As the Kigali regime is plagued by dramatic political and diplomatic isolation across Africa
BY ROBERT MUKOMBOZI
As Rwandan President Paul Kagame took to the pages of The East African to, among others, call for an urgent resolution of differences between countries in the region, which he says are standing in the way of the East African Community’s progress, Rwandans across the globe thronged different places of worship to mourn.
It’s been about 5 years since the murder of Col. Patrick Karegeya. On New Year’s Eve of 2013, Rwanda’s former Director of External Intelligence was murdered at a posh Michelangelo Towers in leafy Sandton district of Johannesburg, South Africa. He had fled to this country in 2008 and granted asylum after falling out with the regime in Rwanda and in particular, the current Rwandan President Kagame.
While Col. Karegeya’s death in exile remains a mystery all fingers have continued to point at the Kigali establishment’s involvement. The Rwandan government vehemently denies this.
But the family of the spy Chief and members of Rwanda’s strongest opposition party, the Rwandan National Congress (RNC), which he helped establish in exile insist the murder was on President Kagame’s orders and are relentlessly seeking justice.
And while the wheels of justice in this case have been excruciatingly slow RNC, together with its coalition partners (Platform 5); Amahoro PC, FDU Inkingi PDP Imanzi and PS Imberakuri have kept the flames of hope in finding culprits through holding vigils annually in his honour.
They come together in large numbers from different parts of the world and denominations; sing hymns, lock hands and minds and hearts in solidarity. To them, it is not just a moment of deep sadness and mourning but also of celebrating a great patriot, father, husband and friend to many-Late Karegeya and many of their colleagues who have lost their lives attempting to oppose a ruthless military regime in Kigali.
From Fourways Memorial Park in South Africa, Houston-Texas in the United States of America to the Heart of Europe in Belgium’s capital Brussels, Rwandans turned up in hundreds to pay tribute to all Rwandan politicians and activists killed by the current Rwandan government.
“Our message is very clear. We want to let the Kigali regime know that our struggle will never be stopped by their (Rwandan government) heinous killing of innocent people just because they opposed the regime,” said the RNC Coordinator Dr Jerome Nayigiziki.
Instead of instilling fear, he said, such murders of Rwanda’s opposition members was strengthening unity and courage among members in the struggle.
Dr Nayigiziki’s words were also echoed by his colleague, Mr Etienne Masozera, the current Chairman of Platform 5.
“Even if so much has been achieved so far the struggle must continue until we free Rwanda from dictatorship. I must remind Kagame that killing his own people will never resolve his problems. He Killed Col. Karegeya and he created hundreds of Karegeyas who are now ready to give justice to Karegeya’s family, colleagues and friends,” Masozera, said.
Meanwhile ongoing RNC and Platform 5 activities being held across the globe in memorial of the slain former head of Rwanda’s external intelligence come at a time when South Africa has instituted a fresh inquest into his murder.
The Randburg magistrate Jeremiah Matopa announced in 2018 that the inquest into Col Karegeya’s death would begin in January 2019. The ongoing inquest, according to South African Chief Prosecutor Yusuf Baba intends to line up more than 30 witnesses in court.
Amidst the Inquest, however, South Africa’s judicial has been accused of a cover up. Advocate Gerrie Nel, who represents AfriForum – a South African NGO campaigning on behalf of minorities asked magistrate Jeremiah Matopa to halt the inquest and for a semi-completed investigation to be finalised.
Nel alleged the methods used and identities of four Rwandans who killed Karegeya had been known “to everyone” for five years, yet no serious attempt had been made by the South African authorities to secure their arrest.
The inquest continues to shed some light on President Kagame’s outrageous apetite for violence and chronic aggression, unmasking the façade of a cold military General often touted by his global admirers as a reputable democrat, reformer and peace advocate in the great lakes region and African continent more broadly.