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No rights; to a place of abode in own country-Mrs Ingabire

Source: Norman S. Miwambo

Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the United Democratic Forces (UDF) Inkingi, an opposition political party in Rwanda, early this year, return to her home country after a 16 years' exile in Europe.

Since, her return in January this year, she has not enjoyed the basic human rights such as; seeing her children, husband and a right to have a place of abode in her own native country. She alleges to be in constant fears at all times as death threats continue to ensue. Her concerns are real, in the space of 2 months several officials who differ from President Kagame's views; have fled the country, assassinated, survived assassination attempt or relinquishing in Rwandan jails indefinitely.

In June, a former Rwandan ambassador to India, and army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa survived death, after an attempt assassination in Johannesburg South Africa.

Mid-July, Vice President of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka was assassinated. Also Jean-Leonard Rugambage a watchdog Reporter without Borders was assassinated after alleging reports of the involvement of President Kagame in the failed assassination attempt of Lt. Gen Nyamwasa.

Such psychological torture, previous detention and being homeless in her own country remain hallmarks of her-lifestyle.

According to Mrs Ingabire, the only 'luxury' known to her, the recent experience when she earned a treat to persecution leading to getting filthy free prison meals.

Her dream appears to be diminishing to challenge the Rwanda's incumbent Paul Kagame in the next month's general election, because with only a couple of week left, she hasn't been given space.

In her own native country, Mrs Ingabire is a victim of African dictatorship and has no right for a place of abode, landlords willing to accommodate her, are given 'deaths' threats by Rwanda secret police.

A landlord to her current dwelling place turned up two days after possession and prompted an immediate lease withdrawal process. Several Kigali hotels have previously aborted at the last minute after threats from the country's secret police. She alleges that police brutality, beatings, torture and deaths threats, disproportionate force and the use of extreme dislike langue, curse and insulting pronouncements by state agents are on the increase against the opposition.

Norman S. Miwambo, spoke to Mrs Victoire Ingabire, below is an exclusive of her excerpter.

You recently wrote that 'CALL FOR RESISTANCE', what did you mean?

Our understanding is that if we, as an opposition party, have no say in our country, it's our right to say NO. Dictators use fear to maintain people under their influence. Our guiding principle is peace and non-violence. The first steps of our resistance against state oppression by non-violent means will be for example to mobilize the population to slowly stay away from anything related to the regime, its administration, its arms and its instruments. Whenever the regime's representatives show up, people just walk away peacefully. We want to clearly mark the widening rift between the government and the population. Our supporters need some kind of training in this respect in order to progressively understand this concept, accept the subsequent sacrifices until a quality meaningful dialogue is established between the opposition and the regime.

How do you consider yourself given the current political situation in the country?

I am a victim of a dictatorship. I have no rights in my country. I have no chance to see my children and my husband still in exile in Europe. I am under house arrest and the regime's judiciary has refused to take me to court alleging that the prosecution is still gathering the evidence. I receive almost every day death threats. The state police makes sure I remain in almost a total quarantine. They have now started a campaign of pressure on estates' owners in order to make sure I have no home to rent. For example my previous landlord cancelled our tenancy agreement because of serious death threats from security services. On 17th July 2010, I moved to another house, and two days later the owner explained that his safety is more important. Recently we invited journalists for a press conference, and all the hotels cancelled our bookings at the last minute. The question now is how long is the life expectancy of an opposition leader in Kigali?

There are just a couple of weeks to the general elections, what do you make of this?

The government has refused to register our political party FDU INKINGI and three members of our Executive committee are either under house arrest, either on bail. Personally, I am under extended house arrest. The whole world is peacefully witnessing the deepening crisis. All the opposition parties are muzzled. Leaders jailed and others assassinated. Newspapers closed, dissent journalists murdered or in detention. This is a terror state, and we are left on our own. I don't believe the population will continue to watch and let the oligarchy crush people. There is a mounting pressure inside the volcano. It will erupt. When? Nobody knows. The crisis has reached the military as well. The country is on the brink of chaos. Who will survive? Nobody knows. The only thing we can still do is to alert the international community and to prepare for a humanitarian problem, and a possible unrest in the region.

Do you know the fate of your party? If so, can you give us a hint? What your next step to see that you campaign freely in a bid to contest for the country's high post?

It's a shame that partners of Rwanda will continue to support a regime that is ignoring the basic rights of its citizens. The international community has failed Rwandans during the 1994 genocide. Will they turn again a blind eye as the crisis deepens and unravel? We expect that the pressure will force General Paul Kagame to open the political space, allow the registration of our political party. Our struggle will continue until the FDU INKINGI is registered. Should the election masquerade go on? We are ready to challenge its legitimacy until a fair and transparent process is arranged. Yes, we expect to campaign in this country, not in a couple of weeks, but soon any way. If the incumbent does not postpone the poll, the deepening crisis will force him to do so in a few months. The wind of change is here.

What are you intending to do in the next couple of weeks, if things have not worked on your programme?

We have already started to prepare our supporters for a non-violent resistance. We avert violence and this is the motto of our action. We know that after rigged elections and massive fraud this country will never be like before. The incumbent and his supporters believe that they will use force to keep power; they forget that even bigger empires have collapsed. They have got no lessons from the history of apartheid, fascism and many other dictatorships. My intention is to stay alive, and I'm ready for a peaceful resistance until the final victory.