Nyamwasa Verdict: “The attempted murder was politically motivated”

The Judge stated in court that the attempted murder of Nyamwasa was politically motivated and emanated from a group of people in Rwanda.

By: Jennifer Fierberg

In the case of the attempted assassination attempt on Kayumba Nyamwasa in 2010, the court has announced its decision today.  The six men plead not guilty to the charge of attempted murder for shooting of Rwandan Army General Nyamwasa.  The court reached the following verdicts:

  1.  The Tanzanian who shot ‪Nyamwasa  found guilty of attempted murder, along with three accomplices
  2. Alleged mastermind of Nyamwasa’s attempted murder, the driver of Nyamwasa’s car at the time of the shooting, was found not guilty of corruption for offering police $1m to let him go as well as not guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and released from the courtroom
  3. Judge pointed out that Nyamwasa’s driver tried to grab the gun to stop him from being shot.

As the verdicts were read, Nyamwasa smiled and held his wife as magistrate stated attempt on his life was “politically motivated.”

One observer stated, “20 members of the opposition party, Rwanda National Congress, have gathered inside court, one wearing a tee-shirt ‘Kagame is a serial killer’”

After the verdict Gen. Nyamwasa held a press conference in which he stated that, “The image of accused no 5 has been entrenched in his mind”, Gen. Nyamwasa, after describing shooting. A bullet remains in his spine.  Further, He stated that, “all the accused were as much a victim of Rwanda as he and if it was up to him he would let them go.”  On the Government of Rwanda, Gen. Kayumba stated that, “it would send a message to Rwanda to stop politically motivated killings – to be tolerant.”

Rwanda ex-army chief Kayumba Nyamwasa barely survived the assassination attempt in 2010 at the hands of men we now know are from Mozambique, Tanzania and Somalia. This attempt happened in the shadows of the World Cup. According to, “Lt Gen Nyamwasa’s wife, Rosette, said a lone gunman approached the car after the couple returned to their house from a shopping trip on Saturday 19 June. The gunman told the driver of their car to allow space so he could aim at Lt Gen Nyamwasa, she said.”

Kayumba was hospitalized and survived surgery only to face another attempt while hospitalized. A recording surfaced months later with one caller from Rwanda telling a man in the hospital how to poison Nyamwasa and anyone else who got in the way of this mission.  This attempt also failed.

The Government of Rwanda has denied any role in these attempted assassination but they have also paid a top legal firm based in South Africa to defend the four men who have been on trial since 2010. Why would the government of a sovereign nation pay the exorbitant fees of four men with whom the Rwandan Government states they are not involved with and deny all ties to? One of the continuances in the case was due to the matter of non-payment by the Rwandese Government that was discussed openly in court.

Now that the verdict has been announced, it remains to be seen how the fragile diplomatic state between South Africa and Rwanda will turn out. 

Dr. Charles Kambanda , Lawyer and Rwandan living in New York City, spoke to this writer about the possible repercussions of this case diplomatically between South Africa and Rwanda. He stated that, “that conviction will have very serious diplomatic issues. First, going by the evidence presented, it is clear the government of Rwanda coordinated everything. It was a diplomatic incident. Second, the government of Rwanda committed acts of terrorism in South Africa, which is what we call international terrorism. Third, it would confirm – officially – that Kagame and his terrorists killed Karegeya. Where a country commits acts of terrorism from another country’s territory, the UN Charter gives the attacked country a right to retaliation.”  When further asked by this journalist on how South Africa may respond Dr. Kambanda stated, “Rwanda is a poor and highly militarized. Rwanda’s arms come from the US through SA. If SA decides to hit back, Rwanda may find itself in danger of getting arms from South Africa through a third party, which may become more expensive and more complicated.  All other possible sources of arms would be excessively expensive for him. All Kagame’s friends in the region (the few he has) have more interests in dealing with South Africa. They would easily sacrifice Kagame any time.”

Further, with the case now settled, the South African Priority Crime Unit, also known as The Hawks, should begin to announce the outcome of their investigations into the murder of Patrick Karegeya that occurred on New Year’s Eve of 2013. 

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