Nyamwasa hit ‘was po­lit­i­cal’

CityPress - - News - JAC­QUES PAUW news@city­press.co.za

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.”

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