Anne Rwigara, one of Rwanda’s most vocal opposition figures died in her home in California, United States on Thursday, December 28.
Reports reveal that she succumbed to multiple organ failures after complaining of stomach complications.
However, according to Anne’s mother, her daughter’s death was a mystery since she was not sick.
“She was not sick. It’s just a matter of days. It’s just a mystery,” her mother, Adeline Rwigara stated, expressing shock at the unfortunate demise.
This demise marks yet another tragedy in the Rwigara family, which began when Anne’s sister, Diane Rwigara in May 2017 announced she would run for presidency against the incumbent Rwanda president, Paul Kagame.
However, the National Electoral Commission would later stop Diane from participating in the election, ruling that the hundreds of signatures she submitted to validate her candidacy were forged.
Charges Against Anne Rwigara and Her Family
Consequently, Anne and her mother Adeline Rwigara spent a year in jail in Rwanda over alleged tax evasion and electoral malpractices.
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On the tax evasion charges, the Rwanda Revenue Authority notified the Rwigara family that they owed $6.7 million (Kshs 1 billion) in taxes.
As a result of these convictions, the Rwandan government closed the family business and froze their bank accounts.
Additionally, the government auctioned the Rwigara’s tobacco business, which at the time was their last remaining asset.
However, in October 2018, the Rwandan High Court decided to acquit Diane and Adeline Rwigara of all charges against them.
In this case, the two women had been arbitrarily detained between September 2017 and October 2018 on politically motivated charges and faced up to 22 years in prison, if convicted.
Unbeknownst to them, this was just the beginning of their woes.
More Arrests Faced by the Rwigara Family
In 2019, Anne Rwigara was declared missing and only five days later did the Rwandan police confirm to having arrested her alongside her mother and sister.
This was despite the police having denied having them in custody previously.
A statement from the police said they had “applied the warrant against Adeline Rwigara, Diane Rwigara and Anne Rwigara as stipulated in article 48 of the criminal procedural law.”
Notably, in February 2015, the family patriarch, a prominent businessman in Rwanda Assinapol Rwigara died, in a car accident.
However, the Rwigara family contested this version of events, and asked President Paul Kagame to investigate the mysterious death.
In a turn of events, Kagame responded by demolishing Rwigara’s hotel in Kigali.