RWANDA: PROSPECTS AND PERSPECTIVES BY RWANDA PEOPLES PARTY-IMVURA
Rwanda is a country of rich diversity. Its history, geography, peoples and culture is both exotic and captivating. Its basic problem is that it has been ruled by dictatorial regimes that have pursued policies antagonistic to its national, social and economic interests since independence in 1961. Indeed many of these policies have compounded the historical injustices, ethnic tensions and a dysfunctional economy inherited from the colonial era. In terms of ethnicity Rwanda consists of broadly three groups namely Gatutsi, Gahutu and Gatwa.
From a historical perspective, these groups have always lived side by side and cooperated with each other. It is not true therefore to state that these groups have from time immemorial lived in antagonistic social and political relationships. However because of the colonial policies of the Belgian colonizers, policies of divide and rule, differences that in pre-colonial times tended to be resolved communally, became magnified and were used as instruments of colonial rule. The succeeding post-colonial governments similarly failed to develop any Rwandan identity or a commonality of interests that would serve as a platform for nation building. It is not surprising therefore that the history of post-colonial Rwanda has been characterised by virulent sectarianism, prejudice and xenophobia. This ultimately led to the genocides of 1959, 1962 and, 1972 respectively, as well as the1990s civil war that ended with 1994 genocide of one million Rwandan citizens. No modern and progressive society can be built on racism, religious fanaticism, sectarianism, tribalism, slavery, apartheid or xenophobia. Such an eventually develops into a form of fascism and dictatorship as has been witnessed in the Rwanda of yesterday and today. It is the belief of the RPP - IMVURA that the new Rwanda we want should be a new dispensation that seeks to include rather than exclude; provides equal opportunities for every Rwandan to develop and realise his or her full potential; a Rwanda where there is justice and peace; a democratic Rwanda in which governance is based on popular will and the rule of law; a Rwanda where religion and state are constitutionally separated; a Rwanda in which domination and hegemony by any particular ethnic group is banished; and a Rwanda in which there is respect for universal human rights.
To this end, the RPP – IMVURA wants to build a modern Rwanda which is at peace with itself, and co-exists peacefully with its neighbours and the rest of humanity. The RPP - IMVURA call on all patriotic Rwandans who care for this beautiful country, from all parts of the Rwanda and abroad, to join in the fulfilment of this vision and goals.
NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND COMMON PURPOSE
The RPP - IMVURA aims to develop National Consciousness and Common Purpose in Rwanda. We aim to put the individual Rwandan at the centre stage of decision-making and development. The vision, objectives and programmes of the RPP - IMVURA are premised on the desire to remove constraints from an individual’s quest and pursuit of happiness and self-fulfilment. Rwanda, like other African and Third World countries, suffers from the dependency syndrome and distortions in its economy with ever worsening terms of trade. Third world countries which resolve their internal political problems regarding and including instituting good governance build a solid foundation on which to grapple with the contradictions of globalisation of their economies and their concomitant and increasing marginalisation in the world market. Some of these countries are trying to form regional trading blocks to enlarge their domestic and regional markets and improve their competitiveness and terms of trade with the rest of the world. However, in Rwanda, whereas we are faced with the general Third World problems of dependency and backwardness, we have not resolved our internal political problems. We have not even resolved the issue of identity about whom or what we are and what we stand for! The people of Rwanda are therefore faced with the double task of scrapping away a monstrous edifice, which is, dismantling the sectarianism, racism, xenophobia and corruption, while at the same time addressing the problems of backwardness and development under a new international world order of globalisation and marginalisation.
This is why the first objective of the RPP - IMVURA is the complete destruction of the barbaric culture and the building of the Rwanda of tomorrow in its place, in order to resolve the basic internal political problem, without which addressing other problems is impossible, as our history of the last 51 years has shown. However, we cannot wait for another 7 years of Kagame’s dictatorial and authoritarian chaotic rule to be over and then start building the new Rwanda. The building of the new Rwanda must be part of the struggle for social, political, economic and cultural independence. This involves putting in place the parameters of Rwanda as the political struggle proceeds and as the situation unfolds. The RPP - IMVURA has therefore evolved a political programme around which national consensus can be built in achieving a better Rwanda of tomorrow.
