Kampala- A section of Rwandans in the diaspora yesterday protested against a move by Rwanda’s parliament to amend the constitution and lift term limits, giving President Paul Kagame lee way to offer himself for another term after his current tenure expires in 2017.
A group allied to exiled Rwandan general Kayumba Nyamwasa held a peaceful demonstration at the Rwandan High Commission in South Africa yesterday, rallying the African Union, East African Community and donor groups to rein in Kagame.
“There is no single Rwandan who willfully petitioned Kagame to remain in power.
For those who are used to Kagame’s modus operandi, it is him who was pushing, through his intelligence apparatus and state machinery, for the population to anticipate his third term,” they said in a press statement signed by Dr Etienne Mutabazi.
They added: “Manipulation, lies and deceit have always characterised Kagame and his inner circle’s way of doing business in Rwanda.”
In an interview with Daily Monitor yesterday, Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda, Maj Gen Frank Mugambagye, dismissed the protest as a desperate action by lone voices of dissidents which will not change the resolve by Rwandans to determine their country’s destiny.
He said: “Rwandans have spoken and their voices are loud and clear. There is a consultation process going on and their views will be considered by those mandated to do so. Don’t listen to a lone voice.”
President Kagame has in various interviews argued that clinging onto power is not his fashion of politics, essentially giving the impression that Rwandan citizens are pushing him to stay a little longer.
The exiles, however, warn that amending the constitution is recipe for anarchy in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region.
“President Kagame is probably the worst war criminal in office today. Kagame has ordered and continues to order the killing and assassination of Rwandans inside and outside Rwanda,” Dr Etienne Mutabazi, Mr Frank Ntwali and Kennedy Gihana claimed in their statement, adding, “Far from being a people unifier, President Kagame is a predator, divider in spirit, actions and words.
Kagame divides Rwandans among few privileged Tutsis and many marginalised Hutus and unwanted Tutsis. Rwandan economic development is “rent-seeking.”
Asked to respond to this specific allegation, Gen Mugambagye asked: “Why do you want to listen to a lone voice of dissidents when I have told you the majority of Rwandans have made themselves clear?”
Kagame is largely credited within and outside Rwanda for championing the reconstruction of a post genocide state, ushering in an era of relative stability and what his government calls an economic paradigm shift akin to, “Africa’s Singapore in 21 years.”