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Fellow Rwandans and Friends of Rwanda, on the 16th of October at 16.00hrs Moscow time, while I was in Moscow, I received the saddest message that His Majesty King Kigeli had passed on in exile.
I am deeply saddened and devastated to hear of His Majesty King Kigeli’s passing and I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the King’s family, relatives and the Rwandan people. I will always remember His Majesty as the father of the nation and a significant influence for good in people’s lives. He was an honest, selfless and cheerful King who loved to forego his own pleasure for the good of others, especially to work for the development of young people.
The death of HM King Kigeli V in exile is indeed a tragic loss of disproportion. He became an irreplaceable bridge that left a wound that will never heal and a scar that will never disappear.
His legacy was a great one for he was a champion of peace and opposed all sorts of violence. He was a great King who always put peace before anything else. His Majesty was always willing to put his country before his own personal interests and even welfare.
King Kigeli’s noble work and his years dedicated to the service of his countrymen will last long after h is death, and keep him in the hearts and memories of his people forever and always.
HM King Kigeli V ruled Rwanda from 28thJuly 1959 to 28th Jan 1961 after he succeeded his elder brother King Mutara III Rudahigwa, who was assassinated by the Belgian colonial master on the 25th of July 1959 because of his demand for Rwanda’s Independence.
His Majesty began his unforgettable journey into exile by his deportation to Tanganyika (Tanzania) on 2 October 1961. He lived in Dar Es-salaam (Tanzania) from 1961 – 1962, Nairobi (Kenya) from 1963-1971, and in Kampala, Uganda–during Gen. Idi Amin’s regime from 1972 -1978. He then return to Nairobi (Kenya) from 1978 -1992. HM King Kigeli V, finally arrived in Oklahoma in the United States on the 2nd of June 1992, two weeks later he moved to Oakton, Virginia, where he was granted asylum in the same month.
I will always remember the first time I met His Majesty; his humility and warmness in receiving people cannot be overlooked. I count myself privileged to be among those that have known him. I met King Kigeli V for the first time in Masaka, Uganda when he came to visit the Rwandan refugees living in Masaka.
I recall a moment when my late father, Fredrick Ntarindwa -Gifenene, together with the late Gasamagera introduced me to the King. Later I visited him at his residence on Buganda Road, in Kampala, Uganda and again in Nairobi, Kenya in 1984 and 1985. However, unfortunately we lost contact soon after that due to being deported myself by the Uganda government to Europe (Sweden), on the 28th of December 1986. In 1996, I discovered the King’s contact information in the US through his younger brother, the late Rwigemera, who also died while in exile in Belgium. The People and I will miss him greatly.
I have many extraordinary memories of His Majesty. Many include telephone discussions, sometimes 3 calls a week, regarding Rwandan history, the May 2010 historical event, and the monstrous events of 1959 that drove him and other Rwandans into exile.
HM King Kigeli V enriched me personally with the great history of our country, the region and people.
His Majesty King Kigeli V never allowed circumstances to effect his loyalty to his people. He created a diverse array of humanitarian programs in an effort to take care of all Rwandan peoples wherever they are. What a King of valour and honour! A King that was known for heading the King Kigeli V Foundation even in exile, promoting humanitarian work for Rwandan refugees, and for his activities in maintaining the cultural heritage.
He traveled internationally to speak on behalf of the Rwandan people and repeatedly called for peace and harmony among his sheep. King Kigeli, will be forever be remembered for his continued advocacy for the innocent, the defenseless and the downtrodden ones, and his belief to reconcile all political, ethnic, and religious divide in Rwanda to use the democratic process as a tool to solve any disputes.
His Majesty King Kigeli V always hoped to return to his country, but the Holy Mighty God has taken his life without allowing him to share his own side of the story to his people. As we know that the late HM King Kigeli V was a king of Rwanda, he wasn’t a king of clan, ethnicity or a particular group of people, but rather he was a king of all twelve millio n Rwandans, who are currently mourning and in grief for their beloved King. He was an extraordinary King who will always be remembered for his great undying love for country as a nation and people. It is my conciliated belief, that no person or group sho uld try to politicize the death of our King, for political gain, since no individual person or group owned him, rather, he belongs to all Rwandans.
My party also commends the Rwanda government’s decisions to facility the repatriation of the HM King Kigeli’s body back to home, as a former head of state. I hereby , therefore, appealing, to all Rwandan irrespective of their religion and political background, to come together at one of the saddest time for our country, to ensure that the late King Kigeli V Ndahindirwa, remains are repatriated and laid to rest in his homeland where he can receive accord with a state farewell by all twelve million Rwandans currently mourning and grieving for their King today. This shouldn’t be a decision on a political level, ye t rather a decision that is taken to reflect the best interest of deceased King, and Rwanda, as a nation and a people.
Rwanda has experienced waves of tragedy, since 1959. These were as result of deliberate error made an individual. I hope this sad time that our people and country are experiencing can bring us together to avert another tragedy. This can only be averted by our consensus on the remains of our King, HM King Kigeli V. Ndahindurwa to be repatriated back home for a state funeral and burial at his ancestor’s tomb. There is no doubt that what HM King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa wished all Rwandans to witness him being laid to rest.
The people’s struggle was his struggle. Their triumph was his triumph. Rwandan’s dignity and their hope deeply found expression in his life. He longed to use his fatherhood and influence to hold his country together when it threatened to break apart. This is the HM King Kigeli V’s memory that can never be erased from our memory as Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel stated that “Those who died while trying to make our world a better place, didn’t actually die, they proved some points. Our job is to notice them and continue from where they stopped.” It is my appeal, to call all Rwanda to emulate the legacy left behind by HM King Kigeli V Ndahindirwa, always to distance ourselves from all acts of violence and extend warm hands of friendship and unity among ourselves.
The Rwanda People’s Party (RPP), joins hands together in so lidarity with the whole of Rwanda in mourning the loss of a great King and a father of Rwanda as a nation and a people. Once again, I extend our deepest sorrow and condolences to His Majesty King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa’s family at this difficult time. May the Holy Mighty God, Rest the Soul of His Majesty King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa in Internal Peace.
John V Karuranga, President
Rwanda People’s Party (RPP)
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