Rwanda has spoken out on the death of Patrick Karegeya, the former head of external intelligence, a week after he was found dead in an uptown hotel in the South African city of Johannesburg, saying it has no sympathy for its sworn enemies.
Early this week, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo came out on social media defending her government’s decision not to “ feel any sympathy or pity for Karegeya — a self-declared enemy” of her government.
Using her official Twitter account, Ms Mushikiwabo said the Rwandan government has no sympathy for those who had decided to “overthrow a government violently.”
Her statement immediately sparked a heated response from the deceased’s family, friends and sympathisers. The list was led by Karegeya’s eldest children Elvis and Portia Karegeya, who sought to know more about the possibility of the Rwanda government involvement in their father’s death.
“It is my government’s position... what happens to its enemies should not make it lose sleep and secondly investigation should proceed,” Ms Mushikiwabo responded in a tweet.
Away from Twitter, Ms Mushikiwabo in an interview with two local radio stations — Radio Rwanda (public) and Contact FM (private) — said that Rwanda was more concerned with the country’s citizens killed by grenades planted by Mr Karegeya who she described as “very bad man” who worked with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to plan grenade attacks in the capital Kigali from 2010. The FDLR rebel group are the rump of the Interahamwe militias that carried out the 1994 genocide.
“Indeed, this man Mr Karegeya served Rwanda as the head of external intelligence but fled the country after committing serious, treasonable acts. What most people know is that Mr Karegeya betrayed the country by protecting Felicien Kabuga, one of the most wanted genocide suspects,” she said in Kinyarwanda.
“At the time he fled, it had been revealed that he had dealings with the Kabuga family with the aim of helping him get away with the genocide crime charges he is facing in exchange for money,” Ms Mushikiwabo said.
In the interview, Ms Mushikiwabo, who is also the government spokesperson, said it was a serious offence for someone who headed the country’s intelligence to commit. When someone declares war on a country, the country has no option but to fight that person, Ms Mushikiwabo said.
“You cannot assume that you can declare war on a country on different media around the world and actually go ahead to threaten the security of that country and then say you will use all available means to overthrow a standing government and expect people to take it lightly,” she said.
Ms Mushikiwabo again avoided the question of whether Rwanda could have pursued Karegeya in South Africa but said that Kigali is not concerned with what happens to Rwandans abroad.
During the one-hour interview, the minister said there could be many reasons behind Karegeya’s murder, as a man who was involved in many “shady deals” and “ugly politics.”
She describes the allegations levelled against Kigali as “bar talk,” emphasising that for some reason, the Rwandan opposition has vowed to blame the Rwandan government for whatever happens to exiled Rwandans opposing the government, a trap she says they will not fall into.
Ms Mushikiwabo compared Mr Karegeya to Sylvester Mudacumura, the head of the DR Congo-based FDLR.