Sunday, February 22, 2015

FDU-MN-INKUBIRI: OUR POLITICAL PROGRAM


The Rwandan history, be it good or bad, is our own history.  
We need to own it in its entirety. 
Our role, our mission, is to write its most beautiful pages.

I. Introduction

1. Where do we come from?

When we set up the United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi), we came from different political backgrounds.  The Forces for Democratic Resistance (FRD) and the Rwanda Democratic Alliance (ADR) brought together people coming from the opposition against the regime of the 2nd Republic, members who were critics of MRND as well as of the current RPF regime.  The Rally for the Return and Democracy in Rwanda (RDR) was composed of former members of the former MRND regime.  In spite of the differences, we were held together by the common desire to unite the opposition and to offer Rwandan citizens a democratic alternative against RPF regime in power since July 1994.

For a country which went through the unthinkable such as genocide and other crimes against humanity, we sought to fight sectarianism and exclusionism of all forms and construct a country hospitable to all Rwandans in unity, freed at last from the fear of collective extinction due to their ethnic or regional origins.
Today, it is worth noting that not having first analyzed the causes of our different political positions before the exile, responsibilities with regard to genocide and reasons behind the political and military defeat of the fallen regime was obviously a pitfall and accounts for the existing political divisions.  We thought, which was an error, that the sheer fact of working together and belonging to the common opposition to the RPF regime while we previously had different political commitments was in itself an asset.

 2.What are the results?

Presently, we can congratulate ourselves that since our integration in 2006, as United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi) we have been the primary opposition force against the current regime in Rwanda. As a matter of fact, among our greatest successes, we demonstrated that the regime which touts itself as the one that stopped genocide, in reality did nothing other than winning a war which it had itself initiated a few years before the genocide.  We made the international community become aware of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the current Rwandan regime in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  We documented and demonstrated the totalitarian nature of the regime, illustrated by total closure of political space, assassinations, imprisonment, exiling of the political opposition, journalists and the independent media.

At our expense, we did not take advantage of the diversity of our different political, ethnic or even regional backgrounds to transform them into an advantage of living together and of national cohesion.  In spite of the fusion, we did not succeed in creating one united political party with shared values and ideology. Instead, we fragmented and we are now two different political groups with two different sets of values, political ideology and strategy. On the one hand, you have FRD and ADR groups together with independents and, on the other hand, RDR groups and independents.

3. Two essential differences within our Coalition

Of the differences that paralyse our unity, two seem to be of paramount importance to us. The first difference is the fight against sectarianism and exclusionism in all their forms that one branch, that of FDU-Inkingi does not consider as important. Much worse, this branch seems to consider Hutu’s unity as the main strategy of its political struggle.  The second difference relates to the recognition of the genocide against the Tutsi.  The latter which was expected to constitute the frame of the founding values of FDU-Inkingi integration could never achieve unanimity as to its accountability which rests first with the former regime.  One of the FDU founding parties, the RDR, preferring to blame it on the extremists whom it hastens immediately not to identify or preferring to exclusively attribute it (i.e. genocide accountability) to the sole RPF, given the role played by its supreme commander, Paul Kagame, in the shooting down of Habyarimana’s plane, which triggered genocide.

According to our point of view, the common fight against dictatorship in Rwanda cannot constitute in itself the only justification for our political struggle, the struggle which should control alliances and political integrations that we seek to build up. There must be especially a common background of values, of principles and shared vision that guide our action.  It is the reason why we do not believe in the old story which seeks unity in the mere opposition to Kigali and in the Hutu’s unity even less.

II. Foundations of our political commitment

1.     We are part of the process and ideals of the 1959 social Revolution.

The social Revolution of 1959 constitutes a major mile stone in our history.  Indeed, it radically changed Rwandans’perception in terms of their social roles and functions and their newly acquired rights.  For the majority of Rwandans, in particular those with modest living conditions, socially considered inferior and coming from the three ethnic groups Hutu, Tutsi and Twa alike, the revolution meant a renewed sense of hope and an essential conquest in terms of equal rights and equal treatment.  For the first time, all Rwandans achieved individual liberties, equality, private property rights and a wide range of fundamental human rights irrespective of origin, ethnicity or economic standing.

