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Abakono Clan’s chief installation: Vice mayor resigns as apology messages pour in

By IGIHE
On 25 July 2023 at 11:09

Espérance Nyirasafari, the vice president of Rwanda’s senate in charge of parliamentary affairs, has publicly apologized to Rwandans and the President of the Republic for her attendance at the ceremony to install the chief of the ’Abakono Clan’.

The apology was conveyed through a message posted on her Twitter handle on Monday, 24th July 2023. The installation ceremony took place on 9th July in the Kinigi Sector of Musanze District and was attended by members of the private sector, local officials, and security personnel, among others.

The act was deemed divisive, raising fears that it could hamper the progress made in achieving national unity after the tragic 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. In response to these concerns, the ruling party, RPF Inkotanyi organized a meeting that brought together approximately 800 cadres, including senior officials, to discuss various issues threatening Rwandans’ unity. The installation of the Abakono clan’s leader, which the party had previously denounced, was one of the topics discussed during the assembly.

Senator Nyirafari expressed her heartfelt apologies one day after the assembly. In her tweet, she addressed the Chairman of RPF Inkotanyi and the President of Rwanda, acknowledging the gravity of her mistake in attending the ceremony. She mentioned that her realization came after participating in discussions revolving around Rwandans’ unity on 23rd July 2023.

Having personally experienced the consequences of divisionism that plagued the country, Nyirafari emphasized her understanding of the seriousness of the issue. She acknowledged her distraction in attending such an event, stressing that the historical repercussions of sectarianism were evident in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Nyirafari firmly denounced beliefs and actions similar to the installation of the Abakono clan’s leader, reiterating her commitment to resist any divisive practices that might lead Rwandans down a tragic path again. She pledged to distance herself from anything that could potentially drag the nation into the painful history it endured.

Finally, Nyirafari called on all Rwandans to reject any negative attitudes related to divisionism and emphasized the importance of promoting national unity and reconciliation.

Bill Kayonga, President of Rwanda Golf Union (RGU), was also among the participants of the installation ceremony of the Abakono Clan’s leader. However, he has now expressed his sincere apology through his Twitter handle, acknowledging that the event goes against the national efforts to promote unity and reconciliation.

In his tweet, Kayonga stated, "I write this tweet to deeply apologize to the leadership of our nation for the gross irresponsible act of participating and speaking at the Abakono clan leader installation ceremony held in Kinigi."

Upon careful reflection, he has come to understand the potential damage that such sectarian acts can inflict on the social cohesion of Rwandan society and deeply regretted his participation in the ceremony and promoting the event without fully considering the negative impact it would have on the larger Rwandan community.

Among others, Kayonga expressed remorse for not immediately denouncing and disassociating himself from what he witnessed during the event, even after its conclusion.

"For these reasons, I sincerely apologize to my leadership and Rwandans in general for this irresponsible act. I commit myself to fight any negative tendencies that threaten the unity of Rwandans. I find it befitting to take this step and apologize publicly so that no other responsible Rwandan finds themselves in the same mistake," stated Kayonga.

On the same day, Andrew Rucyahana Mpuhwe, the vice mayor of Musanze District in charge of economic development, resigned from his position in connection with the case. He submitted his resignation on Monday after confessing his attendance at the installation of the Abakono Clan’s chief.

In his resignation letter, Rucyahana said that he regrets his appearance in the ceremony which could have led to divisionism, and considered it a big mistake because it sets back the progress of unity and reconciliation among Rwandans.

Meanwhile, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, who held various government positions, has also become entangled in the case and recently sought forgiveness from President Paul Kagame. In a tweet, he expressed his acceptance of the President’s mercy and pledged to stand firmly against anything that threatens Rwandan unity, emphasizing its significance as their collective strength.

"Dear President Paul Kagame, the mercy you have shown us is gratefully accepted, and we are committed to opposing anything that seeks to undermine Rwandan unity, as it is the bedrock of our strength," Gatabazi tweeted.

He further expressed his gratitude to President Kagame for the guidance, advice, and support provided, emphasizing the importance of building a nation based on a strong national identity that unites all Rwandans.

During the assembly of RPF Inkotanyi cadres on Sunday, the installation of Kazoza Justin as the leader was declared null and void.

Kazoza also took responsibility for his lack of foresight and involvement in activities that could undermine the progress made in fostering national unity.

Speaking at the RPF cadres’ meeting on Sunday, General James Kabarebe, the Senior Presidential Advisor on security matters, delivered a powerful message on maintaining Rwandans’ unity and expressed strong disapproval of any actions that could undermine the progress made in building national unity.

He disclosed that Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) have consistently stood against divisive activities, which led to the arrest of three soldiers involved in the "investiture of the Abakono clan leader."

Espérance Nyirasafari is the vice president of Rwanda’s senate in charge of parliamentary affairs.
Andrew Rucyahana Mpuhwe, the vice mayor of Musanze District in charge of economic development, resigned from his position in connection with Abakono Clan's chief installation saga.
Kazoza took responsibility for his lack of foresight and involvement in activities that could undermine the progress made in fostering national unity.
Kayonga expressed remorse for not immediately denouncing and disassociating himself from what he witnessed during the event.
Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, who held various government positions also apologized for attending attended Abakono Clan's chief investiture.

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