Editorial: Releasing 2,000 convicts was an act of executive clemency and nothing else

Over 2,000 prisoners received an early Christmas gift Saturday when they were granted early release after the President commuted their sentences.

Among the prominent people in the group was Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, president of a political outfit in exile, FDU Inkingi, and musician Kizito Mihigo.

The announcement of the clemency seems to have caught opposition figures wrong-footed but recovered quick enough, even some shamelessly claiming credit that their pressure had won the day!

Ingabire was serving a 15-year sentence for inciting the masses to revolt against the government, forming armed groups, and minimising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Many politicized her trial despite the key incriminating evidence having been supplied by Dutch authorities where Ingabire’s family is based.

The presidential decision gave back over 2,000 people their freedom kit was not just Kizito and Ingabire. And contrary to popular belief no amount of pressure triggered the commutation of their sentences.

They filed their requests for clemency in June, showed a measure of remorse and filled other requirements such as time served. And that was the case for all the 2,000+ prisoners.

One can only wish them luck and Godspeed as they try to pick up pieces of their lives having taken one lesson that should accompany them; that a country is much bigger than ego.

Noisemakers will always be there, will make all kinds of wild allegations to make themselves relevant, but what really counts at the end of the day is staying the course a country has charted for itself.

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