21 January 2010

Rwanda: Ingabire Visits Genocide Convicts, Promises Help

Kigali — Victoire Umuhoza Ingabire, the president of the yet-to-be registered political party, FDU-Inkingi, yesterday travelled to Gisenyi town of Rubavu District.

Ingabire, who arrived in the country last Saturday and immediately sparked anger and controversy among Rwandans over her incendiary statements, met with Genocide convicts in Gisenyi hospital.

"Do you know me"? She reportedly asked the convicts, who replied in the negative.

"Surely, you must have heard my interviews on the BBC?" she reacted with surprise.

Ingabire, who has announced her intentions to stand for Presidential elections slated for August this year, then asked the prisoners which institution had convicted them; they told her it was Gacaca courts. She sympathized and promised to help.

"Do not worry; I have come to put an end to your miseries. Your problems will end soon," Ingabire promised the Genocide convicts, and proceeded to take their pictures.

Earlier in the week, the politician had gone through similar motions when she paid a visit to Kabgayi hospital and again interviewed and photographed hospitalized Genocide convicts.

While in the former Gitarama town - now renamed Muhanga District; the cradle of Parmehutu and its racist ideology -she paid her respects to her ideological ancestors, spending a considerable time meditating on Dominique Mbonyumutwa's grave.

Mbonyumutwa, a Parmehutu stalwart, was the first President of Rwanda.

Parmehutu carried out the first pogroms against the Tutsi in 1959 and a sequence of others in the years that followed.

Right after her arrival in the country after a 16-year absence, Victoire Ingabire, headed straight to the Gisozi Genocide memorial site where more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi are buried.

She incensed Genocide survivors when she said, right at the memorial site, that it was a symbol of the Genocide against the Tutsi only, but that Hutu victims also had to be remembered.

This provoked widespread condemnations, within and outside Rwanda, owing to her statement which reflected the "Double Genocide" theory, popular with revisionists and FDU-Inkingi in particular.

Reacting to the furore raised by her remarks, Ingabire was quick to issue a statement claiming that she was misquoted.

A news release issued by FDU this week, reveals the group's communication strategy, whereby the Kinyarwanda version is clearly vicious and inciting compared to the tame English translation.

The Kinyarwanda statement for instance, attacks various government programs, including Gacaca, the economy and TIG, all of which describes as "Ingoyi" (Shackles).

TIG is a community service in lieu of imprisonment, performed by those who confessed their role in the Genocide.

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