Posts tagged as: diane

New Twist in Rwigara Case

The recent police quizzing of former Rwandan presidential hopeful Diane Rwigara has taken a new twist with the authorities questioning why she claims to have been arrested whereas not.

Police on Sept.04 took in Rwigara for questioning in an on-going investigation over alleged tax evasion and forgery. The tax evasion case has been long-running and the forgery case stems from Rwigara’s alleged conduct when she sought to contest in the recent presidential elections.

In order to contest, a candidate required signatures from hundreds of citizens across the country.

Authorities allege that rather than collect genuine signatures, Rwigara made forgeries and that her list also had names of dead people. It is because of this that the electoral authorities barred Rwigara from contesting in August’s presidential vote. Rwigara denies the allegations.

She is, however, also accused of tax evasion together with her family members.

“They are accused of tax evasion and secondly Diane Rwigara is accused of using fake documents while she was gathering signatures for (her) presidential candidacy,” police spokesman Theos Badege told reporters on Sept.01. Police said they had a warrant issued by a prosecutor to question them.

The tax evasion charges stem from a tax dispute that her father, the late Assinapol Rwigara who died in a car accident in February 2015, had with the country’s taxman, Rwanda Revenue Authority.

Rwigara’s father made a fortune as businessmen under the country’s former President Juvénal Habyarimana. For this, some people perceived him as a Habyarimana collaborator and traitor.

Rwigara fled Rwanda when RPF launched the struggle against Habyarimana and became a supporter of the RPF. He returned to Rwanda when RPF captured power and continued his businesses. He would later fall out with the authorities over tax evasion and run into exile.

Negotiations saw him return but he had not reached a conclusive agreement with the tax body when he died in 2015 in a motor accident. The dispute had started in 2012. RRA never abandoned the matter and pursued it with the family company for which his other daughter Anne Rwigara is the executive director.

Police says it first raided Rwigara’s home as part of the investigation in the cases. The authorities say they conducted a joint operation for the two charges to prevent a situation where the suspects would tamper with evidence on either of the charges.

During the operation, police confiscated documents, phones, computers and cash totaling Rwf 150 million, which was also at the house.

Suspects, who included Rwigara, her sister, Anne Rwigara and mother Adeline Rwigara, were taken to police to where they record statements and were released.

However, after the incident, when a campaign online emerged calling on the authorities to “free Rwigara”, the authorities returned to their home. Sources familiar with the events say the motive was to show the public that the Rwigaras were at their home and not under in police detention. Sources familiar with the case say the family was found at home enjoying a meal of pizza.

Authorities blame the family of faking a kidnap to win international sympathy and attempting to tarnish the government over alleged political persecution. Rwandan authorities are known for never allowing anyone to use politics to run away from accountability in court and the Rwigara’s are unlikely to be the exception.

Rwigara is said to have used the death of her father, a personal grievance, to launch a national election campaign. The authorities say although the family was given all evidence relating to the accident that killed Rwigra, including being invited to the scene before it was cleared, the family insisted on telling journalists that the death was stage-managed and had been politically motivated.

The family back then launched an online campaign dubbed Justice for Rwigara. At the heart of the campaign were renowned critics of President Kagame who are in exile like Kayumba Nyamwasa, Theogene Rudasingwa, Gerald Gahima and David Himbara. Following the campaign, Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant, joined politics.

Former Presidential Hopeful Rwigara Re-Arrested

Former Rwandan presidential hopeful accused of forgery, tax evasion

Rwandan police on Sept.04 arrested Diane Shima Rwigara, a leading critic of President Paul Kagame, charging her with forgery and tax evasion.

Her mother and sister were also arrested on the tax charges.

Earlier this year, electoral authorities barred Rwigara from standing in August’s presidential vote, which Kagame won, saying she had not submitted enough supporters’ signatures and some of the names she did sent in belonged to dead people.

Rwigara denied the allegations.

“They are accused of tax evasion and secondly Diane Rwigara is accused of using fake documents while she was gathering signatures for (her) presidential candidacy,” police spokesman Theos Badege told reporters on Sept.01.

Police said they had a warrant issued by a prosecutor to arrest them.

Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant, has repeatedly accused Kagame of stifling dissent and criticised his Rwandan Patriotic Front’s near total hold on power. Kagame won last month’s election with 98.8 percent of the vote.

Rwigara claimed she was being held under house arrest before Monday’s police action.

