Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

From hunter to hunted: The tale of a state agent turned stateFrom hunter to hunted: The tale of a state agent turned state enemy

From hunter to hunted: The tale of a state agent turned stateFrom hunter to hunted: The tale of a state agent turned state enemy
Confessions of a former spy linked with Kigeli, FDLR, Kayumba and now on the run
Bahati has fled three times since 2005
Thrown in pit latrine alive, but survived
How his friend Emeritha Munkunda was assassinated

Following the assassination of Ms. Emeritha Munkunda, a longtime RPF cadre, in Gisenyi, late last month, another veteran RPF cadre and former Rwandan intelligence operative, Jean Bahati Bahavu is on the run for dear life, after being tipped by a highly-placed Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) Intelligence Officer that he would not live to see the next three days.
Bahati, 50, had already fled Rwanda to Goma in neighbouring DRC, the same place his compatriot Ms.Munkunda was murdered from a few days later.
Goma town neighbors with Northern Rwanda ’s Gisenyi town, where another politician, Ntare Semadwinga was murdered in June, this year. Like Ntare and Emeritha, Bahati was also being linked to General Kayumba, FDLR and several other ‘state enemies’.
Like most other Rwandan Tutsi born as a refugees in the then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where his parents had fled to, Bahati’s father belonged to the Inyenzi - the first group of Rwandan Tutsi exiles who tried unsuccessfully to invade Rwanda and topple the then regime of Gregoire Kayibanda.
Later, like father like son,-In 1990 Bahati, a civilian then, joined the several Tutsi who waged the liberation war against the Habyarimana regime. “I was in charge of Masisi,” he recalls. Masisi is in eastern DRC, and by being in-charge of the area Bahati was responsible for among others recruiting youth for the RPF armed wing (RPA) and collecting financial contributions for the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) cause.
Two years later, Bahati was taken for an official cadre-ship course in Karama, in the then, Umutara Prefecture , now part of the eastern province. He passed the course, becoming a fully-fledged RPF cadre, and continued with the task up to 1994 when the RPF captured power. “I was in Kigali on the day the city was captured,”he says.
He then brought his family to Gisenyi in Rwanda to end their long stay in exile. He was also later posted to work Gisenyi, focusing mainly on mobilization and other related assignments. “At the time, I was working with the first Prefet (Governor), of Gisenyi, Denis Karera, now a retired Police Commissioner.”
Bahati said that in the absence of district officers at the time, RPF cadres would take charge of most of the administrative and political duties at district level.
“I did exactly that in Nyamyumba; I actually nominated the first Bourgemstre of Nyamyumba, Festus Habimana,” he reveals.
Thrown in ‘latrine’ alive
At the time, Bahati says, the biggest challenge to Kagame’s regime was the insurgency caused by the remnants of the former army (Ex-FAR ) that had fled to eastern DRC in the north, the very place where he was posted.
He says the job wasn’t an easy one though.
“In 1997, I was at the centre of the capture of several insurgents (FDLR fighters) who had infiltrated Gisenyi. However, before they were handed over, their relatives bribed Capt. Ruvusha (now a Colonel), who was the RDF commander in the area, and they were released. I made a report about it (typical work of cadre and spy) and filed it to the authorities, and this caused me problems,” he explains.
“When Ruvusha was tipped about the report,” he adds, he was hunted like a criminal.
“In the company of the then Nyamyumba Mayor Osca Kabayiza, Ruvusha beat me and later the two threw me in a pit latrine under construction, covering it with soil. I was still alive,” Bahati narrates, adding that he was retrieved after his brother Deo Tabaro reported the crime to the then provincial boss Jean Baptist Muhirwa.
Bahati said he was admitted to Gisenyi Referral Hospital where he spent five months, after which he was transferred to Umubano dispensary where he recovered.
Attempts to have the two offenders prosecuted were futile. A friend of mine, a businessman and respected RPF cadre, Pascal Munyampirwa advised me to take legal action, but it didn’t work. ‘It was not easy to have an RDF officer arrested then,” he says. Munyampirwa is also in exile in the US .