SEATED ON A TIME BOMB
Rwanda is a small tropical country located in the Great Lakes region of Africa. It has a population of 10 million people, with a significant number of millions living in the neighbouring countries or in the Diaspora as refugees or settled citizens. These Rwandan are well-educated, relatively politically well-placed and influence the regional and international powers. Their influence in the Great Lakes region cannot therefore be dismissed. There are wide divisions within Rwandan society and security forces. But today, most enlightened Rwandans believe that the policy of divide and rule and of fomenting wars and regime changes in other countries based on foreign deceptions shall and will never serve the Rwandan purpose in the long-term. The current RPF regime, is repeating the same mistake of the past regimes that committed the 1994 and other previous genocides. Today the gap between the poor and rich is widening on a daily basis. Rwanda is a police state where people live in extreme poverty and fear. The state is run like a family business; there is widespread discrimination against Tutsi returnees, sometimes based on their countries of past asylum. There are unprecedented campaigns to discriminate, blackmail, harassment and persecute Rwandan Tutsi refugees who lived outside the refugee camps in Uganda.
The IBUKA (genocide survivors) have no room in Rwanda while the Hutu community in Rwanda have gone undercover because of genocide. Today, Rwanda has more than 2.5 million refugees, some dating back from 1959. There are hundreds of Rwandan Tutsis fleeing Kagame’s despotic regime and seeking sanctuaries in the neighbouring countries and abroad. There are wide misconceptions and feelings within the RPF inner cycles and Rwandans at large that the future of our children will depend on the legacy that the RPF regime shall leave behind but not on the capability of the barrel of the gun. As a result there is a likelihood that Rwanda may slip again back to periods or decades of civil wars and military coups unless something is done to remedy the disastrous political direction which the Kagame’s authoritarian and dictatorial regime is pursuing.
RWANDAN VULNERABLE CHILDREN Rwanda has over 1.7 million orphans, children born through rape during and after the genocide, and street children displaced by the 1994 genocide. These children have no future, no hopes, no dreams and no aspirations. The RPF has totally failed to rehabilitate them or provide for their physical, spiritual and materials wellbeing. There is no awareness programme adopted or in place to educate the community about issues and difficulties faced by these vulnerable children, and how best to respond to their needs.
Rwandan orphan children and other vulnerable people are segregated from the rest of Rwandan community. They eke out a difficult life in the Ghettos and Shantytowns of Kigali and Butare such as Gisozi, Kimicanga, Cyahafi, Nyabisundu, Byiryogo, Nyamirambo, Gacingiro, Muhima, Gikondo etc. Many are arrested and taken to prison and /or to the infamous IWAWA ISLAND concentration camp in the middle of Lake Kivu and others transported and dumped in rural areas away from Kigali where they cannot be seen by foreigners. Some take refugee under sewage pipes in Kigali during the day and resurface at night in search of food. Other groups of vulnerable children can be seen roaming in hide-outs in and around the Shanty and Ghettos towns during the night. These poor and disadvantaged children are the Rwandans of tomorrow, yet they have been left dying of hunger and starvation and they are destitute in their own country and are neglected by a regime that is supposed to protect them. A regime that can afford to splash out $100 million to buy two executive jets while its children are living in abject poverty.
The tragedy of Rwanda under Kagame has also been the abject neglect of the survivors of the genocide and the widows, many victims of rape and a majority infected with HIV/AIDS. These women are the carers of the next generation of Rwandans, but Kagame and his regime has continued to set up bogus organisations that do not cater for needs of these people who have suffered so much. For e.g. according to the UN; “ The genocide and the surge in HIV/AIDS cases have left Rwanda with one of the world’s highest proportions of child-headed households. In education, the main challenge is to accommodate the increasing number of primary school pupils while improving quality” (Source the UN) Supporting Survivors “They were not killed during the genocide, but they are now dying of AIDS, so in essence it was a suspended death sentence.” (source Ms N - HRW) The costs of failing to prevent genocide are immense, whether measured in the number of lives lost or the suffering of survivors. In Rwanda today, thousands of genocide survivors still face significant challenges in their efforts to rebuild their lives, including victims of sexual violence, orphans and widows. (source Ms N - HRW) These are not my statements. These are the statements of the United Nations which is a body representing the world community.