“Tell us why we are being arrested? Why should we go to the police while you have confined us to this place and took away all our money without leaving us any?” Rwigara said as she and her family was being taken away.

Asked about this, Badege, the police spokesman, said that earlier police had only searched Rwigara’s home and taken a few items and money away in line with the law.

It was a clear application of the law,” Badege said.

Rwigara was disqualified as a candidate after allegedly failing to collect enough supporting signatures ahead of the election. According to electoral laws, independent presidential candidates are required to present 600 signatures, with at least 12 from each of Rwanda’s 30 districts, in order to run for president.

Rwigara allegedly turned in signatures of some people who had been long dead and others who belonged to a rival political party, according to Rwanda’s electoral commission.

Rwigara is the daughter of the late Assinapol Rwigara, a tycoon who fell out with Kagame before his death in a car accident in 2015.

Kagame won international praise for presiding over a peaceful and rapid economic recovery in Rwanda since the 1994 genocide, when an estimated 800,000 people Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

But he has also faced increased criticism for what human rights groups say are widespread abuses, a muzzling of independent media, and suppression of political opposition.


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Rwigara Family Released After Police Probe

By Edmund Kagire

Rwanda police has said that three members of the late Kigali tycoon Assinapol Rwigara’s family, who were taken in for questioning, were released Monday night.

The family is being probed for suspected tax evasion while Diane Shima Rwigara, a rights activist and politician, is under investigations over claims she forged signatures during her presidential bid.

Diane, her mother Adeline and sister Anne had been taken in for questioning on Monday at about 4pm in a dramatic break-in into their house in the upscale suburb of Kiyovu in Kigali.

Police spokesperson Theos Badege said the trio had been required to answer to summons on Monday but did not show up, forcing the police to bring them in for interrogation.

“After questioning at CID, Anne Rwigara, Diane Rwigara, and Adeline Rwigara were escorted home by the police,” Rwanda National Police tweeted on Tuesday morning. The CID is the criminal and investigations department at the police headquarters in Kacyiru.

Mr Badege confirmed to The EastAfrican that the family members returned home Monday night but “may be invited again as investigations continue”.


Diane and four members of her family had not been seen since Tuesday last week when police raided their house and confiscated communication gadgets.

Relatives said they had been arrested, claims the police denied.

On Monday, officers had to scale the wall of the Rwigara residence to enter into their home.

A fuming Diane confronted the police accusing them of taking away all their money.

“How do you expect us to get to the police when you have locked us in? You took all the money from us, you took our phones. How do you expect us to move when you have left us without a coin?” she posed angrily.


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Rwigara and Family Members Still Detained

Photo: @ShimaRwigara

Diane Rwigara.

press release

This is to confirm that Diane and members of her family are still in unknown security service detention by the time we are writing this press release on Sunday 3rd September 2017.

We are therefore denouncing continuous lies of the Rwandan Police as well as misleading information that were published by KT Press on Saturday 2nd September 2017 claiming that they are not in being held while no one has seen them.

If any legal process were being pursuing they should have been charged after 48 hours or released.

It has been over 100 hours of illegal dentition, we are consequently extremely worried about their wellbeing.

We are once again calling for Rwanda Police to release them immediately without any condition.

Raymond Kayitate

Communication assistant – Itabaza


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Diversifying the Tourism Sector Will Pay Off

editorialBy The New Times

The annual Kwita Izina festival, a very unique baby gorilla naming ceremony, is upon us again.

This year 19 names will be given, among them 14 infants born during the past year, four females that relocated from DRC and a new group that was formed.

Kwita Izina somehow emulates the Rwandan tradition where naming new-borns is a time for celebration.

It has gained worldwide fame and is now a tourist attraction in itself where the lucky few get the privilege of giving a name to a gorilla, pretty much becoming a God parent.

As usual, the function is accompanied by multiple conservation awareness events and to crown them all this year the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference is taking place in Kigali.

Rwanda has taken a comprehensive conservation approach that has seen its efforts pay off, especially to communities neighbouring national parks.

Through the government’s revenue sharing programme with the communities, schools and health centres have been built as well as other community initiatives.

Those neighbouring the parks now know the value of conservation.

Rehabilitated former poachers now serve as guides and game wardens as they now know the layout of the park like the back of their hands.

Now Rwanda Development Board needs to devise plans so that other national parks and other attractions share a bit of the Kwita Izina attention.

There are many potentials lying out there and only need some innovative approach to make them more productive, especially the Tembera Urwanda programme that gave many Rwandans a glimpse of some parts of the country they did not know existed.


