Rwandan lawyers mourn colleague

Monday January 9 2017

By The EastAfrican Team

Rwandan lawyers are demanding an explanation from the police of the circumstances under which one of their own was shot dead.

Toy Nzamwita, a senior advocate, was shot and killed by police in the early hours of December 30, 2016, near the Kigali Convention Centre roundabout after he allegedly drove over a police barricade requesting motorists to stop.

Rwanda National Police said he violated a traffic police checkpoint.

“Driving at high speed, Mr Nzamwita knocked down a barrier at the manned checkpoint and proceeded to almost knock down a police officer who was trying to stop him. Police officers at the checkpoint shot at the car aiming to stop it, but the driver continued to drive away and was unfortunately shot dead in the process,” a police statement said.

The Rwanda Bar Association convened an extraordinary meeting and demanded quick investigations and legal action on the officer who killed Mr Nzamwita.

“We are requesting the senior command of police to conduct thorough investigations into the shooting of our colleague quickly to ensure that the officer involved is presented before the courts of law,” said a statement signed by Amida Furaha, chairperson of the RBA executive council.

Members of the bar association and Supreme Court judges paid tribute to Mr Nzamwita on Wednesday, in a ceremony to send him off, held at the country’s highest court, describing him as a man who stood for professional ethics.

His grief stricken family said that they will state their position on the killing of the 49-year old lawyer in the near future.

The advocate had last been seen in the company of Congolese singer Koffi Olomide, who was in Kigali for a New Year’s countdown performance at the Radisson Blu.  

The shooting caused outrage among Rwandans, with many taking to social media to condemn what they described as excessive use of force by the police.