Rwamagana parents raise Rwf3m for children who lost mother in gruesome domestic violence case

Parents from all villages of Rwamagana District backed a fundraising drive to support six children whose mother was late last month killed by their father, in a homicide that shocked the nation.

Jean Damascene Ntezimana murdered Beatrice Muhawenimana, leaving their six children without a parent to look after them, after he was taken into custody.

Through parents’ forum, commonly known as Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi, residents from all the 474 villages that make up the district collected Rwf3,024,450 toward the support of the children, mainly in education.

The fundraiser was also used as a platform to denounce domestic violence.

Ntezimana allegedly murdered his wife with cruelty, long after he had repeatedly told her he would kill her. He cut her into pieces and stuffed her body in a sack and dumped her remains in a marshland.

The children, the oldest being 15 and the youngest two, are currently living with their two maternal aunts.

At the time of her murder, Muhawenimana was eight months pregnant.

During a meeting held on Tuesday in Karenge Sector, Rwamagana District Mayor Rajab Mbonyumuvunyi commended the residents for the act to support these children whom he said are victims of domestic violence.

“Thank you for standing up against the murder of a woman perpetrated by her own husband,” he said, adding that security and judicial organs are ready to deal with such criminals.

He, however, said that it is important that neighbours report such violence in homes well in time to avoid lives being lost.

“The main role of such fora is to ensure peace prevails in our families and we applaud for the gesture you have demonstrated by taking it upon yourselves to support these children,” he said.

He said that the money contributed is not enough to see all children attend school but the mayor said they will work closely with other partners to ensure they are supported to complete their studies.

After Ntezimana incident, Mbonyumuvunyi said, mechanisms were devised by the district to manage conflicts, to identify families that may have conflicts and help address them beforehand.

Parents’ forum key

“If the parents’ forum had been active and close to the estranged family they would have established the prevailing problems and maybe the gruesome murder would have been thwarted,” said Jeanne Umutoni, the Vice Mayor in charge of social affairs.

Umutoni said Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi should be strengthened in the district by openly engaging to families in conflict.

She said that unlike the misconception by many, parents’ fora are not the preserve of women, but rather they are for all parents.

According to officials, Ntezimana will be tried in open court during a hearing that will be held in Karenge Sector, the scene of crime.

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