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The tragedy of self-indulgence

Diane Shima Rwigara

THE LAST WORD | Andrew Mwenda | Diane Rwigara has been lionised by sections of the Western media and its cheerleaders in our region. She is the lady who announced her intention to run against President Paul Kagame in the August presidential election. Unfortunately for Rwanda but certainly fortunately for Rwigara, she failed to raise the necessary signatures to become a presidential candidate and instead decided to forge them.

In spite of that, sections of the Western press begun to claim that she was the strongest candidate against Kagame. They even suggested that the electoral outcome would have been different if she had been allowed to run.

It is very hard to avoid extreme frustration with most reporting on Rwanda, especially when you have been close to that nation’s society and politics. The combination of extreme ignorance and overt prejudice that informs media reports, academic studies and international (read Western) human rights reports in blinding. How can this small and poor country attract this attention far in excess of her geopolitical weight and value? We can speculate later.

Sometimes I suspect it is because Western world cannot accept an African success story that is not made and defined in Paris, Brussels, Washington and London. Rwanda has defined herself. At every twist and turn, it has kept a tight control over her destiny. When it faced genocide, it ended it by itself. When it faced a collapsed state and economy, it pulled itself up by its own bootstraps. It seems some feel this example should not be allowed to hold.

It is in this context that we need to understand the obsession with Ms Rwigara. She is a daughter of Assinapole Rwigara, a Tutsi businessman who made a fortune under the Hutu extremist government of President Juvenal Habyarimana. This is a government that practiced apartheid against the Tutsi, whom it later tried to exterminate in the swiftest genocide in history. Apparently, Habyarimana enriched a few Tutsis businessmen, knowing that being a marginalised and demonised minority, they could not threaten his power. Rwigara was one of the beneficiaries.

Consequently, many Tutsis inside the country and in exile suffering under the yoke of this cruel government looked at Rwigara as a traitor who had sold himself to their tormentor for a fortune. To many Hutus, he was an opportunist who should not have been allowed to prosper. Thus, when the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) launched its armed struggle in 1990, Hutu extremists sought to settle scores with him. Realising that his position was untenable, Rwigara fled the country and now began to support the RPF.

To many Tutsis who knew him, he was an opportunist who had profited from an oppressive government; and only ran away when his honeymoon with their tormentors ended. To many Hutus, he was a traitor who ran away and was using his fortune to finance a revolution that sought to overthrow a system that had enriched him. It is in these circumstances that the genocide was incubated and took place.

Inside Rwanda, every Tutsi (and many Hutus) suffered extreme person loss. Tutsis watched their parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, aunties, grand parents, – every member of their immediate and extended family – being slaughtered. Some witnessed their mothers, daughters, aunties and sisters raped in front of them. It is impossible to find a single Tutsi family without the scars of this genocide, gruesome memories they have to live with forever.


  1. ejakait engoraton

    “In spite of that, sections of the Western press begun to claim that she was the strongest candidate against Kagame. They even suggested that the electoral outcome would have been different if she had been allowed to run.”
    To claim that she was the strongest candidate against KAGAME does not mean she was going to defeat him. If one was to say for instance that a team in the third division has been the strongest to face another in the premiership, it does not mean it will defeat the premiership team.It just means that this particular team is the stronger of the other teams.
    Likewise, if a team gets beaten 6-0, say because the top striker was not there and you say the result(outcome) would have been different if the top striker was there, it may mean that the score may have ended up 6-2, or 4-1, all these are different results/outcomes, they may all be defeats or wins for one of the teams, but the results are different.

    • Which point are you trying to make here? Still, she was nobody and had she gathered the required signatures, it wouldn’t have made any difference from the outcome of the election. Its so annoying how its outsiders obsessed with this girl. She wasn’t even known in Rwanda till her nudes came out!!

    • Simple English, “She was the “STRONGEST CANDIDATE AGAINST Kagame”, NOT stronger THAN Kagame, eish!

  2. Me I have totally failed to understand Diane Rwigara or her mother for that matter; and their sending monies in futile political campaign that would best be utilised to help orphans and widows of genocide. This family had the fortune of accumulating money in the tobbacco industry and stashed most of it out of harm’s way in Europe or so it is said. Now, what should have followed is to make sure they enjoy the fortune in the secure environment that Kagame ensures all who are resident in Rwanda by going philanthropic. But instead, they opted to go the murky route of politics with its unreliable outcomes and at times fatal outcomes a la Ingabire…who had been promised that if she is touched;no matter what she does or utters; Rwanda will burn. Now she is booked in the cooler for a good 15 years. Diane and her mother should have known that no matter who beguiles them, be they relative,counsel,lover,advisor or whatever, does not know Rwanda as well as they did and can never be able to assist when the government tightens the screw. It is painful to everyone to see such a family in such a dilemma and the best they can do now is to apologise,spill the beans without leaving out anything, then place themselves at the mercy of the President. Who knows? He can take it upon himself to bend the rules and get them off the hook …….otherwise they will find themselves in Ingabire’s boots. Their crimes are apparent and they don’t deny it. They can ask forgiveness basing their plea on the trauma that was caused by their loss of Mr Rwigara. Left to the law, there is no hope.

