Rwanda Green Party leader beheaded

by Ann Garrison

First Vice President Andre Kagwa Rwisereka of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda was found dead, his head almost completely severed from his body, in the wetlands of the Makula River near Butare, Rwanda, on the morning of July 14, 2010.

His body had been left approximately 3 kilometers from Butare, where his car had been dumped. He was 61 years old and is survived by four children.

The president, vice treasurer, communications secretary and secretary general of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda traveled to Butare yesterday in response to reports that Rwisereka had disappeared and that his car had been found abandoned. Today the party issued a release announcing that Rwisereka had been assasssinated and that his brother, Antoine Haguma, had confirmed seeing his body, with his head almost completely severed. The Rwanda Greens also reported that Rwisereka’s national ID, driver’s license, house keys and car keys were found inside the car, now parked at police headquarters in Huye-Butare town and that his passport had been found in his house in TABA-Butare.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda is one of three viable opposition parties in Rwanda. All three have been excluded from the country’s 2010 presidential election, with polls now scheduled for Aug. 9.

Journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage was slain outside his home on June 24, on the same day that Parti Social-Imberakuri presidential candidate Bernard Ntaganda and members of the Social-Imberakuri and FDU-Inkingi parties from the election. Rwanda Greens President Frank Habineza was arrested and then released on the same day while protesting the arrest of the other opposition party members outside the U.S. Embassy, which is next door to Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s offices.

Democratic Green Party of Rwanda President Frank Habineza, who is also president of the African Greens Federation, said by phone as he was returning to Butare today, June 14, driving from Rwanda’s capital Kigali with the party’s vice treasurer and secretary general, “This is very sad and shocking.

“We are calling on the Rwandan government to undertake a complete investigation. We are also asking the international community to intervene into the Rwandan situation.”

Yesterday Reporters without Borders (RWB) called on the European Union and other international donors to suspend their assistance to the Rwandan government and to stop providing financial support for the Aug. 9 presidential election following a series of grave press freedom violations, including the assassination of Umuvugizi newspaper journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage, followed by the arrest of the editor-in-chief and a designer and reporter for Umurabyo newspaper. “How much longer will the international community continue to endorse this repressive regime?” they asked.

The London Guardian reported that Rwanda police spokesperson Eric Kariyanga said that Rwisereka had reportedly been carrying a lot of money and that robbery may have been the motive, but Habineza said, “No, it wasn’t a robbery, because they left his car, they left the keys to his car inside the car, they left the keys to his house inside the car with his national identity card inside the car. If they were thieves, they would have taken his car. If they were thieves, they would have taken the keys to his house and gone to take things from his house. They left the keys to his car and his house inside the car.”

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Digital Journal, Examiner.com, OpEdNews, Global Research, Colored Opinions and her blog, Plutocracy Now. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. This story first appeared in Digital Journal.

This report, broadcast on KPFA Radio News Sunday, July 11, before this latest political assassination, provides context for the ensuing developments.