The Weekly Mail issue of October 7-13, 2010 carried a provocative article entitled “Was Rwigyema’s death an inside job?” The article, written by one Timothy Kalyegira, is at best an insult to Rwandans both living and deceased and at worst, a malicious incitement to violence in Rwanda.
What’s blatantly clear is that Kalyegira has an agenda far removed from ordinary journalistic pursuit of information.
How else would one explain the association of two events separate in essence and time, into one ‘mishmash’ of an article? The two events are the death of Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema in 1990 and the UN Mapping Report on the DRC in 2010. No matter how far one cares to stretch the imagination, it’s impossible to find any connection between the two occurrences.
But, as Kalyegira points out, the UN Mapping Report on the DRC came out officially on 1 October 2010; exactly twenty years after Rwanda lost her heroic commander, Fred Rwigema. This suggests that Kalyegira is privy to information concerning the UN’s choice of October 1, to release the Report.
All this goes a long way to suggest that Kalyegira and his backers, operating through the UN body have hostile intent against the Rwandan people and the RPF that liberated them from decades of sectarian politics. It’s an open secret that Kalyegira’s sponsors had all along wished the RPA invasion to fail and were therefore disappointed by the great successes achieved both on the battlefield and in post-genocide reconstruction. For this reason, the article cannot be taken lightly.
In the article, Kalyegira alleges that Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema was assassinated by his own comrades-in-arms but he does not provide any facts to substantiate his malicious statement. He even goes further to insinuate that the deaths of other RPA commanders Major Peter Baingana, Major Chris Bunyenyezi and Major Frank Munyaneza, was also assassinations by insiders.
To add insult to injury, Kalyegira shamelessly claims that Rwigema did not actually die on October 2, 1990 (he actually writes October 3) as commonly believed but that he died “toward the end of October or early November 1990”.
At this point one is tempted to doubt the sanity of Timothy Kalyegira for no person of sound mind would ordinarily reject an established truth only to replace it with vague, elastic dates spanning October and November! But to doubt Timothy Kalyegira’s sanity would be to fall victim to the deception masterminded by cold calculating agents of some dangerous cause.
No, Kalyegira is not insane. He is deliberately furthering a cause whose logical effect is to incite hatred and violence among the Rwandan people who have already experienced enough suffering.
The death of Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema was a tragic event but it is not uncharacteristic of a military commander to die on the battlefield especially if he commands from the frontline. Rwigema was not the first and cannot be the last military commander to be killed by enemy fire on the battlefield.
The famous Rwandan warrior King Ruganzu II Ndoli was killed by an enemy arrow on the battlefield in the 16th century. Many other glorious fighters died on the battlefield. King Kigeli IV Rwabugili suffered a similar fate while attacking the enemy on a Bunyabungo battlefield in 1895. Military commanders in Europe, America and Asia have met similar fates. The readers of the Weekly Mail should not be confused by Kalyegira’s conspiracy theories.
Rwigema was killed by enemy fire on the second day of the RPA invasion on October 2, 1990. Contact with the enemy took place in broad daylight and therefore what happened is no secret to the fighters who were fighting alongside their heroic commander.
What’s more, the death on the battlefield of a soldier, let alone a commander, is not normally broadcast to the world for understandable operational reasons. Those who need to know get the information but those who have no reason to know need not be informed. This is common military practice the world over. There was therefore nothing fishy in the death of Major General Rwigema.
In his malicious article, Kalyegira takes it upon himself to argue that Rwanda should annually celebrate October 1, exactly like Uganda celebrates Tarehe Sita. But he should be well advised that Rwanda and Uganda are two different sovereign states and each chooses what to do, when to do it and in what manner.
Rwanda does not need any lessons from the likes of Kalyegira. Besides, Kalyegira’s claim is a lie because October 1, is a day when Rwandans remember the start of the long and arduous road to national liberation.
In fact, the week leading to this year’s October 1st, was characterized by a string of public lectures and discussions on university campuses and in town halls throughout the country.
Conspiracy theories are popular among idle people and one does not expect men and women of action to be fooled by the contents of Kalyegira’s toxic article. Take for example, where he claims that Rwanda’s proven excellence in economic management and information technology is a ploy to cover up the supposed secret of Rwigema’s death in 1990, or where he claims that Rwanda’s international reputation is a product of heavy investment in public relations.
If money could buy international reputation, Uganda with its immense economic endowment, would be the one to receive international awards! The truth of the matter is that Rwanda is well managed because it has good leadership that walks the talk.
Kalyegira ends his poisonous article by prophesying doom. He celebrates the recently published UN Mapping Report on the DRC and longs to see in the near future a report on the so-called ‘RPF secrets’, a report he hopes will shake the whole world.
This is not much different from the apocalypse predicted and executed by Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the architect of the 1994-genocide against the Tutsi, who has since been arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced by the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Is this mere coincidence or could there be a deeper connection between the two?
The author is a journalist from Rwanda