Monday, March 20, 2006

IBIHWIHWISWA: Where's MP Brigitte Tuyishime?

Rwanda: MPs Query Colleague's Escape

The New Times (Kigali)
March 20, 2006 Posted to the web March 20, 2006
James Munyaneza

Parliamentarians have expressed serious concern over the alleged escape of their former colleague Brigitte Tuyishime, who allegedly slipped out of the country late last year.During last Thursday's plenary session, the legislators said they were disturbed that a person whose criminal dossier was being prepared could easily evade border checks without notice.

Henriette Sebera Mukamurangwa (Gikongoro) put to task a panel comprised of Fidel Mitsindo (RPF) and Mediatrice Uwiteguye (RPF), seeking to know whether reports that Tuyishime had fled were valid.

The duo was presenting a report on the security situation in the country following a tour by the Standing Committee on Security and Sovereignty last year. Mitsindo chairs the committee, while Uwiteguye was assisting him to present the report.

In response, Mitsindo urged members to recommend that the government issues an international arrest warrant against the former lawmaker.

"I suggest that we ask the relevant authorities to process an arrest warrant. It is a matter of concern," Mitsindo said.

Though many MPs said they were 'deeply disturbed' by the escape, the motion was put on hold.
Tuyishime resigned her parliamentary seat on December 15, 2005, following her alleged scandalous attack on genocide survivors during a working tour in the then Butare province (now the Southern province).

She reportedly told members of the Standing Committee on Security and Sovereignty, on November 4, during a breakfast at Fauco Hotel that: "If only something can rid us of survivors, we can be peaceful; they are merely five."

According to the Committee members who were with her on the trip, Tuyishime was reacting to an unlinked discussion regarding a woman in the then Gisenyi province, whose child was allegedly defiled by a genocide survivor several years ago, but who was instead briefly imprisoned without the due process of law in respect to the defiled kid.

A few days after The New Times broke the news of Tuyishime's alleged derogative remarks on December 16, 2005 under the title, 'New Genocide scandal unfolds', her mobile phone was persistently switched off up to the time we went to press (Saturday evening).

Sources say Tuyishime vanished during the festive season, a few days after recording a statement with the Judicial Police. When The New Times visited her home in Kicukiro district on December 27, relatives said she 'had travelled to her home in Gisenyi for New Year celebrations.'

Speaking to The New Times, last Saturday, Police Spokesman Superintendent Theos Badege was non-committal on the possibility of Tuyishime's escape.

"What I can confirm is that at least she is not in police's hands. I only hear rumours that she might have escaped," Badege said Saturday, adding however, that the reports about the former MP fleeing the country would not derail police investigations.

"Once the dossier is complete, we will go through the due process to have her apprehended," he said and added that even if it was true she fled, "today; it is very easy to arrest her through Interpol."

"Nowadays, it's simple to have a fugitive apprehended from any country. We just have to conclude the dossier and then workout the modalities of arrest," Badege said.

He further observed that the police could not have arrested Tuyishime at a time when incriminating evidence against her was still scanty.

However, the Prosecutor General Jean de Dieu Mucyo said arresting a suspect from a foreign country is not as simple as when the suspect is at home.

"Certainly, if she fled, the situation is a bit complicated," he told The New Times by telephone on Saturday.

He said that his office was yet to receive the dossier, adding that Prosecution was ready to take an appropriate action "upon receipt of the dossier."

Giving an example of the recent arrest and deportation of one Sebastian, a defaulter who had fled to Malawi with millions of money belonging to the Bank of Commerce, Development and Industry (BCDI) 'and various individuals', the duo said the world was now united in bringing criminals to book wherever they are.

The two could however, not say which country they thought Tuyishime had fled to. But unconfirmed reports indicate that she could be in Belgium.

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) boss Prof. Chrysologue Karangwa, last Thursday, announced Claire Kayirangwa (UDPR) as Tuyishime's replacement in the Chamber of Deputies.
Kayirangwa took oath last Friday alongside new Cabinet entrants Ambassador Stanislas Kamanzi (infrastructure), Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana (internal security) and Vincent Karega, the State Minister for Industry and Investment Promotion.


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