For which crime Rwandan state is really prosecuting Dr Kayumba Christopher?

Dr Christopher Kayumba

By The Rwandan Lawyer


The founder of the RPD a platform not yet recognized by the Rwandan authorities but whose political ideals were critical vis-a-vis the RPF regime was recently arrested and detained for having allegedly committed rape and attempt of rape while he was still lecturer of journalism at the university of Rwanda respectively in 2012 and in 2018.Is the Kigali regime prosecuting those alleged gender bases crimes or just tries to isolate a recalcitrant political opponent? The present article strives to respond to this open question.


The statement from Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), delivered via its Twitter account this Thursday, 09 September, was brief and to the point. RIB said it had confined former university lecturer Dr. Christopher Kayumba to preventive detention as it investigated multiple complaints of rape against him by different persons. Currently, he is detained at the Kicukiro RIB station as they finalize his file before handing it to Prosecution as per the law. Rwanda University teacher and well-known opposition figure Christopher Kayumba was arrested on Thursday on rape accusations, police said.Former Kigali journalism school lecturer Kayumba faces allegations from several people, including a former student, according to the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).”Today, RIB arrested Dr Christopher Kayumba after a period of investigating him for allegations of coercion and sexual misconduct reported by various people,” a statement said.The case was being referred to the prosecution, it added. Kayumba, 48, runs an online newspaper called “The Chronicles” and set up a political party in opposition to President Paul Kagame in March.

Shortly afterwards, allegations of rape surfaced against him on social networks and he denied them. Kayumba was sentenced to a year in jail for “public disturbance” after airport security refused to allow him to travel to Nairobi in December 2019. The authorities said he had appeared at the airport late and drunk and had threatened to shut down the facility. In June, another university teacher, Aimable Karasira, who has criticised Kagame on Youtube, was charged with “revisionism” and is still in detention. Karasira, who survived the 1994 Rwandan genocide which left 800,000 dead, claims Kagame’s ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front party killed his parents.

2. Analysis

The prosecution of Dr Kayumba Christopher upraises a number of observations that deserve to be singled out. 

1) Alleged recidivism

In principle, is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have experienced negative consequences of that behavior. It is also used to refer to the percentage of former prisoners who are rearrested for a similar offense. The term is frequently used in conjunction with criminal behavior and substance use disorders. In this regard, the mastery of law by Dr Murangira Thierry is critical in the sense that he dares stating that those facts constituting rape and attempt of rape is recidivism while they were allegedly committed before his last conviction. Indeed, Dr Christopher Kayumba, has been jailed for one year for causing disturbance at Kigali International Airport after having been arrested in December 2019 for allegedly causing disturbances at Kigali International Airport, including uttering words that he would “shutdown the airport” according to the prosecution. It is therefore not legally speaking a case of recidivism because those alleged crimes were perpetrated before those disturbances for which he was jailed.

2)FAlse victims 

Fiona is renowned for being a loose woman for having been frequented by many mean in terms of having sex with them so that Dr Christopher Kayumba was not on her level of boyfriends in terms of intimate relationships. This known sexual misconduct facilitated to manipulate her to the extent that she falsely pretended being a victim of rape while she is aware that it is not true. For such girls commonly called gold-diggers, it is sufficient to pay them an attractive cash to involve them in compromising operations like dressing up as a victim of non-consenting sex.

3) Cooked charges

Given the periods during which those gender based crimes were committed as the investigative and prosecutorial organs report; there would be wondered the reason which either the alleged victims did not lodge the complaint against him or those organs did not trigger the criminal action for those offences even if they are not yet prescribed. The real response is that those crimes are inexistent and are just manufactured to disparage him and deter his opposition programs which politically awaken the regime. this case of dr Christopher is similar to that of ambassador Eugene Richard Gasana who was dismissed from his position in 2016 and four years later was charged with rape against two girls former staff of the embassy; crimes allegedly committed in 2012.Those accusations were even submitted by the Rwandan state to the Interpol in a bid to extradite him but fortunately his defense advocates succeeded to dismiss this request of red notice whereby the Interpol qualified those alleged crimes as politicized charges.    

4)The right to hunger-strike

Article 8 of the 1975 World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo states that doctors are not allowed force-feeding hunger strikers. They are supposed to understand the prisoner’s independent wishes, and it is recommended to have a second opinion as to the capability of the prisoner to understand the implication of his decision and be capable of informed consent.

Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially. The decision as to the capacity of the prisoner to form such a judgment should be confirmed by at least one other independent physician. The consequences of the refusal of nourishment shall be explained by the physician to the prisoner. 

The World Medical Association (WMA) recently revised and updated its Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers. Among many changes, it unambiguously states that force feeding is a form of inhumane and degrading treatment in its Article 21. Consequently, Dr Kayumba Christopher is legally entitled with the right to hunger-strike and the medical authorities had no right to medically examine him without his consent as formally forbidden by the constitution in its article 14. 

5) A really political trial 

What is really reproached to Dr Kayumba is not gender based criminality against his former students but the regime is punishing him for his political criticisms daily expressed on social media and the creation of an opposition political party. Indeed, Dr Kayumba Christopher revealed that he has been encountering threats from intelligence agents inviting him to stop political statements on media and carry out other apolitical activities if not he will encounter atrocious consequences. In the same perspectives, his relatives were also asked to dissociate from him. Likewise, many of his former colleagues at the University of Rwanda voiced out defaming statements against him, evidence that the regime attempts many ways to isolate him and ipso facto discredit his political platform barely created.

Conclusion: deliberate qui pro quo

As freedom of speech is theoretically recognized in Rwandan legislation, the dictatorial actions of Rwandan officials risk being exposed and they find it difficult to stop the detractors. The reason why they prefer to muzzle them by all means, in particular by imagining crimes against them in order to exclude them from the political scene.

Indeed, publicizing political remarks criticizing the regime is not a good thing for Kigali authorities because over time the population is finally awake and all mobilization efforts collapse; moreover, it is in this way that the revolution is born. Even worse unless they ban these media, the demystification machine is running and the concern seems sensitive. It is in this context that the wife of Gilbert Shyaka who was recently arrested was warned by the police officers to no longer follow the emissions of critical YouTube channels like that of Nkusi Agnes, Umubavu TV and many others operating from abroad.