In 2023, Rwanda’s audience heard stories which they normally hear in the movie and at first, they did not believe in the social media which led the breaking news segment in the last twelve months.
For every case that rose, Twitter was quick to break a developing story, and from the first post, when it comes to criminal cases, all eyes were on Rwanda Investigation Bureau(RIB) which in most cases, did not disappoint.
In the last quarter of the year, September 6 to be precise, one such a shocking case was reported. A man called Kazungu Denis was arrested, and we learned that he was a suspected serial killer.
The first developing story at KT Press indicated that Kazungun used to kill people and to dump them in a mass grave in a house he was renting in Kanombe sector, Busanza cell.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect had killed up to ten people, but we quickly learned that the victims were no other, but women he used to take home and rape before stealing from them and killing them.
Kazungu’s story caused anxiety in the community and people murmured a lot, wondering how in a peaceful country like Rwanda, someone can count up to ten fatalities in a span of, probably a handful months before being arrested.
RIB explained, but Kazungu neighbors argued that somehow, somebody in the grassroots institutions happened to be suspicious about the case before it was too alarming, but not much was done.
Meanwhile, the media searched hardly, trying to find the victims’ origins, and landed on some survivors. This was followed by an episode of click-bets with headlines that only seem to exaggerate the matter.
The case dominated headlines until Kazungu appeared in Kicukiro Primary Court-Kigali for detention hearing. At this level, we knew that the number of victims had increased to 14, including one man.
Kazungu mentioned the names of some victims including Eliane Mbabazi, Clementine, Françoise and Eric Turatsinze, the sole male victim who identity card he was using.
A seemingly calm Kazungu pleaded guilty to the 10 charges he faced, which include, voluntary murder and manslaughter, kidnapping, torture, rape, intimidation, fraud, burglary, unauthorized access to computer data and concealment of evidence/corpses, among others.
He told court that the reason he killed his victims, especially women, is because they deliberately infected him with HIV/AIDS. Prosecution requested the court to put him on remand for 30 days as investigations continue.
Asked what he thought of the Prosecution’s request, Kazungu said that the ball is the court’s court and that Judge’s had the prerogative to make a decision on whether they can grant him or not.
At least 12 of the bodies of Kazungu’s alleged victims were found in the kitchen of the house he used to rent.
Kazungu admitted to raping one person but she managed to flee before he could kill her. Before raping her, he robbed her of her belongings but she was lucky to escape and as Kazungu chased her, neighbours noticed and he quickly abandoned the mission.
Among other things, the court heard how Kazungu first tortured his victims, hitting them with brunt objects or shoving a pen up their noses to inflict pain so that they could cooperate. The claims were reiterated by two witnesses who managed to escape his grip.
On September 26, Kazungu was remanded.
Now in Mageragere prison, his story happened to be known by one Aimable Karasira who calls himself Professor Nigga, in the same prison.
Last month, the latter was in court. He was heard telling the court that at night while sleeping, he gets nightmare, sees Kazungu coming to eat him, and thus, needs to be released. People are still laughing about it.
From Pround Uniform to Prison Pink
Former Police Chief and former Governor of Eastern Province CG(Rtd) Emmanuel Gasana was unfortunately compelled to wear a uniform of the prison since late November.
It’s a story that developed since October 25 when Gasana was removed from his duty as Governor of Eastern Province, by a communique signed by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, over “matters under investigation.”
A couple of hours later, Gasana was arrested and detained on accusations of accepting illegal favors and abuse of functions.
When Gasana appeared before Nyagatare Primary Court, November 10, the prosecution traced the case to May 2022.
On this day, an investor called Eric Karinganire of Akagera BTC who was in charge of water supply in Karenge and Gahengeri sectors of Rwamagana district farms would have sought the support of the governor.
In a meeting chaired by the governor, the investor said he failed to proceed with the project, because he was lacking electricity to pump water to the farms, especially in Karenge sector.
The governor promised to help him overcome the challenge. They fixed an appointment and met at Nyagatare Hotel-Epic Hotel.
They discussed a deal where the former governor requested Karinganire to drill water in his farm of Katabagemu sector of Nyagatare district for an exchange to his advocacy.
Karinganire spent his money, an estimate Rwf 47 million for the project and he was not refunded by Gasana, according to prosecution.
From this background, the prosecution suggested that Gasana asked and got illegal favors using his authority. It sought remand against Gasana, on ground that, if released, he can use his influence to escape and/or temper with investigation.
However, Gasana defended that he had three incurable diseases that would deteriorate life condition if he is to go behind bars.
He further promised that “he cannot evade the justice because he was part of a high-end patriotism exercise and time has come to rather reap the fruits of this deed.”
The court ruled in favor of the prosecution and remanded Gasana who appealed the decision at intermediate court. The ruling was maintained on November 22.
On December 21, Gasana was seen in a group photo, including his son, family members and other people. It was reported that the event consisted of an introduction of his son who is wedding a daughter of General Kale Kayihura, former Police Chief of Uganda.
The media learnt that Gasana was granted a permission to attend the marriage, after which he would return to jail, contrary to allegation that he was pardonned.
RCS was reluctant to announce the length of this permission.
Where Is Prince Kid?
