To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie,

I have read what you wrote about the Mwami Kigeli regarding his wish and conditions for returning to Rwanda.

The Mwami is a friend of mine and we do have a lot to share on a personal level. I have been in direct communication with him since 1994. We do talk over the phone from time to time.

The Mwami is a very revered person in Rwanda especially among the elders. Many Rwandans of today have never seen him. They hear about him. The Mwami left among the first when the first genocide of TUTSIS started in 1959. He has since been living in exile. One was a forced EXILE, the other actually being a self-imposed exile, without forgetting that he lived in exile in his childhood when he was with his father MUSINGA in MOBA in the now CONGO.

After the war of liberation I personally had several talks with KIGELI about him returning to Rwanda. First he told me that all Rwandan refugees around the world had to return before he does it. He was speaking about the people who had masterminded the genocide and were camping in the Congo.

KAGAME himself came to the United States in 1996 and went to see KIGELI in his house in Virginia. He had personally come to invite him to return to his homeland. He would be treated like a head-of-state with honour, supported by the government. He could live in the palace in Nyanza and conduct royal ceremonies for the people, as in the history of Rwanda.

KIGERI spelled out his main condition, that was to return as a MWAMI, not just as a figure-head.

But this was beyond the control of KAGAME himself. The RPF, being a revolutionary republican movement, could understandably not agree to it. KAGAME told KIGELI that it will be up to the people of RWANDA to decide which form of government they wanted.

In the beginning of 2000 a commission was set up with TITO, JEAN MUTSINZI, the actual speaker of the parliament, to hear the views of Rwandans all over the world regarding the form of government they wanted.

The vast majority REJECTED Monarchy in all of its forms.

All the best,
Sharangabo Rufagari

Greetings Sharangabo,

Thank you very much for explaining some of the details about why King Kigeli has not returned to Rwanda. It seems that he has been invited to return by President Kagame and his government but has chosen not to which I must admit I find very disappointing.

Why doesn't he just come home to Rwanda - now that it is a peaceful country - and live in the palace that is sitting there empty since its last king - his half-brother Rudahigwa - died in 1959 and Kigeli was forced into exile.

Palace New Fireplace 1

When I visited the royal city of Nyanza this past summer it was sad to see the palaces as museums instead of as homes for the king and his entourage, especially once I realized that the 7-foot King I'd read about - Kigeli V - was still alive.

As you say, the older people of Rwanda rever the Mwami and it would be good for their hearts and souls to have him back. And for the younger generation - those born after the reign of kings was over and the series of genocides which followed - it would be a way of bonding them closer to their nation and to each other. Afterall, as King Kigeli travels the world on speaking tours he says he loves all his people - Hutu, Tutsi and Twa - and is trying to join them as one.

And yet, in his actions - by refusing to return to Rwanda unless he is given political power - King Kigeli isn't living up to his words.

It must hurt the Rwandan people when they learn that their king would rather live in the western world than return to his homeland which he says he loves so much. He is 72 years old now and hasn't been in Rwanda in 48 years.

I think it's time King Kigeli returned to his land and his people. I'm sure he would be welcomed by all and it would do him and the country a world of good.

All the best,
Jackie Jura




Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~