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Rwanda: Rwanda Bankers Association to Raise Health Awareness Through Sports

By Damas Sikubwabo

The Rwanda Bankers Association (RBA) on Tuesday announced that its members will participate in a multi-sports competition to raise health awareness among themselves.

The competition, organised in partnership with the City of Kigali, National Bank of Rwanda and the Ministry of Sports and Culture, will run under the theme, ‘HEALTHY.’

The four-day tournament, the first of its kind in the country, is scheduled to take place in the first two weekends of September, according to the organizers, who expect up to 15 local commercial banks plus the National Bank of Rwanda, to participate.

According to RBA Chairperson, Dr. Diane Karusisi, the tournament will see different banks playing against each other in various sports disciplines in a bid to sensitise bankers to take care of their health, network and have fun.

“After a small survey on the banks’ interest in sports, we zeroed on football, basketball, volleyball and swimming to begin with for the inaugural tournament, which will be organised on an annual basis,” said Jaqueline Mugwaneza, the Executive Secretary of the Association.

Organisers say that, besides the four disciplines, members will also compete in four games namely; table tennis, aerobics and tennis in a bid to attract more participants especially the women as well as mini-marathon to be held on the car-free day, on September 3.


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Will Rwandan Rwigara Break Glass Ceiling?

Photo: Cyril Ndegeya/The East African

Diane Shima Rwigara at a Press briefing in Kigali on May 3, 2017 when she announced her plans to run for Rwandan presidency in the August 4 polls.


Dar es Salaam — In Rwanda Diane Shima Rwigara is a household name. Being a business woman and daughter of a tycoon Assinapol Rwigara, who died in Febraury 2015, she is well known in her mother country.

But on Wednesday she dominated headlines in East Africa and beyond when she declared her intentions to challenge Rwanda President Paul Kagame in August elections.

She announced her candidature as an Independent candidate on Wednesday. She would become the first female to run for the presidency in Rwandan history. The only other woman who tried to run, Alvera Mukabaramba, withdrew her candidature in 2003.

In her Manifesto, the 35-year-old said she will work to eradicate poverty, champion free speech, and provide health insurance for all Rwandans.

The accountant and businesswoman has been a critic of President Kagame as well as the ruling party RPF for a longtime.

Announcing he intentition to challenge the strongman Ms Rwigara criticised the ruling RPF party saying it was behind the 2015 referendum that led to the suspension of term limits in Rwanda.

“When time comes for leaders to leave power, they get excuses to stay and then say that it is the people who are asking them to continue to lead. This is a bad habit across the continent,” she said.

“RPF has failed to tackle poverty or to provide security and justice. What RPF has failed to do in the last 23 years, they cannot do it in the coming years. As a president, I will ensure that I deliver on all these.”

Ms Rwigara is the daughter of deceased Kigali tycoon Assinapol Rwigara, who died in a road accident in February 2015.

Accounts of his death became controversial after the family cited foul play and petitioned President Paul Kagame to call for investigations into the manner in which he died.

