By David Himbara
On April 12, 2019, it was reported that Callixte Nsabimaba Sankara who is a member of a rebel group fighting Rwandan totalitarian ruler, General Paul Kagame, was arrested in Comoros. It was further reported that a powerful Rwandan delegation headed by Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) Chief of Defense Staff, Patrick Nyanvumba had gone to negotiate Sankara’s repatriation. On April 30, 2019, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) announced that it had Sankara in its custody. On May 17, 2019, Sankara was paraded to the local and international media in handcuffs, squeezed between heavily armed and combat-ready security forces.
On May 23, 2019, Sankara appeared in court and pleaded guilty to the 16 charges he was accused of, including terrorism, kidnap, murder, genocide denial, arson, armed robbery, forgery, and causing bodily harm. Thus, after 42 days since the Sankara saga began on April 12, 2019, the case ended with a confession on May 23, 2019.
How did Sankara become a Uganda and Burundi problem?
In his confession, Sankara stated as follows:
”I have been working with people from the Intelligence in Burundi…We met Ugandan military officials. There was a scheduled meeting with Brig. Gen Kandiho [Head of Uganda’s military Intelligence] but on the day of the meeting, he had an emergency so he sent a Colonel. We requested for military and diplomatic support and by the end of the meeting we were given a positive answer. By the time of my arrest, our delegation was in the process of going back to Uganda to collect on the promise.”
Here is the thing — Kagame and his security organs seized and held Sankara for a month and a half. Paraded him like a caged animal to the media. Dragged him to court. And then Sankara not only admitted to all charges but also became a star witness against President Museveni’s Uganda and President Pierre Nkurunziza’s Burundi. The two neighbours suddenly became the focus of Sankara’s guilty plea.
Kagame thinks the entire world is stupid
Kagame thinks the entire world is stupid — but the joke is on him. Here is a ruler that stands accused of torturing and killing millions of people in Rwanda and DRC. Here is a ruler that currently stands accused of sending death squads to Kenya and South Africa to kill his former colleagues. Here is a ruler who publicly celebrates killings and even threatens to hit a fellow head of state — Kagame promised to hit his Tanzanian counterpart. Are we to believe that Kagame and his machine did not torture Sankara between April 12, 2019, and May 23, 2019? Are we to believe that Sankara was having a wonderful rest during the lengthy time he was held, perhaps, writing his future memories? Are we to believe Sankara had access to doctors and family members to assist him to deal with trauma? Are we to believe that Sankara made the confessions on his own free will?
Dear Kagame, try something else. This one won’t wash.
Even a ten-year-old would know that Rwanda is notorious for human rights abuses; Rwanda is synonymous with the forced confessions obtained by means of torture. In Kagame’s Rwanda, persons interrogated readily agree to the story presented to them or even make up falsehoods in order to satisfy the regime and end their suffering. Kagame’s Rwanda belongs to the Middle Ages whereby acquiring a confession was the most important thing during preparations before a trial. Holding a suspect for 42 days and parading him is torture in itself. As for Sankara’s confessions implicating Uganda and Burundi, Kagame wrongly imagined he had a perfect opportunity to hit two birds with one stone. Extract a forced confession from a member of a rebel group fighting him, while embarrassing his neighbours whose borders Kagame has locked up. Few will believe this garbage.