KIGALI - The Senate yesterday cleared Senators Jose Kagabo and Seth Kamanzi of misconduct allegations that faced them.
Presenting his report to the Senate, the Chairperson of the senatorial special committee charged with the conduct of Senators, Antoine Mugesera, presented the seemingly comical case of Kagabo in which he is accused of kicking a vehicle at the airport.
The Senator’s kick broke the side indicator light of the car.
“Senator Kagabo arrived at the airport to board a plane to Europe. There was a reversing vehicle coming towards him as he was getting out of his car, in the process he kicked it (the reversing vehicle) and broke its indicator,” said Mugesera.
He added that the owner of the vehicle, not mentioned in the report, came out of the car furious and started to shout at the Senator. Police intervened and the two were advised to settle the issue amicably.
The damage caused by Senator Kagabo’s kick was valued at Rwf 30,000.
“Kagabo gave his personal driver US$100 and requested him to take care of the damages, but the owner of the vehicle claimed that the lawmaker was contemptuous and uncaring,” said Mugesera.
In his report, Mugesera recommended that Kagabo be cautioned.
“We want him warned never to kick people’s cars,” said Mugesera.
His recommendation was highly protested by the majority of Senators who claimed that their colleague acted in self-defence and went further to even pay for the damages.
“The vehicle he kicked was so close to him, he had to defend himself. What if that vehicle had knocked him down?” questioned Sen. Stephanie Mukantagara.
Her intervention was immediately backed by Sen. Agnes Mukabaranga who accused the owner of the vehicle for attempting to kill the lawmaker.
“We ignore the fact that the senator narrowly survived death. What would have happened if this vehicle had knocked Kagabo down!” wondered Mukabaranga.
Sen. Joseph Karemera said that; “there is no genuine reason to warn Kagabo since there wasn’t premeditation, instead the driver should be held accountable for careless driving.”
Several other senators defended Kagabo apart from the vice president of the Senate, Marie Mukantabana, who said that Kagabo should have spared a minute and apologised to the owner of the car.
In his defence, Kagabo said that there wasn’t contempt in the whole saga and went further to apologise if his reaction was misinterpreted.
The Senate cleared him and resolved not to give him a warning.
In a similar development, Mugesera also presented a report on Sen. Kamanzi indicating that he was accused of attempting to obstruct legal proceedings.
Mugesera told the House that the committee decided to follow up allegations aired on Radio Rwanda that Kamanzi had tried to block the arrest of Silas Ruberandinda, the Director of Rutsira Health centre in Ngoma district.
Ruberandinda was arrested on accusation of mismanagement of funds. His arrest was instructed by officials from the Ombudsman‘s office.
“The Ombudsman’s office accused the Senator of negative solidarity claiming that he was siding with a criminal,” said Mugesera.
He explained that the committee conducted investigations into the matter by consulting various authorities including; the office of Ombudsman, Police officials, and Rutsira Hospital management.
Sen. Mugesera further disclosed that throughout their investigations, they had established that Kamanzi did not in any way obstruct the arrest of Ruberandinda.
“In our evaluation, we found no clear grounds to implicate the Senator. He only acted in good faith as a leader who had received a complaint from the subject,” said Mugesera, adding that the committee had decided not to take disciplinary action against him.