The United Nations has let down the Rwandan people before when they failed to stop the genocide but they should not fail Rwandan people again now. Mr Kagame is a failure and Rwanda needs a change in regime that will unite its communities and get rid of the animosities of the past. We believe the RPP - IMVURA has such a policy because we will be tolerant to all political views and will stop immediately sectarian politics, if we are elected by the Rwandan people. We pledge to address the suffering of the widows, sexually and violently abused women, orphans and others, like the disabled that have been ignored by the RPF regime for the last 16 years.
The RPP - IMVURA has a viable programme of social and political change and offers a new future for Rwanda. It will stop the rottenness, corruption and neglect of the Kagame regime and ensure a democratic Rwanda where government is transparent and accountable and no citizen is discriminated against and traumatised, a new Rwanda where we can all live in peace and solidarity as citizens of the same country. An aspiration that Mr Kagame has totally failed to achieve in the last 16 years. What else is he going to achieve in the next 7 years if he is elected in bogus elections where he intends to be the only candidate? Can Mr Kagame achieve in 7 years what he failed to achieve in 16 years? Even this is against the background of goodwill from the Rwandan people? That is why the RPP - IMVURA asks Mr Kagame to step down immediately as President of Republic of Rwanda because he has no new ideas for moving Rwanda forward. He has become a millstone around the neck of the Rwandan people. He should go.
The RPP - IMVURA recognises his contribution to Rwanda but he must recognise he has exhausted his potential as a national leader and has nothing to offer to the Country and to our emerging generation of children and grandchildren. He is irrelevant to Rwandan politics now and in the future and he should kindly retire and allow fresh ideas and initiatives to develop and to blossom. That would be the greatest legacy that he would leave to the Rwandan people and for which the Rwandan people will eternally remember him. It gives the RPP – IMVURA no pleasure at all to put Mr Kagame in the same basket as Mr Kayibanda and Mr. Habyalimana and all of the other dictators in Africa who have ruined Africa and left a legacy of shame and permanently engulfed our people in darkness and hopelessness. This is not too much to ask, even at this late stage. The RPP – IMVURA asks him to save the nation. He should know he can no longer solve the monumental problems the country faces, with mounting poverty, unemployment and HIV/AIDS. He is also faced with an internal rebellion within his own army and party which threatens to throw the country back to violent civil war.
Above all we need to return the 2.5 million of Rwanda refugees and stateless Rwandans dating back since 1959 currently scattered in Africa and in Diaspora in Europe and America and to stop a new dispersal of refugees leaving the country today on a daily basis. But Mr Kagame has no policy whatsoever about the fate of the Rwanda citizens who are outside their country and probably does not care and has no intention of integrating them in Rwanda or allowing them to return to their country. He recently stated that we Rwandan refugees are a human waste. He is out of date with the current situation in Rwanda and it is not surprising because he apparently spends most of his time in travelling abroad rather than facing the reality of Rwanda of today. This is outlined in our party programme.
The RPP - IMVURA offers Rwanda a new beginning of community cohesion and common purpose so that we can all live as one people and support each other and also live at peace with our neighbours. It is only the RPP - IMVURA that has the strong convictions and capability to address the refugee problems and also has concrete policies in this regard indicated in its party programme. Mr Kagame has no programme at all that appeal to the stateless and exiled Rwandan and in fact is a hindrance to the return of refugees and an overall settlement in Rwanda that can allow us all to live in Rwanda as citizens and at peace with each other. Rwanda does not deserve what it has gone through in its history. We need peace and prosperity. We need a society where our people, our women and especially our children are free and safe. That is the simple demand of our party RPP - IMVURA. A very simple demand. We are just asking for our basic human rights, which are rights that we should have under international law and a right for all people in the world. The RPP – IMVURA has a viable programme to provide a livelihood for orphans and other vulnerable children that will protect them against gender-based violence and formulation and implementation of gender-sensitive social and economic policy in favour of the poor and disadvantaged groups will be one of the party’s cornerstones.
