Rwandan opposition appeals to President Yoweri Museveni

11 Sep

John Karuranga, alias al-Sharif Ahmed bin Said, President of the RPP who is seeking peace talks with President Kagame.

One of Rwanda’s opposition parties, the Rwanda People Party (RPP)  has written a letter to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni asking him to use his influence with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda to persuade him to agree to talks with the opposition.

Because of the importance of this letter to the peaceful people of Rwanda, we have decided to post the letter verbatim so that Rwandans can decide for themselves what it means or may not mean to them. Here it is:

Your Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

As you are aware, our country went through a traumatic and unprecedented period of genocide during which almost one million people cruelly lost their lives.  Our party the RPP recognises and wishes to thank you for the role you played in containing the worst excesses of the progrom and genocide that took place.

We would like to express our utmost and sincere thanks and gratitude to you, and the people ofUganda, for your direct and indirect support given to the Rwandan people during this period of great suffering and subsequently the 4 year campaign to return home. I personally wish to thank your government for the protection given to me (Mr. John V KARURANGA-BIGONZI / al-Sharif Ahmed bin SAID) then leader of the Rwanda National Liberation Movement (RNLM)) from April to December of 1986. I also wish to thank your government for its refusals to hand me over to the notorious regime of the late Habyarimana to stand trial for treason charges related to the RNLM’s declaration of war for the liberation of Rwanda on 29 April 1986. This was a humanitarian act, for had I been extradited to Rwanda, my fate would certainly have been sealed.

Your Excellency, we assure you, your government and the people of Uganda that the people of Rwanda shall continue to remember your support for generations to come. Indeed the people of Rwanda and Uganda are not just only friends in need, but are also brothers and sisters with common goals and destinies bonded by sacrifices of blood of our two people. This alliance between our two nations and peoples will never be broken.

Your Excellency, you will recall that I spent 8 months in prison in Lubiri Military Barracks and Luzira Maximum Prison in 1986. I was also deported toSweden on 28/12/1986.  I made all these sacrifices for the sake of a cause I believed in and for my country and people that I care and love so dearly.  Your Excellency, I have no regret for that nor shall I ever question the sanity of my judgement when it comes to the defence and protection of Rwanda as a nation and people.

What pains me now is the fact that the struggle for which we made tremendous and indeed bold sacrifices now seems to have stalled. President Kagame, despite some of the good achievements he has recorded, is now clearly an obstacle to peace and reconciliation in Rwanda. It pains me that after 18 years, we still continue to live under conditions that forced us to form the Rwanda National Liberation Movement in April 1986. This is where President Kagame and his RPF government have totally failed and let down the Rwandan people. At the same time, despite being an opposition to the RPF regime, my party will continue its role in supporting activities that are beneficial to Rwanda as a nation and people.

In this regard, and as for most recently, my party stood by to give qualified support to the RPF government’s handling of the DRC and M23 crisis.  The RPP has played a very significant role in engaging donor countries to increase direct aid to the people of Rwanda and transfer of the ICTR court ad prisoners to Rwanda.

The RPP also played an indirect constructive role in restoration of the France-Rwanda bilateral relations and supported the establishment of the Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda to brighten the future of our children. As our party policy, we are committed to oppose policies and procedures that are detrimental to Rwandan people and to support projects that could help to improve the wellbeing of our people, regardless of whichever party is in power.

Your Excellency, you are aware of Rwanda’s bloody history and the tragedy it has undergone throughout its post-independence history since1959. In1959, over 100,000 Rwandan were massacred and over 300,000 were forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries, includingUganda. I myself  was among the  thousands of  displaced Rwandan refugees who  were subjected to moving  from one makeshift refugee camp to another  and these include  Buye and Mutaho (Burundi), Muyezi and Nyalutiti (Tanzania) until  I arrived with my parents in October 1962, in Masaka,  Uganda, in floods of tears, exhausted, horrified and traumatised by the events of 1959.

