On the 11th September, while addressing an estimated 2090 students who had completed training in the Ruling party ideological school, Itorero, President Kagame asked them to be imbued with his personal philosophy of killing any person who tries to take away from them what they value most, before he/she acts. In other words, he invited them to engage in extra-judicial killings.
Giving an example of the convention Centre in Kigali where the ceremony was taking place, President Kagame said: “if I know of anyone planning to destroy this building, I would kill him before he does so”, “I would not be ashamed of doing that, adding “I invite you to be imbued with the same mind set as me”. He also revealed how he behaves towards his critics saying: “I let those calling me names and telling lies about me, play around because it is their right but when they try to cross the red line they are hit without knowing”. While the call for extra judicial killings is bad enough, it was not the first time that he advocates for it, what was most shocking and scary was that the youth clapped when he called on them not to be imbued with his value system.
We would like to mention that the first public call to extra-judicial killings was made by President Kagame on June 5, 2014 while addressing residents of Nyabihu District, Northern Rwanda. President Kagame said in response to criticisms by the US government about enforced disappearances by security agents. "We will continue to arrest suspects and when needed shoot in broad daylight those threatening to destabilise the country". Suffice to say in passing that elements that constitute a threat to state security include criticizing government policy which is interpreted as inciting the population to rise against the established authority. For example, Miss Leonille Gasengayire, assistant treasurer of FDU-Inkingi, was arrested on 23rd August 2016 on charges of inciting the population against the established authority because she allegedly encouraged residents of her village in Rutsiro to resist being expelled from their houses without lawful compensation. Therefore, anyone not toeing the Ruling party line is considered a threat to state security.
The call of President Kagame follows a similar call by the new military commander of Kigali and the Eastern region, Gen. Mubarak Muganga made on Saturday 27th August 2016 in Rwimbogo. He promised to apply sharia law to those snatching ladies’ bags.
The General is quoted saying: “There are people with whom we don’t agree and will never shake hands with me because they know me well. These are people who snatch ladies’ handbags, telephones or engage in dishonourable jobs. You snatch off a lady’s bag we snatch off your arm”. He added “I have warned you publicly and hope you have heard. I have young people who wear the same clothes as you and others who were uniform like me whom you see standing around. We do not want to leave a burden to our colleagues, the Police, and those take food to police stations to feed the detainees. Tell those who are not here that I am a special person. “This is what I was trained to do and have learnt to do”. “Nobody will cause insecurity and we let him go unless he/she goes somewhere else abroad but not in East Africa because we are now like one country”. A few days later, on September 04, 2016, in Rubirizi cell, sector of Kanombe, Major Aimable Mupenzi a Doctor working in Kanombe Military Hospital beat up to death his neighbour secondary school student named Théogène Mbarushimana accusing him of theft.
Other high ranking officials have called for rivers of blood if the RPF regime is threatened. On a visit to Canada in September 2015, the Minister of Local Government Francis Kaboneka told a press conference: “Put aside Hutu and Tutsi issues. Let us deal with what matters i.e. Rwandanness. Then we kill anyone who causes trouble to Rwanda.” He is also quoted telling a public rally on 30 August 2016. “You have to know people who are accommodated in your village or cell and what they do. You have to leave here with a pledge of knowing what is taking place in every house”.
The aftermath of these instructions is that enforced disappearances and death at the hands of security agents has increased. The students seem to be the last recruitment into the fray of the Ruling Party Militia.
Just to give a few example to illustrate the point: on 18 August 2016, the Rwanda National Police informed the public that it has shot dead an armed terror suspect Channy Mbonigaba in a Kigali suburb Nyarutarama; on Friday, 19 August 2016, the Rwanda National Police is said to have shot and killed three suspected terrorists in in Bugarama Sector of Rusizi District. On 20 August, two more people were killed in Rusizi district in a so called "crackdown on terror». Christian Maniriho, a health worker in Nyange health centre (Ngoma) was shot dead on 4 September 2016 night by an alleged unknown assailant.
In March 2016, Mrs Illuminee Iragena was kidnapped on her way to work and the family has reported that she was taken and tortured in the different tortures houses in Kigali and subsequently died.
It is quite sad that Rwanda is the only country in the world where a President and top government officials can go away with preaching violence against their own citizens.
The Rwandan opposition political Platform condemns in the strongest the promotion of violence among the youth and hatred for critical thinking. This is the surest way to prepare the country for another humanitarian catastrophe.
We call on all those who support the regime of President Paul Kagame, in any way or form, that they carry heavy responsibility should the country sink into another human calamity.
As Marc Sommers points out: Loosening the autocrat’s reins and helping his nation avoid another violent explosion is a message that only Rwanda’s international supporters can deliver to President Kagame
Brussels, 16 September, 2016.
Jean – Damascène Munyampeta
+32. 488 96 37 65.