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South Africa Recalls Envoy to Rwanda over Assassination Attempt

  • Peter Clottey

A political analyst says it is not surprising that South Africa recalled its envoy to Rwanda following diplomatic tensions between Pretoria and Kigali after a recent assassination attempt on an exiled Rwandan army general in Johannesburg.

Professor Rok Ajulu said President Paul Kagame’s government has become a rogue regime which he sees as increasingly intolerant of any dissent ahead of Sunday’s presidential election.

“Since that attempt on General Kayumba [Nyamwasa], there have been tensions, but I think they have been handled quietly. It was some sort of quiet diplomacy. I think South Africa took exception to the fact that an attempt would be made on a former senior member of the Rwandan regime who had formerly come down here as a refugee and an attempt will be made on him here in South Africa,” he said.

Five people have so far been charged in South Africa for the assassination attempt on the former Rwandan envoy on June 19.

General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa was a former Rwandan ambassador to India. He fell out with the Rwandan administration after he was linked with grenade attacks in Kigali.

The former envoy sought asylum in South Africa after fleeing Rwanda. But, Martin Ngoga, Rwanda’s chief prosecutor, accused the former envoy of terrorism and threatening state security and began proceedings to extradite him.

President Kagame has accused the former envoy of fleeing Rwandan justice – a charge Nyamwasa denies.

Ajulu said that the Rwandan administration is known to often use state institutions and resources to harass and intimidate opponents.

“The potential assassins were arrested within 24 hours," he said. "The rumor on the street was that they were all Rwandans. So, the link was established. I talked to the Kayumbas and they had no doubt in their minds that this was directly linked to the Rwandan regime.”

Meanwhile, an official of the South African Foreign Ministry said that, despite the recall of the envoy to Rwanda, Pretoria has not totally broken diplomatic relations with the East African country.

Incumbent President Paul Kagame is widely expected to win Monday’s vote after analysts cited a weak challenge from three opponents that include two men and a woman.

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