Your Excellency, on behalf of my party, the Rwanda People’s Party, we cannot find any single suitable word of expression in which we could describe the exceptional welcome and hospitality that were extended to Rwandan refugees by the government and people ofUganda. However, Your Excellency, allow us to summarise this as follows:  Your country and people fetched us to safety when we were floating ashore and held-up our arms when we were flailing. You gave us shelter when we were excommunicated and desolated by our fellow countrymen, water and food when we were thirsty, dehydrated and chronically malnourished.  Uganda wiped our faces when we were distraught and weeping in floods of tears and comforted us when we were traumatised, sorrowed and grieving. Your Excellency, thank you for hearing our voice when we were voiceless. We thank you for stopping our internal bleeding, healing our wounds and nursing our bruises. Your Excellency, we will never forget  your candle-light  when we were coiled and holed-up in solitary miseries and destitution  in the shallows of Nakivale, Nshungerezi, Kyaka, Gahunje, Kyankwanzi, Orukinga  refugee camps. But above all, Your Excellency, you showed us direction when we were stranded and lost at the crossroads in panic, confusion and despair.  Your Excellency, we thank you very much, for putting a smile on our face, nourishing our heart and soothing our mind.

Your Excellency, we also wish to use this opportunity to thank all governments and the people of the Great Lakes Region of Nations, in particular, Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, DRC (former Zaire) and the international community generally for the humanitarian assistance given to Rwandan refugees during their 12,775 immemorial days in desolation, captivity and anguish.

Your Excellency, today, we can proudly say to you and the international community that we are a nation and people that shine like the sun, but also a nation and people of unwavering determination and resolution in pursuit of a vibrant and energised nation of justice, love, peace and prosperity for every child of Rwanda.  We will continue to strike relentlessly like thunder against fixed beliefs of those who are cowardly; who were brainwashed to hate others; that do things differently than they do, and whose crimes are beyond human comprehension.

Your Excellency, although the genocide in Rwandaended in 1994, the country has still not returned to normalcy. There are still many Rwandan refugees living in exile in neighbouring countries and beyond, including Uganda, since 1959. Among those refugees is His Majesty the King Kigeli V of Rwanda, myself, together with others who are still carrying this infamous refugee cross. Your Excellency, the queue is getting bigger and longer day-by-day, as most recently many other Rwandan have also become the bearers of this cross. This is a source of instability in the Great Lakes Region of Nations and we believe only a comprehensive peace agreement can remove the causes of tension inside Rwandaand the Great Lakes Region of Nations itself.

Your Excellency, the children of Rwanda have continued to be killed daily inside Rwanda and beyond. The latest example was in January 2012 at Remera –Kigaliwhere 5 people lost their lives and more injured at the hands of unknown terrorist groups. Whereas on the external front, many Rwandan continued to be hunted like animals in their countries of asylum and the most recent one was Charles Ingabire, a genocide survivor and a member of the Rwanda People’s Party, who was gunned down in Kampala,Uganda on 30/11/2011. Your Excellency, all these unprecedented behaviours render the essence of the 1990-94 Rwandan liberation struggles meaningless.

Your Excellency, today the political crisis in Rwanda, is similar to the one that led to the 1990 civil war. Indeed, the aftermath of the 1990 earthquake would have been avoided had the genocide regime of the Habyarimana, heeded the advice of the former President Mubarak of Egypt, late Mobutu of DRC (Zaire), late Sheik Jabel Ahmed al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, late Jaafar an Nimeiri of Sudan and other global leaders that were encouraging him to resolve the question of the Rwandan refugees situation before reaching its critical peak. Yet, Habyarimana and his regime, instead of embracing the peace initiative by calling for a round table conference, declared that Rwandan refugees living inUgandawere “unwanted” and advised them to settle permanently inUganda. (Focus Vol 3 No. 7, Friday, August 29, 1986). In doing so, the late Habyarimana was affirming his previous pledge he made to disallow a peaceful return of Rwandan refugees when he was addressing a UN conference inBerne,Switzerland,Thursday, October 6, 1983.

Your Excellency, we believe the reason why the Uganda government supported the 1990 invasion of Rwanda was not just to remove late president Habyarimana out of power alone.Uganda wanted the people of Rwanda to have democracy, the children of Rwanda to be united, live together in harmony and support each other in times of happiness and sorrow.

Your Excellency, we are afraid to say that, this hasn’t been the case, because theRwandaof yesterday and today is still governed by the same wall of fears of the unknown and barriers of distrust. Your Excellency, the recent Rwanda – France and Uganda-Rwanda bilateral relations were able to be amended because all parties involved were able to pull the plug to overcome the wall of fears and barriers of distrust that had blind-folded them and clouded their judgements for over a decade.