  3. 1.Kagame is always so smart in the suits he wears he always looks like a groom on his wedding day.
    2.Its true that women asked for emancipation but we are not fully emancipated we still need to be treat with dignity.
    3. I dont like the way the Rwandan govt hunts down its opponents was Daine really a threat to the Rwandan govt? are they that badly off?Kagame should learn from M7;he has never jailed his opponents instead he encourages to return from exile for example, people like Akena ‘P’ Ojok,Adhola are in exile no one bothers about them.
    4. Most businessmen in the world hobnob with the exsiting govt for purely business purposes so its unfair to accuse them for being baised incase war breaks out for example Shell,Gapco did not quite Uganda during the War,the Gupta family is carrying out business with Zuma would it be fair to accuse Gupta of funding war in S.Africa incase it breaks out?
    5.Most of the MP’s who returned money for consulation on the age debate were from Buganda.The baganda we all know can do anything and everything for money ;90% of the con men and crafty people are from this region what does mean?Since the Luos who are the most honest Ugandans took the 29m then it was ok.

    • Michael Alineitwe

      I hate when people say that Kagame should learn from M7…..Do you want Rwanda to be as Uganda? Kampala, the capital city is insucure, even the Police offices who should endure security of people and their belongings are being jailed day and night and you want Rwanda to learn from Uganda? Really ? You are not serious!!! Rwandans should continue their path as it has yielded positive results.

  4. I hate it when the young girl is exalted with an identity ‘Kagame Critic’! Why not a fraudulent daughter of late Asinap Rwigara who tried to run as Presidential candidate!? I would like to ask that someone somewhere in RRA be held accountable for failure to do their job by allowing the people to amass so much wealth that they have turned around and want to use it soil the country! Attempting to run as President does exonerate one from being held accountable to legal entities on criminal and fraudulent accounts. Let them give Rwanda a break!!

    • I meant the identity that fits this lady is that of a ‘fraud’! Why does media ignore this truth when the young girl was caught red handed with names of the deceased on her fictitious list of signatures! I meant attempting to run for president doesn’t exonerate one from being held accountable for their crimes! They must be held legally accountable. Media should come out smart on this!!

      • I don’t know your age David but if you are near Diane’s age, I can understand. It is easy for President Kagame to bend the law and pardon Rwigaras. He is old enough to know how Diane type think and believe; also Adeline because Kagame knows women and their way of thinking. It is their insistent argument that they are innocent that is still standing between pardon/release and trial/penalty. If they are true Christians, I advise them like I once advised Rusagara. When you are at the bottom; where you never thought you would ever be even in dreams, you drop everything and turn to God. Send away your lawyers and cease all argument…then wait. Cease all defence and just ask for forgiveness in the most honest way you can. God will not interfere when you claim you will get yourself out of the mess. relatives who read this should tell them….this advice being ten times better than the best lawyers’. Rwanda stands for reconciliation,forgiveness and tolerance. His excellency has been saying that time and again tirelessly.

  5. So if someone commits a crime and happens to have had intentions of running against President Kagame they should not be touched? With all the overwhelming evidence? Let them just confess and accept that they were misled because I honestly believe they were and then ask for forgiveness. Who knows, they stand a better chance if they take that route

    • Rwanda has forgiven the unforgivable KKK. That is the advice i always dish to whoever will listen. Soften,downsize your ego and humble yourself then leave all else to God…but above all, confess and ask for forgiveness. There is nothing simpler than that.

  6. I even feel disgusted when somebody mentions this girl as a presidential candidate that I would have voted for!I can’t vote for her to even lead a sector!It was her rights to present herself as a candidate but also it was her obligation to present all required documents. Some people refer to her as if punishing a FEMALE criminal was a crime. Being a stupid criminal, male or female doesn’t make any difference on how you have to be dealt with. Whether you have been a presidential candidate or whether you failed to be so, you can’t think you are above the law. IMIGANI: 1)Uwabyaye nabi aramutswa n’abakwe; 2)Ikibyindi gisa n’umunnyi; 3)Ingabo y’umugore iragushora ntigucyura; 4)Urusaku rw’ibikeri ntirubuza inzovu kunywa amazi.

  7. Diane wanted to be Ndabaga of her family but she forgot that every nation has ruling law that govern that nation! this girl should remind herself that none is above laws.

