Opposition ‘forces cancellation of major Rwanda convention in Europe’
The 7-day occasion dubbed the Rwanda Diaspora Convention Europe that had been organized in two phases was cancelled by the Rwandan Community Association in the UK.
The group said in a statement that the guests who were expected to come from Rwanda had indicated at the last minute they would not be available due to conflicting plans.
A similar event was organized in Chicago for North America in which several Rwandan exiles including exiled ex-PM Celestin Rwigema and an ex-Foreign Minister attended. Hundreds of people including musicians, politicians and the business community were ferried from Rwanda to the event on government budget.
As for the Europe event, it was to be in two phases. There would first be the Rwandan youths convention from July 17-22, then the mega final convention from 22-24, in which President Kagame could address the attendees.
However, the organizers said Monday that the events had been pushed at a later date. The explanation was that the moment the guests from Rwanda were ready, the convention would be rescheduled.
But the opposition umbrella group which calls itself the Rwanda National Congress says there is no way they could allow such an event to take place at the expense of the Rwandan tax payer. The group says it petitioned the UK government which apparently raised its concerns with Kigali.
An opposition politician told the BBC greatlakes Kinyarwanda service on Monday evening that they had written to different British departments to block the event. He said such events that are being organized in western capitals were consuming resources that could be better used in Rwanda.
However, Mr. Ignatuis Mugabo, the head of the UK Rwanda diaspora dismissed the claims – saying there had been no communication from the UK authorities over the convention. He told the same BBC program that it was due to changes in programs in Rwanda and that the convention would at some point happen. He did not give any new dates.
The latest spat between the vocal opposition and Kigali comes a few weeks after UK police notified two little-known Rwandan exiles that they needed to watch their steps because Rwanda has sent assassins to kill them. Rwanda has vehemently denied the accusations.
President Kagame told a press conference last week that the UK police was “incompetent” for having let a suspect go and then turn around and point accusing fingers at Kigali.