Biruta fires at opposition politicians, foreign critics, BBC

Saturday, 07 August 2010 23:51 by Gaaki Kigambo
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Party President and Presidential Candidate; Vincent Biruta and Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo at the Nyamirambo rally (Photo: Gaaki Kigambo)

Kigali: PSD chair and Senate President Dr Vincent Biruta has accused the western media of propagating ethnicity in a campaign speech where he made specific reference to the British broadcaster BBC.

In strongly worded comments not known for the quiet Biruta, the Senate boss told thousands at a PSD final campaign rally in Nyamirambo that some foreign media are even assigning ethnic identities for the four candidates who are vying for Village Urugwiro.

On Saturday morning, on a BBC French programme, the host suggested to Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo that the three candidates - whom he branded as Hutus, were competing against incumbent Paul Kagame, a Tutsi. Minister Mushikiwabo dismissed the ethnic categorizations – arguing the people of Rwanda have chosen to be seen as Rwandans.

Without naming the BBC – but referring to the programme where the comments were made, Biruta defended the PSD candidate Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, as well as the other two running against Kagame. 

“These candidates are simply Rwandans. The votes they are seeking are for Rwandans such that they can lead Rwandans and Rwanda as a nation,” he said as the crowd chanted the PSD campaign slogans, in the Nyamirambo stadium here in Kigali.

Speaking in Kinyarwanda, Biruta also attached western critics he did not name - accusing them of promoting democracy for Rwanda based on ethnicity and other differences.

“They [western media and critics] still have the plan to continue to mislead Rwandans preaching to them that democracy must be based on ethnicity, regionalism, a person’s origin, facial characters and many other differences that are useless,” he said. 

“They also promote the notion that democracy in Africa must be chaotic, and with guns but in Rwanda, that is over,” added Biruta as crowd responded with PSD slogans. 

Biruta said PSD was proud to have been part of the system that raised Rwanda from the abyss to where it has reached at present. 

“Those foreigners trying to interfere to mislead us should give us peace. When we need them, we will invite them,” he said.

Ntawukuriryayo hi-fives a supporter in downtown Kigali. His convoy almost brought his part of the city to a standstill (Photo: Gaaki Kigambo)

The soft-spoken Senate president was not done yet, as he turned his guns on opposition politicians in Rwanda who he said are still bent on “old ideas”. Though he did not name any names, it was clear he was referring to embattled FDU-Inkingi leader Victoire Ingabire, and jailed Ntaganda Bernard. 

In his final remarks, he reminded the enthusiastic supporters to wake up early enough on Monday August 9 when the polling stations open and do nothing more than place their thumb print against their candidate of choice: Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo.

On his part, Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo reiterated his commitment to the promises he’d made throughout the course of the campaigns and as the party’s vice president, Marc Rugenera, noted, by hook or crook PSD will deliver on them once elected to Rwanda’s presidency because it is a party that has proved it’s as good as its word.