Sankara voiced the message speaking to members of the press during a visit to Mageragere Prison to cover the graduation ceremony of the first cohort of inmates who completed vocational training on Thursday 26th May 2022.
During the ceremony, 603 prisoners from Nyarugenge prison were awarded with various certificates. The inmates were equipped with skills in hairdressing, ICT, automobile mechanics and tailoring.
Sankara was among inmates who attended the graduation ceremony. He was convicted of terrorism charges and sentenced to 15 years after pleading guilty and appealing for leniency.
The convict disclosed that he is treated humanely at the prison where his rights are fully respected and plans to pursue vocational courses.
“I also want to pursue vocational courses. Honestly, my experience in southern Africa has shown me that vocational skills graduates reap big while our pockets are empty yet we have graduated from Law. This pushed me to think that I would have pursued vocational training programs instead of Law,” he said.
Sankara said that people outside the penitence establishment have mindsets that prisoners are always in cumbersome situation being harassed and whipped, which he says is different from the reality.
“Some people think that we are beaten every morning, night and do frog jumps. It is not true. I can say that I am living in better conditions considering what I went through outside the country because I can interact with relatives and sisters visiting me,” he said.
“While outside the country, I spent six years being unable to meet with my family […] I would rather stay in prison instead of returning to refuge,” added Sankara.
Sankara admits that correcting criminals is necessary noting that disciplined prisoners stand chance to write to President of the Republic seeking prerogative of mercy which he also plans to do.
“People should not see me through the mirror of Sankara they knew in the past. Sankara has become a changed man. Some people assume that I might repeat what I did if released. Only the person unaware of troubles we went through can put it that way. I get sleep in this place which I had lacked outside the country,” he said.
Taking into account his experience, Sankara gave an example of Kayumba Nyamwasa noting that he can’t sleep comfortably because he is fighting the government.
Message to Rwanda’s detractors
Sankara has requested Lt. Gen Habimana Hamada known as Komada, who was one of top commanders of FLN and his colleague Gen Jeva, the commander of FLN to give up on their intentions because they can’t succeed.
“My special message to top leaders of FLN rebel group like Gen Hamada and Jeva, if they are still alive, is that their future is obscure. I did everything within six years I spend in the opposition,” he noted.
“We made attempts since 2013 at the regime of Kikwete. Karegeya and Kayumba warmly welcomed me when I joined the opposition. We met face to face and made several attempts to destabilize this government but our efforts ended up in vain,” Sankara added.
He also sent a message to dissidents advising them to abandon their plans to threaten Rwanda because the country has strong leadership and intelligence.
“The Government of Rwanda has strong intelligence and powerful leader. This government is smart and has money. They won’t win the fight with it,” he said.
Sankara said that he doesn’t care about critics blaming him for having submitted himself to the leadership of Rwanda as he is convinced that ‘one must obey rules of an opponent who is stronger than you are’.
“I have become compliant. I am ready to be rehabilitated at this prison so that I can return to Rwandan community and join others to build the nation,” he stated.