Rwanda: Genocide Survivors Protest Reinstatement of Tainted Rwandan Bishop By UK Anglican Church

Ibuka, the umbrella organisation of Genocide survivors associations, has protested the decision by the Church of England to reinstate Jonathan Ruhumuliza, a Rwandan bishop accused of complicity in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Ruhumuliza, who had been placed on a special leave six years ago, was accused by the human rights groups of acting as a public apologist for the genocidal government, and of being complicit in the genocide.

"Normally, for anyone suspected/accused of such crimes (genocide-related crimes) the law states that they are automatically deprived of certain rights. Including the right to serve" Naphtali Ahishakiye, the Executive Secretary of Ibuka told The New Times.

In this regard, Ahishakiye added, bishop Ruhumuliza should be stopped as he waits for clear documents of investigation from the concerned authorities.

However, even though the UK government had earlier announced that there were reasons for considering that he committed a crime against humanity, Ruhumuliza, 64, was last month re-appointed to a new post at a church in the diocese of Manchester.

Ahishakiye pointed out, "It is evident that the decision lacks enough consultation mainly from the concerned authorities."

On the other hand, he says, stopping him would also heal the wounded survivors.

"Imagine being in a congregation where they are preaching about God and yet people already know that you are a murderer. It's too sad," Ahishakiye added. "As a bishop, he has no fruit to bear for his followers."

Ahishakiye also commended the efforts of the UK for initially stopping Ruhumuliza from service. But he said indeed, reinstating him into service is sad and downplays all efforts put in order to hold him accountable.

However, following the revelations Ruhumuliza has denied accusations against him but previously apologised for not speaking out against the genocide.

Contacted for a comment, however, Laurent Mbanda, Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, said that Ruhumuliza is no longer part of the house of Bishops of Rwanda.

"When they (the Anglican Church of England) asked for a recommendation, I simply told them that he is not part of the house of bishops in Rwanda. I have no idea why he was reinstated."

Speaking to The New Times, Jean B Kayigamba, a genocide survivor who lives in the UK said; "He is mentioned by Andrew Wallis in his Book on Akazu titled Stepped in Blood".

In that book, "he says that during the genocide against the Tutsi he accompanied his superior Bishop Nshamihigo, a well-known genocidaire on a PR exercise for the genocidaire government."

Kayigamba pointed out that, "I sent him the excerpt. But he denied any role-they all always do, alleging that that was a campaign of lies spread by his enemies."

"Not surprised at all that this man lives here in the UK unperturbed despite heavy suspicions that he may have had involvement in the 1994 genocide by way of doing PR for the genocidal regime. The UK has become a fertile ground for unsavoury characters including well-known genocidaires and several genocide suspects some who live in the open"

According to Bishop John Rucyahana, the president of National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC); "I have never worked with him (Ruhumuliza) but given the crowd of information around him reinstating him in service doesn't make sense. It is a contradiction," he added.

Besides, it's not an incentive to unity, he reiterated.

"Recommendations from concerned authorities should have been immense."

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