Nyamwasa hit ‘was political’
Four years after Rwandan President Paul Kagame allegedly dispatched assassins to kill his closest rival, a Krugersdorp court has found that the plot was politically motivated and emanated from the tiny nation.
A drawn-out court case that saw Rwandan agents and their Tanzanian gunmen in the dock came to an end on Friday when Magistrate Stanley Mkhari found four men guilty of shooting and wounding former Rwandan army chief General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa (pictured) in June 2010.
“The attempted murder of General Nyamwasa was ... politically motivated, emanating from a certain group of people from Rwanda,” he said.
Six men – three Rwandans and three Tanzanians – went on trial for the failed plot to kill Nyamwasa, a man once in Kagame’s inner circle. He fled to South Africa in February 2010 after falling out with Kagame. Here, he joined another former Kagame ally and Rwanda’s former spy head, Colonel Patrick Karegeya, who also fled after falling out with Kagame.
Rwandan national Amani Uriwane, and Tanzanians Hassan Mohammedi Nduli, Sady Abdou and Hemedi Dengengo Sefu, will be sentenced on September 10.
Two other accused – Nyamwasa’s driver, Richard Bachisa, and Rwandan businessman Pascal Kanyandekwe – were acquitted. Mkhari said items found in Kanyandekwe’s possession proved his links to the plot, but there was insufficient evidence to convict him.
According to evidence in court, Uriwane – a former Rwandan soldier and refugee – was recruited by Rwandan intelligence agents to carry out the hit. The agents fled before they could be arrested. Uriwane recruited the Tanzanians and gave them a gun for the shooting. Altogether, they were paid R80 000.
Nyamwasa and Karegeya were founder members and leaders of the Rwanda National Congress, a political party in exile that is the biggest threat to Kagame’s 20-year rule. In recent years, Kagame has come under fire for his dictatorial and repressive rule.
Karegeya was found strangled at The Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton on New Year’s Day. Shortly after his death, Kagame said: “Whoever betrays the country will pay the price ... Whoever it is, it is a matter of time.”