When a Virginia court in the USA ruled that the body of King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa be returned to Rwanda for burial, relatives who went to retrieve the body from the hospital were astonished to hear the body would be interred in Portugal.
As the contingent arrived at the hospital, Kigeli relatives were told that his death certificate and other documents indicated that he would be buried in Portugal not Rwanda.
Talking to the media , Pastor Ezra Mpyisi, who was advisor to the late king and his elder brother King Mutara III Rudahigwa explained that the attempt to divert burial of the body to Portugal emanated from financial support the Portuguese had given to the late king when alive.
“When we went to the hospital with the morgue where the body had been kept, a white man suspected to be on the side of people against the decision to bury the king in Rwanda said; ‘His death certificate indicates that he will be buried in Portugal’. It was not even in America, why? Portuguese had provided financial support to King Kigeli V when he was alive. He was financially handicapped. Some donations would come from Portugal because it also has monarchs. They have built a place where they inter kings and obtain money from people visiting the museum,” he said.
"That white man said that it would take four weeks to revise the document allowing for the change of burial arrangements from Portugal to Rwanda. They wanted to delay the process and divert the court’s decision. Mukama (one of Kigeli relatives) with another young man accosted the white man who, with a creasy appearance said; ‘bring the papers for me to sign other than waiting four weeks’,” he explained.
The body repatriated fleeing
Pastor Mpyisi has explained that as they prepared return the body to Rwanda they heard that some people wanted to appeal the court’s decision which compelled them to rush the process before another court case would be instated.
“Those opposed to bringing the body home told us that they wanted to appeal the court ruling which made expedite the process, caught KLM Netherlands flight first before connecting to another flight.”
- Pastor Ezra Mpyisi