The Rwandan Government has pardoned jailed opposition leader Victoire Ingabire and singer Kizito Mihigo following relentless campaigns by Kenyan bloggers.
The campaigns led by bloggers Abraham Mutai and Robert Alai bore fruits as the two walked free on Saturday.
DICTATOR @PaulKagame has released Kizito Mihigo & Victoria Ingabire. They're free. And as dictator do, he has taken all credit, saying that he pardoned them after they asked for mercy. Well, people accused of treason, LAUGHABLE! Either way, is time for #FreeDianeRwigara! VIVA pic.twitter.com/XkJ2l9p4OQ— Lord Abraham Mutai (@ItsMutai) September 15, 2018
Ms Ingabire, leader of the unregistered FDU-Inkingiwas jailed in 2010 was serving a 15 year jail sentence but was released after serving 8 years. Mihigo was serving a 10 year jail sentence in 2015.
According to the Justice Minister Johnston Businge, President Kagame only decided to pardon the two alongside some other 2,000 inmates, after Ms Ingabire asked for mercy twice already.
“Among (those released) are Mr Kizito Mihigo and Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the remainder of whose sentences were commuted by Presidential prerogative following their most recent applications for clemency in June this year,” a statement by the Ministry of Justice reads in part.
But Kahawa Tungu understands that the head of state did not willingly let the two go.
The opposition leader was charged with forming armed groups, undermining the government and trying to minimize the 1994 genocide by fundraising for FDLR, a terror group linked to the genocide against the Tutsi.
Mihigo on his part pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to kill President Paul Kagame among other government officials.
Still behind bars is one of Kagame’s fiercest critics, Diane Rwigara who opposed him during the 2017 vote.
Ms Rwigara, a women’s rights activist and businesswoman was arrested and accused of fraud and incitement, claims she continues to deny.
It was after she launched the People Salvation Movement (Itabaza), an activist group to “encourage Rwandans to hold their government accountable” that she was apprehended.
While Kagame is lauded for the economic turn around, he is also responsible for a rather mute press restricted from articulating critical views of the government which are meant to advance the country’s social, legal, economic and political life.
Do you have a story you want told? Do you know of a sensitive story you would like us to get our hands on? Email your news TIPS to [email protected]