Rwanda: Freedom of expression further undermined – one more victim too many.

Rwamiheto Jotham

Until two weeks ago, no one had heard of his name. In just less than two weeks, his video, which was very critical of the programs and the Rwandan government, broke all records in Rwanda and recorded more than 200,000 views. She is allover on all Rwandan social media and the international press is also starting to talk about her. This is a 42- year-old young woman, mother of 4 children; but a woman like no other and her name is: Yvonne Idamange Iryamugwiza.

It all started on January 31, 2021 with a post of her first video that lasted just over an hour. In this video, she criticizes very harshly President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan government; a field on which few Rwandans dare to venture fearing imprisonment, disappearance or even being killed.

Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne

Since the publication of her first video, Ms. Yvonne Idamange Iryamugwiza has been the object of attacks by some politicians in power in Rwanda, and the press close to the Kigali regime. But as if that were not enough, Ms. Yvonne Idamange Iryamugwiza says that she is not able to keep silent in the face of the injustices suffered by the Rwandan people. On February 16, 2021, she will broadcast another video, still in the Kinyarwanda language, but this time, more virulent than the first and calling on all Rwandans to march in protest towards the presidential village Urugwiro to claim their rights, she said.

Immediately after the broadcast of this video of February 16, 2021, the Rwandan police raided the home of Ms. Yvonne Idamange Iryamugwiza where she was brutally arrested and taken to the police.

Her arrest reminds us of that of a young Rwandan singer and artist Kizito Mihigo who was arrested the same period last year 2020 and who coincidentally his death in a police cell was reported on the exact same date on February 16, 2020, the same date on which Ms. Yvonne Idamange Iryamugwiza was arrested by the Rwandan police.

The Rwandan community, human rights organizations and the international community are worried that Ms. Yvonne Idamange Iryamugwiza will suffer the same fate as that of Kizito Mihigo, both survivors of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis and curiously victims of the same regime that claims to have stopped the genocide and saved the survivors.

Author of this article:

Jotham Rwamiheto
Montreal, Canada
E-mail: [email protected]