Fourteen hours of bar-hopping: A turn of events on the day before Dr. Mbonimana resigned from parliament

By Esther Muhozi
On 11 January 2024 at 04:35

Dr. Gamariel Mbonimana, who stepped down from the Rwandan Parliament due to issues related to alcohol consumption, shared the details of the incident that marked the beginning of his troubles with drunk driving.

Speaking at the opening of the Sober Club Competition at the University of Rwanda, a project aimed at supporting youth initiatives discouraging drug use, he disclosed that on November 11, 2023, a Friday, he spent over 14 hours hopping between bars and drinking with friends.

Formerly a parliamentarian, Dr. Mbonimana mentioned that he typically refrained from alcohol on working days but indulged on weekends, keeping it discreet. On the mentioned Friday, not being invited to a meeting of senior officials and deputies, he took the opportunity to drink excessively.

In the evening, around midnight, he and his friends contemplated heading home after a day of bar-hopping in Kigali.

Despite his friend’s suggestion to sleep off the alcohol where they were, Dr. Mbonimana, who possessed an service card, decided to drive home at 2 o’clock in the morning. This reckless decision could have proved fatal due to the difficult conditions of the dirt roads, even for a sober person.

His friend’s concerns materialized when Dr. Mbonimana’s car overturned, leaving him stranded in a trench. Some passing motorists ignored him, while others came to his aid and alerted the National Police. When the police arrived, he was disoriented and unable to use his service card, leading to an argument with the officers.

Subsequently, he was handcuffed, taken to Busanza Police Station, and later transferred to the Road Safety Department headquarters. ACP Gerard Mpayimana, the Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety, informed him about a fine of Rwf150,000, but the investigation into the accident kept him detained for approximately eight hours. Videos and photos of the incident circulated on social media, prompting various leaders to comment on his behavior.

In response to the public scrutiny, Dr. Mbonimana decided to quit drinking. He wrote a resignation letter to fellow parliamentarians, which he submitted on November 14, 2023. Despite suggestions to embrace his last days of drinking, he pledged to President Kagame that he would never repeat such actions. Determined to turn his life around, he committed to sharing his story and highlighting the negative impact of alcohol.

Dr. Nzabonimana emphasized that his decision to quit drinking was solidified after a message addressed to him by President Kagame during ‘Unity Club Intwararumuri’ meeting, where he provided comfort and advice.

He now advocates for young people to avoid relying on alcohol as a solution to problems, urging them to focus on education, set goals, choose positive friendships, take care of their health, and work towards a better future.

In response to the public scrutiny, Dr. Mbonimana decided to quit drinking.