Friends and colleagues who worked with Bahati during that time say he was very instrumental in political mobilization, leading to the surrender and repatriation of thousands of rebel (FDLR) fighters from DRC.
“I remember him during that time. We brought many Hutu from Congo (DRC) together. I even remember the key figures he helped repatriate in collaboration with Congolese and other Hutus in Gisenyi”, Rwasa, another RPF cadre who worked Bahati, said in an interview with The Newsline. He added that he was saddened by Bahati’s current woes.
“He was a hard working cadre. We did a lot together. There are many people who can tell you his story; Fidel Mitsindo, a former RPF MP, Theonesite Mutsindashyaka, the fomer Kigali mayor and many others. It’s a long story,” Rwasa said and added: ‘I can’t say more, you know”.
And,  according to Bahati , a former Pastor in the DRC, the feud with Ruvusha and his subsequent decision to return to his former job of preaching was just the beginning of his hard life.
The former spy and cadre had now become a perceived state enemy.
King Kigeli
In 2002, shortly after quitting the RPF spying work and cadreship, Bahati says he was called by one Kanyankore, a relative of business tycoon and RPF top official, Tribert Rujugiro.
Kanyakore, the then Gisenyi RPF Chairman asked Bahati why he was no longer active in RPF work and why he was no longer attending their meetings. Before he answered, Bahati says, he was asked to explain his dealings with the exiled King, Kigeli Ndahindurwa.
Kigeli, the last King of Rwanda has been in exile since 1959, when he was ousted by the Belgian colonialists, who supervised Rwanda ’s transition to a Republic from a monarchy.
Bahati, says, he told Kanyakore that, while Kigeli was a friend of his deceased father, he (Bahati) had no ties with the monarchist.
He said that after Kanyankore interrogation, a very famous and ruthless military intelligence operative, called Gitwaza and commonly known as Pasteri, also surmoned him and interrogated him over the same accusations. “Again, I confessed, I didn’t know him and it was true,” Bahati says.
At around the same time, Bahati said he was arrested by police.
“I was picked from my church, Inkurunziza in Gisenyi while preaching. The two police officers Muheto and Kalinda were the men behind my arrest. Surprisingly, at the police station I was accused of defilement; a trumped up charge, and I got to know, things weren’t easy for me,” Bahati narrates.     
He adds that several RPF officials who knew him as a ruling party cadre intervened and he was released, but not before he spent two months in Gisenyi Central Prison. He said he was followed until 2004, even after the girl testified that he was innocent.
Emeritha Munkunda
It is after the tribulations, Bahati says, that he was warned by a close friend and fellow cadre Emeritha Munkunda, who advised him to flee.
She was right, for Bahati was arrested again in 2004 and interrogated once again over his ‘connections’ with Kigeli.
“Emeritha followed me to the police station, where a man, not known to me was brought in to testify about my ‘dealings’ with ‘state enemies’. The man claimed I gave them guns twice, on the first occasion 12, and on the second occasion 15 guns. I was shocked,” he narrates
Bahati said he was later taken to an RPF meeting at Ingoro ya Muvoma, where he met the area police boss Kalinda and other police and army officers.
“Several RPF cadres and RDF officers present including Col. Ibambasi were shocked; they knew me as a committed and active cadre. But luckily, the man who was pinning me, later confessed that he was being used and I was released. I think for him, he was killed,” Bahati narrated and added: “At this point, Emeritha advised me to live Gisenyi and relocate to Kigali which I did.” He left Gisenyi for Kigali on 02 April, 2004.
“I can kill you and no one asks me about it”
“I established my church in Kigali , and the first sermon was supervised by Laurent Karumuna Nkunda, the man who later waged war on DRC and was arrested and held incommunicado by the Kigali regime almost two years ago,” Bahati says of his new life in Kigali .
But more was to come. His 13 hectares of land were grabbed by the authorities and as he tried to follow up the matter, he was arrested again and this time interrogated by military intelligence operatives at Kabindi (former Department of Military intelligence) headquarters.
“I was told, I was working with Kigeli and FDLR. At the time, there was a rumor that Kigeli had rebels ready to attack Rwanda, and the intelligence was saying, I was at the center of it all,” he says and continues: “From Kabindi, I was taken to Remera Police Station, where I spent two weeks, before I was released by the Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, in November, 2004, but, instructed to appear at prosecution every Friday.”
 A month later, Bahati said, his car was shot at by a soldier who he later identified but that all efforts to have him prosecuted amounted to naught. “In January, 2005, Ngoga ordered me to go to Gisenyi prosecution, and have a blood check to establish whether I had not defiled a girl who was accusing me of defilement,” Bahati recounts and adds that the same trumped up charge he been pinned for two years ago had now been resurrected.
My blood samples were taken forcefully in the Gisenyi Prosecutor’s office and I was denied access to a lawyer. I wrote a letter to the President of the Republic (Kagame) about my predicament and copied the letter to several other authorities, he says of the letter which was seen by The Newsline.
“Later, on 05, Feb, 2005, the Prosecutor General called me in his office in Kigali and blatantly told me: ‘I can kill you and no one will ask me about it’”. This, Bahati recalls with tears in his eyes and said that Ngoga, also asked him about his connection with Kigeli, took his passport and told him he was going to be taken to Gisenyi.
“It was 6pm, and knowing how people met their death at the hands of security operatives, I sensed something terrible was afoot,” Bahati says, and adds that Police came in and took him to a waiting car to take him to Gisenyi in the night.
“Aware that I was going to be killed, I jumped out of the double cabin car as we held up in a jam at the RRA offices,” he says and adds that he then rushed to a friend’s home, a fellow pastor who later helped him flee to Uganda .
RPF delegation
An RPF delegation contacted him in Uganda , and they came to talk him, after some RPF cadres inside the country wrote to the President saying that Bahati had been mistreated and denied a chance to defend himself against accusations linking him to King Kigeli. The RPF Secretariat then decided on sending that delegation to meet him.
They agreed that he was an innocent man, and he accepted to go back home after staying in Uganda for five months. Arriving in Kigali , bahati said he held talks with the RPF Secretary General, Francois Ngarambe who assured him, all was over. But, it wasn’t.
Fleeing again
In 2006, things went awryand again, a friend working in the department of military intelligence advised him to flee Rwanda and go to Congo . For the second time, Bahati left Rwanda , to Goma, DRC.
“Between 2006 and 2008, I wasn’t living my house in Goma. My children were still in Rwanda , in Gisenyi, they came in visiting their mum, but were never told I was around,” he says 
While in Goma, his friend Emeritha, was also targeted. Two intelligence operatives (maneko) found her in her home, in Gisenyi and interrogated her about ‘working with enemies of the state’. In August this year, she was assassinated days before she was warned about her dealings with Kayumba - (refer to RPF SG cited in former cadre’s assassination).
On the same day Emeritha was assassinated, an unknown Rwandan was seen in Bahati’s compound in Goma.
And, after the several tip-offs Bahati needed no reminder to flee. This, he did for the third time since 2005, and fled to Uganda where he arrived on 03, August (year?).
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