RWANDA, (iexclusivenews) – The world was shocked by the news of the death of Anne Rwigara, a Rwandan activist and the sister of Diane Rwigara, a former presidential candidate who challenged the incumbent Paul Kagame in 2017.
Anne Rwigara, 41, died on Thursday in the United States, where she had been living for some time.
The cause of her death is still unknown, but some reports suggest that she was poisoned.
Anne Rwigara’s death has sparked outrage and suspicion among human rights groups and critics of the Rwandan government, who see it as another attempt to silence dissent and opposition in the country.
A Family of Courage and Controversy
Anne Rwigara was born into a wealthy and influential family in Rwanda, known for their business acumen and political activism.
Her father, Assinapol Rwigara, was a successful entrepreneur who owned several hotels, factories, and real estate properties.
He was also a supporter of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the ruling party led by Kagame, who came to power after the 1994 genocide that killed nearly a million people.
However, the relationship between the Rwigara family and the RPF soured over time, as the family became more vocal and critical of the government’s policies and human rights record.
In 2015, Assinapol Rwigara died in a car accident that many believe was orchestrated by the state.
His death was followed by a series of harassment and intimidation against his widow, Adeline Rwigara, and his daughters, Anne and Diane.
A Bold Challenge to Kagame’s Rule
In 2017, Diane Rwigara announced her intention to run for president as an independent candidate, challenging Kagame, who had been in power since 2000 and had amended the constitution to extend his term limits.
Diane Rwigara, a 39-year-old accountant and businesswoman, campaigned on a platform of social justice, economic reform, and democratic change.
She also denounced the government’s repression of civil society, media, and political opponents, and called for an end to the ethnic divisions that had plagued the country’s history.
However, Diane Rwigara faced numerous obstacles and barriers in her bid to run for office.
She was accused of forging signatures to register her candidacy, and her nude photos were leaked online in an apparent smear campaign.
Diane Rwigara was eventually disqualified by the National Electoral Commission, which claimed that she did not meet the required number of valid signatures.
Kagame went on to win the election with 98.8% of the vote, amid allegations of fraud and irregularities.
A Persecuted and Imprisoned Family
After the election, the Rwigara family faced more persecution and legal troubles. In September 2017, Diane and Adeline Rwigara were arrested and charged with inciting insurrection and forgery.
Anne , who was in the US at the time, was also charged in absentia. The family’s assets were frozen, and their properties were auctioned off by the government.
They were also subjected to a prolonged and unfair trial, which was widely condemned by international observers and human rights organizations.
In December 2018, Diane and Adeline Rwigara were acquitted of all charges by the High Court, which ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict them.
However, the government appealed the verdict, and the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.
A Tragic and Suspicious Death
On Thursday, December 27, 2023, Anne was found dead in her apartment in Boston, Massachusetts, where she had been living and working as a software engineer.
The cause of her death is still under investigation, but some sources claim that she was poisoned by unknown assailants.
Her mother, Adeline Rwigara, told the media that she was shocked and devastated by the news, and that she did not believe that her daughter died of natural causes.
She said that Anne was healthy and had no prior medical issues, and that she suspected foul play by the Rwandan government.
Anne Rwigara’s death has reignited the debate and scrutiny over the political situation in Rwanda, where critics and opponents of Kagame face constant threats and harassment.
Many have expressed their condolences and solidarity with the Rwigara family, and have called for a thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances of her death.
They have also demanded that the Rwandan government respect the rights and freedoms of its citizens, and allow for a genuine and inclusive democracy in the country.