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Submitted by admin on Tue, 01/16/2024 - 09:51

Jambo asbl extends its wishes of health and happiness for the year 2024 to all its members and supporters, and more broadly to all Rwandans and friends of Rwanda. The upcoming year will pose challenges for Rwandans and the Great Lakes region of Africa. 2024 marks the 16th year since the creation of Jambo asbl. Since its inception, Jambo has been on a mission to mobilize the necessary resources to establish and sustain the rule of law in the Great Lakes region. Our vision transcends Rwanda, our place of origin, extending to the entire region, as we believe that a democratic Rwanda depends on a stable and peaceful region.

However, we acknowledge that 2024 will be particularly challenging on all fronts. Nevertheless, we choose to approach it with optimism and courage to fulfill our role as a civil society organization, aiming to be unifying and a leader in all aspects that can help strengthen democracy, justice, peace in Rwandan society, and respect for fundamental human rights.

2024 is another year where peace seems to again elude the Great Lakes region. The Rwandan government has been forming, supporting, and financing terrorist organizations in the East of the DRC for nearly 30 years to maintain chaos in the northern region of the DRC. This situation benefits the Rwandan regime and its international sponsors who exploit the chaos to plunder the wealth of the DRC. Since 2021, the Rwandan regime has revived the M23 and, with its army, is waging a war of aggression against the DRC. The Congolese authorities have courageously taken the lead in clearly denouncing this latest Rwandan aggression. The same goes for the Burundian President, who denounced the support of Paul Kagame's regime for the terrorist group Red Tabara, conducting subversive activities in Burundi.

Jambo will work to expose the looting of the Rwandan regime in the DRC and the insecurity caused by this regime in the Great Lakes region to raise awareness among a large part of the international public opinion about the danger President Kagame poses to peace, stability, and development in the entire Great Lakes region.

2024 will mark the 30th anniversary of exile for many Rwandans. According to UNHCR figures, Rwanda ranks among the top 10 countries in the world with the highest number of refugees relative to its total population. Many Rwandan refugee communities around the world have not been able to return since 1994. 30 years after the Rwandan exodus, there are still Rwandan refugee camps in many African countries such as Malawi, the Republic of Congo, or Zambia. These statistics suggest that the number of Rwandans living as refugees, migrants, stateless persons, and their descendants probably exceeds one million. Those in the DRC face a tragic situation as they continue to suffer assaults and massacres by the Rwandan army and the militias it supports.

Jambo will continue to support the All for Rwanda movement and its action aimed at supporting, protecting, and promoting dignified solutions for the return of Rwandan refugees.

2024 will mark the 18th year since the first edition of the Highly Inclusive Inter-Rwandan Dialogue, a key event initiated in March 2006 in Majorca. This historic meeting brought together, on several occasions until the mid-2010s, important Rwandan figures in exile, both Hutus and Tutsis. The main objective was to give the Rwandan people a voice, to help establish reliable and secure democratic institutions for all, to find solutions for peaceful coexistence in Rwanda and with its neighboring countries, and to address the refugee issue. However, the absence of participation by the Rwandan government, which chose to boycott this project, prevented the dialogue from reaching its full potential and producing the expected results. In 1998, the Urugwiro Dialogues were held, but they were partial, elitist, ethnocentric, and partisan. These dialogues have become the foundations of the current Rwandan state, characterized by an autocratic regime, centralized around one man and his party, and marked by oligarchic and ethnocentric tendencies. In this context, the Jambo organization strongly supports the roadmap proposed by Victoire Ingabire, advocating for the establishment of a new highly inclusive dialogue. This envisioned dialogue should bring together the Rwandan government, political actors, and civil society, both within the country and in exile. It represents the only viable framework for creating a climate of trust between different ethnic groups, a prerequisite for effective reconciliation, peace, and sustainable development in the Great Lakes region.

Jambo will work in this direction and ensure being innovative and open to proposing ideas that will allow such a dialogue.

