President Paul Kagame has for the first time spoken about a case in which a couple was supposedly made to sleep in the stadium on their ‘wedding day’.
Kagame told a ruling RPF party Executive Committee at its HQ that the wedding gown and smart attendees, was a hastily done scheme to fool the Police. They were doing other things not a wedding, said Kagame.
As part of the daily Police operations to control spread of the COVID-19 vaccine, on the morning of April 5, a group of 57 people were showed to media as having been found holding a party the previous night at Rainbow Hotel located in Kicukiro, Kigali.
Visible among the culprits was a young woman dressed complete in a wedding gown. Other people were also smartly in their best wears. It looked like the event was a wedding reception.
According to COVID guideline, weddings are allowed, but not receptions, which would usually bring many people late evening and involves alcohol. Even so, the attendees of weddings are not supposed to exceed 30.
For the couple found in the Kicukiro hotel, it was the first such arrest by the police of a wedding event. It shocked the nation, that the Police can be so heartless to ‘kill’ the most important day of anyone starting a family.
The photo of the woman in wedding dress became instant trend. Fundraisers were launched on Twitter for the couple to have a honeymoon so that they can forget their ordeal. They reportedly got a free hotel room for days in one of Kigali’s hotels and up to Rwf 2m (about $2,000) cash to spend.
It was left to Police Spokesman CP John Bosco Kabera who made various media appearances in attempt to explain the Police’s version. All the while, the public was unhappy, and unwilling to take any new information. Social media had created a narrative of an inhumane Police.
At the highest levels of the Rwandan state, it seems, the President was given a completely different version by his men ans women on the ground. Speaking Friday, Kagame said people have developed various ways to try to escape arrest for flouting COVID regulations. The arrested ‘wedding couple’ was one of tricks.
He said: “The issue here is; how can a couple holding their wedding opt to disregard the law? Apart from what I saw on social media, I was told that it was a group of people who hastily rushed to put on wedding clothing when they heard the Police knocking. Look very carefully at the photos, the clothes are not ironed. They had no time to fake it perfectly.”
Kagame defended the operations from which many people are made to spend the night in stadiums or jail – then fined and ordered to take COVID test, saying the actions were necessary to control a dangerous pandemic.
He wondered why people choose to ignore regulations, instead finding other ways to convince the authorities not to arrest them. The President said there was another group who called ambulance claiming they were attending to an emergency when they were bursted.
Kagame said despite low resources available to his government, they had done their best to control the deadly virus using a multifaceted approach at national and international levels.