By David Himbara
Leon Orsmond, a South African advertising executive, has ”disappeared” in Kigali, Rwanda. He has not been seen for about a month. Leon has been living in Kigali for about eight years, running an advertising business.
It is not rocket science to figure out what might have happened to Leon, because of the following two reasons:
- First, Leon was outspoken on Twitter and Facebook about Kagame and lack of freedom of speech in Rwanda.
- Second, Leon ran Diane Rwigara’s social media campaign before she was blocked from running for Rwandan presidency — and later thrown in jail along with her mother, Adeline Rwigara.
South African media is covering this story widely, including News24, with a headline ”SA businessman goes missing in Rwanda.” Ewn.co.za is also running the story with a headline “Family of SA man living in Rwanda is concerned about his whereabouts.”
We know from the recent history that well-intentioned expatriates who join the cause of Rwandan opposition leaders end up in deep trouble at the hands of the Kagame brutal regime.
We recall the case of Peter Erlinder, an American law professor who, in 2011, sought to help the Rwandan opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. Erlinder nearly died in Kagame’s dungeon. Pressure from the Obama Administration led to his release.
Only pressure from South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa will free Leon Orsmond. And Ramaphosa has something Kagame badly wants – the reopening of South Africa’s consular services in Rwanda.