EDITORIAL: Despite their Genocide enthusiasm, Kabuga and Ntaganzwa were classes apart

This week and the last have been quite something as far as the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is concerned. The world’s most wanted man, Félicien Kabuga, was finally nabbed after a quarter century on the run.

Hi co-accused, Augustin Bizimana, was the Minister for Defence before and during the Genocide. By virtue of having the security docket under him, and the major role it played during the Genocide, it was inevitable that he be right up there on the most wanted list.


The irony of it all was that for all these years, the UN has been chasing a ghost as Bizimana’s bones have been lying untouched in a grave in Congo-Brazzaville since 2000.


Another person in that rogues’ gallery will know his fate next week. He was also on the most wanted list on whose head the US had put a $5 million bounty. 


Ladislas Ntaganzwa was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015 and only extradited to Rwanda a year later. His judgement will be read on May 4, 2020. 

One observation about the above three subjects is that they were all powerful people in Rwanda wielding a lot of influence and had access to resources, but they did not belong to the same class.

Fast forward to mid-1994, they and many others find themselves in Goma and that is where the class issue manifests. Those with the resources and connections – not mere foot soldiers in the Genocide – fly their families to Nairobi and later to the West.

Bizimana could only manage to make it as far as Congo-Brazzaville but he would not last six years. As for Ntaganzwa, the bottom of the food ladder among key Genocide perpetrators, he pushed deeper into the Congolese jungle. And when he was arrested there 21 years later eking out a difficult living, he must have been more than grateful.

Even among the Interahamwe militia, it was an “Animal Farm” arrangement where some animals were “more equal than others” and no one can tell that narrative better than Ntaganzwa.


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