Letter from Nyamirambo III

Now, I must say adieu Patrick.  I am saying goodbye not because we have exhausted the topic of conversation, not by any means, but because most of the things your friends say are totally absurd. Consider the recent statement by Victoire Ingabire that Rwanda is heading for Somalization.

Now, I must say adieu Patrick.  I am saying goodbye not because we have exhausted the topic of conversation, not by any means, but because most of the things your friends say are totally absurd. Consider the recent statement by Victoire Ingabire that Rwanda is heading for Somalization.

A more ridiculous assertion it would be almost impossible to find.  Somalia is struggling to establish a State. Rwanda is accused by some of having a State that functions too well. One that delivers services to its people.

In which roads, hospitals and schools function, without the paralysis of incessant strikes by doctors, nurses and teachers. If having a functional State is a crime, then we plead guilty as charged. Somalia has descended into clan warfare and terrorism fuelled by religious extremism. 

We in Nyamirambo have moved beyond the ethnic labels and divisions dear to Ingabire. We are building a Country in which Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths are safe to practice their beliefs and contribute to the development of their country.

Ms Ingabire does not see this. She prefers the mayhem her organization the RDR wrought on this country a decade ago. Remember those days? Armed insurgents would stop taxis on the roads, separate the passengers into their perceived ethnic groups, and hack all they thought were Tutsi to death. 

Same thing in schools. If you refused the division as the students at Nyange did, they would massacre the entire lot.  And...Ms Ingabire would defend them as refugees fighting for a “safe” and “dignified” return.

The RDR and the successor organizations it spawned, including the FDLR and the FDU – Inkingi, may have different acronyms, but the philosophy and political agenda is the same. They would wish Rwanda to descend into chaos and violence. Fortunately, our memories are intact.

That is why we mobilized to stop them by voting the RPF candidate back into Office during the just concluded elections.

You know Patrick, Nyamirambo is thinking of asking for a recount of the votes. President Kagame got 93% of the vote. We think he should have gotten close to  100%.  That would also have been a democratic expression of the will of the people.

This should not shock you. When extremism threatens to tear a country apart, citizens mobilize, and give overwhelming support to a candidate they consider critical to National Unity and Development. Remember France in 2002? Jacques Chirac got 82% of the vote in the second round, the biggest majority in the history of the 5th Republic.

I did not hear those human rights groups and media pundits now complaining that a 93% vote is a reflection of an undemocratic state condemn France for being a dictatorship. But then we are used to hypocrisy and shifting goal posts from them. 

France in 2002 was reacting to the surprising emergence of Jean Marie Le Pen as a serious contender to the Presidency when he beat Lionel Jospin to the second position after the first round of the elections.

You remember Le Pen? He is a much milder version of Victoire Ingabire, yet he has been convicted in European courts for holocaust historical revisionism. He has been convicted, at least six times, of racism or inciting racial hatred. In 1997, the European Parliament waived his immunity to allow trial for statements he made at a press conference to wit that “if you take 1000 page book on World War II, the concentration camps take up only two pages and the gas chamber 10-15 lines. This is what one calls a detail.” 

A Munich court rightly found his statement “minimizing the holocaust which caused the death of six million Jews” and convicted Le Pen for his remarks.  In other words Patrick, this was not freedom of speech. It was criminal utterances. So tell me something.

Why should it be unacceptable for Le Pen to minimize the holocaust, but acceptable for Victoire Ingabire to minimize and revise the genocide that killed over one million Tutsi in Rwanda? Why should the one be a crime and the other an exercise in freedom of expression? 

Why is it normal, indeed right, that neo Nazi groups in Europe are banned and prevented from Political participation, while FDU- Inkingi and other successor groups to MRNDD – CDR-RDR-FDLR are promoted as the “real” legitimate opposition in Rwanda? 

Nyamirambo has rejected this denial of our dignity. We understand the difference between democracy and anarchy.  When we are told that Ms Ingabire is not guilty of genocide because she was not in Rwanda in 1994, we respond, as some did to Kurt Waldheim, “this non guilt cannot be confused with innocence.”

I hope Ms Ingabire gets life for her revisionism. I know she cannot get death in post genocide Rwanda, that country she loves to denigrate and which her political allies brought to its knees and near disintegration in 1994.

So Patrick, in 2002, the French mobilized to deny Le Pen and extremism a firm foothold in the politics of that country.  The World applauded their courage. 

Interestingly, even those who did not feel like they had a real choice in Chirac took to the streets with banners urging France to “Vote for the crook, not the fascist.’ Jacques Chirac got 82%. That was the democratic voice of the people of France in extraordinary circumstance. 

In August 2010, Rwandans mobilized to deny extremists, warmongers, genocide revisionists, negationists and deniers a foothold in the politics of the country. They also mobilized to vote into power a man they see as an embodiment of a new, confident, resurgent and unified Rwanda.

In Nyamirambo, young men and women traded in their Tupac or kabiri pece t- shirts as they are called by street touts, for Kagame is my hero ones.  President Kagame got 93% of the vote.

That is the democratic voice of the people of Rwanda in extraordinary circumstances. I think I hear you applaud their courage – maybe with a grimace on your face.  Adieu!


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