NL/SPO….2021/ 1 02 December 2021
RNC rejects the label by the Rwandan Government of being a terrorist organization.
By: Dr Etienne Mutabazi, RNC Spokesperson
RNC has been monitoring reports in some Rwandan media outlets, mostly The New Times, Rushyasha, Igihe.com, Virunga Post. In one publication, Taarifa reports that “RNC is a terrorist group composed of Rwandans living in South Africa, European countries and in their field bases in Uganda.” RNC’s name has continued to be dragged in numerous publications referring to it as a terrorist organization or outfit. The aim of these hopeless and redundant media and their sponsors is an attempt to delegitimize RNC in the eyes of the Rwandan population and the international community. This is a long held, constantly rehearsed propaganda strategy by the government of Rwanda, labelling all legitimate opposition parties and leaders terrorists, to justify illegal detentions and extra judicial killings.
These publications are nothing more than mouthpieces of the Rwandan intelligence and security structures. Likewise, Rwandan authorities, including the President of the Republic, has at many national talking occasions led desperate and unsuccessful campaigns to suggest that Rwanda’sstrained relations with neighboring states, mostly Uganda5 are caused by RNC, as if RNC has taken over the Republic of Uganda sovereignty prerogatives. Rwanda’s leadership labeling RNC as a terrorist organization is misleading, deceitful and constitutes a cheap political and ideological token which cannot stand the test of time.
The Rwandan government has issued numerous fictitious international arrest warrants targeting RNC leaders labeling them terrorists, as is common with most dictatorial regimes abusing international institutions to harass genuine critical voices. This is a preposterous and futile action that has been rejected with contempt or ignored by many states. The terrorist label and arrest warrants claims are baseless, not supported by incontrovertible facts or evidence.
The government of Rwanda imagines that arresting people, holding them incommunicado and forcing them to sign self-incriminating confessions is enough evidence in an impartial court. While the compromised courts in Rwanda have convicted innocent people on terrorism charges; in democratic countries, such charges fall in the realm of liberty and freedom of expression. What is called terrorism in Rwanda are constitutional protected rights in a democracy, including criticizing the President, free speech and right of choice in elections. We should remind that President Paul Kagame in 2017 rigged elections to the tune of 98.9% national elections. RNC criticized the disfranchising of our people, and in so doing, we were labeled terrorists. For the record, repeated utterances by the government of Rwanda that RNC is a terrorist organization is not anywhere near meeting even a misdemeanor threshold. For the benefit of its members and partners, RNC wishes to clarify to all Rwandans that it is not a terrorist organization and does not have any agenda of destabilizing Rwanda.
Since 20th July 2018, RNC and its partner organizations sought for open dialogue with Rwanda’s leadership. In very expressive terms, the request highlights that:
“It is therefore our firm conviction that only dialogue before anything else, is the only tribute and honour we can, as responsible citizens, pay to the numerous victims, destitute and all those who have now lost hope because of secular and bloody conflicts that have characterized our nation because of irresponsible leadership. Dialogue will pave a way for a better future, peaceful coexistence, and nation-building spirit of current and yet-tocome generations after we will have left this earth. Dialogue does not, after all, occur between interlocutors that share the same vision, but rather between those who have opposing views and approaches, while being conscious of imminent dangers and being bound by mutual respect and a willingness to listen attentively”.
For the attention of the international community, RNC would like to debunk the propaganda of the Rwandan government; suffice it to say, terrorists do not seek to engage in political dialogue. Besides, terrorists do not openly declare themselves in capitals of free nations and propagate political programs in full gaze of the police and security organs. RNC is pursuing a peaceful political agenda articulated in its various publications and has been engaging host countries sharing the envisaged peaceful agenda.
While the Rwandan government has labelled RNC an enemy or terrorists, we would wish to state that RNC is not an enemy of Rwanda. We are critics of the Rwandan government oppressive policies and for that, we wear a badge of honor. Confronted with life threatening challenges posed by the government of Rwanda, RNC will not shy away from advocating for peaceful coexistence of the Rwandan people. We shall continue to advocate for those who suffered the genocide tragedy and the oppressed Rwandans inside Rwanda, languishing in prisons and those who continue to flee their country because of the current irresponsible and short-sighted leadership.
President Kagame has invented many perceived enemies at home, in the region and abroad, whom he castigates in every speech. RNC does not have enemies anywhere in the world. The psychology and anthropology of enemy creation or terrorist labeling is the preserve of President Paul Kagame and his officials. RNC would categorically wish to disassociate itself with those analogies and categorization of citizens. As is government policy, Senator Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu preaches that Rwandans should raise up and undertake to hunt other Rwandans. General James Kabarebe, the Special Security Advisor of the President publicly preaches that the young Rwandan generation that grew up in exile inherited a genocide ideology from their parents. This is open profiling and ideological misguiding of the Rwandan youth, intended to sow seeds of hatred and discrimination.
RNC has a clear political orientation articulated in its policy documents. RNC continues to build strong and legitimate structures in all countries where many Rwandans have fled. Demand for fundamental human rights does not amount to terrorism or any other desperate denomination.
Dr Etienne Mutabazi