Lyn Muyizere, husband of Victoire Ingabire


Rwandan authorities have asked Dutch immigration authorities to revoke the citizenship of Lin Muyizere, the husband of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire. If they succeed, Muyizere could be deported to Rwanda, leaving their three children without parents in the Netherlands. The youngest of these, Riszt Shimwa, is only 12 years old.

In 2010, Ingabire left her family in the Netherlands to return to Rwanda and attempt to run for president against incumbent “President” Paul Kagame. Kagame is a ruthless military dictator obliged to stage periodic presidential and parliamentary election charades so as to justify the ongoing support of the US, UK and other Western nations with geopolitical, military, and resource interests in the region.

Victoire Ingabire was not allowed to run against Kagame or even register her party, FDU-Inkingi. She was put under house arrest shortly after her arrival, forbidden to leave Kigali, the capital, to speak to the rural population, or to speak to the press.  By October she was in prison. Last December Rwanda’s Supreme Court increased her sentence from eight to fifteen years. 

In a video, “Rwanda: no room left in politics, only in jail,” made by Dutch Rwandan journalist Olivier Nyirubugara after Ingabire’s arrest and imprisonment, Lin Muyizere told a journalist that he spent sleepless nights worrying about her and wondering what he could do. “If I could talk to my wife now,” he said, “I would tell her simply that I love her a lot, now and forever. I wish her much strength, as the Rwandan people are behind her.” 



This is an interview conducted in a Dutch community with Lin Muyizere in 2010, after his wife Victoire Ingabire’s arrest. Victoire and Lin’s daughter Raissa Ujuneza translated it for English speaking audiences, after Dutch immigration authorities informed her father that they intended to revoke his naturalized citizenship because of Rwandan witnesses willing to claim that he somehow shared responsibility for genocide in Rwanda, because of what he had thought and expressed while in Rwanda.
Journalist/Host: Mr. Lin Muyizere you were born in . . . ?
Lin Muyizere: Gitarama.
Host: In the south of Rwanda. And how did you get into the Netherlands?
Lin Muyizere: The war in 1994 happened and at that time my wife was in the Netherlands visiting a friend who’s husband had just passed away. She couldn’t return. I fled to Zaïre, then named Congo, with my two children.
Host: Indeed, we can see that Congo is on the border of Rwanda.
Lin Muyizere: Correctly. When we got in Goma I communicated with my wife in the Hague by telephone and I told her what had happened. Of course she was happy to hear that we were still alive.
Host: Because there were killings happening between the Hutus and the Tutsis.
Lin Muyizere: Yes, they killed one another in a period of three months. It was horrific.

After that communication my wife got in touch with people, including a lawyer by the name Jan Hofdijk, whom I’ve seen in the audience, to help us. They reached the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And so my children and I were given permission to come to the Netherlands.

Host: So you have two children?
Lin Muyizere: Then I had two. The third was born here.
Host: So why Zevenhuizen of all the places in the Netherlands?
Lin Muyizere: Well when I got here our lawyer advised us to request asylum, so we did. It was impossible to return. We were in the asylum process for over a year. At that time, and now still, the Dutch authorities give you the opportunity to choose where you want to live. I pointed out that I wanted to live in a village nearby the Hague and so it happened.
Host: Yes of course. Zevenhuizen is the only village that fits that description so you would be likely to end up there. But now it seems that there is a democracy in Rwanda because there are elections. And your wife had something to do with that…
Lin Muyizere: Yes, after 1994 the new regime said there would be a democracy but that did not happen. One man appeared, Kagame, and whoever disagreed with him had a problem. Several officials fled and my wife said that, if nothing happened, things wouldn’t change. So she started a dialogue. She traveled abroad, including to the States, where she spoke to many seeking to spread the message that a true democracy is necessary for the people of Rwanda to live in peace.
Host: So she went to Rwanda to be part of the presidential elections.
Lin Muyizere: Yes, to participate in the presidential elections was her plan. She arrived there on the 16th of this year [2010]. She spoke about freedom, reconciliation, a true democracy, and a peaceful life for all Rwandans becoming possible within the country. Talking about democracy is not supported by the authorities there, so they did all to keep my wife out of the elections. Those authorities accused my wife of fabricated crimes. Before she knew what was happening, she was being interrogated so they could start procedures against her.
Host: She is arrested now?
Lin Muyizere: First she got house-arrest. She couldn’t leave the City of Kigal. However, she continued to speak to the media, and the authorities of Rwanda didn’t like that so on the 13th of October [2010] they arrested her. After 10 days in a small cell they transfered her to the central prison. Right now she is not like you’ve seen her before. She is now clothed in prison wear with her head shaved.
Question from the Audience: Have you spoken to her?
Lyn Muyizere: Before her arrest I would call her regularly. But since, it has not been possible. 
Host:  Well you must be living in fear. The Dutch symphatize with you. There has been a petition set up in the Netherlands to move the authorities in Rwanda to release her and to move the authorities here to take action. That petition is to be found on , we request all watchers and visitors of our program to sign it online and we wish you much success in getting her free.

Thank you Mr. Muyizere.  

The Radio France Internationale interview with Jan Hofdijk, Dutch lawyer for the family of Lin Muyizere and Victoire Ingabire, is available here on SoundCloud.

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