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Government Has no Evidence Against Me, Says Rwanda Opposition Leader

  • Peter Clottey

The leader of Rwanda’s opposition United Democratic Forces (UDF) says President Paul Kagame’s government is determined to prevent her from participating in the upcoming election scheduled for August 9.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who was released Thursday after being accused of collaborating with a terrorist group and denying Rwanda’s genocide said she is currently under house arrest.

“I am glad that I am home but you know that I am free but on condition. I don’t have my passport, they took it and I don’t have to go out of Kigali. And of course I have two times in a month I have to go and report to the police,” she said.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame

Rwanda President Paul Kagame

Ingabire was arrested Wednesday after she was accused of genocide denial and having strong ties to the mainly Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group operating in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Kagame’s government has often accused the FDLR of playing a part in the country’s 1994 genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed in a 100-day massacre.

Ingabire said her life is currently not in danger despite her arrest.

“I don’t think so. The only problem is that I don’t have any freedom; I cannot go where I want, I cannot do what I want and that is something my lawyer will take a look at. We can ask that I can keep my freedom,” Ingabire said.

She denied the allegations against her, saying the government has so far failed to provide evidence linking her to the charges.

“Nothing has changed. First the prosecutor said they don’t have any evidence against me, but that they need more time to check where they can find evidence. I talked to him and for two months they have been investigating if you didn’t find anything what do you want? It is clear that it is the political process not criminal because you are forcing to get evidence,” she said.

Ingabire said she is being politically intimidated despite the lack of evidence to support the charges against her.

She was recently prevented from travelling abroad after police said she was under investigation because of comments she made about the 1994 genocide.

Shortly after returning to Rwanda, Ingabire called for the prosecution of those responsible for the death of Hutus during the genocide.

But a group of genocide survivors called on the government to prosecute the opposition leader, saying her pronouncement belittled the genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed.

Ingabire said she is being targeted for having a different opinion about the genocide.

“There is one truth in Rwanda. There was genocide against Tutsis but there were also humanity crimes against Hutus and we have to accept that and we have to find a solution to that…what I’m asking is a dialogue that we can talk about it and to see what we can do to prevent future violence,” Ingabire said.

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