participation to the persistent renewal of our nation. As Year 2017 approaches, we have reached a crossroad.
The question that the Rwandan people need to answer is the following: are we going to miss the historic opportunity for Rwanda to renew itself?
The answer to that question is even so pressing as General Paul Kagame, his government and his controlled parliament and senate just decided to defy the will of the Rwandan people, in order to allow General Paul Kagame to remain in power. Through unprecedented terror and oppression, General Paul Kagame has forced the expansion of his tyrannic rule on the entire nation, through a sham “referendum”. Following the sham "referendum", General Paul Kagame, by confirming his decision to run for a forbidden term, has, hence, shown the world that he is ready to go to any length to cling to power.
The Rwandan people had resigned to the repressive regime, hoping that, by 2017, they could at last see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hence, as highlighted in our Dec 2, 2015 press release, we take this unique opportunity to thank all the governments of the world that have expressed their condemnation of the maneuvers by General Paul Kagame to change the Rwandan Constitution to allow himself to remain in power for the next 17 years.
We particularly thank the US Government for its recent repeated positions, unequivocally expressed by Ambassador Samantha Power, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall, and State Department spokespersons Mark Toner and John Kirby on General Paul Kagame’s attempts and maneuvers to cling to power. We also thank the European Union for its expressed position against Paul Kagame’s maneuvers to change the Constitution and the commitment to supporting democratic institutions and stability in the African Great Lakes Region. Finally, we thank governments and institutions around the World that have openly condemned General Paul Kagame’s maneuvers to deny democracy to the Rwandan people.
- Year 2017 is a milestone for the National Democratic Congress: it is a decisive moment for the transformational democracy, the Consensual Democracy, we have been advocating for years.
- The perspectives of Year 2017 will fuel our resolve and promises we have made to Rwandans inside Rwanda and around the World, including the hundreds of thousands of refugees across the World, especially in the Great Lakes region of Africa.
- Year 2017 is a critical deadline for Rwandans seeking democracy, working for united Rwanda, and promoting peaceful and strong institutions, the foundation for every sustainable development.
- Year 2017 is a test for those within the Rwandan Patriotic Front and the democratic opposition, including National Democratic Congress, seeking positive changes in Rwanda and in the region.
- Year 2017 challenges all of us to see a Rwanda, free from political prisoners and others held in pits, torture houses, and secret detention places. These include tens of thousands abducted from foreign countries, while vacationing, helping refugees, or on their private businesses, including our own brothers, sisters, parents, relatives or those dear to us, and tens of thousands of innocent Rwandans.
Since Year 2017 is a milestone, NDC is, in upcoming weeks and months, planning to hold consultations with other willing political parties and individuals, both outside and inside Rwanda, including the Rwandan refugees living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and elsewhere in the region, and members of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
The goal is to prepare for 2017 and beyond, regardless of on-going maneuvers by General Paul Kagame and his clique. At the end of our consultations, the National Democratic Congress will hold a Congress to decide on the course of future actions In our December 26, 2014 press release, while highlighting the position of our organization on the military operations that were planned for Jan 2, 2015 against Rwandan Refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), we reiterated our goal of peaceful transformation in Rwanda. Rwandans have suffered enough; they do not want to see their aspirations annihilated by the selfish whims of their leaders and other actions that could plunge the nation and the region into further turmoil and tragedy.
For that purpose, during our consultations, we are ready to meet General Paul Kagame, in case he is ready to hold a dialogue with the opposition and the civil society to discuss our proposed peaceful solutions to ensure democratic alternance. In fact as we continue on this journey to build a New Rwanda for all, we are reminded of the words of Admiral James B. Stockdale: “We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away."
We once again urge General Paul Kagame to seize this positive opportunity being offered by NDC for a peaceful transformation in Rwanda. But more importantly, we call on the Rwandans aspiring to peace, justice and equality, wherever they are, to remain vigilant and unite so that we may bring about transformative changes in Rwanda in upcoming years through Consensual Democracy.
New York City, New York, USA, January 2, 2016
Felicien Kanyamibwa, PhD
President, National Democratic Congress (NDC) - Congrès National pour la Démocratie (CND)
National Democratic Congress (NDC) - Congrès National pour la Démocratie (CND)