Rwandans, stand up for your rights; nobody else will advocate on your behalf!
After its first Congress held in Paris from 7th to 9th February 2014, Ishema Party is continuing its planning process and explaining its resolution of going to Rwanda to exercise its political rights.
Effectively, the party’s Congress decided:
*To participate to the presidential elections of 2017,
*To present Father Thomas Nahimana as the candidate of Ishema Party in above elections,
*To put in place a coordination and campaign team, which will arrive in Kigali on 28th January 2016 at the latest.
Following the outcome of the Congress, Ishema Party’s leadership and Congress Members decided to hold two monthly meetings. The aim is to analyze and address effectively all issues that going back to Rwanda to participate politically in change could bring up on the ground.
They decided as well to come together in a much more coordinated manner and start explaining to Rwandans early on the Project of Society that Ishema Party is proposing them. The party is also asking Rwandans’ strong support to enable the implementation of its political ideas. Additionally, it was agreed that the Project of Society must be explained to the international community and particularly the UN organization.
Through this communication, Ishema Party wants to announce important updates regarding its presidential candidate and members of his close team of collaborators and their respective responsibilities.
I. Who is Father Thomas NAHIMANA?
Father Thomas NAHIMANA is the candidate that the Congress of Ishema Party held on 08 February 2014 selected to represent its members to the Rwandan presidential elections to be held in 2017.
Father Thomas NAHIMANA was born on 26 January 1971 in the locality of Nzahaha, Area of Rusizi [previously called Commune de Bugarama], current Western District [previously called Prefecture de Cyangugu]. He attended primary school in Nzahaha and Mushaka [1978-1986]; he then went to secondary school at St Pie X Seminary of Nyundo [1986-1992]; he thereafter enrolled at Higher Seminaries of Rutongo, Kabgayi and Nyakibanda (1992-1999); he received his priesthood on 18th July 1999.
For six years, as a priest of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Cyangugu, he held different responsibilities: parish principal, teacher of secondary school, observer in the presidential election of 2003 and Gacaca courts; he was as well sent to church’s missions in prisons and worked with the Commission for Justice and Peace…. He closely witnessed extreme injustices perpetrated by the dictatorial regime of RPF against the population: arbitrary imprisonment, bankrupting businesses deliberately, dispossessing citizens of their properties, asking them to pay unjustified taxes forcibly and persistently, putting in place policies purposely aimed at getting citizens into extreme poverty, installing government policies of discrimination in employment and education based on ethnicity and backgrounds, despising and segregating against poor people, oppressing journalists and politicians from the opposition, assassinating dissent voices like animals, considering citizens as slaves with no rights….. Father Thomas Nahimana heard then a strong calling in his heart asking him to be at the service of the oppressed Rwandans more than he was doing it as a parish priest.
In March 2005, further to his advocacy for the rights of the oppressed, he was deprived of his passport as a consequence of persistent harassment from some RPF leaders. With the help of influential personalities, Father Thomas Nahimana luckily got it back, but decided to leave the country temporary on 17 December 2005.
He went to France where he could calmly reflect on the persistent calling in his heart towards the oppressed of his country.
While accomplishing his role as a priest in the Diocese of Rouen and Le Havre, he pursued as well university studies. He took and actively participated to courses he thought would help him better understand the Rwandan problem and provide the best way of solving it. This explains how he obtained postgraduate qualifications in law and political philosophy.
In 2011, in partnership with his friend Father Fortunatus Rudakemwa, Father Thomas Nahimana started publishing an online news outlet – UMUHANUZI/Leprophete (www.leprophete.fr). He committed himself fully to that publication with the aim of giving back to Rwandans their freedom of expression which had been taken away from them, and an opportunity for them to denounce injustices they are victims of from the government. Through the publication, they could as well suggest innovative ideas that could transform Rwanda into a peaceful country they want. At that time, he was thinking that this was how far his contribution could go as a priest.
