Thursday, November 18, 2010

RWANDA: ROAD MAP TO PEACE

By John Karuranga
President
Rwanda People's Party (RPP-IMVURA)
London, 11/11/2010

PRESS STATEMENT No. RPP/18-11/RRP-2/098/RG/JVK-10

Ref: RWANDA ROAD MAP TO PEACE

As you are aware, Rwanda has been going through political turmoil since 1960’s when it gained independence. Except for short and intermittent periods, the country has been a theatre of some of the most gruesome and unimaginable suffering in the world. This is best evidenced by the 1994 genocide in which over one million people died.

Despite the end of the genocide in 1994, the country has still not returned to a democratic and peaceful path. A government that was established by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) and led by Mr Paul Kagame, took office on a promise of restoring the country to democratic rule and national reconciliation. Despite the tremendous goodwill that this government had at the beginning, it has now become self evident and abundantly clear that the RPF, rather than being a solution to Rwanda’s problems, has instead become a major obstacle to peace and reconciliation in the country.

You would have noticed that the RPF has now established a one-party dictatorship. Freedom of the press and indeed of speech has been virtually abolished as Kagame consolidates his hold on power as a military dictator. In the recent elections held on 9th August this year, no opposition parties were allowed to participate. Political persecution, including state sponsored assassinations and terrorisms, have reached new heights leading to yet another exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries. There is now a real prospect of a new civil war breaking out in the country which, if it does break out, will lead to an even greater genocide than that of 1994?

It is still possible to avert the outbreak of yet another civil war and in our view, the Road Map to Peace that we offer is one such way. We offer this Road Map, in part to thwart often false and exaggerated claims in the western press about Rwanda’s recovery and of very impressive development. These reports are false and fail to come to grips with the reality that Rwanda is a very unsafe and destitute country and marred by corruption, a country in which people live in daily fear and killings and disappearances are routine. The economic recovery so lauded by the western press has not delivered any prosperity to the ordinary Rwandan as poverty is very much entrenched and endemic. The peace and national reconciliation that we all assumed would be the mantra or indeed the priority of any post-genocide regime has remained elusive. Thousands of children still live in shoddy camps in the most abject conditions, shut away from the prying eyes of foreigners. These are among 1.7 million orphans, children born through rape during and after the genocide, and street children displaced by the 1994 genocide. They are currently incarcerated in IWAWA Island. These children have no future, no hope, no dreams and no aspirations. The RPF has totally failed to provide even the basic of social care for them.

The probability of a new civil war breaking out in Rwanda becomes real by the day. Indeed, unless our proposed Road Map to Peace is adopted, it is likely that my party and other opposition parties may get sucked into such a civil war against our wishes and collective wisdom. It is therefore imperative that the international community acts now to induce peace rather than act post facto after the genocide has already taken place as it did in 1994. The most effective way to do this is by encouraging genuine reconciliation so that all Rwandan political parties can sit at a round-table and agree a minimum programme for rebuilding our country, averting civil war, facilitating the return of the refugees and repairing our relations with our neighbours.

Indeed if the International community had acted in a timely manner, the 1994 genocide would not have taken place. In 1986, my political party at the time, the Rwanda National Liberation Movement (RNLM), offered to enter into direct dialogue with the Habyarimana regime, supported by the then government of Mobutu Sese Seko in the then Zaire, but this never came to fruition. This is why we must now redouble our efforts by adopting our Road Map to Peace, which we believe can avert a bloodbath in our country, the effects of which would reverberate across the Great Lakes region.

We believe that we as Rwandans have a shared responsibility (political, religious, cultural and intellectual) for the suffering our people have been subjected to since the 1960’s and equally we have a shared and collective responsibility to change the situation in our country and create political space where there is pluralism, where political parties are inclusive and eschew xenophobia and bigotry and build national cohesion, compromise and reconciliation. We have to pull back from the brink of disaster and not repeat our tragic history. We need to create a new country where we can all live in in peace and work to build prosperity. In this new historic role, all of us, the politicians, intellectuals, the hard working people and the long suffering peasants have to join hands together and build a new future for our people and our children.

This will require fundamental change in our mindsets and ability and determination to manage our politics and affairs on the basis of genuine truth and transparent programmes that emphasise the factors that unite us as a people, rather than those that divide us on parochial or ethnicity grounds. We should not walk down again on the ethnic road that Kayibanda, Habyarimana and Kagame have led us,and which polarised our country and led it to ruin. We need our people to walk on a new road, and on the same side of the road and in the same direction.

Thats why my party has proposed the ROAD MAP TO PEACE along which all of us as Rwandans can walk and achieve healing and genuine reconciliation for all our people and so that we can play our role in our region as a proud, resourceful and respected people committed to building prosperity for our people and eradicating poverty in our region.

This is an appeal by the RPP – IMVURA to the international community as a result of which the international community including religious leaders and friends of the current Rwandan regime have taken some steps to get Mr Kagame and the RPF to enter into genuine peace talks with all of the parties in the Rwandan political spectrum, on the basis of our proposed RWANDA ROAD MAP TO PEACE dated 22/09/2010.

We thank the governments, civil society and religious organisations, and individuals who have and continue to facilitate this prospect for lasting peace in Rwanda.

Thank you!

John V. KARURANGA, President

RWANDA PEOPLES PARTY – IMVURA
LONDON/ UK
TEL: 00447985663922

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home