• Eats her words, says she was misled by Ntawangundi
After vehemently covering up and denying that her assistant, Joseph Ntawangundi, participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the embattled Victoire Ingabire has now dissociated herself from her aide.
Realising that that she had been backing the wrong horse, Ingabire finally ate her hat in a bid to control the damage caused by her former right-hand man.
In a vague communiqué released yesterday, the head of the yet-to-be-registered political party, FDU-Inkingi, finally admitted that Ntawangundi had concealed his past.
“At this stage, troubling details about his curriculum vitae raise a certain amount of questions on the information he volunteered before the arrest. This has resulted in regrettable errors in our press release dated 05th February,” reads part of Ingabire’s statement.
“Therefore we dissociate ourselves explicitly from the earlier records of his occupational environment, and call on serious investigations.”
When news of Ntawangundi’s genocidal past first broke last month, Ingabire and her group, FDU-Inkingi, attacked The New Times, accusing it of a deliberate plan to smear her yet-to-be-registered party.
She claimed that Ntawangundi was had left the country for Kenya two years before the Genocide.
In a stinging attack, Ingabire said that the newspaper was “recklessly issuing fabricated stories without giving any chance of counter evidence, in total disregard of media ethics” and challenged it “to produce any evidence of its allegations, at least for the sake of the readers' respect”.
The New Times in partnership with Radio Contact FM took up the challenge and even took their investigations outside the country and came up with an explosive exposé.
Ingabire earlier argued that her former aide never worked in the education sector or worked as a head teacher at the school in question. She said the accused left Rwanda in 1992 to work with the International Confederation of Free Trade Union African Regional Organisation ICFTU- AFRO in Nairobi and was not in Rwanda during the Genocide.
Investigations by the two media houses proved the contrary.
Many witnesses, from members of the Baptist Church (AEBR) who recruited Ntawangundi, former students, and even a truck driver who helped him move his belongings from his residence in Kacyiru to his new station in Rukira, to his former mistress with whom they have a 15-year old daughter, went on the record.
Even ICFTU-AFRO, who later relocated from Nairobi, Kenya to Lome, Togo, revealed that Ntawangundi's records start from 2000, and not 1993 as FDU's Ingabire had claimed.
In 2007, Ntawangundi was found guilty of Genocide and sentenced to 19 years by a Gacaca court in the Eastern Province.
The charges include killing his colleague’s two children and causing the deaths of students under his care while he was head teacher at a school in the former Commune of Rukira.
Ntawangundi is now serving his prison sentence at Mpanga Prison in the Southern Province.