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Exiled opposition forms coalition

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Kigali: Bitter that their voices are not being heard, Rwandan opposition groups have decided to put together what they have described as a “common structure for consultation” apparently to return ‘democracy and rule of law’ in the country, RNA reports.

The new grouping Rwanda Democratic Opposition or ‘Opposition Démocratique Rwandaise’ – ODR – in the French acronyms formed in Belgium this week brings together the old political faces back into the spotlight.

Among them include Mr. Rusesabagina Paul – the name behind the Hollywood theatrical ‘Hotel Rwanda’ – that has since left him a persona non grata in Rwanda after he started poking at the authorities here using his fame. He is said to be behind the U.S. based PDR Ihumure party but denies any links.  
Mr. Rusesabagina will be taking on the diplomatic docket for the new coalition.  

Former Defense Minister Maj General Habyarimana Emmanuel who fled the country in 2003 – a year after he had been dropped from his position, is also in the fold. Government said then that he was sacked for his "extreme pro-Hutu" views.
General Habyarimana accused security forces of targeting him for elimination. He brings his Partenariat Intwari party into the new coalition. The General will be in charge of communications – essentially meaning he will be the media-man for the group.

Another familiar face is Dr. Higiro Jean Marie Vianney – a former top government official before the Genocide but declined to join the post Genocide political landscape – preferring to leave the country. He has since become a constant critic of the establishment here.

ODR is to have US based academic Dr. Kanyamibwa Félicien as its Secretary General. In 2003, the Rwandan Permanent Representative to the UN Amb Stanislas Kamanzi named him among the 12 individuals heading the FDLR – militias in DR Congo. Dr. Higiro was also on the list and a host of others in different countries.

However, new coalition does not seem to be interested in joining up with Dutch-based FDU-Inkingi which announced recently that it would come to Rwanda to take part if the 2010 presidential elections.

It is clear that the opposition groups may have realized they have no leverage over authorities in Kigali who remain the darling with the international community.

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