The case of Diane Ishimwe: an unacceptable truth

Diane Ishimwe

By The Rwandan Analyst

Diane ISHIMWE is a 25 year old young woman born in the refugee camps of the former Zaire. There are many young people born between 1990-2000 who have found themselves orphans now wondering who their parents are and where they are from. Surviving in such a confused and desperate situation, they often dare to cross the red line drawn by the RPF regime to the extent that they suicidally express what a normal Rwandan citizen cannot publicly declare, then some seized the opportunity to exploit it in their own way. What really happened to Diane ISHIMWE after she gave an interview to Isimbi TV in search of her parents? Where does she come from after a long time, since she now speaks with reserve and precaution? What is the position of the various activists and politicians who supposedly advocate in favor of Rwandans? 

The reason is so simple 

Towards the end of November 2020, it was reported the story of a young Rwandan woman named Diane ISHIMWE born in the refugee camps of Congo who was then an orphan and had been told that her father was called Pierre Célestin Rukwaya whose origin from the former Murambi commune in the former Byumba prefecture and her father was killed during the destruction of the Rwandan refugee camps by the Rwandan patriotic army in 1996 and at that time, she was not yet than a baby. She made this statement via youtube but later her video then posted on Isimbi TV was deleted and the phone number she had given to journalist Sabin Munyengabe was unreachable; facts that raised concerns among the public who had followed her sad story; so some people have taken the opportunity to interpret them as they see fit and have mostly exploited them for their political ends.

Most accused Sabin Munyengabe of Isimbi TV, Eric Bagiruwubusa of Voice of America and The Rwandan journalist Marc Matabaro of having played a role in the enforced disappearance and why not the death of Diane Ishimwe. Eventually, the deleted video was uploaded by Kumugaragraro TV, but Diane Ishimwe remained silent. Indeed, she was under pressure from supporters of the RPF regime but also some members of the opposition took the opportunity to denigrate the regime accusing it of having murdered the young woman as Kigali normally does against its opponents. Meanwhile, The Rwandan newspaper knew that Ishimwe Diane was alive and on July 11, 2021 when protests were scheduled in Paris with photos of RPF victims including that of Ishimwe Diane, an individual who knew she was alive contacted The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) asking them why they allowed the opposition to improperly accuse the Rwandan government of the death of Ishimwe Diane and improperly accuse the presidential family mainly implicating the first lady in the disappearance or the presumed death of this young woman.

The RIB then obtained Ishimwe Diane’s contacts from Sabin Munyengabe and contacted her to ask her to appear and give an interview to Ukwezi TV. She was also ordered to stop talking about the massacres committed against Rwandan Hutu refugees during the destruction of camps in eastern Congo.

This is how she was interviewed by Ukwezi TV. She was not speaking freely but also some people were not happy with her reappearance; they then analyze her new look by comparing it to the one she reflected when she was received by Isimbi TV looking for her parents eight months ago. Her reputation was tarnished by those claiming to come to her aid who falsely invented that she was raped, that she had contracted HIV, some even claimed that they knew the place where she was being held as sex slave!

Diane ISHIMWE finally reappears and sweeps away all rumours

From the investigation conducted by The Rwandan on the veracity of the facts, it emerges that she was not kidnapped but that she decided to change her phone number to avoid pressure exerted on her by pro-RPF politicians and some members of the opposition; the former subjected her to pressure while the latter endlessly multiplied false information. It was also found that she was the one who asked to delete her video from Isimbi TV because her concern to find her parents had been distorted and politicized: people disturbed her by calling her over and over; she finally realized that the video was no longer useful as its purpose became a political issue. She then resolved to change the phone number and this decision was interpreted differently; some people confirming without proof that she was killed. We also learned that she has since married and has a baby of a few months. It can also be deduced that when she contacted Isimbi Tv in November 2020, she was already pregnant. In a brief interview with journalist Théogene Manirakiza of Ukwezi TV, Diane Ishimwe appeared healthy but not calm, not talkative.

She first confirmed that she needed to remove the video from Isimbi TV for her safety because as she had obtained information about her father’s fate; for her, it was useless to keep it in line because some took the opportunity to intimidate her; others exploited it for their political propaganda. “People are spreading rumors that I was killed but you can see me; I am alive and I do my business and I have no time to waste for rumors. ” To the people who were spreading rumors about her disappearance and her presumed death she replied: “it is their daily activity and I have mine to move forward. ” She concluded the interview by delivering this message: I am alive and in Rwanda, anyone who wishes can meet me there; I am safe and carefree. ” She finally revealed that people who wish to meet her can go through journalist Théogene Manirakiza from Ukwezi TV.


Diane Ishimwe was not kidnapped because she rejects this version of events. This absolutely refutes the versions published by the media, activists and politicians that she was assassinated by the authorities of Kigali. However, what is deplorable is that when she reappeared, the same surprised people began to traumatize her to the point that she regretted to have reappeared. A lesson to be learned from this dossier: Rwandans need honest politicians and activists rather than opportunists and it is always possible to engage in politics and activism based on truth rather than rumors and defamation.

The spread of rumors can have a negative effect on the victims of human rights violations that are regularly committed by the Rwandan government. Loss of credibility of activists and opposition can be a disaster for victims of oppression in Rwanda. We blame also the Rwandan government by not letting citizens like Diane Ishimwe speak freely, they help spread rumors.