Evode Uwizeyimana, vocal Rwandan government critic makes U-turn

KIGALI, Feb. 23,(Xinhua) — Former Rwandan judge and vocal government critic Evode Uwizeyimana said Sunday that several quotes he had given to international radio stations over the years about the Kigali government were “fiction” and “not something I fully believed in.”

In the seven years since he left Rwanda, Uwizeyimana has regularly appeared on Voice of America and the BBC criticizing the Kigali government on record, describing it in one instance as “a gang of armed bandits” that has abused every form of governance. He returned from exile in Canada last month to work in the Rwandan capital as a consultant for the Ministry of Justice.

Speaking to journalists at his hotel residence, Uwizeyimana said his decision to return home was informed by the current development path the country is taking.

He defended his decision to speak out, claiming it was driven by blackmail from opposition group Rwanda National Congress about his return, and said he had been paid for his comments during his radio appearances.

“Basically, they (the opposition) are retrieving statements I made about Kigali government to persuade the authorities to arrest me. I have a clear justification for every word I said,” he said.

“There is no single moment that I approached the press to make a statement. They had to call me and I got paid for the services I offered them, it’s not something I fully believed in.”

He was quoted as saying, “A lot of what I said was fiction.”

Uwizeyimana arrived in Rwanda early last month after securing a consultancy job with the Ministry of Justice to conduct a universal periodic review of the implementation of International Human Rights Instruments that Rwanda is signatory to, and to draft the Rwanda National Action Plan on Human Rights.

Critics have dismissed Uwizeyimana’s new-found admiration for the government as opportunistic, but he argued that the job offer was made purely on merit.

“If anyone thinks I was bought off then prove to me that I don’t qualify for this job,” he said.