Tuesday June 02, 2015

Mounting evidence Rwandan President ordered killing of dissidents

A former trusted advisor to the Rwandan president says he's fled Rwanda, and Africa, after being threatened and targeted by the president, Paul Kagame.

A former trusted advisor to the Rwandan president says he's fled Rwanda, and Africa, after being threatened and targeted by the president, Paul Kagame. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

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"Three months ago, President Kagame's personal doctor was shot in a police cell. Killed. Gustave Makonene, this is the coordinator of Transparency International. Strangled. Kagame's personal driver. Killed. The Canadian government itself monitors me and other colleagues because we are not safe."  - David Himbara testimony at a U.S. Congressional Sub-Committee

David Himbara is a Rwandan dissident, and a Canadian citizen. He was once a close advisor to Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame. But his words -- together with those of others -- paint a picture of Mr. Kagame's increasingly authoritarian rule.... both inside his borders, and out. 

There is mounting evidence that president Kagame has ordered the assassinations of Rwandan dissidents, at home and abroad.  At least half-a-dozen Rwandan dissidents have been attacked, or have died under suspicious circumstances, over the last five years. 

On New Year's Eve, 2013, Rwanda's former intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya was found strangled to death in his hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

David Himbara was living in Johannesburg at the time, but visiting Canada. When he learned of Patrick Karegeya's death, he decided to stay here. The former presidential advisor lives in Toronto now, and David Himbara joined us in studio.

We contacted the Rwandan High Commission in Ottawa about this story and asked for an interview or a statement. We did not receive either. In the past, the Rwandan government has denied any involvement in attacks on dissidents. 

Some of the most damning evidence of President Kagame's complicity in the attacks on Rwandan dissidents has  been turned up by Canadian journalists. The Globe and Mail's Geoffrey York, together with Montreal-based freelance writer Judi Rever, have worked together on a months-long investigation into this story. 

Geoffrey York is the Globe and Mail's Africa Bureau Chief. He was in Johannesburg.


This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.