Deceased Rwandese gospel musician Kizito Mihigo has been feted for standing against dictatorship with the 2020 laureate of Havel International Prize.
The award usually honors activists who stand against dictatorship thus Kizito becomes the first posthumous awardee since the inception of the prize in 2012.
“Today HRF is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent, celebrating activists who exhibit bravery, creativity, and artistic innovation in standing up against dictatorships,’ read the tweet.
Others who have been honoured alongside Kizito are Omar Abdulaziz, an exiled Saudi political satirist based in Canada, and Badiucao – an exiled Chinese dissident artist based in Australia.
The 2020 Havel laureates are Chinese visual artist Badiucao (@Badiucao), Saudi political satirist Omar Abdulaziz (@oamaz7), and the late Rwandan gospel musician and activist Kizito Mihigo (@kizitomihigo), who is the first posthumous awardee since the prize's inception in 2012. pic.twitter.com/n5gonTFQVs
— Human Rights Foundation (@HRF) September 17, 2020
Kizito was found dead in a police cell in February in the capital, Kigali with his death igniting chaos across the country from his supporters who claimed foul play.
For instance, activists dismissed the narrative by the Rwandan government that the singer had committed suicide in police cells three days after his arrest.
“He was found hanging by an officer in the morning on Monday. He used the bedsheets that he was sleeping on to hang himself. Preliminary investigations show that he hanged himself on the window of his cell, but more investigations are being conducted,” said Ms Umuhoza the Government spokesperson.
Kizito who was an ardent critic of President Paul Kagame had been arrested on Friday after he allegedly attempted to flee the country to Burundi through a porous border. He was held in solitary confinement at the Rwanda Investigative Bureau (RIB) Station in Remera, the capital city of Rwanda.
Accepting the news, Delphine Uwituze, the leader of Kizito Mihigo Foundation (KMF) stated that it was a big surprise.
“It was a big surprise and happiness for us as KMP to learn this news”, she said.