Patrick Karegeya’s assassination: Let me lecture my fellow Rwandan journalists and countrymen on some useful tricks about media and communication once a saga of the kind happens.

Focus on governments’ attitudes: (Rwandan government’s attitude, South-African government’s attitude, and Ugandan government’s attitude.)

Naturally, emotions flow spontaniously out of people’s closeness with the deceased. Quite normal, speculations always preceede investigations and can sometimes give clues on which track the police should follow… Other speculations are intended to lead astray the investigators.

Here comes now the huge impact of professional communicators. Journalists’ role is to provide an update of the latest developments of the matter. The SA government is now tracking the assassins, The Rwandan government is busy to tarnish the image of its former spy master while the Ugandan litterally disowns him.

– What is the level of collaboration between the three govenments in the matter?

– Again Rwandan hitmen are accused of disturbing SA’s sécurity. Back in 2010, assassination attempts on general Kayumba Nyamwasa led to the severing of diplomatic ties between both countries. What reaction can we expect from SA following the present case?

– Is Rwanda ready to hand wanted suspects over to SA justice?

Focus now on individuals: (Prime Minister Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, the prime suspect Appolo Gafaranga)

Above mentioned government’s high ranking officials have issued their declarations on Twitter. However, the traditional way of communicating government positions is a press release, radio or TV statement, or a press conference. A week has gone now, no press conference!

The prime suspect is said to be in Kigali. He keeps quiet. Why doesnt’t he convene a press conference to make public his defense since he has apparently denied any involvement in the murder?

In 2013, Rwandans should learn how to turn to their advantage the work of journalists. Whether you are guilty or not, its your attitude that will sink you in this universe of news.

Ismaïl Mbonigaba