2024 will be the 3rd year of detention for the "Ingabire Day Prisoners". As a reminder, a dozen young Rwandans were incarcerated for reading the book "How to Bring Down a Dictator When You Are Alone, Small, and Unarmed" by Srdja Popovic. They symbolize the lack of fundamental freedoms in Rwanda. Alongside them, in Rwandan jails, several journalists like Dieudonné Niyonsega, activists like Aimable Karasira, influencers like Yvonne Idamange, and thousands of other Rwandans are imprisoned for simply exercising their freedom of conscience.

Jambo will continue to highlight these courageous Rwandans who have braved the dictatorship, to advocate for their release, and to support them as best as it can.

2024 marks the 20th consecutive year of the Rwandan army's participation in UN peacekeeping operations. Since then, Rwanda has also deployed its army to the Central African Republic, Mozambique, and Benin. All these operations are intended to enhance the aura and image of President Kagame, who has turned the army into a sort of mercenary service for interests that are not those of the Rwandan people. The Rwandan army has roots in a force accused of committing the worst crimes in the DRC against Rwandan refugees and the Congolese population. It is still led by officers who have committed crimes against humanity and their names are sadly famous and associated with the worst atrocities. It is unacceptable for this army to be highlighted, financially supported by the UN, the EU, and many countries in the international community.

Jambo will work to highlight the danger of collaborating with an army that has committed the worst crimes.

2024 will be the 4th year after the failure to achieve almost all the goals of "Vision 2020". This program, launched in the late 1990s, aimed primarily to make Rwanda a middle-income country. However, at the dawn of 2024, Rwanda is among the 25 poorest countries in the world (comparing GDP per capita), 80% of the population still lives on less than $3.10 a day, and almost 70% depend on rural subsistence means. Rwanda ranks 165th in the Human Development Index. This critical situation is also reflected in the poor quality of education, health, electrification, and access to water. Every year the country tops the list of the world's most unhappy countries. This situation contrasts with the reality portrayed by the international lobbying program known as "Visit Rwanda", which contributes to a distorted image of Rwanda, and its benefits favor an elite at the expense of the majority of the population.

Jambo asbl will continue to advocate for the Rwandan population and bring forward the little-known reality of Rwanda through articles and reports on our channels.

2024 is the year of the 30th anniversary of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis. It is a year that will be marked by multiple commemorations and media events that will remind us of these dark hours in Rwandan history.

Jambo will stand as always alongside the victims of this tragedy through the projects we are preparing in this context.

2024 will also be the 34th anniversary of the Kagitumba attack, the 31st of the massacres of Byumba and Ruhengeri, the 30th of the massacres of Kicukiro, the 30th of the assassinations of Presidents Habyarimana and Ntaryamira, the 30th of the massacre of the bishops of Gakurazo, the 29th of the massacre of Kibeho, the 27th of the destruction of the refugee camps in Zaire and thus of the massacres of Tingi-Tingi, Kisangani, Mugunga, and others. For Jambo, these episodes constitute a genocide perpetrated against the Hutus.

Jambo will tirelessly continue to demand justice for these victims and plead for their recognition by highlighting the testimonies of these forgotten victims.

Finally, 2024 is an election year for Rwanda. There will be presidential and legislative elections. However, we consider that these elections have no meaning, as they will take place without independent candidates to challenge the incumbent president, without fundamental freedoms for the population, without independent media, and without political spaces for the opposition. All the institutional bodies supposed to organize, protect, and validate these elections are in the hands of the FPR.

Jambo asbl will maintain its efforts through its projects and actions to shed light on the human rights abuses and violations committed in Rwanda, which underlie this situation of lawlessness experienced by Rwandans. We will strengthen the mapping and listing of these abuses to be the voice of the oppressed Rwandans. We will work to strengthen all Rwandan actors who seek to promote democracy and human rights in Rwanda. We will intensify our collaboration with state actors around the world who wish to support Rwandans in this process of change. We will play our role, without shirking and tirelessly, to contribute to Rwandans having faith in a true and beneficial change for all.


Norman Ishimwe Sinamenye

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Jambo ASBL

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