The Rwanda’s judiciary in 2022 started with relatively soft cases, including a man who was on spot over invalid PhD Degree equivalence.
The public was probably most shocked by a case of five-year-old Elsie Akeza Rutiyomba whose death was blamed on her step-mother and the housemaid, mid-January.
In the world of celebrities, all was fairly good and worth celebrating, with the return of referee Salma Mukansanga from African Cup of Nations, Cameroon, becoming first woman to ever officiate in such a big football competition.
Miss Rwanda preliminaries were announced and all was in place with the audience naturally starting a debate on who would make it to the crown, whose beauty is stunning, etc.
Miss Muheto Divine was the winner, but in the middle of the competition, the world of celebrities started announcing that all was not well.
All started in March when a popular local actor-commedian Jean Bosco ‘Moustapha’ Uwihoreye, commonly known as Ndimbati was arrested over defilement after a young woman emerged and accused him of sexual abuse.
The young lady presented to investigators twin girl children allegedly born out the abuse, and whom the suspect “had neglected”.
After months of battling the case, Ndimbati was in September acquitted on charges of defilement and immediately released.
Ndibati shocked the local community as he immediately went back to acting in his popular local drama/comedy series dubbed ‘Papa Sava’ and television series known as ‘City Maid’ and reflecting on his journey in the acts.
If anything, the case steered controversies with some defending the suspect, others blaming him, or blaming the journalist whose youtube video, tipped of investigators who arrested Ndimbati.
All in all, it is clear the huge following of Ndimbati kept in touch with him.
Prince Kid and the Saga that Spoiled Miss Rwanda Competition
Barely had we done with Ndimbati controversies, a new case came on the limelight, involving Ishimwe Dieudonné a.k.a Prince Kid.
After organising a successful Miss Rwanda contest on March 20, the boss of Rwanda Inspiration Back up escorted the winner, Muheto Divine in different media interview, and until that time, Prince Kid was fine.
The public was shocked when Prince Kid was arrested and detained in April over allegations of sexual harassment he allegedly conducted on beauty queens in the pageant for at least 10 years.
The case was raised by the reigning beauty queen who was also heard in an audio that leaked where Kid was enticing her.
It became the talk of the city with YouTubers asking many questions and the public starting to question the importance of the competition, if not a kind of “human trafficking.”
Battling the case in public court in camera for at least eight months, the case of Prince Kid also witnessed Miss Rwanda 2017 winner- Iradukunda Elsa arrested for forging documents to defend Ishimwe. She was later released after public outcry.
Kid’s saga came to a pause this December 2, 2022, as the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court cleared him of all charges.
Bruce Melodie’s Experience from ‘Bashingantahe’
Rwandan popular singer, Bruce Melodie was also in September arrested in Bujumbura – Burundi and only released after days of being prosecuted for crimes including fraudulent robbery.
Melodie had announced plans to perform a VIP concert at Zion beach on September 2 and forgot that he had refused to perform at a previous show in Burundi (December 2018) where he had an advance payment of $2,000 offered in a gentleman’s agreement with a Burundian businessman.
After the scandal blew social media, Melodie managed to refund the money- $14,000 (with fines and losses) and was released thus performing for Burundians with a lesson learnt.
He produced a Kirundi song titled “Urabinyegeza” (you clear the path) about the experience.
Police Vs Lilliane Mugabekazi’s dress
Another debate that triggered controversies involved Liliane Mugabekazi, a 24-year old woman whose photo went viral in August after she appeared at a concert dressed in revealing clothes in a concert at BK Arena.
She would later on be arrested and tried in a court of law, but released after she was found not guilty. The debate continued with some saying that it is indecent for Rwanda police to try and force people abandon their attire desires.
Others were cursing Mugabekazi in the name of defence of the culture. Those who were extremists in the matter would however say? What is culture anyway?
Not Yet Over with Edouard Bamporiki
The case that is still ongoing involves former Minister of State Edouard Bamporiki, the man who rose from a theatre actor to parliament before becoming a cabinet minister a couple of years ago.
It was early May when news started spreading that Bamporiki was allegedly caught red handed by Rwanda Investigation Bureau(RIB) while receiving a bribe at a hotel in Kigali.
The news had it that he was sharing the money with a senior official from the city of Kigali.
He was put under house arrest and without further due, the appointing authority suspended him from his functions on May 5.
Bamporiki was sentenced by Nyarugenge Intermediate Court, to a jail term of four years and slapped with a fine of Rwf60 million after he was found guilty of corruption and misusing his office to solicit a bribe.
He is facing charges of corruption and using his position to solicit bribe in contravention of the law, after he reportedly took Rwf 15 million bribe from businessman Norbert Gatera, promising to help him have the City of Kigali reopen his factory in Gisozi, which had been closed due to not meeting requirements.
The prosecution has sought 20-year sentence and Rwf200 million fine. It is a case that triggered a lot of emotions with many people defending that he is an important figure, who champions unity and reconciliation and thus, deserves pardon.
On December 19, Bamporiki appeared at high court to appeal against the sentence.
Bribery Case at Rwanda Housing Authority
The Director General, Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) Félix Nshimyumuremyi, was arrested in February 25, 2022 alongside one co-accused Emile Alexis Mugisha over soliciting and accepting bribes.
The duo was arrested allegedly upon receiving over Rwf15 million out of Rwf203million of the total amount they requested as a bribe in a construction tender.
They allegedly solicited the bribe from an investment company called See-Far Housing Ltd, which has a project to build 556 low-income earners’ houses in Kabeza, Kanombe Sector in Kicukiro District.
The suspects appeared at the Intermediate Court of Nyarugenge on September 20, 2022, to answer the charges.
Schools were not spared neither. For the first time, the ministry of education was forced to close a school, the Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (RP-IPRC)- Kigali for 14 days in October, pending investigation in theft cases that had become rampant.
This was followed by arrest of the school Principal Diogene Murindahabi and 18 senior officials.
The Minister of State in charge of TVET Claudette Irere said that the stolen equipment at IPRC are in three categories, including workshop equipment for class use, the school’s proper assets and assets destined to public use like cooking equipment-Muvero
Twelve of them, including Murindahabi were later on released, by Kicukiro Primary Court but other suspects including a storekeeper remained in custody.
Cross border crimes: The Influential People Who Invested in Evil
Going on are cases of Genocide suspects including Félicien Kabuga at The Hague and Laurent Bucyibaruta in appeal in France.
Kabuga, a top suspected genocide financier who is at The Hague jail since September 29th 2022 has spent months facing testimonies of men involved in his genocide plan.
Witnesses presented by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UNIRMCT) confirmed to have seen Kabuga’s trucks carrying weapons from Goma to Gisenyi in supply to Interahamwe militia.
Earlier on, Kabuga is said to have trained the militia and to supply then with uniform and ammunitions and to train them at his Muhima and Kimironko houses before and during 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Meanwhile, former prefect of Gikongoro Laurent Bucyibaruta was in court at Paris Criminal Court which sentenced him to 20 years in jail over complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity.
The case is now in appeal.
Rwandans are yet to know if ‘Hotel Rwanda’ film hero Paul Rusesabagina and 20 National Liberation Front (FLN) suspects who opened the year of high profile trials will be able to compensate victims in the FLN attacks manned on Rwandan soil between 2018-2022.