The reason I did not return to Rwanda in 2014 after meeting Rwanda’s President in London

By Jean Paul Ndindamahina

After being contacted by JMV Gatabazi who is a member of Rwanda’s parliament and who represent North western Rwanda province where I was born and RPF(The Rwanda’s ruling party) Chairman in UK and the current Rwanda’s minister of culture who was by then a member of parliament for my native district Nyabihu and other Member of Parliament sheik Abdul Harelimana who is now an Ambassador to Djibouti and other members of Rwanda’s government to return back home, I started to have a hope that at least I may get back home after many years absent and saying the truth , I truly miss home, Rwanda but home is not safe for me and I will tell you why it is not safe for me.

The meeting between me and Rwanda’s government members in London went well and I had the opportunity to meet the President and other highly regarded people in Rwanda’s administration and it was fun, I started to feel my life has changed and I was ready to pack and go back to Rwanda despite having some indication that not all Rwandans were happy for my presence in the meeting but I felt it was not a problem if I am guaranteed a safe return to my homeland.

The main reasons however to meet these people in London was not my immediate desire to return home but my desire to see my father being released from political enslavement in Rwandan prison. I tried to raise this issue with both JMV Gatabazi and Uwacu Julienne now a minister of Rwanda’s culture and sport and they both promised me to consider the grievance and promised me a better outcome. My entire family back home do fear that raising this issue themselves while in Rwanda would put them into trouble because they risk being viewed as political activists and that would not guarantee them a chance to live another day.

The last time I met my family is when we organised a trip to meet up in Uganda back in 2009. I was forced to go and meet my mother who is old and whose health is becoming weak and fragile. When I was boarding the plane in Entebbe Airport back to the UK, she looked at me and she told me “This may be the last time that we see each other face to face” and possibly she was right. It is now 8 years since we met and all I wanted was to prove her wrong by boarding a plane this time straight to Rwanda.

They are all apolitical people but they may not be lucky to have a relative who is in politics because it is always a trouble for them. I fear for their safety for every single day basis. Normally according to Rwanda’s constitution, it should not be a crime to have political opinion that is different to that of the ruling party. The Rwanda’s constitution allows multiparty system meaning different ideas and different opinion but any idea that pinches the members of the ruling party elites becomes a crime that can see those who express themselves harassed, tortured or imprisoned.

While in London I got many contacts from members of Rwanda’s secret services and other top high security agents including colonels, majors , ministers, Rwanda’s tycoons and other presidential entourage and I got a call from this Rwanda’s intelligence service and said to me : “ I know I met you in London and you said you want to come to Rwanda, don’t even think about it” I said why? And he replied : “ There is a plot to harm you while you are in Rwanda”. I felt very disappointed in JMV Gatabazi for whom I would have trusted to tell me the truth about life in Rwanda.

To check that what I was told was the ruth-I was to travel to Rwanda on 10 december 2014 so that I can participate in the Rwandan National dialogue that is held each year in the capital Kigali as I was invited by JMV Gatabazi. So I fecked a airticket and forwarded to Gatabazi showing which time I will be at Kigali International airport and he told me that when I get to the airport I call him so that he comes to warmly welcome me back to Rwanda.

On 10 th October 2014 at the time I would have arrived to KGL international Airport, and hide the number and called JMV Gatabazi and he picked up the call and I told to Gatabazi: “Hon, I am now on Airport” and he said to me: “ What! I think it is the wrong number” I said to him: “Are you not JMV Gatabazi” truly I could hear his voice he was JMV Gatabazi and he said to me: “NO” before hanging up the phone.

I was very shocked that JMV Gatabazi was betraying my life at that very high level. When the phone was hung on me I straight knew that the warning message to me that my life in Rwanda was in Danger was correct. In the past, I received many death threats and I raised this issue to the UK security and I was promised a full security but I am not aware how that security around me is ensured.

Since some Rwandan government officials enjoys impunity from past and present crimes, they don’t fear to commit any crime in their own benefit. There has been a report of Rwandan slayers being sent to the UK to harm those who oppose the current dictatorial regime in Rwanda which makes those Rwandans political activists in exile living a chance given life. The president was quoted saying in 2015 that whoever criticise him and his government, it is a matter of time he kills him or her that speech was made the day Rwanda’s former chief of intelligence Col Patrick Karegeya was killed by supposedly Rwandan death squad members in the South Africa Hotel.

The regime is also believed to use a deadly poison against opposition members in exile. When meeting these Rwandan officials in London, I was much aware of that but I did not care much and it seems I survived their witchcraft.

Though I recently wrote to JMV Gatabazi that if God allows the situation, we will meet again and talk properly and he has ever since blocked me on twitter and other social media but in 2017 during new year celebration, I am aware of his visit in UK and he tried to coerce me through other people to go to London and if I was not aware of that, I would not have survived his witchcraft skills. He himself is a member of NISS (National Intelligence security services) but hopefully, I will survive his attack against me and my family as I have survived his betrayal.

So, if you have ever opposed the regime or, wrote something about the regime and publish it then before you go to Rwanda, you should think twice. If they have something against you, you may not return to your normal life and you may find yourself in situation where you will have to explain yourself. The best is to fight against dictatorship fearlessly and defeat it and so that we all be home.