Anger at Kagame after police detains Rwigara family

Diane Rwigara, her mother and sister being escorted by police

Rwanda police has confirmed detaining female opposition figure who was barred from challenging Rwandan President Paul Kagame in last month’s election.

Police officers took Diane Rwigara and some of her family members to an unknown location last week after raiding her house in the Rwandan capital Kigali, her brother Aristide Rwigara said.

“I know for a fact that they were taken to a place I don’t know. I don’t know how they are. Their phones and laptops plus the house was searched while they were held in handcuffs,” Aristide Rwigara, who lives in the United States, said.

Rwanda police spokesperson, ACP Theos Badege, first claimed none of them are in custody.

On Monday, police said in a statement that it had applied the warrant against Adeline Rwigara, Diane Rwigara and Anne Rwigara as stipulated in article 48 of the criminal procedural law.

“They have been brought to CID for questioning, after refusing to respond to three summons as stated by the law,” the statement reads.

On Friday, four journalists were harassed by members of the Republican Guard-responsible for the safety of President Paul Kagame, the first family and other key government officials.

The guards harassed the journalists as they tried to locate and access the residence of the Rwigara family in the Kiyovu neighbourhood in Kigali.

Rwigara’s supporters demand for her release

A Twitter session running under the hashtags #FreeRwigara #GreenMonday and #100Tweets2Kagame, is pressuring the president to release the family.

“If #Rwigaras are not released today, let us make tomorrow #GreenMonday – #100Tweets2Kagame ask him #FreeRwigara,” a tweet from Diane’s twitter handle reads.

“@PaulKagame  No one shld be persecuted for their views #FreeRwigaras 100Tweets2Kagame #GreenMonday #Rwanda,” reads another tweet.

“The ‘democratically elected pres. @PaulKagame who won 98% blocked #Rwigara ‘unqualified presidential candidate to stop following his tweets.”

The supporters also lodged an online petition on asking well-wishers to sign it so they can forward it to donors demanding the release of Rwigara and her family.

The petition

Diane Rwigara attempted to run for President of Rwanda but was thwarted by Paul Kagame and his political party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

In her attempt to run for president of Rwanda, she was critical of the leadership of Paul Kagame, however apparently too critical. She was disqualified from running based on dubious charges related to the number of signatures she collected.

Before the elections, Ms. Rwigara told the world that she received threats from supporters of Mr. Kagame that she will be dealt with once the elections were over.

True to the Kagame regime’s way of operating, Ms. Rwigara and her family have become the enemy of the state.

On Tuesday, August 29th, Rwandan security forces raided Ms. Rwigara’s home. According to testimony from family members, the security forces snatched Ms. Rwigara along with her mother and other siblings.

They surrounded the house, then entered, searched everything and took computers, telephones, money, documents and other belongings in the house.

During the raid, they injured the arm and back of Diane’s mother according to reports from family members.

The security forces then took them to an undisclosed location. Among those held incommunicado by the Rwandan security forces is Diane’s sister, Anne Rwigara, a U.S. citizen.

Diane Rwigara is a 35 year old Rwandan patriot who sought to run for president of her country. She is the founder of the People Salvation Movement (Itabaza),a platform established to educate Rwandans to stand up for their rights.

She was born in Kigali, Rwanda in 1982, the daughter of businessman Assinapol Rwigara, a former supporter of Paul Kagame who was assassinated by the Rwandan regime.

She attended high school in Belgium and college in California in the United States. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State University in Finance, and a Master’s degree in Accounting from San Francisco State University.

Prior to returning to Rwanda, she taught at Stanford University in the Department of Linguistics.

Demand that Paul Kagame and the Rwandan regime produce Ms. Rwigara and immediately release her, her mother and the other family members.

An accountant and political newcomer, Rwigara announced her intention in May to run in the August election against Kagame, who has held de facto power in Rwanda since 1994.

Rwigara’s father was a onetime ally of Kagame and financial backer of the ruling party. He died in a car crash in 2015, with family members suspecting foul play.

Kagame first became de facto leader when his Rwandan Patriotic Front rebels halted a 1994 genocide.

His long tenure has produced strong economic results but has been criticised for muzzling political opposition and stifling free speech.

Nude photographs purporting to be Rwigara appeared online soon after she declared her candidacy.

She was later disqualified on a technicality from running against Kagame, who went on to win his third seven-year term with 99 percent of the vote.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here