Rwanda: Opinion on Yvonne Iryamugwiza Idamange's Farewell Address

Rwandan Activist Yvonne Idamange Iryamukwiza's farewell show, Feb 2021

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Recently, Rwanda has been awakened by a non-ordinary young lady. Given her overall message, I will call her a God-sent Rwandan Queen of Hearts and Hope. Her name is Yvonne Iryamugwiza Idamange. She is a mother of four and in her early forties.(. What is extraordinary about this lady is how she just came to be the bearer of the Rwandan hope aspiring for a better country:  a country in which citizens are treated as human beings and  created equal; a country in which all citizens would enjoy basic human rights; a country free of discrimination, inhuman treatments, unlawful arrests, and disappearance even death.

Her message reminds me of the prophecies from Kibeho in the eighties, when The Virgin Mary appeared to young girls attending a secondary boarding school. In subsequent appearances, The Virgin Mary told them to ask their fellow Rwandans to repent since there may be bad things on the horizon. We all know what happened in the subsequent decades. 

Leveraging the social media,  this extraordinary lady was able to send her message. She used her YouTube channel through which she gave four main broadcasts. In these shows she managed to publicly and openly state what most of her fellow Rwandans think but are scared to say out loud.

Her shows were very well organized with a clear structure and concise talking points. She basically enumerated and went through what was not going well for most of the ordinary Rwandans. In these challenging pandemic times, she wondered why measures enacted by the Rwandan government may be too harsh for the ordinary people either living in urban settings or in countryside areas. She indicated that there were a great number of households lacking the basics, such as food. Before the pandemic, most of ordinary Rwandans were living on day-to-day basis; they do not have loaded bank accounts. The only way to survive is to be able to work for pay and then take care of themselves and their families.

She also touched on the general human rights condition, as well as on the fact that Rwandans were not fully enjoying their basic freedoms. After alluding to several cases of assassinations, disappearances, imprisonments, she wondered why nothing has never been done to address and/or stop these horrendous human rights violations. To her what matters is to be a Rwandan citizen: "a citizen who promotes peace among Rwandans irrespective to who they are. I do not want anyone to be oppressed for who they are, I want all Rwandans to enjoy their basic fundamental rights and freedoms" She added "I love Rwanda, I Love my fellow Rwandans and I will never betray them. Even if I were to be arrested and/or imprisoned I will never do it".

After the first few shows, she started receiving threatening phone calls, and disparaging comments and insults in social medias.  One of her kids was abducted overnight and finally she was sent a governmental envoy to try to intimidate her. According to Mrs Idamage, she was sent an emissary - Edward Bamporiki - to instruct her to stop her YouTube show.

During their interraction, the government's emissary added: "You'll have to shut up; if you don't shut up, they will kill you. That's an event that will only be discussed over a week and then it will be over". Mrs Idamange responded: "I am not afraid to die, I am not scared of handcuffs as I told them "

Clearly, what Mrs Idamange stated above is refreshing. She is also convinced that she has a calling. As Nelson Mandela put it in one of his interviews: " ..... You have a limited time to stay on Earth, You must try and use that period for the purpose of transforming your country into what you desire it to be ..." . In this case, a Rwanda in which Truth, Peace, and Genuine Reconciliation are the rules of the land; that is what we all aspire to and Mrs Idamange is calling all her fellow Rwandans to join her in this long and tough journey.

In her last show, Mrs Idamange calls upon all Rwandans to "stand up and start a True revolution, .... “not a fake revolution”. "Let us fight for democracy; I am not asking anybody to pick up arms, I am not asking anybody to pick up arms, I am not asking anybody to pick up machetes; pick up your Bible, our arm is our Bible, " she said.  The Holy Bible has now become the main tool Rwandans have to express themselves.

In her concluding remarks during her last show, she left all of us a powerful message in the following terms:

"Thank you, let me close here. I don't have to tell you a lot of things; however, I would like to say goodbye since I was warned to not appear in any socio media outlets again. In case I was to do it, I would be killed. Maybe with this video, the least they may come up with charges against me in order to be imprisoned. Again Goodbye and as I said before, I love you very much and I am prepared; don't worry about me. I am not afraid; I am ready. I already told them that prison does not scare me at all. Everyone should know that The Almighty is above all earthly power. Death does not scare me either ; I am already over that stage. If I was not ready; I would not come here to host this show today. I would like to remind everyone; I am not a politician, I am not known in the political landscape. I do not have a political party and do not want to start a political organization either. I am not a person who wants to incite people for insurrection as it was implied in some political quarters. However, I am a crusader who campaigns in order to ensure that the people -fellow Rwandans- do fully enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms."

And to end: " Thank you very very much, may God bless you and give you the strength in all your endeavors. Amen"..

As she stated being prepared even for the ultimate sacrifice, with these words I do again think of Nelson Mandela in 1964 when he was concluding his own defense before the South African Court in Pretoria:

" .... I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

As she predicted few hours later her residence was practically stormed by security services that terrorized her and her children. She was arrested and charged with questionable offenses. The system operatives have even started insinuating that she may be mentally unfit. While in custody, she is waiting to be presented before a kangaroo court that will decide her fate.

Thank you very much Mrs Idamange for this uplifting message of humanity and hope. May the Almighty be on your side in these tough times but be ensured that your call has been heard by a lot of ordinary fellow Rwandans from all walks of life. The True and Peaceful Revolution you started is resonating in the land of thousand hills, as well as far away. In this journey, your courage and determination are the seeds of a New Rwanda in which no citizen is discriminated against because of who he/she is,  but every Rwandan is entitled to enjoy his/her basic fundamental rights and freedoms and,  above all,  the rights to LIFE and genuine JUSTICE.

Thank you very much Mrs Idamange - Rwandan Queen of Hearts and Courage.


Disclaimer: All statements and opinions in this article are solerly my own and do not necessarily express the views or opinions of the publisher.

Jonathan-Hope Ngomituje



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