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Rwigara, who once bankrolled the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front distanced herself from the RPF after the death of her father. She says his death was an assassination, but police reject her allegations and say the cause was a road accident.An influential industrialist, her father made his fortune in real estate and played an important role financing the RPF in the 1990s.”I am not here to talk about my father,” said Rwigara in a press conference in Kigali, admitting however that his death was “one reason” that had prompted her to run.”We all know here… people… disappeared or… killed,” she said, citing reports from human rights organisations.The only people who are given a voice are the people praising the regime,” she added.In 2014, Human Rights Watch said there was a wave of disappearances in Rwanda, in a report that was rejected by authorities.In a February Ms Rwigara lambasted Paul Kagame’s evil regime. How long are we going to be silent? She asked. Corruption isn’t breaking the law, breaking the law is speaking out against corrupt leaders.She scolded Rwanda’s failing authorities. She stated that Rwandans live in dire poverty that scores of people are starving, they face injustice, their lives are constantly threatened, and above all they are muzzled and cannot express their concerns and grievances.In her own words, Diane Rwigara said: “How long are we going to be silent? Corruption isn’t breaking the law, breaking the law is speaking out against corrupt leaders. I am not a politician and I do not represent any organization.I am standing here in front of you as a Rwandan woman wanting to make known problems Rwandans are facing. Those tasked with this duty have failed the people, they do not speak up on behalf of the people as they should. We Rwandans are living in dire poverty, food is scarce, people are starving, there is corruption and rampant injustice, constant threats to our lives by authorities and the security apparatus,” she told the Press.Ms Rwigara joins a growing list of independent candidates including former journalist Phillipe Mpayimana, and controversial Catholic priest Thomas Nahimana who have expressed interest to run against President Kagame in the August 4 polls. However, in order to be allowed to contest by the National Electoral Commission, they face a daunting challenge of gathering at least 600 signatures from 30 districts — a minimum of 12 signatures and at least an address in each district.At the same time, the electoral body has warned candidates vying for presidency against fundraising to raise campaign money.The commission will receive nominations from candidates from June 12 to 23. A provisional list of qualified candidates will be announced on June 27.The names of qualified candidates will be published on July 7, a week before campaigns kick off.Others in the race for the presidency is Frank Habineza, the president of the Green Party as well as a candidate from the Social Democratic Party, who is yet to be named.President Kagame is, however, largely expected to win a seven-year third term following the constitutional amendment that allowed him to seek re-election at the end of what would have been his second last term.In 2003, Alvera Mukabaramba of the Party of Peace and Concord was the first Rwandan woman to run for the presidency but withdrew on the eve of the elections and joined forces with President Kagame who swept the polls. She tried again in 2010 but lost to President Kagame.A constitutional amendment passed last year means Kagame is able to stand for another seven-year term. Rwanda is regularly praised for its stability and economic performance.With agencies.

President Kagame Hails Global Fund Partnership Model

Photo: Village Urugwiro/The New Times

President Kagame, the Minister for Health, Dr Diane Gashumba (second-left), and the State Minister for Economic Planning, Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana (right), in a group photo with members of the Global Fund board, who are in the country for the 37th meeting of the Fund.

By Collins Mwai

President Paul Kagame hailed the Global Fund for adopting a partnership model based on cooperation, accountability and approaches that are flexible, innovative in addressing global challenges.

The President made the remarks during the official opening of the 37th Global Fund Board meeting in Kigali yesterday.

The Global Fund is an international financing organisation that aims to attract and disburse additional resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Kagame said there are multiple lessons to borrow from the Global Fund’s model and success over the years, which has been possibly one of the most consequential and effective development partnership in Rwanda’s history.

Among the models used by the organisation that can be emulated, Kagame said, is innovation and developing new ways of doing business as well as flexibility to do the right things well.

“There are important lessons that we can draw from this success, the fund was itself an innovation and a fundamentally new way of doing business. Building on that, there is the spirit to do the right thing and flexibility to do the right things well. Let’s not take this for granted,” he said.

“After all, it is quite easy to waste billions of dollars by continuing to spend money year in and year out whether there are any results to show for it or not.”

Kagame said, by emulating such approaches, it will be possible to reduce instances of wasteful expenditure by development programmes.

“We see examples all over whether in development programmes or peace and security efforts in our region and beyond, we can see a lot of money flowing, a lot of activities but you can hardly match the results. If the philosophy behind the Global Fund’s achievements is applied to other global problems, our world would be a better place,” the President said.

He said it was not an accident that Rwanda’s biggest health-related gains were at a time when the Fund was scaling up its operations, noting that partnership with the Fund had greatly facilitated the development of Rwanda’s health sector.

Before and during the partnership of the two parties, Kagame said, Global Fund took time to understand the health system that Rwanda was setting up and went on to support it.

The milestones and achievements of the two partners include increasing the number of HIV-positive persons on antiretroviral treatment, getting on track to eliminate mother-to-child transmission and significant reduction of malaria and tuberculosis-related deaths.

“Together, these factors have added almost 20 years to the life expectancy of the average Rwandan,” Kagame said.

Kagame said, going forward, the world can only deal with challenges in the health sector by strengthening systems as opposed to circumventing them.

The board members have visited many projects that they support in the country.

Norbert Hauser, the chair of the board, said they had decided to hold their meeting in Kigali to get a direct impression of their work in the country and learn lessons on the achievements so far.

He said, so far, partnership with Rwanda had been successful and there were lessons to be emulated from Rwanda by countries across the continent and beyond.

Among the areas where Rwanda was doing well, Hauser said, was government-led investments in the health sector and efforts to rely less on donors.

Health minister Diane Gashumba said the partnership has mainly focused on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria but the support has also gone into achievement of health-related Millennium Development Goals.

