Rwanda: Diane Shima Rwigara Accuses Kagame of Condoning Political Murders

Diane Rwigara at a past press briefing in Kigali.
23 July 2019

Johannesburg — Former presidential candidate Diane Shima Rwigara has penned an emotional open letter to President Paul Kagame accusing him of condoning political murders.

Rwigara wrote the letter after the gruesome murder of a prison guard named Jean Paul Mwiseneza aka Nyamata on June 10. Mwiseneza was repeatedly stabbed and dismembered, allegedly shortly after speaking with Rwigara about the unrest at Mageragere penitentiary in June, which left many inmates seriously injured.

Rwigara says she chose to write to the president directly because organisations like National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) and Ibuka, which are responsible for seeking justice for genocide survivors, "are too afraid to stand up to the ruling party".

She says the government seems committed to retaining the searing memory of people killed during genocide.

"Your Excellence, the international community has rightly congratulated Rwanda for abolishing the death penalty. But I am forced to ask: why are our fellow citizens continually the object of extrajudicial executions? And, as our head of state, why would you condone such executions in your May 10, 2019, Rubavu speech? Your subordinates emulate you. At Mwiseneza's funeral, Chief Superintendent Innocent Iyaburunga blamed Mwiseneza for his own death...", Rwigara writes in the 9-page letter.

Rwigara goes on to question Kagame's Never Again slogan, which she says she "presumed meant that no more Rwandan blood ever would be shed unjustly as it looks like Rwandan lives seem to not matter".

She goes on to say she remains "very grateful" to Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front troops for ending the Genocide but she is left to wonder if stopping the Genocide grants anyone the right to terrorize the "saved" people.

"Rwandans experienced enough trauma, anguish and loss during the slaughter of their countrymen and women; the last thing they need is oppression from their liberators. I humbly ask: what to do when those designated to protect are the ones persecuting?," she writes.

"Your Excellency, we rightly accuse the international community to have remained silent during the Genocide. Yet, 25 years later, we are forced to stand aside and watch helpless as our loved ones become victims of cruel, inhumane politics. How long can this last? Anybody supporting this extreme injustice and advising to continue in this direction does not love this country and is pushing for the slow death of our nation," she writes in the letter.

She asks Kagame to use the "fullest extent of your authority" to cease these ongoing "senseless deaths" and wants the president to think of the parents, children, siblings and spouses of these murdered men and women. She says the president he walked his daughter down the aisle a few days ago, but "daughters of slain Rwandan men will not get that chance" on their wedding day.

To conclude the letter, Rwigara attaches a list of names of genocide survivors that she says perished with a "short description of the highly unusual circumstances surrounding their deaths".

She says many survivors have lost their lives "at an alarming rate" but for the purpose of this letter, she will focus on survivors as the country is in the 100-day mourning period of the 25th year commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

This is what people on Twitter had to say:

johny claudio senzo @johnclaudio17

Thanks Diane even people who are insulting you today deep inside they know you are right but they are fearing this bloody regime that feed them. sad.

 Louis Rugambage @LouisRug

Thanks a million Diane, you're the voice of the voiceless. I'm not even worried for your life anymore, it's in the hands of the Almighty. You're on his mission and only him can decide of your fate!

pepe Mujangi @pmujangi

Under normal circumstances, your letter is a valuable contribution in social peace building. Yet in some countries, this would be an act of heroism. It's a shame! Hope your letter will not put your Life at stake though. Good job

Jezdan Jididiah @JJididiah

Misled so you are!!!Good advice for you pseudonymized Diane Rwigara is to make up your mind for your sake and history and keep thinking about the crossed off coz before time is not time and after time is also not time. Lovely

francine Havugimana @francinehavgma1

Why lying ! Let’s me pick one simple example of late kagaju and husband ! We all know the story, Now,if you have your own agenda please avoid to associate others or speak on behalf of survivors ! Who commissioned you for this at a point to write such ridiculous letter

Rwirangira Carpophor @Carpophore59

when did you become the spokesperson of genocide survivors? And when did Gerard Niyomugabo become a genocide survivor? How can you advocate for survivors while you did not accept to be part of any survivors association? Shame on you. #NiyamyeDiane

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