It should be recalled that the illegitimate and widely condemned December 2016 so-called referendum was followed by several months of wrangling, arm twisting, intimidation, threats, evasive answers, and widespread enigmatic assassinations. Hence the outcome, which has never been a secret, was known in advance. Once again during this Presidential campaign, the RPF candidate did not hide his maneuvers and publicly bragged repeatedly that the "choice was already in." In his speeches, he arrogantly went to the lengths of claiming that Rwanda only belongs to the elite around him who now rules the country.
At the outset, long before December 2016, the National Democratic Congress (NDC/CND) had strongly denounced the sham process that ultimately culminated in a constitutional coup allowing the Rwanda dictator and criminal, General Paul Kagame, to run for a third term and, ultimately, for life.
Hence, at this junction, it is with the strongest terms possible that our Organization reiterates our position: we do oppose any prospect of seeing General Paul Kagame being in office for another term.
The NDC clearly believes in and embraces the democratic process as the only and sole way of entrenching good governance, freedom, liberty, and prosperity in Rwanda. Hence, was it not only wrong to amend the Constitution to allow an oligarch criminal to continue to oppress his people, but also reprehensible and appalling when it is done under repression, treachery, coercion, threats, and assassinations.
Given the climate of fear, terror, assassination, and repression that is prevalent throughout the country today, it is evident that these upcoming polls are neither legitimate, nor free, nor fair. Therefore, the blatant denial of a basic democratic right such as the freedom of choice and preference in casting one's vote in this upcoming exercise will undoubtedly leave a sore taste and frustration among the Rwandan electorate and citizens despite what the supporters and handlers of the Kagame’s regime want us to believe.
In months long before the so called “vote”, Kagame operatives canvassed the entire country offering bribes and proffering threats to whoever would try to question the sham process. The information at our disposal indicates that Paul Kagame and his cronies had even decided before hand that any one who would dare to oppose or challenge the process would have to forcefully be dealt with by the regime security forces, who really serve as death squads.
Our Organization, once again, welcomes the positions publicly stated by the US government, the EU, and other members of the International Community asking Paul Kagame not to seek a third term. However, the Rwandan dictator and his cronies have chosen to respond with arrogant statements and scorn. By pursuing the third term strategy, Paul Kagame has dashed any hope of seeing Rwanda join other countries in which the democratic process and institutions are entrenched in the country political landscape.
The NDC calls upon all the Rwandans of good will to stand up shoulder-to-shoulder and oppose by an uncompromising determination this constitutional hijack and coup set in motion by Kagame and his cronies. As we have always stated, our Organization is determined to accompany the Rwandan people in their quest for having their voice heard. The Rwanda we want is a Rwanda in which ALL its citizens, not a few, live without fear and enjoy their basic rights; a Rwanda in which the democratic principles of the political system are enshrined in the mode of governance.
In the end, the Rwandan people, Hutus, Tutsis, Twas, and others determined to rally together to build a unified, free and prosperous nation, will prevail and the democratic rule will be the law of the land.
July 31, 2017
Dr. Augustin Dukuze