The RPP-IMVURA will dismantle the infamous IWAWA ISLAND Children Concentration Camp and Criminalise keeping babies and children in Rwandan prisons or detention centres from the day one of taking office if elected.
FOCUS ON EDUCATION
Education must remain a focal point of Rwanda’s need, especially considering the large orphan crisis. The current and past regimes have ignored the education system as the only viable tool for national development and reconciliation. In upholding the people's and the country's interests, in consolidating, enhancing and building the democratic regime, in the struggle for a new society free from exploitation of man by man, the RPP - IMVURA plays a necessary, indispensable and irreplaceable role in Rwandan society. The RPP - IMVURA aims at stepping in to provide these much needed provisions and services to all Rwandan population, and in so doing prepare the next generation of Rwanda to ensure peace can become an engrained reality. The RPP-IMVURA will enforce compulsory complimentary education for out-of-school children and develop retention rates in primary, secondary and tertiary level education.
The family is the first social institution in which the individual starts life and derives his moral values. Hence, a programme that seeks to protect the family and strengthen the bonds between its members and focus the efforts to support it so that it fulfil its role as the flowing source that supplies society with good individuals that are able to build good society and a developed life. The strength of a society and its effectiveness in affecting change towards reform and realisation of desired revival depends on the soundness of the individual and the development of his talents as well as the cohesion of the family and the effectiveness of its role. The existence of a social system, in which all its constituent parts work in a complementary and harmonious manner, within the principles and value system that motivate towards work and protects the balance of the individual and community, achieving the highest level of integration and harmony among members of society. This in turn makes society a solid structure that supports one another and one people that has a shared feeling uniting its constituents in happiness and sorrow. The existence of a society based on institutions and excellence and good values is the best guarantor of firm adherence to the democratic values and widening popular participation and the best way to safeguard the process of development from being turned into an elitist monopoly at the expense of the wider sectors of the population.
The RPP - IMVURA works to mobilise society with the values of good and excellence, build its social structures and organisations, release all its energies and remove all obstacles from its way, whether psychological or material, so that it becomes a society that is supportive, shouldering its responsibilities, alert to its interest, ahead of the authorities in its initiatives, able to organise itself and defend its achievements and produce organisational structures and mechanisms that facilitate self-induced movement. A society in which the initiative of the individuals’ and their contributions in all their societal activities form the most important social actions. In addition, the RPP – IMVURA will put into place special initiatives to address the needs of those who have experienced physical injuries through civil wars, injuries that may have resulted in mental or physical disabilities. It will establish trauma and psychological programmes that will promote effective safety nets for the protection of the most vulnerable groups such as TWAS. The RPP – IMVURA will provide ample support for ageing genocide survivors and victims of civil wars.
Rwanda is a country that has gone through great trauma, not just in the recent genocide but for the last 51 years of communal conflict. Its hidden killer today is HIV/AIDS, mainly caused by rape and sexual violent abuses during the last genocide, poverty and social deprivation. As a party, we do not believe President Kagame and his RPF party are capable of resolving the greatest problems of Rwanda and we do not believe he has any viable policy of national reconciliation that would unite the Rwandan people. They have totally failed to address the current issues of national reconciliation of the Rwandan people and in fact are a hindrance to it. RPP - IMVURA has a viable and verifiable policy of national reconciliation and the national unity of Rwanda as a nation The reconciliation of Rwanda is a blessing which should be bestowed on our people. We are made obliged to protect such a historical achievement by entrenching the roots of unity and stopping in the way of any ones intent to spoil this achievement. National reconciliation is to be achieved through mature dialogue and popular interaction. The RPP - IMVURA appreciates the enormity of the challenges inherited from the colonial past as well as the periods and decades of divisions, wars and genocides all of which reinforce the backwardness which cannot be simply overcome in a short period of time with limited efforts based on minor corrective measures in the political institutions or changes of positions within the ruling establishment. What is needed, however, is the interaction and participation of the whole population and all the popular forces, social and political, that are sincere and true to this country, through a programme that achieves a comprehensive revival based on firm principles which facilitate consensus and allow for the building of the individual, as the core of society, and activates and mobilises society by utilising all its powers to build RWANDA. A state based on justice, law and order. Such a programme requires strong will from people who must possess ability and integrity. For this, the RPP - IMVURA puts forward a programme of action for reform and development representing a vision based on cultural belief and good governing guidance. This is because we realise that success of national reconciliation will not be the result of any programme that is not based on people's belief and noble values, or not taking account of their suffering and embodying their hopes and aspirations, while at the same time it should be centred on the realities and events of their experiences. As well as appreciating the networks of capacity factor, external and internal factors that influence the running of its affairs. A programme that appreciates the need for a gradual approach and recognition for the time factor in the plan for reform and changes that is desired in the Rwanda of today and tomorrow as parameters aimed at healing old wounds and unite to build Rwanda of the future.
