Rwanda: How RPF ousted Senate President

Kigali, Rwanda- Early morning on September 17, 2014, ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) senators held a meeting at RPF headquarters in Kimihurara to discuss the possible censure and impeachment of Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo.

During the meeting, it was decided that they write a petition to ask Dr Ntawukuriryayo to convene an extra ordinary senate meeting to discuss his conduct as the president of the senate. The fifteen Senators from the ruling party signed the petition with the idea of forcing him to resign and face possible impeachment from the senate completely.

When Dr. Ntawukuriryayo, was served with the censure letter labeled “confidential” to hold an extraordinary session, Great Lakes Voice understands, he immediately ordered his staff to design a resignation letter, an invitation for the extraordinary session, and a draft agenda.

When extraordinary session convened at exactly 3:00PM, Ntawukuriryayo surprised the 26 senators with a resignation letter being circulated at everyone’s table together with the agenda of the meeting. In his brief words, he thanked every one who worked with him and declared his resignation as the President of the Senate citing ‘his person reasons.’

In a country where everyone forced to resign claims ‘personal reasons’, at least every senator knew what was going on. “For us who were not apart of the petition could see things happening so fast…but you know when the group of Prof. Karangwa Chrysologue, Tito Rutaremera and Dr. Bizimana Jean Damascene are grilling somebody, no one would just dare stop them,” another senator who asked to remain anonymous said.

Copy of the confidential letter RPF senators sent to Dr. Ntawukuriryayo

Copy of the confidential letter RPF senators sent to Dr. Ntawukuriryayo

The Senators who signed the petition

The Senators who signed the petition

Our sources say, apparently, he acted quickly to avoid accusations and possible humiliating scandals that would arise from malicious accusations planned to motivate his impeachment. Ntawukuriryayo offered resignation from his office but said he will remain in Rwanda Senate as a member.

Kabila meeting scared RPF

Sources say RPF was very much worried that the country’s number two was holding meetings with diplomats alone without any of his deputies; something that was a breach of RPF’s leadership protocols and his deputies would consider it as a deliberate blackout. “I remember when we hosted DRC Senate president Kengo Wa Dondo last year, Ntawukuriryayo met him alone at his office,” one of the senators said.

Another source said when the senators were having a return working visit in Democratic Republic of Congo, the group was together, but when it reached to having audience with DRC President Joseph Kabila, Dr. Ntawukuriryayo decided to go alone. Ntawukuriryayo and Kabila spent one and half hours together alone, something that became odd to members who were in a senate delegation thus prompting suspicion of secret dealings with DRC. Rwanda’s intelligence services were gravely concerned and promptly informed higher offices.

It was after Kinshasa mission, the Senate bureau also took the matter to President Paul Kagame to intervene, after which Dr. Ntawukuriryayo promised to amend his ways but he did not change much. It was after the presidential warning that he started allowing his adviser into meetings with diplomats.

“It was during May 2014 after the arrival of his new adviser that we started at least receiving reports of what Dr Ntawukuriryayo was discussing with diplomats. We used to see only the press parading with their cameras for an interview as the rest of the bureau was completely out of loop,” a senator who declined to be mentioned said.

Analysts say that an adviser is an official appointed by government to act as a chief of staff to a senior official and report [spy] on those officials to other authorities.

In the process, RPF was developing a serious paranoia also becoming impatient with Ntawukuriryayo’s behavior, an inside source said, and waited for proper timing to act.

It was after the appointment of current Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi who comes from Social and Democratic Party (PSD) which Ntawukuriryayo is Secretary General and then RPF Senators thought they can’t continue with a blackout from Senate President’s business when the party holds also premiership office.

One of the allegations that was to be used to censure Ntawukuriryayo was that last year, he received visitors at The Manor hotel, and come up with a 2 Million francs hotel bill which the Senate bureau refused to pay determining the bill unreasonable. Later, he had to dig deep in his own pocket to pay the bill.

Source: Bob Mugabe, GLV