The fact that some of the revolutionary ideals were later diverted by some politicians in order to rise to/or cling to power changes nothing of their emancipatory nature and of the strong belief held by the population in the ideals conveyed. On the contrary, it shows how political power which is uncontrolled by citizens, runs the risk of being out of sync with the people for whom, it is supposed to work.    

2.     We recognise and condemn the genocide against the Tutsis

Genocide is the extreme negation of the right to life for others that each and everybody must recognise, empathise and condemn.  In April, 1994, Tutsis living in Rwanda were victims of genocide in what was referred to as the final solution because they were made sacrificial lambs by a regime in crisis. It is an important rupture in the social, cultural and political life of Rwanda and Rwandans which will mark them for a long time.  This tragedy must be remembered and taught to future generations in order to prevent its repeat. 

Authors of this crime of genocide are extremist politico-military groups of the former regime who ordered and supervised it.  They must also answer for political assassinations of opposition figures during this period of genocide.  Other co-authors of these crimes are General Paul Kagame and those in the rebel chain of command who ordered the downing of the presidential plane that  killed President Habyarimana, which in turn became the trigger that started the genocide, reignited the war and, effectively put the Arusha peace process to waste.  

3.     We recognize and condemn crimes against humanity committed against Hutu population.

Before, during and after genocide, RPF rebels massacred thousands of Hutus in the zone under their control. Even after taking power in July, 1994, such massacres continued.  The Kibeho massacres of April, 1995, in the presence of UN’s blue helmets, remain a glaring example. In 1996, unspeakable massacres were committed in hutu refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo when the new regime decided to attack refugees, pursue them and massacre them along a 2,500km stretch as the latter were fleeing.  These crimes, yet qualified as possible genocide by the UN, remain unpunished until now.

Crimes against humanity, just like genocide, emanate from the same negation of the right to life to others. It is the culmination of a total abandonment of respect of human values of inclusion, recognition of the right to life to others. In much the same way, we owe remembrance and sympathy to victims of these crimes. As for authors of these killings, we must demand the same and extreme punishment. 

4.     We reject sectarianism and exclusion

Ethnic exclusion and regionalism are the two main origins of genocide and the exodus of Rwandans that followed it; -these two left indelible scars on the Rwandan society.  Twenty years after the tragedy, it is worrying to note that speech focusing on the hatred of the Tutsi or of the Hutu who endeavour to transcend all of those destructive identities, is still present among the political parties or associations of Rwandan exiles. While a discourse for Tutsi unity is taking place behind the scenes of the autocracy in power, another discourse on the Hutu unity has taken up residence in some opposition political parties or organisations.  These Hutu unity proponents are the same that do not accept any debate on genocide, nor on the military and political defeat which is at the centre of their present exile life.  These groups are bent on muzzling the debate and seek to perpetuate their domination on refugees.

Exclusionism is racism and racism kills. It is for this reason that rejecting all forms of discrimination is at the core of our political struggle.  People should be judged on the basis of their individual actions and those in power must make sure that all citizens are accorded equal and equitable treatment before the law.  In exile, refugees must openly denounce political or social initiatives that advocate for the rejection of others.  Our future lies in unity and acceptance of one another. 

5.     We believe in concordance democracy as a prerequisite for Rwanda

In order to create objective conditions for a political evolution and economic transformation free of sectarian identity reflexes such as ethnicity, regionalism or religion, we believe that concordance democracy can stabilise the Rwandan society from ideological and political weaknesses existing within Rwandan political organisations. For this reason, concordance democracy is a must.

Ultimately, however, the future of Rwanda is in the acceptance by all, of the "one man, one vote". Synonymous with universal suffrage, this principle implies that every adult of voting age has the right to vote, regardless of gender, ethnic or regional origin, religion or social conditions.  No voice weighs more than the other, all votes are equal. We know that the military- supremacist dictatorship in Kigali is based on the denial of this principle. His refusal is based on supremacist ideology that characterizes his regime and its hidden agenda of maintaining social, political, and economic conditions favourable to only them. This elite supremacist regime, because of its limited ability to mobilize the Rwandan electorate beyond its original ethnic grounds, cannot survive in a universal suffrage system. This ethnic or regional sectarian worldview is also present in other political organizations fighting against the regime. This elite promotes sectarian identities and is not capable of proposing an acceptable national all-embracing political project.

