The Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye says that ongoing investigations against Victoire Umuhoza Ingabire are well within the law, pointing out that law enforcement organs should be allowed to do their job.
Minister Busingye weighed in on the evolving story this week, pointing out that the politician is an ex-convict who had been found guilty on charges of inciting the masses to revolt against the government, forming armed groups to destabilise the country, and minimising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The Attorney General urged Rwanda’s foreign friends and critics to first familiarise themselves with what is going on and understand the root cause of the legal procedures before jumping to conclusions or offering their support to such people as Ingabire.
“Ingabire Victoire right now is an ex-convict. She was convicted on offenses she has committed. There was a lot of evidence, remember we had a lot of evidence from The Netherlands where she lived, and she was convicted and later the President pardoned her,”
“She requested for pardon, I think she wrote three times and the President pardoned her and she came out. What you have been seeing, her being invited or summoned to RIB to explain some things or RIB searching her house or home, all those are procedures allowed by the law,”
The Attorney General said that what that means is that there is suspicion that she is or she might be involved in something, one of the suspicions according to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), being that she is suspected of being involved in subversive activities to destabilise the country.
“One of the suspicions is that she might be working with armed elements who are hostile to Rwanda, who have crossed our borders and have connected with her a number of times. I will leave the details to RIB. I don’t do investigations, but I read in the papers that those are the suspicions that come on her,” Busingye said.
He also pointed out that among other things, he has also read in the papers about Ingabire’s extreme ideological causes, which she tries to embody and represents.
“I’ve seen a lot of analysis on this in the media, if that were to be true, then it is also one of those things that go against the trajectory of Rwanda, which is building a united, unified country, and unity is the major pillar of our country because we know what division cost us,”
“Anybody who would be trying divisions as an ideology or divisions as a cause, would be absolutely out of order and I think Rwandans, through their institutions would want to get that addressed,” Minister Busingye said.
The Attorney General said that Rwanda’s foreign friends, mainly diplomatic representatives in Rwanda, need to understand some of these things before they get in the business of supporting or not supporting certain people, including Ingabire.
“The Ideological causes which people represent should very much match with what we see as support people certain countries give people like that. So, as I mentioned the institutions are doing their job. They have the suspicion, they have the evidence and so on, and that she is able to explain things and defend herself,” he said.
Asked whether the investigations would lead to Ingabire being re-arrested and charged with other crimes, Busingye said that as the Attorney General he can’t say that Ingabire would go back to jail or not because that is not his call but the law is clear.
“I cannot say whether I see her going to jail or not. I just know that there is a way to jail and I also know that there is a way not to go to jail. The circumstances are all clear in the law. So, if there is a violation, I think you would expect appropriate accountability,”
By appropriate accountability Busingye said that he meant that the concerned institutions would look into what they have to decide the next course of action, either to re-arrest her if there is enough incriminating evidence or leave things the way they are, if there is nothing to pin her to the suspected actions.
He however explained that whatever will happen or whichever procedure will follow will be premised on the law, calming those with fears that she is being persecuted for her beliefs and political ambitions.
Last month, RIB raided Ingabire’s house to conduct a search after an individual who was arrested trying to flee the country revealed information that linked Ingabire to activities of armed terror groups plotting to destabilise Rwanda.
Ingabire was subsequently summoned to answer questions to facilitate investigations into her suspected activities with the said groups. RIB said it was tipped off by the arrest of a one Gaston Munyabugingo who was arrested as he attempted to flee the country to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to join rebel groups.
RIB said Ingabire has been under investigation since last year and the search was aimed at unearthing some evidence on her suspected activities which include mobilising and recruiting people into subversive activities aimed at destabilizing the security of the country.
In September 2018, Ingabire benefited from Presidential clemency which commuted the remaining years of her 15-year sentence, but the political activist has continued to find herself in the crosshairs with the law.
The 51-year old, who has since converted her unregistered party Union Democratic Forces(FDU) Inkingi to DALFA Umurinzi, to allegedly disguise the said criminal activities of her previous organisation is likely to find herself in legal trouble following the latest accusations.
Ingabire was first arrested in 2010 and sentenced to 8 years by the High Court on charges of inciting the masses to revolt against the government, forming armed groups to destabilise the country, and minimising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Her sentence was upgraded to 15 years by the Supreme Court after she appealed until September 2018 when President Kagame granted her a presidential pardon. She was among the 2,140 convicts who were granted clemency, including deceased singer Kizito Mihigo.
Ingabire’s run-ins with law enforcement have not ceased since her release in September 2018. She has been reporting to RIB to facilitate investigations on her links with armed groups including RUD-Urunana and P5, which carried out armed attacks in October last year in Musanze and Burera districts, claiming at least 15 people.
‘P5’ is an organisation which brings together different armed groups including RUD Urunana, which is allied to Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and other groups. The outfit is a splinter group of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
She was questioned again by RIB on July 2. After the session she was handed some of the equipment picked from her house to facilitate investigations. RIB says investigations continue.