Monday, 19 October 2009

Green Democrats meeting banned in Rwanda

It's pretty easy being a Green Party activist here in Brighton - but, by the power of Twitter, I've just received a chilling reminder that that's not the case everywhere.

It seems a meeting of members of the newly formed Green Democrats was quashed by the authorities in Rwanda.

Nearly 1,000 delegates from across the country looked on in disbelief as the mayor closed down the meeting in Kigali earlier this month.

As Amartyr Sen has observed, a functioning democracy is the bedrock on which delivery of other rights: to food, shelter, life itself, and other political and economic freedoms, must be built.

In a country with such a brutal recent history - I visited Rwanda myself in 1999 to meet some of the survivors of the genocide myself - the need for a non-tribal democracy to flourish has never been more urgent.

And with many commentators having argued the 1990s genocide - in which nearly a million people died - was driven by environmental stresses on the over-populated but lush central African nation, it's no surprise that 'greening' the country is a political priority for many.

But this report shows how President Paul Kagame - who enjoys the support of Gordon Brown and Barack Obama - is unable to deliver a real multi-party democracy to the people of Rwanda.

It chills my bones: and reminds me how lucky I am to be in Brighton.

We don't often have to contend with mayor Ann Norman blocking the entrance to our Green Party meetings at Community Base.


  1. thanks so much for this wonderful article, am really happy to see the big commitment of all greens around the world

    Thanks alot