We are convinced that Rwanda’s future lies in the formation, the development and the consolidation of national and democratic organisations capable of mobilising the electorate on the basis of ideas and national projects of living together in harmony instead of sectarianism.  We are also at the same time conscious that, a country that went through genocide and crimes against humanity cannot easily return to majority democracy before this very society frees itself of these sectarian tendencies especially ethnic identities that are used as a launch pad to gain political power.  The main worry being that once in power, these identities can be used as instruments to exclude others from political participation.  

How do we then guarantee every individual and group their right to exist and participate in public life, free from fear of individual or collective victimisation at the whims of those with power and their agents?  How do we ensure the safety and rights of all as well as minority rights of those who lived through the horrors of genocide? How do we restore their confidence in a majority political system? There is therefore a need to introduce, for some time, institutional accommodation of political participation to reassure the minority that new public institutions will not be used against them, to exclude and marginalize them. 

Add to this the fact that today in Rwanda, leading the State is having the monopoly of the means of coercion and of the public force (power), having state resources and affecting them (assets); determining knowledge production and access to culture (knowledge). In a country where the State is by far the largest employer, in a country with a barely diversified economy, distribution of jobs, award of public contracts and allocation of foreign exchange for import and export business gives the party in power an exorbitant advantage and extraordinary influence on the economy and on society in general. This party will do anything to stay in power, relegating into oblivion political competition.  The key remedy against the fore-going is redistribution of power to be agreed upon, where other political parties which normally would be in the opposition are partners with the government to help stabilize and pacify the political system.

6.     National cohesion

Beyond tolerance, ethnic or regional coexistence, we need to build national unity. That every Rwandan sees himself as a human being equal to his neighbour, that he performs his duties and exercises his rights as a citizen of Rwanda without any discrimination and that he  realizes his aspirations without that his ethnicity and/or region can hinder his individual and social development. We need to confront and manage the national tragedy of genocide and crimes against humanity. The wounds are still deep and are far from healing. For our part, the reconstruction of national cohesion has first to pass through the reconciliation process, which includes:

1.     At the individual level, empathy and recognition of the suffering of victims and their survivors, forgiveness and demand for compensation for damages from those responsible for crimes, granting forgiveness by surviving relatives, and reconciliation between survivors of these crimes from the two ethnic groups who are now left to be exploited by ethnic extremists.

2.     Collectively, justice is necessary and the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission similar to the one in South Africa at the end of apartheid, and the establishment of a fund for survivors.

To achieve true national cohesion, national reconciliation will not be enough on its own. Public institutions, the business community and civil society, each in its practice, must develop programs and mechanisms that will enhance the community spirit security for all, human rights, equity, non-discrimination, equal access to resources, education, employment, social connections and promoting common values.

III. Purpose, vision, values and goals

1. The purpose and the vision

a. The purpose of our organization is to promote a project of society where citizens, through institutions that are democratic, consensual, participatory, reconciliatory and in solidarity with the present and future generations, fully assume their individual and collective destiny.

b. Our organization aims to become a unifying democratic political movement, known for its ability to bring about national cohesion, fairly manage public affairs and work towards the process of African integration.

2. Values

a. Rule of Law

The rule of law is defined as an institutional system in which the government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law. The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just.  Laws are applied evenly and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient. Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent members of the justice system.

To avoid arbitrariness, the separation of powers and the existence of independent courts constitute the material elements of the rule of law. It also implies that legal issues are equal according to legal standards. No one is above these legal standards and each rule derives its validity from its compliance with the highest laws of the land. In a country like Rwanda, which is ruled by a dictatorial regime in which the executive has hijacked the judiciary and uses it to get rid of its opponents, the struggle for the rule of law is also the fight against oppression.

b. The right to life, integrity of the person and his safety


Genocide and massive crimes against humanity are the absolute negation of the human person. Eradicating this requires that everyone, starting with public authority respect the right to life, personal integrity and safety. We have to reinstate the sacredness in our respect of the foundations of the human beings which have collapsed during the tragedy that befell our country and to reaffirm the sacred character and the inviolability of human life. In a country where state officials have used the authority and power conferred by this status for ordering the systematic killing of a national group, individual rights against the public authority must be given to individuals or citizen groups to guard against the excesses of any authority that might be tempted to reproduce the humanitarian tragedy that we experienced.

