By Mary Cyusa
The 15-year old daughter of Sgt. Maj. Robert Kabera is distraught. She is traumatized. She has injuries, and is crying. She also wants justice; she wants her father arrested and made answerable for what he did to her.
Kabera, a soldier and musician in the RDF band, according to his daughter committed the crime in the evening of November 21, then fled – from his home in Ndera, Gasabo District – the very following day. He escaped to Uganda using a porous route in the Kagitumba area.
Kabera’s daughter Uwera (real name withheld for confidentiality) said her nightmare began on a day like any other. She woke up in the morning, took a bath and went to school. When she came back for lunch, her step-mother whom they were living together told her she was taking the baby to Mutara, so she might not find anyone home when she came back from school later that day.
Even the night was like all others. Her father went to a bar and called her at mid-night on a neighbour’s phone. “The neighbour knocked on our door and told me that daddy wanted to talk to me. When we talked, he was in a very loud place with so many men talking around him. He was in a bar,” Uwera narrates. “He told me to tell my brother (who usually slept in the sitting room) to take my room, and that I should sleep in his.”
It was something usual that her father goes to drink until morning. So, Uwera told her brother to do as their father said, but told him he would get back to his spot once he came back home.
Kabera reached home at 2 am. He was with other two men that Uwera told to go to their houses because her father had work at 6 am.
She then gave her father help so he could reach his room because he was very drunk. “He usually even exceeds that level, only that my step mother usually is the one that takes him to bed,” says the tearful Uwera.
Just as she was about to go back to her room, Kabera called her back. “I sat on his bed and he started taking off the long socks I was wearing.” She says she found this weird. But she only told him it was already morning and her Saturdays are usually hectic.
“Who is the father here?” Kabera shot back. “Who gives orders here? Me or you!?” To all the questions she vulnerably replied, “You.”
He then ordered her to lie on the bed, but she said “but daddy, everyone here has their own bed.” “He then angrily pushed me on the bed and forced himself on me,” the girl says blowing her nose and wiping tears.
She says when he forced himself on her she was crying loudly, but her brother, whom she says is not well, could not do a thing.
When Kabera was done abusing the child, he said “my daughter” and got away from her. She ran away as he grabbed a machete from under his bed and ran after his daughter, shouting he was going to commit suicide. Uwera was struggling to open the door so she could run, but Kabera took the keys from her. She feared he could cut her. But he let her go to her room.
“What can I do to keep this between us?” Kabera asked, but she told him “nothing, get out of my room!”
Dawn was the only thing she was waiting for, so she could run away from the house. At 4 am, she sneaked out and took a bike to her maternal uncle’s who then took her to the Isange One Stop Centre, where it was established that severe harm was done to her.
Now Kabera is in Uganda where he has since been talking to the country’s media claiming he has fled “because my life and family are in danger.” He claims this is because “I have fallen out with the Kigali government,” something that prompted social media commentators to ask how a sergeant could “fall out” with the government.
“It is the usual thing for wrongdoers to make up stories to tarnish government,” said an official that requested not to be named.
Kabera has gone as far as concocting a story that “my country does not want anyone to interact with the Rwigema family, to whom I am related.”
This lie is refuted by members of Kabera’s own family. His brother Sadi Ngabo said, “in no way are we related with the Rwigemas at all. It is just a strange lie!”