COVID-19:WEEDING CEREMONIES TURNED INTO ARREST OF THE BRIDE AND THE GROOM

By The Rwandan Lawyer

1. Introduction

I am profoundly saddened by this act. Our visionary Leader taught us humanity dignity and compassion towards a better Rwanda. However, this act lacks humanity. This is an eternal pain to the couple and their offsprings, dixit Clarisse KARASIRA. 

Last weekend, the Rwandan national police apprehended people who were attending many wedding ceremonies and forcibly brought them to Stadiums for having infringed restrictions preventing Covid-19. Indeed, he/she is automatically fined to the range of 10-150thousand Rwandan francs an individual caught having exceeded the curfew or having opened your bar; not well wearing masks; not respecting social distancing; having exceeded the limit of number of people allowed to attend religious celebrations; wedding ceremonies; administrative meetings; number of passengers in public buses; number of staff for crucial tasks of the institution, shiftings of traders in markets;etc. The severe and inhumane measures of arresting and detaining those couples together with their parents and distinguished guests was condemned by quite all Rwandan citizens and they are somehow right because there is a sort of mismanagement of Covid-19 pandemic whereby some sectors are prejudiced, others seeming not concerned while the general rule is social distancing to prevent the extent of contamination. The present article tackles the issue of disproportional management of covid-19 and damages the police robotic enforcement of regulations caused to the brides and grooms last weekend.

2.Facts

Due to covid-19 restrictions, there occurred a scandal whereby a couple was caught in the Cenetra Hotel managed by nuns located at Kabuga with more than 60 guests while the rules require only 20 persons. Interviewed the nun general manager of the hotel stated that the couple had booked for 40 individuals and surprisingly more than 60 people was attending the wedding reception. Alerted by unknown informer, national police came there to disturb all the bridal adventures and conduct this entire world to the Amahoro national stadium where they passed all the night each burdened to pay a fine of 10 frw at least to be released; the owners of the hotel being held to pay more than 100 thousands and undergoing a detention of 7 days at least at the police station.

3.Analysis

The couple was prejudiced on material and moral levels by the disparaging arrest and detention in stadium by the national police.Worse,the latter seems working as robots deprived of humanity, customary values and the Rwandan conception of marriage.

3.1.Measures marked by bias, inhumane and barbarous characters

 The spokesperson of the Rwandan national police, police commissioner Kabera Jean Bosco  declared to the press that there are people who are reluctant vis-à-vis restrictions  relating to covid-19 especially  those planning parties and wedding ceremonies. He then reported four cases whereby more than 60 persons were partying in a hotel at Kimironko; three couples who were cerebrating weeding parties respectively at Gatsibo; Kicukiro and Kabuga having invited beyond the limit number and they were detained in stadiums and fined accordingly.

3.2.A scandal overlooking Rwandan values and the place of marriage

Journalists were taking pictures taken in the stadium of those couples wearing wedding dress and tuxedo handcuffed and trying to hide their faces as if they are criminals; fact which transformed the happy day of their life in nightmare so that they whimper when they remember that sad event on the unique day which occurs only once in the life apart from birth and death. Astonishingly, among police officers who apprehended those couples, there were married men and women to whom militarist discipline removed sense of humanity and customary values so that they react like robots.

3.3.Bias and partial measures

Strong measures are targeting parties, religious celebrations and wedding ceremonies while markets are full of people bargaining prices too close; hair saloons where women and girls straighter their hair or putting strands too close with their coiffeurs; there is no meter between people transported in public buses or between the motor conductor and his passenger. Where is then logic between those discriminated enforcements of measures?

3.2.Tort liability

The existence of damage is an essential condition of the civil liability. The damage is synonymous with the prejudice today. The need for damage is only the application of the great rule “not of interest, not of action”. To have an interest to bring proceedings of civil liability, damage should have been suffered. If not, about what would one complain, and what would be claimed? It results from the fact that characterized fault which did not cause an injury cannot give place to responsibility.  

1) Moral damages

It is that which has an extra-patrimonial character. It can take very diverse forms: one can quote for example the attack with the reputation of a person, or his feelings of affection.  Moral interests imply the physical suffering (for which the compensation is traditionally indicated under the name of pretium doloris, i.e. the price of the pain), mental anguish, the aesthetic damage, the damage of approval. The repair of the moral wrong raises a question, which is important to specify.  Indeed, the repair of the damages of material nature never raised objection. But it is not the same for the damages in moral matter. It was objected that such damage is irrevocable by nature: one will give to the victim an allowance which will not erase his suffering, or his mourning, or the attack carried to his reputation; feelings cannot be converted into money. The couple undoubtedly was psychologically affected by this arrest and detention which turned their joy to sorrow and disarray. There have the right to claim compensation and the court may decide basing on the gravity of facts and their nocive effects.

2) Material damages

The material loss, i.e. that which is patrimonial: it consists in a loss of value in the inheritance. It can take the form, in particular of destruction or deterioration of a property, or loss of an amount of money, or loss of earnings. The others result from the body lesions, such as wounds and the mutilations, they are thus physical injuries. The couple surely lost its budget as they paid all expenses and instead of enjoying they ended up in stadium; their budget can be easily quantified by them and the court.

4.Conclusion

The couple was surely prejudiced but whom can them sue before the court? the Rwandan police. Before which court? The prevention of covid-19 sweeps any project any reason and has become an absolute impediment to restrict all fundamental rights of citizens.

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