Tribute to Comrade Kamali Karegesa

KIGALI – You have gone too soon yet you have accomplished much, after—all aluta continua!

Rwubusisi as comrades called you, you were a friend, a brother, and a father. We shared a lot. 1988 seems like yesterday when we met at the house.


The house was a residence cum operational base, a cadre school for RPF, a point of reference. You were the tenant and other comrades were like children in a house that we made a home, you were the head of the family, a family of cadres.


You have gone too soon to realise the full dream. Your vigour, your patriotism, courage and resilience gave many a nation called Rwanda.


You fought a good fight - you have finished your race. RIP Comrade Kamali. Ten will take your place and fight ten times harder to realise the dream of all comrades past.

We have fond memories; I remember your great sense of humour and the stories at night when comrades retired from work. The story of a sharp leader who when asked why the cocks crowed and he responded at the Kings Krall – Gashamura responds; ‘Zirabika ngenzi zazo zaraye ziguye aha’, it was classic.

You gave a name to a young man who is a Commander – Noriega! Am sure Gen. Bayingana cannot forget. A story of Tumbo, the lame student who broke a glass door at the dining hall and his colleagues made a mathematical calculation to prove that he ran faster than sound, cannot be understood by the readers here.

It was a rib breaker. You were humorous and the serious host and your height imposed authority. You have gone with the password.

We used to talk about the struggle, we talked about the future - which is present now. The nights were shorter when the house was full. I see late Mboneko placing a chess board in the wee hours of the night. Hon. Protais Musoni nodded in affirmative - it was the way to take a break.

I remember like yesterday, the cyclo-styling machine we went to buy for producing RPF political mobilization documents and newsletters; Inkotanyi, The Vanguard, Abahujeumugambi. (Comrade Ndore always reminds me whatever I have forgotten). You kept asking me the same question repeatedly and I wondered why! The way you pronounced my name with emphasis made me pay attention. “Jerari”, are you sure these are the right machines we need”? Yes. Was my confirmation.

You paid the cost with no hesitation. Later, it came to my mind that the repeated question was to ensure value for money and accountability, which remain RPF core values. I learnt much from you. The young generation of cadres is listening.

Your wise counsel shaped many cadres of RPF, you treated the young and the old with respect. Ambassador Christine Umutoni can be my witness. Hon. Tito, Hon. Zeno, Hon. Karenzi, Ndahiro Zedi, Gen. Didace Ndahiro, Connie Bwiza, Connie Akayezu, Murebwayire, Hon. Tengera, Augustin Seminega, George Nsamba, they all want to say something in remembrance of you, but time may not permit.

The Covid-19 pandemic will not allow a normal and proper farewell; it has already interfered with life, frustrated cohesion and thrown cold water on morale and togetherness. Yet these are the characteristics that defined your person, your actions.

You have gone too soon, and that’s an inescapable reality, God hid our life long calendar from us. But it’s a reminder that we are not here to stay, yet the struggle must continue.

You have served to frame the foundation – and there is much of your contribution in the arena of nation-building.

You cut a good figure as a prefet, you added your weight behind diplomacy as an Ambassador.

Your counsel was always present at the Secretariat – a place of great honour for a cadre to serve and retire. How much more should we ask a humble, yet tall comrade like you? The Family and the Front still needs us and we love to serve to the end but alas.

You could have forecasted the role you played or acted on a stage sometime back in the late 1980s, as Rwubusisi – who was chief to a certain level, was to turn out as reality.

Because you served those roles in a contemporary Rwanda, a post-genocide society that was not Rwubusisi’s time and tranquil.

Post-genocide Rwanda has demanded that cadres play-act the roles of resuscitating a nation that could have gone down the drain. You have acted your role Comrade.

You gave your all to your family, comrades, cadres, co-workers and the nation.

You have gone too soon yet you have accomplished much.

You have fought a good fight you have finished your race.

Rest In Peace Comrade Kamali Karegesa.

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