By Ben Barugahare
On November 6,2021, Teta Gisa Rwigema and Marvin Manzi were married; a wedding ceremony in which the elder brother of the bride i.e. Erick Gisa Rwigema Junior was the great absent and to which was invited president Kagame. speaking, he said he deeply regrets that Gisa Rwigema’s son is absent in Rwanda and is considered a refugee from a country for which his father shed his blood to free it.Will Gisa Jr return to Kagame’s Rwanda? And why did he flee in the first place?
From the document called letter to Afande written by Noble Marara, some details may clarify the ins and outs of the exile of Erick Gisa Rwigema Junior.The misunderstandings commenced when Kagame’s children Ange Kagame, Cyomoro Ivan together with Rwigema Fred children Eric Gisa and Teta Gisa were enrolled in an American university. Kagame was pretending to care for his children but apparently when he met an American Pastor known as Rick Warren he said to him that the university where the children were attending lectures was not good enough, and so Warren advised him to enroll them in another university. Unfortunately, when Janet Kagame, the president’s wife, got involved they moved their children to a new school and never even informed children of the late General Gisa that there were going to move. All of Rwigema children and Kagame’s children were over 20 years old and had been friends since early 1990’s; they played together and went out together to watch films however there were divided by Kagame’s wife in one day. The change of university happened at the mid-term and so when Junior came back to the university he could not see Ivan whom he had maintained contact with during holidays but Ivan never told him that he was not coming back. Junior, loves maintaining friendship just like his late father, so he decided to call Ivan Cyomoro on phone who explained to him that they had changed universities. This affected Junior in a profound and negative way. He immediately started spending nights out and binge drinking.The university called Janet Rwigema and when she arrived at the university she could not believe the state of her son, who was saying that he wishes he was dead because Junior believed that life was worth nothing at the time.It is true that General Salim Saleh Akandwanaho, Museveni’s brother, was a real friend of Major General Rwigema and he intervened and offered funds for another school as well for his children. The Kagame’s found out and it caused all the problems surrounding Gisa family. Then Janet Rwigema was picked up from her house and brought in front of Kagame and his wife, they insulted her and even called her a ‘’bitch’’, referring to Saleh as her other half. From that time on, Junior Erick Gisa stayed in US and when he visits the great lakes region, cannot come back in Rwanda but often is Uganda, fact which angered the Strong man of Kigali.
Attending the wedding of Fred Rwigema’s daughter, Teta, when invited to bless the occasion with presidential remarks, President Kagame stated that he does not want Fred Rwigema’s son, Eric Gisa Jr, to remain a refuge while he is the very cause of threats encountered by the son of the national hero.
The real reason of exile
It is known that Rwigema was killed by majors Peter Bayingana and Chris Bunyenyezi who were also murdered as part of the coverup. Kagame who were among the rare senior officers was expected to replace the late Rwigema as the chief of the rebellion of RPF. During the struggle and even after the victory, he strived to eliminate other comrades who were susceptible to compete with him till becoming a president for life. The fact that any enquiry was never carried out since 31 years to establish the motives of the murder of the hero Major General Rwigema and which the two majors were immediately assassinated without having provided their version of facts and why not the intentional element of this crime sufficiently proves that the current head of state had a hidden hand in the dirty operation and succeeded his coup. Among threats justifying the fear of Erick Gisa we may not exclude the assassination of her aunt Agaba Joy, sister of Major General Gisa Rwigema who was undoubtedly killed by the regime’s henchmen. Without dwelling on this issue, President Kagame knows very well why Erick Gisa Rwigema Junior resolved to leave the country unhappy to live in a country headed by enemies of his late father.
Kagame begged the bride to ask her exiled brother to return to Rwanda that his father fought to liberate. “Deliver my message to your brother that I don’t want and I don’t like that Fred’s son is a refugee.”According to Kagame, it is a neighbouring country – read Uganda – that maliciously misleads Gisa Jr to remain exiled. The self-important neighboring state falsely believes that it is the creator of Rwanda, says Kagame. The neighboring country he was referring to is of course Uganda with which he is in unresolved conflict which pushed him to close the borders cynically starving the Rwandans who obtained a lot of food and other goods. Has Uganda really done nothing for the rebellion which besieged Rwanda by arms in 1994?none ignores that Rwanda’s new masters have come from the Ugandan regular army which defeated the Rwanda Armed Forces in 1994. President Kagame is undoubtedly aware that without Uganda support he could not attack Rwandan army and take the power. It is Museveni who recruited Rwandan young refugees who were miserably living in camps and persecuted by the Obote regime ;he made them officers and appointed them to key posts such as intelligence, high commandment of army; provided them with arms and the country will be their military rear base during the four years the war lasted till their victory.
Why can General Gisa Rwigema’s son no longer set foot on Rwandan soil? It all started with the death of his father, whose motives remain mysterious. Without hiding behind its conflicts with Uganda, the Kigali regime has the heavy burden of resolving the conflicts which have led many people to flee it.