NEWS EDITOR MEDIA
THE whereabouts of Jean Bosco Mugabe a renown businessman in Kigali, Rwanda, is not known! Mr. Mugabe served as Vice Chairman Private Sector Federation (PSF) for Kigali City for 6 (six) years until 2018 when the trouble started.
Mugabe reportedly went missing following continous intimidations he was getting after the arrest and imprisonment of his relative Tom Byabagamba a former Colonel of the Rwanda Defense Force and a former head of the Presidential Guard unit. Col. Tom Byabagamba was arrested and charged with inciting insurrection and tarnishing the government’s image.
Byabagamba was initially sentenced to 21 years imprisonment, however, the sentence was reduced by the court of Appeal in Kigali to 15 years, although it upheld his conviction in 2019.
Since the arrest of Col. Tom Byabagamba, his relative Jean Bosco Mugabe, we are told, started getting threatening message from people he suspected to be in security circles. He once told his business partners how his life was also in danger like that of David Himbara, another relative to Tom Byabagamba. Tom and Himbara who live in Canada are Jean Mugabe’s uncles.
For starters, Mr. Mugabe was a successful businessman in Rwanda dealing in scholastic materials.
He owned a school Chalk Factory called Perfect Chalk Factory that had a government contract to supply school Chalk to government schools in 15 Districts of the country.
Haunting of Mr. Jean Bosco Mugabe started in 2018 when he lost the contract due to his relationship with Col. Tom Byabagamba and a one David Himbara. Both men used to hold big positions in the Rwandan government. Security suspected that Mugabe was using his Byabagamba’s finances which led him to lose the contract in 2018 under unclear circumstances.
Mugabe Jean Bosco was also managing one of the popular restaurants in the only Golf Course in Kigali called Kigali golf club.
Days after the arrest of Byabagamba, unknown men in plain clothes started trailing Businessman Mugabe.
Mugabe’s palatial home which was in a high end residential place in Kigali (Nyarutama) was demolished by the city authorities claiming that it was built in slum but insider sources say that the land is being targeted and this was intended to torture him psychologically.
We are told, on 10 September, 2020, Jean Bosco Mugabe was kidnapped and ever since, he went, missing.
ABOUT MUGABE’S RELATIVE COL. TOM BYABAGAMBA
Tom Byabagamba a decorated former military officer of the Rwandan Defense Force, before his imprisonment worked in the personal protection detail of President Paul Kagame from 1990 to 2010.
In 2003, he was appointed as head of the Republican Guard and was personally responsible for the President’s security.
Byabagamba’s brother, David Himbara, is a former economic adviser to President Kagame.
He fled the country after observing the President’s abusive behavior towards both allies and dissidents.
After Himbara left, President Kagame ordered Mr. Byabagamba to bring his brother back to Rwanda, and when he refused to intervene, Byabagamba lost his position as Commander of the Republican Guard.
Tom Byabagamba was arrested on August 23rd, 2014. The prosecution claimed that he had alleged Rwandan state involvement in several murders. They also accused him of alleging the innocence of convicted terrorist and former presidential bodyguard Joel Mutabazi and of criticizing increased Rwandan taxes on Tanzanian trucks.
On January 5th, 2016, he was tried jointly in the Kanombe Military High Court with his brother-in-law Brigadier-General (rtd) Frank Rusagara, as well as Rusagara’s driver, retired Sergeant François Kabayiza.
On March 31st, 2016, the court found Byabagamba guilty of all charges against him and sentenced him to 21 years imprisonment.
In December 2019, the Court of Appeal in Kigali upheld his conviction while reducing his sentence to 15 years.
Byabagamba’s arrest was part of a series of arrests against former members of Rwanda’s ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, who have been critical of the government.
In July 2017, human rights focused non-profit Freedom Now submitted a petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Rusagara, Byabagamba, and Kabayiza.
In December 2017, the Working Group determined that their detention was arbitrary and violated international law. In February 2018, the Rwandan government denied the allegations and claimed it was not aware of the UN Working Group’s communications.
In November 2017, Amnesty International submitted a report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights which stated that “judges have failed to adequately address allegations of torture during interrogation” in the trial of Byabagamba.
On December 4th, 2018, Kate Barth, then Legal Director at Freedom Now, highlighted the case while testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. As well, Freedom Now submitted a report detailing the case to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This report was delivered on March 19th, 2020 in advance of Rwanda’s Universal Period Review conducted by the UN in 2021.
Lewis Mudge, Central Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, condemned the arrest and stated: “Serious allegations of torture and witness tampering emerged during the flawed trial in 2016. The court of appeals had an opportunity to investigate these allegations and hold those responsible to account, but instead they doubled down on the decision to stamp out criticism of government policy and action.”
It isn’t known whether Byabagamba’s relative Jean Bosco Mugabe also fled the country like his brother David Himbara who President Kagame wanted to be returned.
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