It has transpired that Bob Brown (former Australian Greens leader) has had his visa revoked for an upcoming trip to Rwanda. This is a very disappointing move by the Kagame government, which makes no attempt to veil that barring Bob from entering is an attempt to further stifle democratic opposition.
I attended a Global Greens congress in Senegal earlier this year, where I chatted briefly with Frank Habineza, current leader of the Rwandan Green Party. His deputy leader, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, was found murdered in 2010 in what is purported to be a political assassination, though it remains an unsolved case.
The Green movement is a global one, but what was clear during the congress in Senegal, is that the challenge for the Green movement on the African continent, and Rwanda in particular, is enormous. Not only are they working for global action on big issues like climate change and ecological biodiversity, they are often doing so within very dangerous and fragile political climates (and economies).
Here, I can sit down to dinner with MPs from all sides of the House, including Government MPs, after lambasting them in the House on the ETS, whereas Habineza and the Rwandan Greens had their last Party conference broken up violently by intruders breaking bones with sticks. As Bob writes in his press release, “the journalist who reported on, and indicated that the government was involved in the break-up of that Greens conference was shot, so it’s very tough going.”