How Kagame hunts down political dissidents

16 Feb 2024

KAMPALA: For years now Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame has been accused of hunting down political dissidents with the aim of killing them or throwing them in jail.

In neighbouring Uganda, it is no secret that Kagame had recruited a number of security personnel to help him hunt down such dissidents and deport them only to meet various forms of death.

It is a common truth that Kagame worked with both the Inspector General of Police, the commander of police’s Flying Squad as well as the head of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence to forcibly deport Rwandans.

Kayumba Nyamwasa
Late Patrick Karegeya

Most of those who were deported were reportedly killed under unclear circumstances.

Others, including Patrick Karegeya, a former spy chief, were traced up to South Africa, where he was assassinated by unknown assailants in 2014.
South African police reported that Karegeya’s body had “been found, possibly strangled, in a hotel”.

“He was found in the hotel room dead on the bed,” said a statement from South African police spokeswoman Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale. “A towel with blood and a rope were found in the hotel room safe. There is a possibility that he might have been strangled.” Karegeya (pic below) had fled Rwanda in 2007, only for him to be cornered and killed seven years later.

Analysis shows that Kagame’s method of work is to hunt down anyone he wants dead without a time limit.

Reports indicate that Kagame tried several times to kill his Gunmen twice tried to kill his former chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, while he was living in exile in Johannesburg in 2010.

Nyamwasa told the media in about 2012 that Kagame had hunted him and other dissidents around the world, “using hired killer squads.”

Other reports show that “Rwandan exiles from the president’s Tutsi tribe say British, U.S. and Belgian law enforcers have frequently warned them that their government is plotting to kill them.”

“Two British legislators called for Britain to review its relationship with Rwanda in 2011 when they said a Scotland Yard investigation led to the deportation of an alleged Rwandan assassin trying to enter Britain. Two Rwandan exiles said they received warnings from Scotland Yard that the Rwandan government posed an “imminent threat” to their lives,” USA Today reported more than a decade ago.

However, Kagame’s regime denied all these allegations, stating that, “Never does the government of Rwanda threaten the lives of its citizens, nor use violence against its people, wherever they live.”

Another Rwandan-born citizen Achiraf Matovu has been living in fear in Canada after Kagame’s political party, Rwanda Patriotic Front, a party he served diligently turned against him.

Having fled his home at the height of the 1994 genocide, Matovu studied in Uganda (Lukaya Primary School and Kasasa S.S respectively).

Achiraf would later return to his native Rwanda where he was lured into the Rwanda Patriotic Front as a supporter. He participated in the party’s various activities during his time as a member.

Later, he started hating the same party due to the misconduct of members and other top officials.

When the authorities sensed that he had started missing party meetings, an indication that his support for the party was decreasing, they started tracking him down.

Around the same time, the so-called sweet democracy had turned sour. Many opposition players or suspected haters were assassinated, or thrown into prisons while their property was auctioned arbitrarily.

Achiraf later joined the Rwanda National Congress (ID No.FIN6911), an opposition political party.

Trouble ensued for him as RPF party officials questioned him hard and even started trailing him. His friends in telecommunication companies warned him to watch out how he moves and he speaks to.

On sensing a lot of danger, Achiraf fled the country and has been living in Canada since then.

Whereas Achiraf is lucky to be alive, hundreds and many others are not that lucky. Most of those who flee to neighboring countries are easily tracked down and killed. 

With the current situation in Rwanda, both the silent and talkatives are equally at risk of being in deadly trouble with Kagame’s regime. 

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