c. Duty of memory

The Rwandan genocide and crimes against humanity that were committed in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have left indelible traces in people's memory. It is criminal to deny or relativize the absolute tragedy suffered by the victims and their surviving relatives. These people, Hutu as well as Tutsi and Twa now constitute a specific category to which we must recognize the particular suffering, render justice and repair the harm suffered even though it would only be partial. In order to prevent such a humanitarian catastrophe from happening again in our homeland, we, FDU-MN-Inkubiri, are committed to defend against all odds, the absolute right to life for all and to keep the candle burning in memory of all victims.

d. Individual autonomy

It is the ability and the right of the individual to free creativity, to take care of his/her problems, to identify and pursue his/her destiny, to decide and respond (responsibility) for his/her own actions. Individual autonomy establishes democracy as an institution of all, because when all individuals are equal, they get involved in the management of the society. Due to a centralist and authoritarian political culture which led to generalized conformism and blind obedience to the regime “Irivuze umwami”, our organization recognizes as a right, the resistance against the oppression which pushes the individual to denounce any State, policy, any ruler who violates the humanity of the human person and the empowerment of the citizen's rights.

e. Tolerance and respect for others

Respect is accepting the other and recognizing their differences as equal to oneself. The difference may relate to aspects of identity such as ethnic or regional origin, but also cultural aspects such a religion or gender. Tolerance means to accept that your freedom ends where that of the other/others starts. To recognize the other is to fight against the various forms of violence and sectarianism induced by cultural or social labelling. To recognize the other is to establish mutual relations imprint of respect and supportive of the living together.

f. Solidarity   

Solidarity implies recognizing and taking into account ongoing inter-dependencies that link the different social classes, rich and poor, families, generations and even individuals. Solidarity induces social justice. We are not born with the same fortune and life does not always ensure equal opportunities. That’s why our organization is fighting for fairness and strongly believes that every human being is entitled, regardless of circumstances, to a decent life based on sufficient resources and their equitable distribution.

g. Popular participation


Ownership and confidence building of citizens in democratic institutions require citizens to directly control and inspire actual exercise of power. It is essential that each individual, at all levels of society, become aware of their rights and duties. To do this, our organization is committed to recognizing and incorporating into the Constitution the people's initiative as a constitutional right. This is the power given to citizens to exercise directly, along with the Parliament and the Government, their share of sovereignty.

h. Pan-Africanism

The dignity of the black people or simply put, the dignity of all human beings, African independence, the abolition of all forms of discrimination, equal rights and liberties, promoting the quality of life and unity of African people, are the foundation of Pan-Africanism. When African people were fighting for these values, the fathers of African independence sought to liberate Africa from colonialism, to end western domination of Africa, to counter the balkanization and fragmentation of Africa into powerless national mosaics. They advocated for a full African integration, political and economic, in order to finally create a United States of Africa which would be a global key player. In today’s era of globalization and global integration, where the role of the nation-state shows its limitations, the Pan-Africanist project is even more relevant if Africa doesn’t want to remain at the periphery but rather participate in influencing proactively the great cultural, political and economic events worldwide. With regard to Rwanda, a country that has experienced the horrors of genocide and crimes against humanity, Pan Africanism brings a new approach to dealing with these problems with a larger multicultural and multiethnic dynamic. 

I. Sustainable development

Our organization attaches great importance to the equitable and sustainable management of natural resources and environmental conservation, as well as stabilising of the ecosystem degraded by human activity.  This means that, for solidarity with future generations to whom we must leave resources for their own survival, all policy decisions must be subjected to an assessment of their medium and long-term effects on ecological stability, the common good and the future of human society, the Rwandan society in particular.

3. Main objectives

a. Put in place a regime of consensus democracy
The political system that we advocate will be characterized by democratic renewal of a reconciled nation with a real sense of belonging felt within state institutions and in all sectors of national life, and people identify themselves with ideas or policy options, social, economic, cultural and environmental issues instead of vertical identities such as ethnicity, clan, religion or region.