The partnership between Rwanda and the Global Fund dates back to 2003.

Unemployment Among the Disabled Worries NCPD

By Diane Mushimiyimana

The National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPD) has called upon stakeholders to solve or improve the welfare of the disabled… .

The organization believes the rate of unemployment and illiteracy among them are priority issues that need concerted efforts.

This was mentioned during the second regional workshop that brought together representatives of persons with disabilities from EAC countries.

Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the executive secretary of the NCPD, said that though there has been progress for people with disabilities (PWDs) to have access to education up to tertiary education, unemployment remains a big challenge to achieve their economic independence.

“We reckon that youth unemployment is a general issue but when it comes to people with disabilities, it worsens. People still question their competence, be it in public or private institutions,” he said.

He added that they are now advocating for the quarter system to be introduced since it has been practical in other countries and has decreased the rate of unemployment among PWDs.

NCPD has not yet released research findings about the issue but Ndayisaba explained that a report will be out soon to inform policy makers on necessary interventions.

He further highlighted that under the national employment programme (NEP), PWDs that have completed TVET courses are supported to start their income generating activities and Rwf60m is given out every year to support their cooperatives.

“We don’t want any PWD begging or living only on support, except those who are too old or those with severe disability who are unable to work. In this context, we trained more than 811 people last year in different TVET programs and we will train many more.

“This year, we instilled in them the capacity to work with financial institutions by getting loans. We recently signed a contract with BDF worth 200 million to enable those who don’t have collateral to get it through the BDF fund,” Ndayisaba says.

According to the NCPD, there are 160, 000 PWDs grouped into five categories. The first category involves those whose extent of disability is measured at 90% to 100% (those with multiple disabilities, in wheelchairs).

Persons whose disability is from 70 to 89% are placed in category two while the third and fourth categories range from 50 to 69%. The fifth category comprises those whose disability is at 30 to 49%.

The categorization – which looked at the level and extent of physical impairment – intends to guide the process of addressing specific needs.


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Rwanda: Bank of Kigali Registers a Whopping Rwf 10.9 Billion Net Income

By Stevenson Mugisha

Bank of Kigali (BK) has today announced its revised financial results reporting a net income of Rwf 10.9bn (US$14.6 million).

This figure displays an increase of 0.9% year-on-year with return on average total assets and return total equity reaching 3.8% and 22.1% respectively for the period ended 30 June 2016.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the results, Dr. Diane Karusisi, the Chief Executive Officer of BK said during the same period last year, BK made a net income of Rwf 10.8bn.

“Our bank’s total assets increased by 6.6% quarter on quarter and grew 14.8% year-on-year to Rwf619.1 billion as at 30 June 2016 while client balance and deposits increased by 2.6% year on year to Rwf409.8bn as at 30 June this year. This clearly shows that BK continues to register positive trends financially,” Dr. Karusis said.

“We are very pleased to release our strong first half results for 2016, our profit before tax grew by 16.1% year-on-year whereas our total assets increased by 14.8% year-on-year. The bank owes its continued resilient performance to strategic partnerships and customer loyalty. Going forward, we will continue to support businesses and the economy, and impact the lives of many Rwandans,” Karusis added.

Presenting the bank’s 2016 quarter 2 financial highlights, Nathali Mpaka, Chief Finance officer, noted that net interest income increased by 8.7% quarter on quarter to Rwf 14.5bn while net non-interest income amounted to Rwf5.0bn

“In five years in terms of growth, BK has grown by 25.5% and other banks together they have managed to grow by 15%,” Mpaka said. She noted that as regards to deposits, BK has grown by 28% in terms of compounded annual growth.

2016 Business Highlights

Lawson Naibo, the Chief Operating Officer at BK said that as at 30 June 2016, the bank served over 270,000 retail customers and 27,500 corporate clients and this expanded the agency banking network to 1.178 agents. It also processed over 460,000 transactions worth Rwf 29.5bn.

Also as of 30 June this year, the bank had 78 branches, 89 ATMs and 941 point of sales terminals that accepted most international cards including VISA and MasterCard while the bank had 303,245 mobiserve users up from 243,719 users as of 30 June 2015.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bank of Kigali (BK), Dr. Diane Karusisi has noted that BK achieved an outstanding performance last year.

BK scoops Rwanda’s best bank Award at Euromoney Excellency Awards 2016

Bank of Kigali (BK) has been announced as Rwanda’s best bank at the Euromoney Awards presented in London on Wednesday.


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