The Rwandan government has allegedly refused entry to Rwanda to a 7-month old Rwandan baby returning from exile with her mother. The mother, Claire Nadine Kasinge and her baby have since Wednesday November 23rd, 2016, been sleeping on the floor or the chairs in the Nairobi, Kenya airport boarding room.
Claire Nadine Kasinge is the spokesperson of ISHEMA, a Rwandan political party based in exile and co-founded by Father Thomas Nahimana, a Catholic priest. Father Nahimana, 45, on his return to Rwanda, after 11 years of exile, was barred from boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday Nov 23th, 2016, a statement from
him and the supporters of his political part ISHEMA, said. According to sources, he was planning to register his Ishema party, upon his return to Rwanda and then run in the 2017 presidential election.
Since Wednesday, Father Thomas Nahimana and his companions, including Claire Nadine Kasinge and her 7-month old baby, have been sleeping in the airport waiting room in Nairobi.
According to his supporters, Father Thomas Nahimana started planning his return back to Rwanda more than a year ago. He decided to challenge the Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame in upcoming presidential elections, after a controversial forced referendum to approve a constitutional change to let President Paul Kagame stay in power until 2034.
General Paul Kagame's government has been widely criticized by human rights independent organizations and observers and international rights groups and Western donors for stifling free speech, widespread repression, grave human rights abuses and potential war crimes and genocides.
Father Nahimana's statement, issued from Nairobi and seen by AfroAmerica Network correspondents in Rwanda, while being distributed to the journalists, read:
"As we were preparing to embark, we were greatly surprised to be given the message by Kenya Airways' agents that Rwanda's government had just denied us the right to board this flight and the right of entry to Rwandan territory."
Father Thomas Nahimana, who is from the Rwandan ethnic Hutu, has often criticized General Paul Kagame's government as a dictatorship and called on government officials to recognize the victims from all ethnic groups, especially both Tutsi and Hutu, during the 1994 Rwandan 1994 inter-ethnic massacres.
AfroAmerica Network's attempts to contact Rwandan Government were mostly unsuccessful. Officials contacted within the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs referred AfroAmerica Network to the immigration officials within the Rwandan Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration. Calls to the immigration officials were not answered. AfroAmerica Network also made calls to the Ministry in the Prime Minister’s office in charge of Gender and Family Promotion to enquire about what the ministry officials thought about the welfare of the 7-year old Rwandan child who has been denied entry to Rwanda. The officials who answered the call, before they abruptly hang up, also referred AfroAmerica Networl to immigration authorities or to contact the Canadian government where the kid and his mother are allegedly based.
Government backed medias and groups linked to the Rwandan government have published articles or made statement calling on National Public Prosecution Authority to arrest Father Thomas Nahimana and his companions as soon they in Kigali, Rwanda.