Members of the Senatorial Standing Committee on Political and Governance affairs yesterday had an angry exchange with the president of the conflict-ridden Partie Sociale Imberakuri (PS Imberakuri) political party.
The committee had summoned Bernard Ntaganda to explain in detail his recent statements in the media which the Senate considered to be promoting divisive politics and spreading the Genocide ideology.
At the beginning of the session, the chairman of the committee, Joseph Karemera told Ntaganda that the Senate based on recorded information of his statements to summon him.
He had beforehand assured the politician that the Senate is not accusing him of anything, but had instead summoned him to have a dialogue with him.
Karemera tabled the allegations before Ntaganda and requested him to avail the committee with extensive information. But before he could finish his introductory remarks, the latter was already in fighting mood.
The fuming Ntaganda accused the Senate of attacking him and requested the lawmakers to give him more time to study his explanatory notes.
“You told me that this is a dialogue, but from the questions tabled before me, it seems I am already accused of something. This is why I need more time to study my case,” said Ntaganda.
He threatened to sound the alarm through the media to the international community over his meeting with the Senate.
The majority of Senators in the committee tried to convince Ntaganda that he was not accused of anything and pleaded with him to use the opportunity to clear the air on what he is being accused of, but he insisted that he was not in a position to dialogue with the Senate.
Senator Karemera told Ntaganda that, “this (senate) is not a court we are just seeking clarification on the statements you made on radio. Your party is not the first party we have summoned here; why do you need time to think about something you already said?” said Karemera.
Senator Rwigamba Balinda also requested the seemingly furious Ntaganda to calm down and address the Senate.
In trying to cool down Ntaganda, Senator Jean Baptiste Bizimana requested his fellow Senators to accord Ntaganda the time he wants.
But Senator Valens Munyabagisha replied that the Senate had its own system of operation which was totally different from the judiciary and told Ntaganda that his opportunity in the senate would help him clear his name on the accusations of genocide ideology and divisionism.
Several other senators tried to advise Ntaganda but he instead told them that, “whatever I said came from my heart not my head.”
Karemera who chaired the meeting brought it to an end after the persuasions failed to yield.
“This session has no authority to endorse the extension of the meeting, and for this matter, I call this meeting to an end; the Senate will communicate to you,” said Karamera.
Some of the radical statements that Ntaganda has made of late include one his party has come to work in the ‘interest of the majority’ a common phrase that was used before and during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.