The mood in Rwanda was sombre as Rose Kabuye, Director of State Protocol was transferred to France yesterday. There, she is expected to answer charges of an alleged role in the shooting down of the plane carrying former president of Rwanda Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994. She was arrested on Sunday while on official state duty.
People from all over Kigali endured the rain that washed the city and stormed the streets in peaceful demonstrations that climaxed at different points in the city.
The demonstrations were a simultaneous undertaking all over the country denouncing the widely condemned arrest that has also attracted attention from the wider international community.
Carrying banners bearing different messages attacking the arrest, the people were visibly angry with Germany and France for what they called a tactic to blur the role of the French in the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.
“Rose Kabuye is innocent and ready to prove it,” read a banner carried along by workers of Banque Populaire.
“We want justice for Rwandan people. Perpetrators of the Genocide should not live freely in Europe as you arrest our heroes,” read another banner carried by residents of Kicukiro district who also converged at the German embassy.
The demonstrations that lasted over six hours were also joined by children shouting and chanting slogans demanding for the immediate release of Kabuye.
“We want our Rose back, we want our Rose back,” they chanted.
Gary Geddes, a Canadian writer and poet was overwhelmed at how peaceful but meaningful the walk was.
“It was a good demonstration but I would have preferred if people were holding political talks and dialogue to see how to resolve the Kabuye saga,” she said.
Geddes, however, noted that if you talk and people do not respond, it is normal for Rwandans to react the way they are. Shops, restaurants, supermarkets and all public places were closed down to show solidarity against the heavily contested arrest.
Geddes who is researching for a book he is writing about Sub-Saharan Africa emphasised that such actions by Africans were necessary in order to command respect from the western world.