For those who have read Robert Louis Stephenson’s famous book, “Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, recent happenings in the country should not come as a surprise.
The book describes the dual nature of humans and how someone can hide the evil self even from his own friends and acquaintances. One moment you had the kind Dr. Jekyll, but in order to play out his evil side of nature, transformed himself into Mr. Hyde to relive his homicidal fantasies
This past year has brought its own share of surprises as a few worms began coming out of the woodwork.
First it was discovered through the popular tribunals, Gacaca, that at least half a dozen lawmakers and senior government officials had been living a lie for a decade and a half.
The honourables suddenly found their security blankets woven in social hypocrisy were not thick enough to keep away exposés of their roles in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
What was common in all these cases was that the people involved were the most zealous defenders of justice for victims of the Genocide.
No one was a more vocal and frequent guest on radio and television talk shows than former Senator Safari Stanley who recently slipped out of the country to escape justice.
His pet subject was the evil of the past regimes that sowed seeds of hatred among the population which brought about a series of “Genocides” against the Tutsi ethnic group ever since 1959 that ended with their 1994 masterpiece.
Suddenly, it comes out that Safari has all these years been acting out a charade to camouflage his past. A Gacaca court found him guilty of Genocide in absentia and was slapped a life sentence.
He was accused of playing an active part in the Genocide in Kigali and the Southern province, including the murders of over a dozen people who had taken refuge in his home in Butare.
I would not be surprised if many more Safari’s are unearthed because I have lost faith with decisions and assumptions made on face value.
Perhaps the most disheartening news was the arrest of some journalists allegedly running an extortion racket; a surprise indeed because the alleged central figure, Assouman Niyonambaza, editor and owner of the Kinyarwanda magazine, Rugari, was the epitome of “morality”.
Many a times in press conferences, even with the Head of State, the ever smartly dressed Niyonambaza came out strongly as a defender of the downtrodden. He and several other colleagues brought cases of injustice to the attention of the President, which usually received prompt action.
But news of his arrest brought in even more lurid details, some of which had been the subject of discussions among the media fraternity: Questions-for money.
An acquaintance told this writer that Niyonambaza had personally told him that the questions (usually regarding individuals) brought to the attention of the President during press conferences, have a price tag , and they don’t come cheap.
But that has always been our suspicion when someone, suddenly out of the blue, asks the Head of State questions that could be answered by the head of a Mudugudu (the lowest local administrative unit).
The police claim that they have video evidence of Niyonambaza receiving payment from his lady victim (names withheld), in exchange for not publishing dirt he had on her.
They further reveal that he was a former soldier in the former Rwandan army (Ex-FAR) and that he did time in prison on Genocide charges.
All this information came out as a surprise because on the surface, this is not the Assouman Niyonambaza that was a stalwart member of the media fraternity, the champion of stiffer measures against corruption, especially in government.
If all these come out to be true, it will sound the death knell of trust and integrity. The media profession will lose its moral authority to speak out against evil. Every word written or uttered on the airwaves will come under public scrutiny, questioning its sincerity.
That will be a sad day indeed, the only consolation is that Mr. Hyde exists among all professions.