By David Himbara
In his closing remarks at the 2017 National Leadership Retreat, President Paul Kagame lambasted his own government officials for exaggerating Rwanda’s achievements in security and economic spheres:
“You cannot keep telling lies and get away with it…When you say you eradicated poverty, it will find you on your doorsteps and you have nowhere to hide…Our ambassadors spread stories in Japan, China, Europe and America that we are in Rwanda enjoying peace and security to the fullest. But when these people visit Rwanda, they read that people are scared of going out at night because their chances of getting to their destination is 50%; they may disappear or get killed…”
Kagame just proved his own point with Violette Uwamahoro, a resident of the United Kingdom, who had gone to attend her father’s funeral in Rwanda.
As Kagame warned, sure enough, Uwamahoro vanished once inside Rwanda. She arrived in the country on February 9, 2017, and was returning to the UK on February 14, 2017. Then she suddenly “disappeared.” Her family in the UK and in Rwanda lost contact. Her phone went dead. Unsurprisingly, the Rwandan authorities denied any knowledge of Uwamahoro’s whereabouts. This is how a British newspaper reported the matter:
“It is understood that Rwandan officials have told British diplomats that they do not know the whereabouts of Mrs Uwamahoro, who has two sons aged 10 and eight. Former Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, who is Mrs Uwamahoro’s MP, has tabled a parliamentary question asking Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson what contact has been made with the Rwandan government concerning her disappearance.”
Then, Uwamahoro resurfaced after two weeks – in police custody. This is the Rwandan police version:
“Violette Uwamahoro was apprehended by Rwanda National Police based on a tip off that she is involved in criminal dealings constituting serious crimes, including attempts to recruit people into a criminal network.”
This, of course, is pathetic. In the first place, how do you hold anyone incommunicado for two weeks? Where can such a thing happen except in a totalitarian police state?
The real basis for victimizing Uwamahoro is not difficult to fathom – it is the politics of her husband, Faustin Rukundo. Faustin is a member of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an opposition party to the Kagame regime. In Kagame’s Rwanda, a family member, including wives and children of opposition leaders, are considered “criminals.” That is how Uwamahoro fell into the trap of the Kigali regime – innocently believing that she would bury her dad and return home to the UK.
One hopes that the British diplomats in Rwanda, Uwamahoro’s MP Hilary Benn, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will save this mother of two children from the Kagame Regime as soon as possible.