By : Nelson Gatsimbazi
It is more than five months since the leader of the unregistered Rwanda opposition political party NPDP-Ihumure was arrested and remanded at the Kimironko Prison in the capital Kigali charged with divisionism, organizing an illegal protest and obtaining money by false pretense.
Court documents show that Muganwa’s trail has stalled because of his refusal to defend himself without a lawyer after his request to Advocates without borders failed to respond to his request for support.
Critics allege these are charges the government of Rwanda regularly uses to silence vocal opposition politicians.
Muganwa is known to espouse radical anti Kagame views and has refused to go into exile unlike most opposition politicians who have preferred to flee rather than languish in prison without hope of release.
For this reason, the politician has become some sort of a jailbird spending a lot of time in both legal and illegal detentions over the past decade.
The charge sheet alleges that on 1st April 2012 Muganwa Andrew convened a meeting of six people and encouraged them to “overcome fear and confront a clique of Tutsi from Uganda who are exploiting and not sharing with Tutsi who returned from Burundi and Tanzania, also that the majority Hutu are working hard for exploiters to gain… who include Hutu exploiters also in power as part of the dictatorship.
That the party NPDP-Ihumure is ready for demonstrations at the President’s office, ministries and closing roads.” Prosecution also alleges that on 7th April 2012, Muganwa met a one Tugirimana Cyprien and plotted to con his in law a one Nzamurambaho Samuel of one million Rwandan Francs.
The charge sheet shows Nzamurambaho as the complainant.
However, the said Nzamurambaho wrote to court in a letter dated 10th August that he had no case against Muganwa Andrew.
Court decided that there was sufficient reason to believe there was a case against the accused and remanded him to prison.
Andrew Muganwa was one of the founders of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda once acting as founding Secretary General before disagreeing with other then top members Frank Habineza and Charles Kabanda and leaving to found NPDP-Ihumure.
Muganwa was once jailed for penning an article in the now banned Umuseso Newspaper comparing President Paul Kagame to the assassinated President Juvenali Habyarimana saying they ‘were twin’. That case failed to proceed after he insisted that President Kagame must appear in court as a witness something prosecution couldn’t fulfill and the case was abandoned.
Sources at Remera Prison report that he is in poor health state having failed to acclimatize with the meals served of boiled maize and beans.
The sources say that family and friends have distance from delivering better meals because of fear.
Our sources in Kimironko Prison where Muganwa is, says that he has swollen legs because of malnutrition and he is likely to kick the bucket in prison as it might be the intention of the Rwandan government which has kept him in prison despite of being in critical condition.
Muganwa Andrew was once arrested in Kami, one of the biggest safe houses in Rwanda for 3 years and saved by media after publishing stories about his arrest. When Andrew was in Kami safe house, he was tortured and lost some of his teeth.