Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rwanda: Who is the real boss of FDU-Inkingi ?

By Grégoire Karekezi
March 18th, 2011

The Chairperson of the FDU-Inkingi, Ms. Victoire Ingabire

The political party FDU-INKINGI whose Chairperson Ms. Victoire Ingabire is imprisoned by General Paul Kagame’s regime of Rwanda is undergoing an internal crisis within its organization.

The incarceration of Ms. Victoire Ingabire has dealt a blow to the party FDU-INKINGI. Ms. Ingabire had managed to consolidate her leadership and to impose her style at the party head. Such a situation allowed Ms. Victoire Ingabire to gather around herself all of the party heavyweights. Upon her arrival in Rwanda in January 2010, she managed to organize the opposition in Rwanda, which began to emerge. She remains the figurehead of the Rwandan opposition even though she is still in prison.

The infighting that currently engages the heavyweights of the United Democratic Forces, FDU-INKINGI, all of which are currently living in Europe, has lasted for so long but the charisma and the sense of responsibility of Ms. Victoire Ingabire would permit each time to preserve the party unity and rally around her. Her return from exile in the Netherlands to Rwanda to participate in the Rwandan presidential election of August 2010 marked the beginning of a great crisis within the party leaders who stayed in Europe.

This crisis of the FDU-INKINGI’s heavyweights got in public following a press release signed on January 26, 2011 by Mr. Eugene Ndahayo, Chairperson of FDU-INKINGI Support Committee (SC). One may recall that the SC was established on April 4, 2010.

Chaired by Mr. Eugene Ndahayo, the SC consisted of a dozen members from both the Coordinating Committee (CC) and the former Executive Board members who were unable to accompany Ms. Victoire Ingabire to Rwanda, including Mr. Eugene Ndahayo himself. This organ coined by former FDU-INKINGI’s heavyweights was supposed to cram some of them who otherwise would have found themselves as ordinary party members after the departure of their Chairperson and the establishment of the Provisional Executive Committee of FDU-INKINGI in Rwanda.

The Chairperson of the FDU-Inkingi (in the middle in pink dress), Ms. Victoire Ingabire.

This press release of January 26, 2011 excluded from FDU-INKINGI two other members of the same SC in particular Mr. Nkiko Nsengimana (Vice Chair of the SC and Chairman of the CC) and Mr. Sixbert Musangamfura (Head of External Relations within SC). The alleged reason for this exclusion was indiscipline upon signing, without authorization from the SC’s Chair, the statement concluding the negotiations aimed at setting up a political platform with the party RNC (Rwanda National Congress) of which General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa and Colonel Patrick Karegeya, refugees in Africa South, are founding members.

However, this exclusion raises several questions: Frankly why were these two members suspended? Why the other two members of the SC namely Mr. Mberabahizi and Ndereyehe who were accompanying Nkiko Nsengimana and Sixbert Musangamfura during the negotiations with RNC were not also suspended? Did the SC Chair have the power to unilaterally suspend the other members of the SC? Why a few days later did the Chair and some members of the SC issue a statement signed on behalf of two former parties (ADR and FRD) that gave birth to FDU-INKINGI? These two parties indeed merged with RDR to form the single party FDU-INKINGI.

The answer to the last question occurred in the statement released by the same members of the SC on February 14, 2011 in which they announced to resume the party leadership at the expense of the Provisional Executive Committee of FDU-INKINGI in Kigali which they reduced into the Executive Body of a Local Political Council.

It is important to ask ourselves what power did members of the SC have to take over the party leadership at the expense of the Provisional Executive Committee established on March 13, 2010 and chaired by Ms. Victoire Ingabire, since their the role was logically supposed to be confined only in facilitating and supporting the activities of the party that is active in Rwanda. Is this anything, but a coup?

It is in this climate of confusion that the Coordination Committee (CC) set up on January 9, 2010 convened a meeting of FDU-INKINGI to explain to party members the crisis facing their party.

This CC whose attributions are to coordinate activities between the party members within Rwanda and those abroad was formed shortly before the departure of Ms. Victoire Ingabire according to the decision of the Political Council adopted on September 26, 2009 as shown by the Minutes of that meeting which Jambonews team is in possession.

All of the supporters of FDU-INKINGI, Rwandan citizens and observers who had based their hope in FDU-INKINGI as an emerging force and alternative to the dictatorial regime in Kigali are now worried. Indeed there are risks that the Kigali regime may take advantage of this crisis to destroy the party.

The history of peaceful political movements or armed struggle reminds us that such crises are part of a mandatory process for strength and sustainability of the movement as long as the party emerged unscathed. What is reassuring in this story is that FDU-INKINGI have already found in Ms. Victoire Ingabire, a leader in which not only supporters but also many people inside Rwanda, in diaspora and in exile, found themselves.

By her strength, Ms. Victoire Ingabire has given hope to an oppressed people. By her courage, she restored the energy to fight against the tyranny that is more repressive than ever before and just for that reason, she remains the only boss of FDU-INKINGI despite her continued incarceration.

The pitiful battle between the FDU-INKINGI heavyweights through conflicting press releases on the internet will not change anything.

Translated by Amani Tuyishime
Original French version by Grégoire Karekezi


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