Politician missing in Rwanda….again

By Jennifer Fierberg

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has announced the mysterious disappearance of their Communication Secretary Oustazi Omar Leo. In a statement on his Facebook page Frank Habineza, President of the Democratic Green Party, made the following statement:

“We have been searching for our communication secretary, Oustazi Omar Leo since Friday last week (19/1), while I was out of the country, but yesterday (25/1) when I came back, I called his phone and he answered. We fixed an appointment (to meet) but he did not turn up and his phone was again switched off. I called him again this morning and we fixed another appointment but still he did not turn up. We are getting more concerned and would like to request him to report to our offices not later than 10:00 Am on Monday (28/1). We would also like to request the National Police to continue with the investigations and find his whereabouts.”

In a post made Monday January 28, 2012 Mr. Habineza made the following statement:

“Today, we officially submitted a request to Rwanda National Police to help us find the whereabouts of our Communication Secretary, Oustazi Omar Leo. It was officially received and stamped.”

In a response to the missing person report made by Mr. Habineza the Rwanda police spokesperson Superintendent Theos Badege made the following statement (translated from Kinyarwanda):

 “We don’t have any news about the disappearance of that person (Oustazi Omar Leo.) We only look for someone if their families report missing and that only can be reported to police, no police station has been contacted by a family member so far.”

On Tuesday January 15, 2012 a person close to Mr. Oustazi contacted another opposition group to inform them that Mr. Oustazi had gone missing but did not want to be named due to their security concerns. His phone has been operating off and on during this time of disappearance and his Facebook page has been active on occasion as well but those who know him say that it is not him posting and interacting on Facebook due to the style of interaction that is not typical of Mr. Oustazi.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has faced its share of struggles and tragedies in order to become a registered party in Rwanda. During the 2010 Presidential Elections the group was not allowed to register their party and their Vice President Andre Kagwa Rwisereka was found beheaded which the local police called a “robbery” but no official investigation was ever conducted and no conclusive evidence found to support this statement. During the 2010 election period many opposition politicians were banned from registering their parties and many more journalists fled the country in fear of their lives for reporting about political matters unflattering to the current ruling party and their president Paul Kagame. One journalist was shot and killed in front of his house.

Frank Habineza announced his return to Rwanda in the fall of 2011  in order to run for parliament for the following election season but he has been unable to register his party again and meetings as well as visiting diplomats have been denied their requests.

There has been no official press release from the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda about the disappearance of Mr. Oustazi. 

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