  8. Diane has been blinded by anger and believed to revenge her father whom she thought that has been killed by the government. her mother who could helped, was herself in the crisis of loosing the lovely hersuband, so is anyone in the family to refresh the mind? that’s how the entire family got in trouble and committed undesired crimes

  9. ejakait engoraton

    I agree with you when you say that DIANE was blinded by anger, justified as the anger was , her reaction was not the right thing to do, not in RWANDA and not against KAGAME.
    I had the privilege of reading the incident report first hand from its author whom I had the opportunity of knowing, and one would be very naive to think that RWIGARAS death was an accident.
    Rightly or wrongly , KAGAME has earned himself a reputation for the way he deals with those who do not agree with him, right from way back with the case of SENDASHONGA , who had been a minister but also was involved in the war, but fell out and was naive enough to almost confront KAKAME in public, literally humiliating him.
    KAGAME does not take kindly to anyone who opposes him, least of all in public and I know of cases where he has not taken kindly to remarks even made in private, even coming from those who think they are close to him as a one KWIKIRIZA found out.
    IT was claimed at the time that KAGAME was fond of literally boxing his ministers or officers if they did anything disagreeable with him. So KWIKIRIZA, who is the man who was leading the RPF contingent that was in KIGALI at the time of the plane crash, and is credited with routing the INTERAHAMWE in KIGALI and saving countless lives, in a drunken stupor , being the giant he is , said that if KAGAME dared touch him, it would be the end of him.
    Word definitely got back to KAGAME and he was not amused. It took the pleas of his brothers Johnson Busingye, the current attorney general and Dnnis Kareera , who was the chief of Police then, with their mother in tow, to secure a pardon. Even then, it is felt that that was the end of his career in the magye as he has not risen to the heights he probably deserved.
    KAGAME does not FORGET and certainly does not FORGIVE and for whatever RWIGARA had done, his worst move was to return to Kigali and all who knew , knew that he was a walking corpse.

    • Beginning from the premise that things are and happened as you narrate ejakait, if you were Kagame, how would you manage Rwanda and Rwandans? From records that date back to 1959 that climaxed into the 1994 genocide against Tutsi tribe, it could be safely assumed that: Rwanda has more than 1 million rapists living and freely. plus more than 3 million murderers (who may intersect with the million rapists) plus over 300 thousand orphans and widows who may (but some are unable/restrained) wish to revenge. then there is a population exceeding 100 thousand in jail for genocide crimes. add more than 3 million who repatriated from foreign countries and would be neutral if it were not for historical narration of why they and their ancestors are without property because they were dispossessed by the Habarimanas regime and ousted. add a motley of POST-TRAUMATISED-STRESSED arrogant war veterans… then bigheaded Makerere trained upstarts like Rusagara…plus a horde of former regime cadres who were beholden to their former foreign masters yet containment compelled Kagame to accommodate them in the dining hall… Now honestly ejakait, where do you find a real patriot among all the groups I alluded to who can be depended on to do as should if left to their ways? It is a miracle Kagame has not ran mad; though I believe that GOD QUALIFIES THE APPOINTED, it beats human understanding how he manages to steer Rwanda….seating a wolf(read genocider)with a sheep(read genocide survivor) with minimum friction. The man deserves medals. As for those killings and jailings if he is truly responsible, it comes with the job of obstacle crossing. it seems all people in power are challenged(by fools) and then they have to prove that they are in charge otherwise you get Somali type of anarchy. There are must be one driver at a time even in flight, the co-pilot waits to be handed over… guys in Soroti Flying School can tell you how it is done. We don’t operate controls similtaneously. I can only pray that Kagame handle that country for a bit longer otherwise, we who grew up in this region shudder to think of what can transpire if a mishandler leads Rwanda into another calamity. The tremor can impact on the entire region; overspill of refugees,criminals,collapsing economy,and other inconveniences tha can be felt as far as Europe. Remember how they polluted our Nalubaale in 1994!!! Rwanda needs an iron fist and with minimum interference from in or out. Neighbours know.

    • National issues are no playing matters and should be taken seriously. If these people don’t grasp their context/environment, then they don’t even fit to claim they want to run national matters! I think our government needs to come out with a clear and very strong criteria for those that feel they should run for President in Rwanda. Otherwise they compromise people’s time, resources and disrupt order because they don’t fully understand how to deal with the life of a nation. Doctors go through very serious clearance steps to start to deal with human health issues. So should be politicians vying for leadership of so many people. These youngsters who just crop up and drop themselves into the arena, discrediting everything including themselves cannot simply convince anyone that they’re fit for this. But more seriously if the starting point is fraudulent, how does that expect to unfold in terms of running a country.

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