JUSTICE FOR GENOCIDAIRES
Justice cannot be established without guarantees of freedom, equality and expression. Through justice, balance can be achieved between the rights of individuals and groups, and through it we can guarantee that the state and its institutions do not turn against the interests of the citizens. Establishing justice is a practical endeavour which necessitates that society owns the tools and means to realise justice and defeat aggression. This is so that individuals are brought up on values and principles which encourage them to sacrifice in the cause of justice and establishing equality between people. Governance is based on justice and must be represented by the governing authority in itself and by implementing it in its domain.
The RPP - IMVURA acknowledges local Gacaca courts remain overwhelmed with solving cases concerning the genocide; and according to local courts procedures. Rwanda is a country recovering from genocide. There are thousands of people who have been arrested as suspects, many of whom have never been tried in a court of law. The Rwanda judicial system is incapable of dealing with the scale of the violence that took place, therefore we partly supports the local system of justice as represented by the Gacaca courts. But this must be an interim measure and the country must return to a proper functioning judicial system where there is a respect of the rule of law.
We also mention this vexed issue of the UN International Criminal Court in Arusha, Tanzania, that has frankly not achieved much in 16 years. It has been a failure we must say and its record is very disappointing. It has spent millions of dollars prosecuting just a few war criminals but the lawyers and bureaucrats involved have made millions of dollars in fees. The victims of the genocide do not feel they have received any justice from the UN Arusha Court .The Arusha court should have sent convicted war criminals back home to Rwanda to serve their sentences in the ordinary conditions of Rwanda. Our party will negotiate with the UN and our partners in the international community to relocate this international court to Rwanda so that the process of justice can be transparent as well seen by the victims. This would act as a deterrent against future crimes against humanity and also rehabilitate those who committed these crimes. As a party, we would give a guarantee that these criminals would never be tortured but would have their rights guaranteed. We insist that, to reform our nation, the people of Rwanda need to see these criminals in Rwandan jails and the Rwandan people can decide in due course that they are rehabilitated and can be forgiven and allowed back into society. To practice a policy of impunity will never solve the current and impending problems of genocide in Rwanda or else where in the world. It will make THEM WORSE
Justice is the immanent will of all peoples and the Rwandan people need it right now. Impunity for crimes committed during the genocide in 1994 or any in the future would only mean validating genocide as a weapon of governance. Justice is the only guarantor against bad governance and should remain a major component of all governments internationally. A Rwanda that is secure and governed democratically is the Rwanda that will set a sure and sound foundation for our people today and thousands and thousands of the generations of our children to come in the future. A severe lack of justice would only lead to mass revenge killings and perhaps, in a worst case scenario, genocide similar to the one in 1994. Thenceforth, we believe the Gacaca system of justice in Rwanda is the only option currently available in place and it should continue to remain as an integral part of protecting Rwandans. But in the long term, the RPP - IMVURA will institute a viable judicial system that is effective, accountable and independent and which will replace the Gacaca courts and establish a judicial and justice system which will deliver justice to all Rwandans.
