Thursday, February 18, 2010

Interior Ministry dismisses Ingabire’s security worries (18.02.10)

Kigali: Embattled opposition politician Ms. Ingabire Victoire Umuhoza cannot be given personal security escorts, instead she just has to abide by the country’s laws, the Interior Minister said Thursday, a day after Ingabire claimed a mob had attacked her.

Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana said the fiery politician is “one among about 10million Rwandans,” and cannot be provided personal guards as she had demanded in the February 03 letter to the Minister. Sheikh Harelimana is himself leader of Ideal Democratic Party (PDI), one of the six small coalition partners to the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).

Ms. Ingabire indicated Wednesday she would write to President Paul Kagame seeking to have her security guaranteed ahead of the August 09 presidential polls. It has now emerged that the letter was addressed to the Interior Minister – under whose portfolio internal security falls.

Among the issues the now controversial mother-of-four raises includes accusations that security operatives have been trailing her since she arrived in the country January 12. Ms. Ingabire also reportedly claims that security personnel, including police officers, are part of a concerted effort to intimidate her.

“What is wrong with somebody trailing you, as long as they don’t harm you?” said Minister Harelimana on the BBC Kinyarwanda service. “Our Police officers have name tags, but Ingabire does not provide any names of officers trailing her.”

Sheikh Harelimana said Ms. Ingabire allegations are “baseless” as Rwanda’s Police Force is “professional” and “respected across Africa and globally”.

The Interior Minister was the first government official to rap the FDU Inkingi leader following contested comments she made at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center on her arrival from the 16-year exile.

The fire-spitting lady wondered why the memorial, where some 250,000 people are laid to rest, only honors Tutsis killed by Hutus disregarding Hutus killed by Tutsis. Ms. Ingabire did not elaborate but her comments, made for the first time on Rwandan territory, raised a storm here with some sections saying she was promoting the double Genocide theory.

The Genocide survivors’ umbrella organization IBUKA has demanded that Ms. Ingabire be barred from visiting any other memorial site, accusing her of negating the Tutsi mass slaughter. The group was also very specific - urging government to prosecute her.

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