What’s the deal in the Rwigara’s saga?

By Paterne

I heard the shocking news about the late Rwigara’s family. I have had a chip on my shoulders about DMI’s kidnappings which have left an ache in my heart. I have more than my share of worries. But my own problems and worries which aged me paled into insignificance besides the Diane Rwigara’s horror of horrors – being a victim of like father, like daughter and falling victim to the villain of the piece’s violence against the entire family.  

The whole family is plunged in far a shock. The Tutsi-blue blooded aristocracy used outmoded practices of kidnapping widow and orphans at the dead of night – searched and looted the Rwigara’s mansion watched over by the highly trained dogs pricking up their ears. The daring journalists too were watching out for the owners who were held incommunicado in undisclosed place.

 Siméon Ndwaniye, the brother of Diane Rwigara’s mother, has come out with graphic details of how the family was whisked away by uniformed armed men suspected to be attached to “CID (Criminal Investigations Department, département d’enquête criminelle)”[1]  My only worry was that, soon after she started fight election, she has been falsely accused of being vindictive while denouncing fear and gross violations of human rights. She has been very vocal in her criticism of the RPF’s government’s policy, having a vision of a Rwandan nation in which there would be neither wars nor fear of being killed or discrimination on ethnic basis – an oasis of calm.

She was apprehensive that something should go wrong. She’s a good spot and it was crucially important to let it all hang out.  In fact “Disappearances are a recurring theme of the RPF’s regime, and with Rwigara and her family’s current location unknown, it is reasonable to fear that this a continuation of this trend. In a Daily Maverick story on Rwigara before she announced she was running for the presidency of Rwanda she stated in response to a question about the disappearance of people within the country: ‘There’s a better chance for you to find a missing goat in Rwanda than a missing person.’ Her bank accounts had been frozen by the state, her movements were being tracked and her family’s businesses were being crippled. Her life was systematically being controlled and repressed by the Rwandan government, and because of dramatic restrictions on freedom of speech within the country, saying this mistreatment in a public forum would further endanger her life.” [2]

Diane’s the people person and her remarks passed without comment. All things considered, she has done very well, but it was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. She is human, like the rest of us but risked her neck as she came up smear campaign smelling of roses. Why does Paul Kagame always resort to violence, but obfuscates unpleasant facts wrapped with his arrogance which knows no limit and bulls the people into a false sense of security? Why should he not be raked over the coals? To him violence is the rule for not the exception. He had destroyed everything we held dear from the freedom of speech to the equal rights the father of our country’s independence fought hard for.  The military regime has not loosened its hold on power it has hijacked. The government repression of critical voices in Rwanda is a very regular phenomenon in the last 23 years.

It’s obvious that orders come down the line from the very top. As in previous cases it is most clear that Kagame himself is behind the operation against Diane Shima Rwigara whose crime is her righteous decision to run against him, speaking her mind out. Those who are still behind him on this one are not quite right in the head. In a video posted on YouTube, he staked out his position of the issue, saying literally during the inauguration of the new government: “It does not matter if you have been a presidential candidate. That does not give you immunity. Who wants to understand will understand what I mean.” His message came through loud and clear. He made his meaning plain: shut your mouth if you know what’s good for you. It was an act of sheer desperation. You couldn’t even find it in any gossip column. And again … still no strong condemnation from Belgium or Europe, etc. Somehow he always manages to outwit his opponents. None among his partners dare to put a spoke in his wheels.

Thanks to US ambassador along with the Belgium one who, at least were willing to know the whereabouts of their citizens (the young sister has a US citizenship and the elder is a Belgian). Both the two diplomats asked the Rwanda Foreign Minister Mushikiwabo Louise what the crazy Republican presidential guards were doing at the Rwigara’s gate and the surrounding from day one of the family disappearance (7th September 2017). She tried desperately to wriggle out of giving a clear answer, but may have convinced his boss to withdraw his hit men and bring the police in for their presence at the victims’ premise was tarnishing the image of the country – a funny side which has nothing to do with forgery and tax evasion.

In another video obtained after about one week of disappearance sequestered by Rwandan Regime which later brought police in to confuse the world, the clear thinking Diane Rwigara still stands her grounds asking questions to everyone who was directly concerned in things that go bump in the night: “If it’s me you want, take me. But what has my family done? We all know what you are blaming me for, is that I ran for the elections but what wrong has my family done, what wrong has my family done? What are you blaming my mum for? What are you blaming my siblings for?”

