. That constitution was “determined to preserve the legacy and ideals of the ‘revolution’ of 1959”, that laid the groundwork for the Genocide against the Tutsi. It was written by Belgian Professor Filip Reyntjens.

Filip Reyntjens defended the genocidaires at ICTR in Arusha. As a researcher and “expert”, he never gave benefit of the doubt to RPF. He instead, “from the beginning, has never trusted the RPF” as he wrote in his book, Les risques du metier, in 2009. 

Yet when it’s about defending Genocide deniers, Filip Reyntjens will never disappoint.

On March 29, 1995, Gen Augustin Bizimungu chaired a meeting in Mugunga (DR Congo) that created the Rally for the Return of the Refugees and Democracy in Rwanda (RDR). Participants included Charles Ndereyehe, Lt Col BEM Juvenal Bahufite, and Col Joseph Murasampongo. Maj Aloys Ntabakuze and Gen Augustin Bizimungu were secretary and chair of the meeting, respectively.

The RDR replaced the Abatabazi genocidal government and was tasked to continue with the latter’s agenda. This founding meeting was attended by a Belgian parliamentarian, Thierry Detienne.

On April 4, 1995, Gen Augustin Bizimungu chaired an ex-FAR High Command meeting that supported RDR vision and subscribed to all of its objectives. Subsequently, on April 29, 1995, ex-FAR disassociated themselves from the ‘government’ in exile and joined the RDR. And the so-called Ministers were instructed to surrender all the files to RDR that would handle them on behalf of all the refugees.

It was a “Coup d’Etat” in exile.

The RDR held its first congress concurrently in Bukavu and Mugunga (both in DR Congo) on February 5-8, 1996 as they finalised plans to attack Rwanda, which were thwarted when the Kigali government intervened in time and repatriated the refugees.

Later, the RDR held its second congress in Paris (France) on August 22-23, 1998 and changed its name to “Republic Rally for Democracy in Rwanda (RDR). Notably, Ingabire Victoire was appointed its coordinator in The Netherlands.

Meanwhile, a coalition called Union des Forces Democratiques Rwandaises (Rwandan Democratic Forces Union, or UFDR) was created on September 20, 1998 in Brussels, bringing together the Resistance Forces for Democracy (FRD) of Faustin Twagiramungu and the Republican Rally for Democracy in Rwanda (RDR) of Victoire Ingabire and Charles Ndereyehe, who had attended the RDR founding meeting in Mugunga (DRC).

Victoire Ingabire would later be elected as president of RDR. That was during 3rd congress of RDR in Bonn (Germany) on August 17-19, 2000.  In her foreword in the “Rwanda Rwacu” Magazine of November 2000, Ingabire acknowledged that RDR was founded in Mugunga and pledged to preserve its ideals and objectives.

Six years later, on April 29, 2006, in Brussels, UFDR changed its name to UDF, or United Democratic Forces (UDF)-Inkingi, and its objective was to “to put an end to the current constitution in force in Rwanda”.  Victoire Ingabire became its founding “chairperson”. She still is.

That is the same organisation she has been fighting to register as a genuine political party in Rwanda!

The truth is that RDR was a subversive military force under a political cover. It was nothing but a terrorist group. And its vision and objective has never changed, according to the records from the Netherlands Police sent to Rwanda during Victoire Ingabire’s trial.

Now, her FDU is part of what is known as the P5 Coalition. It brings together FDU-Inkingi (of Ingabire Victoire), MRCD-FLN (of Paul Rusesabagina and Faustin Twagiramungu), RNC (of Kayumba Nyamwasa), PDP-Imanzi, a PS-Imberakuri faction, FDLR, RUD-Urunana and CNRD. Similary, this coalition is nothing but a terrorist group that has had carried out deadly attacks on innocent civilians.

And so the latest twist in these decades-long manoeuvres is that Victoire Ingabire has created yet another organisation she calls DALFA UMURINZI. This with the blessing and in agreement with her UDF-Inkingi, which has stated that “Ingabire Victoire explained to us and we agreed on appropriate way to carry out the activities”.  

‘Umurinzi’ is a Kinyarwanda word for ‘Custodian’.

In short, Victoire Ingabire is still committed to the preservation of the ideals of the forces behind the Genocide against the Tutsi. The Victoire Ingabire of RDR is no different from the one of Inkingi, or Umurinzi. She’s the same extremist and the same criminal.    

The writer is a political analyst and Pan-Africanist.

The views expressed in this article are of the author.