The general secretary of Genocide Survivors Organization in Rwanda (IBUKA) is calling on President Paul Kagame’s government to prosecute an opposition figure for allegedly making pronouncements that the group considers “insulting”.
Freddy Mutanguha, who is also the director of Kigali’s Genocide Memorial Center, said opposition leader Victoire Ingabire’s statement contravenes the constitution.
“IBUKA is not happy with the revisionist remarks that were made by Victoire Ingabire when she came to visit Kigali Genocide Center. She should understand that the Genocide Memorial Center is a place where people come and pay respect of the victims of genocide. A place for reflection is not a place where people come to express their view on the politics in the country,” he said.
IBUKA is an umbrella organization for genocide survivor organizations in Rwanda. It literally means ‘remember’.
Mutanguha said Ingabire’s statement is akin to denying the genocide.
“She can speak her mind but some things that should not be speakable, like when the U.N. has recognized genocide against Tutsis in the country to say openly that there have been double genocide is denial of the genocide, and we have laws against it,” Mutanguha said.
IBUKA was created in 1995 to address issues of justice, memory, social and economic problems faced by survivors.
Mutanguha said the group will continue to push for the opposition leader’s prosecution.
“We are in the process and we are asking to get rights because the fact that she came and (stood) on a mass grave and she said those kinds of words is a big insult against genocide survivors,” Mutanguha said.
In 1994, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed in a hundred-day massacre.
Victoire Ingabire, leader of the opposition United Democratic Forces (UDF) party denied the accusation, saying the government is using the charges to undermine her campaign ahead of the upcoming election.
“I don’t understand these people because we condemned genocide committed against Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. But at the same time we said that we also condemn crimes against humanity committed against Hutus. And we believe we cannot achieve reconciliation of Rwanda people if we cannot talk about it,” Ingabire said.
She accused the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) of using the 1994 genocide for political gains -- a charge the ruling party denies.