Rwandan President Paul Kagame has warned that he will crush any attempt to destabilize his regime with just three more days before Monday's presidential election.
The president was responding to his former intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya who earlier this week called for an uprising against Mr. Kagame.
Jean Bosco Gasasira, the exiled editor of the Umuvugizi newspaper in Rwanda said he’s not surprised at the turn of events in Rwanda ahead of Monday’s vote.
“This is not a surprise of a person like President Kagame who has proved to be a dictator and who has opted to silence all independent voices in Rwanda. President Kagame in this same year, in front of the parliament, said he was going to use a Hammer to kill a fly. What he was meaning was killing [the] opposition,” he said.
Gasasira said former Rwandan intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya’s call for an uprising against President Kagame is proof that the Rwandan leader is losing support among his once trusted allies.
“I told you this that Patrick Karegeya was once a part of Kagame; he was his advisor. But [the] time has come whereby people who are independent are now seeing Kagame as someone impossible, and they are now crossing to another part. That’s why you see he [Kagame] is not going to tolerate them; he is not going to tolerate generals; he is not going to tolerate bishops; he can’t tolerate Human Rights Watch; he can’t tolerate anyone, even to an extent of shooting journalists to death because of an article,” Gasasira said.
A number of senior army officers have been arrested in recent months. One of them, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwash, narrowly survived an assassination attempt in South Africa in June.
Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, who is under house arrest and banned from participating in Monday’s election, Wednesday accused the international community of turning a blind eye to the crisis in Rwanda.
Gasasira said Ingabire was right in her criticism of the international community.
“Definitely what the opposition candidate is saying is correct because the U.N. secretary-general was saying he needs more investigation. But we as Rwandans are asking ourselves, what sort of investigation does he need? The journalist was shot dead, killed in cold blood; the way he arrested a U.S. lawyer accusing him of genocide ideology. Unfortunately he is doing this when the biggest donors like U.K., like U.S., like Netherlands and most especially the European Union when all those voices are quiet. For sure we are asking what is behind this because people are dying,” Gasasira said.
Rwanda’s Media High Council earlier this year suspended Umuvugizi and Umuseso for six months on the grounds the two weekly newspapers violated Rwanda’s media laws and incited public order.
In June Umuvugizi deputy editor Jean-Leonard Rugambage was shot and killed outside his home in Kigali.
Last week the same Media High Council banned some 30 media organizations for not complying with the council’s rules.