By Mary Cyusa
To know “Father” Thomas Nahimana is to be aware that the man is not only good at starting fake news. Nahimana, whose utterances recently that “the president of Rwanda is dead”, have left many thinking the man is no longer sane, is also known for the number of children he has fathered and abandoned.
For instance one Maritha Muragijimana, 44, a resident of Gasabo District in Kigali has been all over the news calling upon Thomas Nahimana to help her raise their 16-year-old child. She is saying Nahimane “should show up from wherever he is, be a man” and help raise the child they had together years ago, “when he still was a so-called man of God!” Maritha is very angry that “Nahimana has been living a life of luxury” in France while she has been suffering raising the child alone. “This man completely abandoned me and his own child!”
However, Maritha Muragijimana is only one in dozens of known women that Nahimana impregnated, or sexually abused. It is believed that there are more that chose to not report him, but have raised his children, now teenagers or older.
“Imagine someone who took an oath to never commit adultery but is a habitual rapist and defiler”, many who know him have wondered.
Nahimana was born in 1971 to Nkejuwimye and Claudia lyamubonye in Rusizi District, Nzahaha Sector. He attended his primary at Nzahaha and Shaka Primary School. In 1986, he joined Grand Seminaire de Rutongo, Kabgayi, for secondary studies. “There he started to display his habits of always putting his hands on women,” according to a source familiar with his earlier life.
The first women to suffer were those that worked at the chapel, something that badly scared the women. “The administration did not take the allegations of the women seriously. They refused to believe them! Every time a shocking story reached their ears, they chose not to confront him,” a former classmate of Nahimana’s said.
In 1992, Nahimana joined Nyakibanda where he would receive his priesthood on July 18, 1999. Little did the Catholic Church know it was the beginning of an unstoppable catastrophe wrapped up in just one man.
Rwanda, being an overly religious state in that time, “men of God” were genuinely thought “to be holy”.
The priesthood title earned Nahimana leadership in all aspects. In 2003, he was appointed an observer of the Presidential elections and Gacaca courts. He was also deployed to Church missions in Prisons. That is not all! He also worked with the Commission for Justice and Peace.
He performed all the above tasks while a Parish Principal of Nyamasheke, Hanika and Muyange from 1999 to 2005. He also taught at Petit Seminaire St Aloys in Cyangugu from 2002 to 2004.
At that time his genocide ideology began to manifest itself, according to people that heard this priest. As a teacher, he was always summoned for making hate speeches in class, like when he gave his students an assignment to prepare a presentation “to show how Rwanda’s leadership was bad”. One of his students wrote a presentation titled, “la mauvaise gouvernance qui règne au Rwanda”, translated as “the bad governance that reigns in Rwanda”. He ordered all his students to follow attentively.
The presentation was very hateful and full of falsehoods and distortions, and could have gotten Nahimana into the courts of law. “The student’s presentation was hateful, but Nahimana made it worse with his inputs. He, for instance, put in that “the leadership was bad because it oppressed people of Hutu ethnicity,” a former student said.
The hate incident caused an outburst that saw Nahimana deployed to Muyange Parish, but while there his other habit reared its ugly head. Nahimana impregnated a minor, someone below 18. He knew what the law stipulated – statutory rape! Nahimana decided to flee.
He left the country on 17 December 2005, after stealing church money.
While in France, he moved in with a French woman but kept serving as a priest in Rouen and Le Havre Diocese. They even had children.
In 2010, he defended Genocidaire Yussuf Munyakazi at the ICTR, where the latter was handed a 25-year in jail sentence for Genocide, Complicity in Genocide as an alternative to Genocide, and Extermination as a Crime against Humanity. This made Nahimana lose even the little credibility he had from the people who knew the crimes of Munyakazi.
In 2011, together with his friend Fortunatus Rudakemwa started a website called ‘Le prophete-Umuhanuzi’, which was quickly seen as a scandal monger dedicated to spreading the ideology of genocide, and concocted scandals about leadership figures in Rwanda.
Yet this is the same fellow that one time claimed he wanted “to contest for presidency of Rwanda.” He even created a “party” in exile with a platform of hate.
“This rapist, and irresponsible man that has impregnated so many women only to abandon them and their children is the same person that thought he could use genocide ideology to rule Rwandans!” a Facebook commentator said.
“Now the only weapon he has left is fabricating ridiculous stories that the president is dead, what a fool!” laughed the commentator.