She had every right to be angry after all trouble he has caused to her and her family. Her father’s death – believed to be an assassination -was a cruel blow. From demolishing their hotel to seizing their properties and assets until there will be a housing crunch and to the extent that it takes energy and cunning just to survive, all these actions brought reproach upon the president who is well known to pass the hat round to finance his fiction’s success which gave rise to a number of sequels. Taking a leaf from late queen Kanjongera[1], he is thrilled to impoverish the Rwandan citizen as he his lining his own pockets and doesn’t give a damn about the innocent young lady’s tears ruining her make-up.

The possibility of a court case is still hanging over her. The prevailing view seems to be that the president who has the law into his hands will find her opponent guilty, give her a bad name before handing her to his hang men. How can the international Community stand by and see the obstructed candidate accused of something she didn’t do?

President Paul Kagame has a reputation for being tough and uncompromising. All the criticisms on his poor human rights’ record are brushed aside. You never know where you stand with him-one minute he preaches his Tutsi’s savior gospel, in a couple of shake he sets the stage for a new kingdom where there are neither Tutsis nor Hutus. Play-acting a messiah who can’t stand the sight of blood, he swears to go the whole hog with his nose in the air – affecting in front of foreigners an angelic calmness he doesn’t feel as many people lie at the mercy of the waves especially following his perverse decision to run the 3rd term.

The change of the constitution led to a caesarianism[4] system. As David Himbara points it out in his above mentioned article, We can expect the worst of the worst – in the aftermath of the 99% electoral win by Rwanda’s Caligula. He is now empowered by the amended constitution which does two things; it allows Caligula to rule Rwanda until 2034; it allows him to commit any crimes he wants without consequences during the rest of his presidency and in even retirement. Article 114 of the amended constitution says that.

‘a former President of the Republic cannot be prosecuted for treason or serious and deliberate violation of the Constitution when no legal proceedings in respect of that offence were brought against him or her while in office.’

Legal proceedings against Rwanda’s Caligula while in office are of course out of the question – he is the law.”

And yet, Diane Rwigara went down in History as “a well known Tutsi critical voice for the RPF-regime of Paul Kagame”exposed now in some highly respected western news papers as an unregenerate cunning liar and merciless tyrant who turned the memorial of the genocide against the Tutsis to his own advantage-making a monkey out of Hutus. So he felt completely crushed by her criticism which found an echo in the hearts of most of Rwandans who have known the glory days whereby the first and the second republic used quiet persuasion instead of the big stick.

Reduced to fighting his corner and taking all measures to ensure that no one will throw the book at him, his good-leadership – but flight of the imagination – campaign is already dead in the water. Still the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children, no matter you are of gentle blood or not. The death toll continues to mount. The smell of the blood-bath still hasn’t gone away. It’s a living hell when the tyranny prevails over justice. Will it all sort itself in the end?



[1]By  Marie-France Cros in  Rwanda1 Septembre 2017

2] Article:  Rwanda: Where is political activist and Kagame’s opponent, Diane Rwigara? By BRANDON FINN,   AFRICA 31 AUG 2017 11:54 (SOUTH AFRICA)

[3] From Bega Tutsi clan from which came the queens in ancient Tutsi monarchy, Kanjogera, helped with her three brothers, killed the legitimate king’s successor Rutalindwa whose has replaced his father late king Rwabugiri from the Basinga – the kings’ Tutsis clan. And this was called a coup d’Etat of Rucunshu (1896) in course of which all people living at the palace were burned alive on her older. Her son Yuhi IV Musinga became the new king.  Her eyes were cruel and hard. None could risk a glance at her furious face as there was still a risk that the whole deal would fall out. She is believed to be very sadic and had killed Tutsis as well as Hutus. To punish a Tutsi he disliked, he killed his son by one strong stab to the heart and to make his death more painful, she stood up slowly, withdrawing the sword from the chest of the victim. Thus her name became proverbial and she is known the wickedst woman in Rwanda history. ,

[4] A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator who  is not restricted by a constitution, law or oppositions etc. there is no political rivalry.