Brussels, November 1, 2021
Open Letter to Mr. Edouard Ngirente, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, KIGALI.
Subject: Dereliction of duty by Rwandan Officials.
Dear Prime Minister,
It is an honor to address this letter to you, in my capacity as a Rwandan, as Former Prime Minister of Rwanda (1994-1995) and on behalf of the political party « Rwandan Dream Initiative » RDI-Rwanda Rwiza of which I am the President.
I wish to convey our concerns at the current suffering of the people of Rwanda, particularly those inside the country, who are experiencing immeasurable suffering as a result of the flagrant dereliction of duty by government official who are no longer carrying out their functions.
Allow me, Prime Minister, to give you, as an indication, some concrete examples that demonstrate the distress and injustice experienced by the population:
1.In rural areas, Rwandans are living in extreme poverty and hunger due to the fact that they can no longer cultivate their private properties as usual because they are forced to grow only products for export.
2.In cities, which are overcrowded, homes are constantly destroyed without fair and just compensation. Their owners have become displaced persons and live as refugees in their own country.
3.Rwandans are also extremely concerned by several enforced disappearances carried out by security forces. This is particularly troubling because many of the victims are young people who have lost any hope of living peacefully in their country and building a better future.
4.Extrajudicial killings have become common, innocent citizens are being shot daily by security services and local authorities without cause under false pretense that some have tried to escape from prisons or tried to cross the border to go into neighboring countries for supplies.
Notwithstanding this catastrophic and far-reaching situation, the Rwandan people do not cease to challenge public officials, including even the Head of State, but instead of getting better, the situation is getting worse and the cries for help continue to get louder, the with no end.
For this reason, we are sincerely asking you to provide an explanation to the Rwandan people so that they can know what is really going on. Considering that for the last two years, public institutions have ceased to function and government officials are nowhere to be found. They are missing in action and are not fulfilling their Constitutional mandates and legal requirements.
Public statements and explanations are urgent and necessary. The Rwandan people are wondering and want to know where the President of the Republic, the Members of Parliament and the Government Ministers have gone and why there is a complete dereliction of duty by them.
(a) For about eighteen months, Rwandan Members of Parliament, Senators and Government Ministers have been confined to their homes and do not hold any meetings. The time has come for each and very institution to resume their normal functions, assume their responsibilities and begin holding important in-person meetings for the public good.
It is worth mentioning, in contrast, that sports venues, central markets, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs have been reopened to the general public. Even touristic destinations have resumed their normal operations and have begun to receive foreign tourists. Based on these contradictions how can we honestly explain why, for example, the-so called Representatives of the People, do not meet in Parliament to debate any bills and regulations and no longer pass any important legislation for the benefit of the people who are experiencing unbelievable suffering?
(b) We know that in a presidential system like ours, the President of the Republic is the Head of State and is therefore in charge of all our institutions. But it will soon be two years since the last time President Paul KAGAME appeared in public and or was seen in person by Rwandan people. Concerned citizens no longer see him other than on social media, particularly when he is seen traveling abroad or in pictures of him taken at Village Urugwiro. Rwandans ask themselves a lot of questions about their President who no longer speaks to or gives interview to any local independent journalist.
(c) It is even more troubling that some individuals have appropriated themselves the duties of the President of the Republic in clear violation of the Rwandan Constitution. It noteworthy to mention in particular that military officers who decreed total home confinement on the whole national territory in this period of the Covid-19 pandemic without announcing at the same time alternative measures allowing citizens to obtain means of subsistence and survival. In addition, it was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vincent BIRUTA, who welcomes foreign heads of state and receives the credentials for approval of ambassadors accredited to Rwanda. How can we honestly explain this usurpation of the powers normally reserved to the President of the Republic by the Minister of Foreign Affairs?
(d) Newspapers affiliated with the Government publish communiqués according to which meetings of the Council of Ministers are chaired by the President of the Republic, often by modern technical means (zoom) but only the Prime Minister signs the document relating to the conclusions of these meetings. How can we explain the President’s missing signature on these important matters? What is more egregious is that recently unsigned decrees have been issued because legally they can only be signed by the President of the Republic and yet they have been implemented. Another example: civilian and military cadres were promoted by unsigned decrees and then these were implemented immediately. We do not understand why the President of the Republic does not sign such important documents.
You are well aware, Mr. Prime Minister, that, according to article 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, when the President of the Republic is in a state of incapacity, recognized by the Supreme Court, to exercise his powers, the interim is ensured by the Prime Minister for a short period of time and then by the President of the Senate for a period of 90 days and responsible for organizing presidential elections. It is unacceptable for a clique of people to illegally seize the power to run the country, instead of the elected President, claiming to represent the Rwandan people on the international level.
We reiterate our persistent demand that the Rwandan people deserve to know the truth. The elected President of the Republic should not hide from his countrymen. He must appear in public outside the confines of Village Urugwiro where he has locked himself for almost two years. The President should go outside as was customary to visit the people in their villages, listen to their grievances and bring adequate solutions to their problems. Still images and video recordings cannot resolve the peoples’ problems.
If this uncertain situation continues, Rwandans will continue to wonder about the state of health of their President and whether he is still able to lead the country or not. It goes without saying that the current disorder and insecurity in the country will worsen by the day. Please know, Mr.Prime Minister, you and your Government will be responsible for the dire consequences that will result from this situation if nothing is done to address it as soon as possible.
Thank you, Prime Minister, for receiving this letter that challenges you and for taking it into consideration. Please share it with other leaders of our country so that you can find urgent solutions to help the Rwandan people in distress.
Please accept, Prime Minister, the assurance of my highest consideration.
President of the RDI-Rwanda Rwiza Party.
Copy for information:
-Mr. Speaker of the Senate
-Madam President of the Chamber of Deputies
– Mr. President of the Supreme Court of Rwanda