Your Excellency, allow us to inform you that the greatest enemies of mankind are wall of fears and barriers of distrust. The duo leads to self-destruction (like Habyarimana, Obote II, Amin, Gadhafi, and Mubarak etc.), violence, oppression, tribalism, ethnicity, sectarianism, racism, genocide, jealous, grudges  and hate of those who do things differently than they do. Your Excellency, there is no doubt that these characteristics, were the catalyst for the 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1972 and 1973 massacres, as well as the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It is these same chronic episodes that are inherent in the RPF regime that have set the tone for its 18 year legacy, leaving it in a persistent vegetative state.

Your Excellency, we would also wish to commend your recent decision and that of President Kagame to improve the bilateral relations of the two countries that was restrained since the tragic events ofKisanganiin the DRC, for which we don’t apportion blame, but want to learn lessons from it. We believe that the futures of both nations and people are bigger than these unfortunate events.

It was therefore imperative that Ugandaand Rwanda take the necessary steps to move-on, rather than continue to be divided and enslaved by trumpeting the failures and tragedies of yesterday. These regrettable and unfortunate events were temporary, but the Uganda– Rwandarelations is long-term. This is a point that we make very strongly in our 5th May 2011 Rwanda Road Map to Peace. This is the same message my party conveyed to ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy ofFrance, urging him and his government to look at the interests of France –Rwanda as a nation and people beyond the tragedies of 1994.

Your Excellency, my party was also appreciative of your Big Heart to become a Good Samaritan through intervention to reconcile the factions fighting for the leadership of Banyarwanda Cultural Development (Umubano) during your joint news conference with President Kagame at the State House, on27/01/12. We once again thank you for having the neighbourliness spirit at heart. We have been also encouraged and motivated by your critical thinking and persistence that African problems can be better solved locally by the people who understand them. This is a shared conviction with my party. We believe, that the problems of Africa are entirely African and can be better solved by internal stakeholders and with support from regional interventionism, rather than foreign-imposed solutions that disregard the regional initiatives and which doesn’t take into account the root causes of the African conflicts.

Your Excellency, we believe that Rwandan problem is once again ripe and it has reached a boiling point where it needs an early intervention, to avoid destructive conflicts such as the events that have happened in the Middle East and North Africa, and are currently happening in the DRC, Mali, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen etc. We believe that Uganda as a neighbour and friendly country, a member of the East African Community, United Nations etc., and as a critical and influential leading player in the African Union is in a better position to mobilise the regional and international community to support the Rwandan people by leading a diplomatic effort to brokering and facilitating Peace Talks in Rwanda.

Your Excellency, my party and I believe that it is not belated for President Kagame to accept Peace Talks with the opposition groups aimed at finding a permanent solution to the current Rwanda’s political impasse. To this extent, Your Excellency, on behalf my party the Rwanda People’s Party and of the people of Rwanda, we are hereby requesting you to use your close relationship with President Kagame, to persuade and encourage him to accept comprehensive Peace Talks with members of the opposition groups, within the framework of the Rwanda People’s Party’s Road Map to Peace (M5) – specifically the proposed Peace Talks that my party delivered to President Paul Kagame on 05/05/2011.

Your Excellency, the RPP, dreams of a new Rwanda to be an open opportunity society in which every person is free, secure and equal, where everyone has the opportunity to improve the quality of their life and pursue their dreams, and in which every Rwandan has equal respect and protection. We aim to build a new Rwanda with one future, living together under the constitution in peace, security and prosperity, with opportunity and recognition for all sons and daughters of Rwanda. Our party, the RPP underpins the vision of the proper relationship between individuals, the state and society in the Rwanda of today and future.

We look forward to future fruitful cooperation together as fraternal partners to peace and democracy to improve the lives of the less advantaged people of the two nations, as well as playing a meaningful role in guaranteeing the regional stability, and contributing to the political, social and economic prosperity in the Great Lakes Region of Nations and Africa as whole.

Yours faithfully,

John V KARURANGA, President

Rwanda People’s Party

Facebook:Rwanda People’s Party

www.rwandapeopleparty.org

Email: rppimvura@yahoo.com

Tel:00447985663922

Source: http://www.thelondoneveningpost.com

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