By Robert Rutoma
When Deo Nyirigira fleeced his flock of millions of Rwandan francs in the late 90s, even the most jaded cynic wouldn’t have guessed that the so-called man of God would end up serving Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC. Nyirigira had defrauded thousands, but when he went to Uganda he worked with RNC and Ugandan Military Intelligence, CMI – one of the closest thing to agents of the Devil in the Great Lakes Region (at least if you talk to one of it’s numerous victims tortured in the dungeons of Mbuya).
But who truly is Nyirigira, a man that was living far beyond his means in Nyamirambo, enjoying luxuries like Mercedes Benzes, suits from London, and the like? The first answer is that he was a “returnee” – a Rwandan citizen that had lived for a whole generation in exile, until the collective efforts of Rwandans to liberate themselves from obscurantist regimes, brought him back home. Then he set up a church, AGAPE Nyamirambo where he started embezzling members’ funds. Then when the agencies of law began investigating him, he ran back to Uganda, to begin bad-mouthing Rwanda that “the government was very bad!”
That is how these people roll. Be the author of your own problems through greed, blame Rwanda! But now, years after working with Nyamwasa, the spotlight is on an ongoing rift with his erstwhile boss. Their conflicts have culminated into a bitter split that has inadvertently exposed more cracks in the fabric of the terrorist organization.
With the recent formation of a new armchair terror group – Rwanda Alliance for Change, RAC – led by Jean Paul Turayishimye, Nyamwasa’s former escort, there are reports of efforts to break away RNC support in Uganda. The efforts are led by “Pastor” Deo Nyirigira, to benefit Turayishimiye’s group.
All these activities show Deo Nyirigira has been more a preacher on behalf of the terrorism “gospel” anything else.
Until the ongoing turmoil hit RNC, Nyirigira was the leader of the so-called “RNC Uganda Province”. It has been an open secret that his Agape Church, the same name he took from his former church in Nyamirambo, based in Uganda’s Mbarara District has never been a platform for spiritual nourishment. The ‘church’ has always been a recruitment and mobilization base for terrorism, for RNC.
This website has reported before that RNC fugitives frequently meet at the church under the guise of prayers and to draw up lists of young Rwandans to recruit into rebel activities. But also come up with lists of innocent Rwandans deemed “hostile” to the RNC agenda. What this in reality means is those Banyarwanda in Uganda that refuse to join RNC (and the Ugandan regime) in anti-Rwanda terrorism.
Innocent Uganda-based Rwandans that refuse to be part of any treasonous activities against their country are peremptorily labeled “spies for Rwanda”. Those on these lists are often abducted, incarcerated in unknown locations, and subjected to Gestapo-like torture.
But now, in an astonishing turn of events Nyirigira is in the crosshairs of CMI.
He has fallen out very badly with Nyamwasa after the former accused the RNC head of “having lured his daughter Jackie Umuhoza into RNC activities”, even when Nyamwasa allegedly promised Nyirigira – before the pastor join RNC – that he would never do that. But late last year Rwandan authorities presented news that Umuhoza was involved in treasonous acts of terrorism, and she was arrested – lawfully with warrants – to facilitate investigations.
Now Nyirigira is doing his best to hamstring Nyamwasa.
Nyirigira has always been loyal to only one thing, however – his own stomach.
Senior RPF cadres recall how during the RPF struggle in the early 90s Nyirigira stole goats contributed by Rwandan refugees in Uganda – meant as their contribution to the struggle, to be taken to the frontline for the RPA troops. While other Rwandans were busy committing to the liberation cause, Nyirigira saw a chance at eating.
It takes a very high degree of greed and selfishness for anyone to do what Nyirigira did, laughed one cadre.
In hindsight, this kind of behavior was a precursor of his corruption while still a church leader in Nyamirambo, until fed-up Church members took the course of reporting him to the authorities. The AGAPE Church congregants rose up to demand accountability, which made Nyirigira flee to Uganda. That is where he metamorphosed overnight into “a political oppositionist!”, joining Nyamwasa into terrorism.
But now, years later, Nyirigira might find himself to be in a special kind of trouble: he is working for Turayishimye, but CMI is determined to arrest anyone working against RNC.
It remains to be seen how this drama finally plays out.