Also coming with mixed reaction is a case of Ishimwe Dieudonne famously known as Prince Kid, a name that came to fame following the organization of Miss Rwanda contest under Rwanda Inspiration Backup.
The case started in April 2022 when Kid was arrested over seeking sexual favours among the Miss Rwanda contestants over the years. Parents, officials in central government and the Rwandan community followed this case with much attention.
The case took an interesting turn when one of the Miss Rwanda beauty queen Iradukunda Elsa stood out in defence of the suspect, until she was even arrested, detained and taken to court for a case of forgery which she would win.
The case of Kid was widely covered, including so many information on the girls, the people that would be linked to the case, the future of Miss Rwanda, and so on…
The case which mostly took place in camera despite Kid demanding to have it heard in public included a lot of emotions. In December, the Nyarugenge intermediate court acquitted Kid, but the prosecution appealed to the High Court.
The case was scheduled to take place on March 10, and a week earlier, Kid and Elsa proved that they have an everlasting love and went for an official civil marriage.
On March 9, it was reported that Kid’s trial was postponed until March 31 and on this date, new prosecution witnesses were heard in camera.
After this trial, Kid continued with love project with Elsa. The latter introduced the former on August 31 and they tied the knot on September 2, 2023 at a very coulorful wedding ceremony from Intare conference Arena, Rusororo.
The wedding attracted several critics according to which the young couple was too quick to organize a wedding pending a trial, but other people praised love.
Alas! Barely one month later, October 13, 2023, the young couple heard bad news; the high court sentenced Kid to five year in jail over rape and soliciting sexual favors.
He was given legal time to appeal, but on November 9, his lawyer Emeline Nyambo told KT Press that she was still waiting for the decision of her client.
Kid did not go to jail-none can officially tell his whereabouts.
In the meantime, one journalist Jean Paul Nkundineza was arrested after going too emotional against Miss Rwanda Mutesi Jolly whom he claimed, was behind Kid’s case fate, such abuse drugged him to court and he is still answering.
Bamporiki-one year behind bars now
Another case that made headlines involves Edouard Bamporiki, former Minister of State in Ministry of Youth and Culture.
Bamporiki case started on May 5,2022 when he was suspended pending an investigation on corruption.
On September 30, he was sentenced to four years in prison and slapped with a fine of Rwf60 million after he was found guilty of corruption and misusing his office to solicit a bribe.
The official, who was not in court at the time of the ruling, was found guilty of soliciting a bribe from from a businessman to help him resolve a dispute with city authorities.
Bamporiki, who was suspended from his ministerial duties by President Paul Kagame in May, was charged with corruption and using his position to solicit a bribe in contravention of the law, after he reportedly took a 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.
Bamporiki appealed the sentence asking for a lenient one, from the high court on December 19,2022, but on January 23, 2023, his sentence was rather increased by one year-thus five years.
Moshions’ Turahirwa Not Complaining
In a period like this last year, celebrated Fashion Designer Moses Turahirwa from Moshions house-Kigali apologized to the public over a video that leaked, showing him in sexual intercourse with a man, and this added to an earlier scandal showing him nacked. The latter was allegefly a promo material of his film ‘Kwanda.”
As if this was not enough, in April 2023, RIB said they had arrested Turahirwa on allegation of forgery and abuse of drugs.
The forgery included a passport scan where he confessed that the Rwanda Immigration and Emigration accepted to give him to gender of his preference-Female.
Appearing to Nyarugenge Primary court, he was put on remand, but when he appealed the decision at intermediate court, he was released on bail in June.
The court indicated that there were not enough substantial arguments incriminating him.
It was decided that he will continue to face the charge. He was also ordered not to leave Rwanda and he will be reporting to prosecution regularly. On the bond staked, the court ruled that it was not necessary since he had to adhere to other conditions set for him while the property staked by his father was deemed unnecessary.
Paris and France sentence Genocide perpetrators
In international trials, four Rwandans were tried in a court of law over Genocide crimes. They were all found guilty, except for one controversial case.
In France, Laurent Bucyibaruta who was former prefet of Gikongoro Prefecture, was sentenced to 25 years while Dr. Munyemana Sosthene who committed the Genocide in Butare was sentenced to 24 years.
In France, a case that shocked the most involved one Hategekimana Philippe Manier a.k.a Biguma who showed no sign of compassion to Genocide victims and dozens of survivors who shared strong testimony.
He was sentenced to life in jail.
The same punishment went to Seraphin Twahirwa in Brussels this month. Leader of Interahamwe in Kigali, Twahirwa was at the helm of killing machine in Karambo-Kicukiro district. He used the “power” of being a relative of former President Juvenal Habyarimana.
His co-accused Pierre Basabose was put to a forced internment because he was also found guilty, but cognition to defenf himself found inacurate.
The case in Belgium involved harsh lawyers who shocked everyone in the courtroom from day one to the end.
Meanwhile the residual international criminal tribunal this year indefinitely halted Félicien Kabuga’s trial on grounds of alleged illness that cannot allow him to stand a trial.
Kabuga is accused of several counts of committing genocide and as an alleged financier and supporter of the genocide that claimed over one million lives and has been on trial since 2020.