However, the way the RPF government reacted negatively to the publication particularly through serious intimidation of the priests who had started it and even towards their families, the leaders of their Diocese in Cyangugu, plus the Catholic Church in general, all this resulted in Father Thomas Nahimana realizing that his calling was beyond a mere publication of news.
Thomas Nahimana received his priesthood on 18 July 1999, in Mushaka.. Father JD Kayomberera (left) and Father Evariste Nambaje who was killed recently by RPF are showing him how to wear priest’s clothing.
From 1 September 2012 Father Thomas Nahimana started a retreat period of two months in Boston [US]. That’s when he convincingly understood that the root cause of the Rwandan problem was bad politics characterized by lies, ethnic discrimination, harassment and excessive inequalities where national wealth is controlled by the few.
He understood also that only prayers of those who like God could not solve his country’s problems without a new political framework rooted in the principles of truth, freedom of everyone and respected by all, courage and equality in the distribution of the country’s wealth, this without any exclusion. At the end of the retreat Father Thomas Nahimana decided to stop from a priest responsibilities usually accomplished in a parish, because this prohibited him from contributing with others to the required political actions required for a harmonious and peaceful change in Rwanda .
This is how, on 28 January 2013, he met in Paris [France] with 12 other Abataripfana, and they created a new political party that they named “Ishema ry’u Rwanda”.
After one year the party convened its first Congress in February 2014. It is this Congress which decided that time had come to go back on the ground and work with Rwandans who have been suffering for far too long from the dictatorial regime of the one RPF party system, and help them put in place a better alternative they need and that they could install through the presidential elections scheduled for 2017.
The upcoming elections in three years from now should not again be a lost opportunity for Rwandans: it is a chance for citizens to get their supremacy of decision on officials who lead them, and who are not characterized by criminal backgrounds towards the population.
Father Thomas Nahimana, as the selected Candidate of Ishema Party, has already put in motion his plan of action, mentally and practically. Abataripfana [party’s members] who will accompany him have started showing a team spirit and have the required courage for the mission. They know well that Rwandans [except the privileged ones] are looking up to them and will welcome them warmly.
There is this reality that we all agree on and that our Candidate will continuously remind to Rwandans: “To rebuild our country is our capacity” and that is undoubtedly true: “Nobody is doing it on our behalf…”.
I am convinced that nobody can disagree with the following statements:
*To support Abataripfana is to invest in a dignified future for the generations to come.
*To support the profound Project of Society of Ishema Party is a rational decision, because it is choosing to be part of a country of peace, without wars or conflicts.
*Giving your VOTE to the candidate of Ishema Party is a contribution to building a country where Tutsis, Hutus and Twas will feel all valued, equal and nobody will be demonized.
*Please give what you can to support Abataripfana to help you get back your Pride. Do it today, don’t delay thinking that there is somebody else who will do it on your behalf! Everybody’s contribution is needed.
II.List of some members of the close team of the Candidate
Candidate Principal Spokesperson [CPS]: Nadine Claire Kasinge.
Candidate Campaign Manager [CCM]: Nkurunziza Venant.
3.Candidate Deputy Principal Spokesperson [CDPS]: Chaste Gahunde.
4.Spokesperson United Kingdom [SUK]: Virginie Nakure
5.Spokesperson Belgium and EU [SBEU]: Joseph Ndahayo
6.Spokesperson Norway [SN]: Irene Uwamahoro
7.Spokesperson Australia [SA]:Ernest Senga
8.Spokesperson Other Scandinavian Countries [SOSC]: Jeanne Mukamurenzi.
9.Candidate COMMUNICATION & TECHNOLOGY Adviser [CCTA]: Alexandre Muzungu.
10.Candidate YOUTH Liaison Manager [CYLM]: Pudent Igiraneza.
11.Spokesperson Russia[SR]: Valence Maniragena.
12.Candidate BUSINESSES Liaison Manager [CBLM]: Bitangisha Sixbert.
We will announce others in the coming days….
Ishema is yours,
Claire Nadine Kasinge,
Principal Spokesperson of the Candidate