Kizito Mihigo pleads guilty to terrorism, murder charges

Singer Kizito Mihigo has pleaded guilty to all five charges levelled against him in a terrorism trial before the High Court. Kizito is jointly accused with three others of forming a criminal gang, aiding the formation of a criminal gang, conspiracy against the established government or the President of the Republic, complicity in a terrorist act, murder and conspiracy to murder.
Kizito being brought to court yesterday. (John Mbanda)
Kizito being brought to court yesterday. (John Mbanda)

Singer Kizito Mihigo has pleaded guilty to all five charges levelled against him in a terrorism trial before the High Court.

Kizito is jointly accused with three others of forming a criminal gang, aiding the formation of a criminal gang, conspiracy against the established government or the President of the Republic, complicity in a terrorist act, murder and conspiracy to murder.

 

His co-accused Cassien Ntamuhanga, a former journalist with Amazing Grace Radio, Jean-Paul Dukuzumuremyi, a demobilised soldier, and Agnès Niyibizi, pleaded not guilty.

 

“I plead guilty to all charges like I did from the day I was arrested and I ask for forgiveness,” Kizito told the court at the beginning of the trial.

 

Prosecution detailed the context in which he committed the crime.

“In WhatsApp and Skype (social media) conversations between Mihigo and Callixte Nsabimana, an RNC (Rwanda National Congress) member, the two discussed plans of overthrowing the government by use of violence,” Prosecutor Faustin Nkusi said.

“Among those targeted for killing were the President, Gen. Jack Nziza, Deputy Commissioner-General of Police Dan Munyuza, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo and Edouard Bamporiki, a Member of Parliament.”

He said Kizito had agreed to mobilise youth in the country and form a group to be called “New Generation for Revolution” that would operate from Tanzania, while Kizito was to fly to Europe where he would make a declaration calling for an uprising in Rwanda.

“In the conversations, Kizito proposed to kill the President instead of having a war but Nsabimana replied that war was inevitable,” said Nkusi.

“This is proof that Kizito was enthusiastic about the whole plan. He had been promised a ministerial post and said he would put up a statue of Col. Patrick Karegeya (killed in South Africa) in the city centre when he takes office as Minister for Culture.”

As part of the plan, the court heard that Kizito was to travel to the FDLR militia group bases in eastern DR Congo and take photos with children of FDLR fighters as a gesture of reconciliation.

The prosecutor told the court that during interrogations, Kizito admitted that he knew RNC and FDLR had conducted terror acts in Rwanda.

“The court should find a way of separating pleading guilty to facts and pleading guilty to the charges. Our client pleaded guilty to facts but they don’t match the charges. He is not a founder of RNC or FDLR, neither is he a signatory to any of those groups,” said defence lawyer John Bigaraba.

Trial continues next week.

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