"The prosecution's case against Ms Ingabire is based on facts and evidence," said Rwanda’s chief prosecutor, Martin Ngoga. “The actions that led to these charges against Ms. Ingabire are extremely serious and cannot go unpunished.”
Sixteen years after the Rwandan genocide, in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in a 100-day orgy of violence organized by ethnic Hutu extremists, politics and one’s view of history are often still colored by ethnic divides.
Some Rwandans see the Kagame regime as a dictatorship in which criticism is punished as a crime. But officials have argued that tight control has led to stability and economic growth in a country still scarred by horror – and Kagame supporters see opposition leaders like Ingabire as whipping up ethnic hatred, and returning the country to civil war.
“The Kagame regime maintains a siege mentality, which is the justification to beat up one’s opposition as genocidaires,” says Richard Cornwell, an independent political analyst based in Pretoria. By linking Ingabire to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the armed militia linked to the 1994 genocide, Kagame builds himself up as a savior and tears down his opponent as a criminal. “The Rwandans play for keeps,” Mr. Cornwell says. “You get your revenge in first.”