A democracy corresponding to the people's aspirations and to the nation's needs requires not only formal recognition but also effective guarantee of the full exercise of freedoms and respect for citizens' political and social rights. Such a democracy requires an organisation of the political power system which will prevent or discourage any illegal or arbitrary actions on the part of its institutions and ensure the people's participation in national policy decision-making. The course and the main levers controlling the national economy must not be held by monopoly capital or transnational corporations and subjected to their interests, but must serve the country's interests. Within the world context of an internationalisation of the productive processes, of an international division of labour and of processes of economic cooperation and integration, Rwanda must make full use of, and develop its own natural and human resources and acquire a modern industry. Agriculture must be developed and promoted, something which is incompatible with the agriculture and the neglect for small and medium farmers. The service sector must be modernised and made more efficient. The Rwandese people's material and cultural living conditions must be improved. All economic, social, political and cultural life must be democratised. A policy of national independence, which is separable from a democratic policy, must be proclaimed and implemented. What the Rwanda economy suffers from, such as short comings in its structure and noticeable failure in its ability to play its role, is a result of the absence of correct economic direction and lack of realistic economic policies. This is also due to the use of the state and society as a laboratory for testing economic opinions and theories as well as delegating the management of the economy - vital as it is - to an incapable and unqualified and corrupt administration.
The current regime has continued to ignore administrative corruption, plundering and looting of public funds, and sidelining or limiting the role of the public and private sector in the process of development - as result of absence of legal safeguards that motivate participation, as well as the absence of a strong and just judiciary has strengthened colonies of corruption and economic mismanagement. This has lead to structural economic imbalance, the most prominent of which is the imbalance between production and consumption, between investment and savings, between imports and exports, as well as the country's being subjected to a catastrophic economic crisis. Such crisis threatens social peace and political stability, and has pushed the country to the entrapment of foreign debts, economic and political catastrophe.
The RPP – IMVURA economic policy will support initiatives to build sustainable micro-economy, small and medium enterprises and other income-generated activities through capacity building and micro-credit. It will provide access to markets and prioritise self-sufficiency and poverty alleviation. We will develop Planning and Economic policy, which will contribute to the attainment of Rwanda's vision of a 'transforming Rwandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous society. We will focus on improving social, economic and trade infrastructure, developing efficient, innovative and internationally competitive industries, developing and optimally exploiting the natural resource base and ensuring environmental and economic sustainability.
International relations is given great importance in modern times, as it is no longer possible for any people to live in isolation from those around them, in a period where mutual dependence among countries has become. The Republic of Rwanda is part of this world, reacts to its variables, whether regional or global, affecting it and affected by it. It will work to develop links with the international community through effective participation which supports its abilities and presence both in the regional and global environment. By doing so, Rwanda assures the whole world that it is a peace loving state, believing in the rights of peoples of the world to peaceful co-existence, and extending the bridges of co-operation and dialogue among them in order to achieve more of development and advancement for the service of man.
Rwanda is part of the African nation which is still suffering - together with other countries that have recently been liberated from colonialism - a lot of backwardness, disintegration and dependence on top of the continuing aspiration of the dominant countries to encroach on its wealth. This makes it incumbent on the African countries to commit more effort in developing true forms of co-operation and co-ordination through consolidation of political, economic, cultural and social links towards a stable development and defence of common, lawful interest. Responding to the desires and hopes of its Rwandan peoples, and benefiting from the successful experiences being witnessed in various regions in the world.
The RPP - IMVURA, while looking forward to a world in which co-operation between nations dominates as a basis for love and peace, calls for a tolerant world community embodying the meanings of human brotherhood, enthused by the spirit of solidarity, and co-operation. A world community in which, relations between states are based on justice and equality of interest and respect for differences of civilisation and culture, and honouring all contracts and international treaties, and reserve to review unfair agreements and contracts and seek to renegotiate their terms and /or repudiate all together if they are not in the interest of the nation. This is a reversal from the current RPF’s foreign policy of fomenting wars and regime changes of other countries based on foreign deception.
The RPP-IMVURA offers the Rwandan people hope for the future and firm bilateral relations with its neighbours and a firm commitment to world peace.
RWANDA: PROSPECTS AND PERSPECTIVES BY RWANDA PEOPLES PARTY-IMVURA