GASABO - Rwandan Senators were on Wednesday evening aggrieved by the announcement of the passing away of their colleague Elie Mpayimana.
Born in Gisagara district in the Southern Province, the 44-year old veteran journalist died at King Faisal Hospital in Kigali where he had spent a week suffering from stomach and kidney complications.
According to the deceased’s wife, Catherine Gahongaire, he (Mpayimana) was a compassionate and loving man.
“I met him after the 1994 Tutsi Genocide; he was a great man who was so much admired in the neighbourhood,” Gahongaire mournfully said. The departed was a professional journalist and had served in different capacities in the current government.
In 1990, he founded a local French newspaper, L’ere de Liberte, which became famous for its fearless defence of people’s rights.
He is commonly known to have been a strong critic of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and his party, Mouvement Revolutionnaire Nationale pour le Developpement (MRND).
In 2001, Mpayimana was appointed a Commissioner in the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) until 2004 when he was elected to the Senate by the Forum for Political Parties, the post he held until his death on Wednesday.
He served in the Senate as a member of the Political and Good Governance Commission and later as a member of the Social Affairs and Human Rights Commission.
Speaking to The New Times, the President of the Senate Dr. Vincent Biruta, said that Mpayimana was commonly known for raising a voice of freedom, peace and human rights.
“He was a passionate man and with a lot of wisdom. He was a bold, firm, and outspoken man,” Biruta described his departed colleague. He added that in the Senate he was also known for supporting and advocating for the education of orphans.
A requiem mass is expected to be held today at Zion Temple and there after the Senator’s body will be taken to Parliament for a loyal farewell, public viewing and for his colleagues to pay their last respects to him.