Rwanda condemns British parliamentarian’s request to block appointment of Busingye

On 13 December 2021 at 01:17

The Government of Rwanda has condemned media houses and parliamentarians claiming that former Minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye should not be approved as Rwanda’s diplomat accredited to the United Kingdom (UK) due to alleged role in the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina.

Busingye was appointed High Commissioner to the UK in August 2021. Prior to the new appointment, he had served as the Minister of Justice for eight years.

Four months following his appointment, Chris Bryant, one of UK parliamentarians has requested his country to reject Busingye’s nomination citing concerns linked to his involvement in the ‘abduction’ of Rusesabagina.

Bryant filed the request during a debate held at British Parliament which also recommended sanctions on other leaders from Sudan and Iran over human rights abuse allegations.

According to BBC, Bryant has recommended his country to reject Busingye’s appointment.

“In August last year, Paul Rusesabagina, the subject of the film [Hotel Rwanda], which many members may have seen, and a vocal critic of President Kagame … was drugged, bound and forcefully returned to Rwanda, where he has been imprisoned and tortured,” he said.

He further suggested that ‘Busingye should be on a list of sanctioned individuals, not of people to be escorted to Buckingham Palace to have their credentials agreed by Her Majesty’.

The parliamentarian also recommended sanctions on Colonel Jeannot Ruhunga, the Secretary General of the Rwanda Investigation Bureau.

UK based media houses have reported about the issue noting that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been advised to block the appointment of Rwanda’s top diplomat in London ’over his central role in the kidnap and detention of human rights activist’.

“Mr Busingye was demoted by Rwandan President Paul Kagame after admitting that their government chartered a flight that led to the seizure of Paul Rusesabagina,” Daily Mail has reported.

Rwanda’s stand

Following the story published by Daily Mail, the Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Yolande Makolo has via Twitter handle revealed that the media house’s story is misleading.

“The Daily Mail and The Times are misinforming readers when the true facts are so easily verifiable. A reminder: Johnston Busingye, Rwanda’s high commissioner-designate to the UK, has served with distinction as Justice Minister and Attorney-General since 2013,” she tweeted.

Makolo went on to clarify that Rusesabagina was arrested over terrorism in an operation planned by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau and arrested in Kigali on an outstanding warrant for terrorism and related offences, in compliance with all domestic and international laws.

“The Government of Rwanda has made it clear on numerous occasions since September 2020 how & why Rusesabagina was tricked into coming to Rwanda. He has since been convicted & sentenced following a fair & transparent trial along with 20 co-accused of the FLN armed group which he led,” she revealed.

In September 2021, the High Court Chamber for International and Cross-border Crimes handed 25-year sentence to Rusesabagina after he was found guilty of terrorism charges.

Minister Busingye was recently appointed Rwanda's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.