The following press release has been copied without comment from UDF website (http://www.fdu-rwanda.org).
The Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, on VOA Kinyarwanda today confirmed that as long as the police is investigating Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza or her political party, she and her party UDF INKINGI, will be definitely denied the right to convene anywhere in Rwanda. On 12th March 2010, responding to both our applications dated 16th February and 04th March 2010, the Mayor of Nyarugenge (Kigali City) informs that because of pending police investigations regarding Victoire Ingabire, the Chair of UDF INKINGI, there will be no authorisation for UDF INKINGI to hold a national congress in the municipality. In an interview on national Radio aired on 12th March 2010 the same authority added that “we can't allow them to convene because we don't know what they will say to the public”! This is totally against the freedom of expression and freedom of association.
The current controversial party law, the organic law n° 19/2007 of 04/05/2007 modifying and complementing organic law n° 16/2003 of 27/06/2003 governing political organizations and politicians grants to the Ministry of Local government the key position to handle political parties' applications, registrations and activities. It's the last resort and the highest authority in the hierarchy of appellate system. The Minister is clear: there will be no authorisation for congress, no registration of UDF INKINGI. The national police is weighed down by the orders from the President to grill opposition leaders. The Ministry and the municipal administrations bestow the issue as a tool strong enough to deny political rights. This political tactic to silence any opposition is systematically used against all opposition leaders.
How about the presumption of innocence? Why should the government deny citizens constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty?
This conspiracy and the use of powers of the police to try and silence the opposition are unacceptable. It is not surprising that public confidence in the force and the administration has been shaken. We call upon the President of Rwanda to prove his real commitment to a peaceful democratic process by distancing himself from Minister James Musoni's views. We call on the partners of the government of Rwanda, the bilateral donors funding the election in Rwanda and the international community to make sure all the actors in this process are sincere and accountable. The current standoff reveals the hidden agenda of the ruling party and its government to shy away any serious competition and its clear intention to rig the process from the start.
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza UDF INKINGI Chair. 15th March 2010