Just days after President Paul Kagame told his countrymen he had accepted their demand that he stands for a third term in office, one of the country’s opposition movements has written a message of hope to Rwandans, praising efforts made by the Kagame regime in restoring peace to the country since the 1994 genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and Hutus were mercilessly butchered.
In a message to the people of Rwanda welcoming the New Year, John V Karuranga, leader of the Rwanda Peoples Party (RPP) said a recent referendum in Rwanda in which an overwhelming majority of the people said ‘yes’ to Kagame staying on as leader after what would have been his second and last term of office next year, showed that democracy was working in Rwanda. “We believe that the issue of term limitations is not as important as the economic and social emancipation of the country. Rwanda is not owned by the international community, but is rather a member of the international community and it should be treated the same as any other member of that community,” the RPP message to Rwandans said. We publish the RPP’s message in full herewith:
Fellow Rwandans and Friends of Rwanda,
On behalf of myself and my party, the Rwanda People’s Party (RPP), we would like to wish you all a very happy, health, prosperous and a blessed 2016. We would like to express our sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones during the year. We would also like to extend our sympathy to all those and who are suffering because of war, drought and famine. The RPP’s thoughts are also with all who are ill and in hospital at this time. At this time of the year, we must look forward with hope to the year ahead.
The last year was a year filled with both hope and also sadness. Perhaps the most important and tragic event of the year was the flow of refugees into Europe from the Middle East and North Africa. Some 800,000 people have fled by boat via the Aegean Sea to Greece and another 150,000 have travelled from North Africa by sea via the Mediterranean Sea. 51 per cent of the refugees are from Syria escaping a brutal civil war. Many more are fleeing conflicts, poverty and dictatorship in their own country. Tragically, thousands have died trying to reach safety in Europe. Many European countries responded to the refugees’ crisis too late, while others have built walls and used barbed wire fences to keep refugees out, including the sick and children. It is regrettable that many nations have used the refugee crisis to demonize the Muslim community and religion. Many have claimed that they are a danger to the western world. Today, being a Muslim in some Western countries is to be a second class citizen.