By David Himbara
In the above photo is Gregg Schoof, the Director of the Christian Radio in Rwanda called ‘Amazing Grace’. In this picture, Schoof is giving a press conference in which he strongly objects to the closure of his radio by the Kagame regime. Schoof is therefore not losing his radio station quietly — as most people do in Rwanda when the Kagame regime illegally seizes their businesses.
Schoof is telling the regime that it does not respect its own laws. The decision to revoke his broadcasting license is illegal.
The background to the illegal closure of the radio station dates back two months. The Kagame regime suspended the radio because the station aired a sermon in which a guest-preacher, Nicholas Niyibikora, allegedly defamed women.That is when Schoof was ordered to apologize and to pay a fine.
Schoof refused to apologize. He also refused to pay the fine. The regime then closed the Amazing Grace Station.
As is indicated in his press release above, Schoof said that the regime ordered him to plead guilty against his conscience. Schoof found such orders bizarre. No normal government orders people to plead guilty. Schoof would have none of it — he categorically refused to do. At the press conference, Schoof further stated:
“I refused to plead guilty, so they revoked our broadcasting license. You can’t order people to plead guilty! The Rwandan constitution guarantees that we have the right of opinion and conscience.”
Schoof also reminded the regime that the guest who made the offending remarks has not been found guilty either. Pastor Nicholas Niyibikora has not appeared in court. There has been no testimony in a court of law regarding what Niyibikora stated.
So, how does Schoof lose his radio station over “a crime” committed by someone else? Moreover that someone himself has not been found guilty by the law. What happened to the presumption of innocence principle whereby everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty?
The Amazing Grace Radio’s roots go back to 2009
Gregg Schoof and his family are members of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, USA. Back in 2009, they said the Lord called them
“to be missionaries to the people of Rwanda, East Africa. We go soul-winning, start churches, and train nationals to carry on the work.”
By 2010, The Amazing Grace radio had become operational.
Gregg Schoof giving an update on his work in 2017.
The Schoofs’ work expanded and thrive for the next eight years — until February 2018.
Fast-forward to April 2018
The closing of the Amazing Grace radio is hardly surprising. In the past two months, the Kagame regime shut down over 1,500 churches and mosques as it seeks to assert total control over Rwanda’s vibrant religious community. The difference with the Amazing Grace Radio is that Gregg Schoof is standing up to the regime. The courageous American missionary is citing the law. But unfortunately, he is talking to a lawless regime. In Rwanda, Kagame is the law.