KARONGI - Drama ensued on Monday after a prominent businessman in Karongi district was handed life sentence for financing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in the western region.
Aphrodise Mugambira, 51, vomited and stumbled to the ground after the Gacaca court pronounced the verdict, following a three-day trial. When he got up he claimed a diabetes attack.
Mugambira was convicted of three counts of; buying guns and machetes used by the militias, inciting violence and plotting the death of his brother in-law, who was reportedly his employee.
Court made up of a panel of judges who had travelled from Gikondo, ruled that Mugambira and all his defence witnesses, including his wife gave contradicting evidence during the trial.
At the crowded local secondary school premises, where the landmark ruling took place, survivors gave shocking accounts of how Mugambira’s trademark blue Hilux pickup carried dead bodies from different killing grounds to mass graves.
“His vehicle also carried tyres which were used to set churches ablaze and he always rewarded murderers after the killings,” a witness who was only 10 years old then said.
Mugambira was a senior member of the defunct political party, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND).
He is the owner of Hotel Golf Eden, in Kibuye, and owns many other businesses in Karongi town.