No Green Party banner over Rwanda; Broken Bones and Arrests instead

This should tell the world what Rwanda, the U.S.A.’s closest ally in Africa, and its President Paul Kagame are:

The Rwandan Democratic Greens tried, for the fourth time, to hold their founding convention in Kigali, but this time the police came instead.

I just spoke to Frank Habineza, interim Rwandan Green Party leader, who is in a Kigali hospital trying to arrange an X-ray for a Rwandan Green, a woman with a broken leg.

Another would be Rwandan Green woman has a broken back.

More are injured, and I believe he said some are in jail. He was on a cell in a hospital and I always have to work to understand his sweet French/Kinyarwanda English accent as well.

He wasn’t able to give me any more details now. He had to hurry off to help his friend with the broken leg.

No news on the Web yet. Frank said to watch the BBC and the Rwandan News Agency websites. I told him the state run Rwandan News Agency website won’t let me on their damn website. He himself had to pay them $250 to get on to pick up the articles he sends me, which are almost always yanked off the site as soon as they’re posted.

I didn’t have a chance to urge Frank to Twitter, but I’m going to try calling again to urge him to do so on my way to San Francisco Superior Court in an hour. Frank Habineza’s twitter account.

I have to run and I’ll be gone all morning, but we obviously we need to get on the phones to the White House, the Rwandan Embassies, and the press.

Greens of course, and I addressed this mostly to Greens, but this isn’t just about Greens, obviously. No one should wind up in a hospital with broken bones, or in jail, for attempting to convene a legal, nonviolent political party.

This is the Rwanda that Bill and Hillary Clinton and Reverend Rick Warren point to as Africa’s future, “a shining beacon of hope for Africa.” Bill Clinton hung a Global Citizenship Award around Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s neck a week before Reverend Rick Warren presented him with the same International Medal of Peace he presented George Bush with last year.

This is the Rwanda that the U.S.A. uses to control the vast geostrategic mineral wealth of its neighbor D.R. Congo.

(Anyone feel free to post this note to Green Party lists and websites, and wherever else, ASAP.)


Rwandan Green needs protection

Many times we are asked to do things in support of Green candidates or Green Party leaders, and because of the cost it’s difficult. Some of us have enough income to live well, while others of us are barely getting by. Today I offer you a dollar free way to help protect the life of a Green Party leader in Rwanda.

The following is from Ann Garrison’s blog.

I’d like to urge Green and human rights Tweeters to follow Frank Habineza, interim leader of the Rwandan Democratic Green Party, for the sake of Frank’s and other party members’ safety, and, for political rights in Rwanda.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s government should know that Greens and other human rights activists are watching Frank and the Rwandan Democratic Greens, especially during the next two weeks, as they continue their struggle to register as a political party with a ballot line, and convene in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, on October 30th, despite have been shut down by the state three times.

Please post to your Facebook pages, websites, e-lists, and/or blogs, and urge others concerned with political rights, in Rwanda, Central Africa, and beyond, to do so as well.

Canadian, Australian, European, and African Greens have all spoken out for the Rwandan Greens, and some have spoken to Rwandan Embassies. We’re waiting for a statement from the Green Party (in the-editor’s note) U.S.A., but this is not just about Green Party rights; it’s about political rights, and the safety of those fighting for them.”

LGBT human rights are also at issue, to say the least, in Rwanda, where official policy has long been that “homosexuality does not exist.” Frank Habineza told me he would try to contact members of the LGBT community willing to speak to press outside Rwanda, but also said that “they are so beaten down here that they are very hard to find above ground.”

So there it is folks. If you have a Twitter account, please consider adding Habineza to your list of folks to follow. This will let the repressive government in Rwanda know that the world, or at least a part of the world, is concerned about his safety, and will not allow him or the Green Party to be repressed.


Rwandan Green Party blocked from meeting by officials

This article was originally posted last week on the Rwanda News Agency website, but it quickly became unavailable. Thankfully, Save Rwanda had already reposted the story.

Rwandan Green Party blocked from meeting: “Sad Day for Democracy in Rwanda” (10/5/09)

Kigali: They moved hundreds of kilometers – some for the first time to the capital. Others braved the trouble of having to move with babies. Some abandoned their jobs to be in Kigali for the event that did not happen. Up to 900 supposed delegates of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) found themselves at the center of an unexpected controversy, RNA reports. Continue Reading