Justice to muzzle opponents: case of Dr Kayumba Christopher

Dr Christopher Kayumba

By The Rwandan Lawyer


“No, RNP isn’t accountable to Rwandans’; it beats them every day and kills some. Personally, police has beaten me and even refused my family to visit me or bring food to me! Those jokes are meant for foreigners; not Rwandans.”dixit Dr KAYUMBA Christopher denouncing abuses daily committed by the Rwandan national police officers against apprehended people. 

Dr KAYUMBA Christopher, a Rwandan journalist, university lecturer alumnus of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and writer recently founded The Rwandese Platform for Democracy (RPD) as a party through he may express political programs and seemingly opposed or fighting RPF given that he previously was jailed for facts and views criticizing the regime.

This enterprise risks to fail due to various factors among which the outstanding one following. Having been convicted and jailed requires him a prior rehabilitation which is effective after five years from the last definitive judgment; besides, the regime tend to cook up crimes against him to prevent him from any political initiatives. 

1.Facts: charges of attempt of rape and sexual torture 

A former student at the University of Rwanda has come out and testified that her lecturer then, Dr. Christopher Kayumba, assaulted her and attempted to force her into a sexual encounter from his house

“He pulled and pushed me on the couch trying to force me to sleep with him [sexual intercourse],” a friend to the student narrated her ordeal in a Twitter thread. Taarifa has confirmed from a source who the lady is, but when journalists spoke to her, she pleaded to have her name concealed. “When I refused, he got verbally abusive and threatened to destroy my future and kill any chance I had of being a journalist in Rwanda,” the lady revealed through Salva Kamaraba on Twitter. Apparently, the lady managed to escape Kayumba’s assault, but she said it was “an eternity of emotional and psychological torture.”This incident happened in 2017, she said.

“In 2017, when I was in my 3rd year at University of Rwanda (UR), I applied for an internship at Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), Christopher Kayumba was my lecturer then and while I waited for the response from RBA, I received a random call from him on a Monday morning,” she poured her heart out, triggering outrage and disbelief on Twitter.

According to the account, Kayumba reportedly claimed that someone from RBA reached out to him asking if he would recommend her for the internship.“He further said, I had potential in the media industry and that I should immediately go to see him for advice as well as to get the recommendation letter,” she wrote on her Twitter handle, tagging Kayumba directly.“When I arrived at his house, he seemed drunk. I saw that he was not in a good mood and decided to leave but he got physical,” she said. Moreover, she added, “he gloated over the fact that he had power and that he was willing to fail me at school. He went on reminding me that even if I reported him, no one would believe me due to the influence he has in the media industry and how he was one of the trusted lecturers at UR.”

That was not all, the lady testified and said that she continued receiving insults and phone calls. “I went to school and reported the incident to the Acting Dean of the School of Journalism and Communication, (Joseph Njuguna), but I was dismissed since I did not have any proof to present.

“Sad reality is that it is happening,” she said, adding that, “Many young girls end up falling victims in the hands of predator men who abuse their authority like Kayumba.”Taarifa spoke to Njuguna. He confirmed receiving the complaint from the said student then.“She indeed reported the case,” he said. “I advised her how to go about, but that’s all I could do because she did not have evidence.”

Njuguna hoped that Kayumba discontinued the misconduct. “I hope he stopped it,” said adding that Kayumba had been terminated as a lecturer at UR and was thus not under the custody of the University.
Taarifa can confirm that she later filed a case with Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).

Meanwhile, Dr. Kayumba denies the allegations. He accused Kamaraba reported the case to be a propagandist. “That’s not true, and that lady who tweeted the allegations is paid to spread propaganda, nothing else.”

2.Analysis of charges and underlying factors

The complaint of that lady just after Dr Christopher KAYUMBA has announced the creation of a political platform triggered some reflections we intend to hereby share.

2.1. False victims and witnesses

When the Rwandan regime faces a political opponent, there is often resorted to stratagems to disparage his image vis-à-vis the public on national and even international levels. Among many methods, when he is a Hutu, a charge of genocide or ideology of genocide is automatically filed and he ends in jail for tens of years after a mascaraed of trial whereby witnesses are prepared and state unanimous testimonies. When he is a Tutsi who was a civil servant he is prosecuted for corruption, embezzlement and other offences susceptible to be committed in the public function. When he is not a state employee, crimes like rape, child defilement, sexual torture and other GBV crimes are imagined and girls or women allegedly victims of those shameful crimes are bribed to charge him supported by witnesses also prepared for that judicial game; for females, Photoshop presenting them completely naked to ridicule them. This happened to miss RWIGARA Diane who dared running for the Rwandan presidency. 

2.2.The Attempt of rape per se

According to article 21 of theLaw nº68/2018 of 30/08/2018 determining offences and penalties in generalAn attempt is punishable when the plan to commit an offence has been demonstrated by observable and unequivocal acts constituting the beginning of the offence meant to enable the commission and that were suspended or failed in their purpose only because of circumstances beyond the offender’s control”. 

From this definition, for an attempt to be punishable, the person’s conduct must be directed toward the accomplishment of the intended crime. It must go beyond planning and mere preparation, but it needs not be the last act necessary to effect the actual commission of the intended crime. Rather, the conduct involved must go far enough that it comes dangerously closer or very near to the completion of the intended crime.

The complaint of this lady charging Dr KAYUMBA Christopher occasioned a series of issues  but there is deemed to highlight two outstanding ones as following. on one hand, there is a problem of proof about the offence of attempt allegedly committed by the lecturer because apart from her and the lecturer any witness was there to testify maneuvers of the rapist.Besides,as per her say, the alleged attempt was merely verbal just by negotiating sex and blackmail and threats after unfavorable reply. Furthermore, the legal understanding of the concept of attempt requires some gestures such as touching; public indecency like undressing the  non-consenting victim,etc. on the other hand, there is wondered why  the facts occurred 4 years ago and which were not submitted to the investigation and prosecution  reappear now just after the creation of an opposition political party. Any wise observer may conclude that there is a hidden hand of the government to deter the political activities  launched by Dr KAYUMBA Christopher.

2.3. Statements disapproving the regime 

On September 29, 2018, Dr. Christopher Kayumba made a series of statements about the Rwanda n government — in particular, the national police. Kayumba stated categorically that Rwandan police kills citizens. Besides killing innocent people, stated Kayumba, the police terrorizes the people of Rwanda in other ways. For example, when the police decides to target an individual for whatever reason, the police labels that person a ”genocider” — somebody who participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Then the police arrests that person under false pretext. In other words, the Rwanda national police is a human rights abuser. By extent, therefore, the government of Rwanda is a human rights abuser. All of this is, of course, well known. What is shocking is that somebody who normally praises the government of General Paul Kagame can say these things — moreover, inside Rwanda. Kayumba seems to be committing suicide.


Summing up, Dr KAYUMBA Christopher has few chances to make his political party be approved in Rwanda given that it is not on the RPF side. The Rwandan regime has therefore a series of ways to halt his ambitions and a manufactured incrimination is among them without excluding other impediments to which he must expect within the very next future.