Friday January 24 2014

Kigali on spot over death of anti-graft activist

By Agencies

Kigali- Human Rights Watch has described Rwanda’s silence a
s “disturbing” over the killing of an anti-corruption activist six months ago.
Gustave Makonene, a local coordinator for the international graft watchdog Transparency International whose work included documenting allegations of police corruption, was killed in July last year.

Human Rights Watch said four arrests were made after the murder, but the suspects were released due to lack of evidence. The group said since then, investigations “appear to have stalled”.

“In many countries, the unresolved murder of an anti-corruption campaigner would have made the headlines; instead, it seems everyone is just hoping the issue will go away. This sends a chilling message to those campaigning for accountability in Rwanda,” Mr Daniel Bekele, the Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

When contacted yesterday, a spokesman from the prosecution office insisted investigations were ongoing.

“The investigation continues and we are following up on all possible leads,” Mr Alain Mukuralinda said.

Human Rights Watch said its own investigation into the killing had revealed that the victim was apparently tracked by a police officer in the days leading up to his death.

“The fact that Makonene may have been looking into police corruption and that a police officer was seeking to confirm his identity just before his murder raises questions, at the very least,” Bekele said.
The group added the silence over the case, illustrates the weakness of independent organisations and media in Rwanda caused by alleged government intimidation.