October 18, 2019

Wife Of Missing Dissident Rutabana Denies Letter Attributed To Her Over Husband’s Disappearance

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Benjamin Rutabana is well-known in Rwanda and among diaspora for his militant songs, with the biggest hit “Africa” before he went into exile and joined opposition platforms against President Paul Kagame’s government

The fate of singer-turned dissident militant Ben Rutabana has again taken a new twist, barely three weeks after two letters surfaced in which his wife supposedly announces her husband is missing.

A three-page letter dated October 2, purported to be written by Diane Rutabana, blames Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, exiled in South Africa, of being privy to her husband’s whereabouts. The letter says he left Europe last month coming to Uganda, but they lost contact.

Then another two-page letter surfaced on October 13, in which, she allegedly attacks Ugandan intelligence for Rutabana’s fate. It is this second one which Diane is denying.

The first letter, sent to Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an outfit of dissidents led by Nyamwasa, is authentic. Diane did confirm this letter in subsequent interviews.

In interview with BBC Greatlakes service Gahuzamiryango aired in Kinyarwanda/Kirundi on Tuesday October 16, Diane says she has never written the second letter.

Since 2014, BBC is switched off in Rwanda on FM whenever time for the current affairs program comes on air every weekday at 6:30pm and Saturday morning. The reruns are also blocked.

The same denial is posted on two Twitter accounts, with short statement denouncing the second letter attributed to her.

However, the fact of the matter remains that Rutabana has been missing and neither his dissident colleagues or government in Rwanda has said it knows where he is. Uganda has also not commented.

According to information on websites of exiled opposition groups, Rutabana has been embroiled in bitter internal disagreements with Gen Nyamwasa and other top RNC members. They report that before his disappearance happened, he had been expelled from RNC.

Blogs and social media accounts that have been filled with virulent attacks on Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, due to ongoing Rwanda-Uganda fallout, have vigorously promoted narrative that Gen Nyamwasa and Uganda intelligence know Rutabana’s fate.

Local media also widely published details in the said second letter, some accompanying the articles with far-reaching commentary.

The Chronicles shared the first authentic letter on its Twitter account. It did not use the second disputed one.

The question that remains unanswered now is who wrote the alleged letter and for what purpose.

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