Drawing lessons from the Rwandan humanitarian tragedy, public institutions, especially those concerning national sovereignty and public security, will be built in a way that their leadership and composition reflects the diversity in our national identity. 

b. Create conditions for an all-inclusive national dialogue.

We will do our utmost in this respect to engage all the stakeholders in a highly inclusive Rwandan national dialogue. This dialogue will bring together representatives and leaders of all stakeholders and all political actors as well as the civil society.

This dialogue will devise all conflict preventive measures (guca inzigo no kwunga) that are required at all levels: institutional, socio-economic, political and cultural. It will be the guarantor of Rwanda as a nation having become once again a tolerant society capable of managing its socio-economic development that is sustainable and better shared.  This dialogue will be held in an atmosphere where there are no taboos, and major national problems and challenges will be discussed in an open way and then establish a political process as well as the rules for participation in public life, rules that can ensure a hospitable country for all Rwandans to finally agree the basic elements of an institutional framework for sustainable management of the state.

c. Put an end to impunity and create the conditions for fair and impartial justice
Our political organization will strive to achieve impartial, independent, fair and restorative justice. If the need for justice to achieve reconciliation is crucial, a fair and equitable justice requires that it not be used as a tool for muzzling political opponents or does not discriminate between victims, or favor one class of criminals from another.

We will ensure that judicial institutions establish all truth about the Rwandan genocide and all associated crimes, establish individual responsibility, and punish those found guilty without discrimination and award compensations to victims or their families.  In the daily life of the nation, we will put in place the principle of the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise, and we shall do away with collective criminal culpability of a national group over another.

d. End discrimination and ensure equal opportunities for all Rwandan citizens.
We shall put in place constitutional provisions as well as an institutional framework and preventive measures against all forms of discrimination among Rwandans and ensure that there are deterring mechanisms to avoid the same within the different spheres of Rwandan society. This is intended to make each and every one of us feel secure and reassured of exercising his political and civil rights, in the participation in production of national wealth and in the equal access to the fruits of that wealth.

e. Repatriate and rehabilitate refugees
We will make every effort to create the conditions for effective repatriation of all Rwandan refugees without discrimination.  This will be done on the basis of voluntary return and we will ensure their effective integration into the economic, social, political and cultural life. We are committed to putting in place a system of governance accompanied by other measures that will end the cycle of forced exile life of Rwandans, with each change of political regime.

f. Restructure the national economy
We will create conditions for a fundamental restructuring of the national economy in a sustainable way to allow citizens equal access to means of production and credit, the two effective ways to the continuous creation of individual and collective wealth. Particular emphasis will be put on creating non-traditional forms of employment where Rwanda has comparative advantages or where such advantages can be built. Examples are in the areas of transport, finance, insurance and hotels industry, micro-mechanics, electronics and information technology. For that, very substantial resources will be spent on education and vocational training.

Our political organization will create the conditions for a fair and equitable distribution of the national resources, respectful and supportive of the right to participate in activities related to workers' rights and national solidarity.  We will implant in Rwanda necessary conditions for it to fully integrate politically and economically into the region and the continent as a whole.

g. Contribute to regional security and African integration

An African state which in this day and era chooses to ignore concerns and views of others has no chance to defend its interests. The power of multinational companies is such that no African country, individually, can resist their economic or political power.

The Fathers of African Independence had realized very early on, the importance of African cooperation and integration as factors that would strengthen the political, economic and cultural weight of each country individually and the continent as a whole. No African country is able to identify emergencies and develop strategies to successfully tackle global challenges of depleting fossil fuels, water resources, climate change and global ecological crises, food security, international migration, security and geopolitics. Today, in a globalized world, where weak states and small countries are not heard, African integration, both economic and political, on the basis of broad regional groupings, becomes a necessity to enable Africa make its voice heard in world affairs.

Given its favorable Geo-linguistic position, centuries-old history of a nation-state and even the quality of its workforce, Rwanda is sitting on hidden strengths and comparative advantages to integrate or merge politically, economically and culturally in a broader entity.

This Political Program was approved and updated on December 28th, 2014 in Brussels (Belgium). 

For the FDU-MN-INKUBIRI Executive Committee,
Eugene NDAHAYO, Chairman

Contacts: +32465551485inkubiri1@fdunm.com

Note: This Program is also available in Kinyarwanda and in French.

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