Evode Uwizeyimana, Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of Constitutional and Legal Affairs has resigned after an incident in which he pushed a female guard to the ground was heavily criticized.
The incident happened at the beginning of last week but had not been known until an eye witness tweeted about it.
From social media, Uwizeyimana’s treatment of the security guard entered discussions in mainstream media.
The office of Rwanda’s prime minister confirmed Uwizeyimana’s resignation with an apology from the man who has been an advocate for law and order for years.
Uwizeyimana himself took to Twitter to say, “I deeply regret what happened. It should not have happened to me as a leader and public official. I already apologized to the ISCO staff and I now do so publicly and apologize to the public as well.”
In spite of his apology, social media bashing has not relented even after a week.
The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) opened investigations against the minister after the incident, which was treated as assault. There are no further details about the well-being of the guard and if she would like to press charges.
It is uncommon for Africans in government to resign under such circumstances and it is a point that has not been lost on many who shared their thoughts on Uwizeyimana’s situation.
But if Uwizeyimana’s resignation points to the positive results of free speech in Rwanda, most would welcome that.
Freedom of speech has been viewed as a problem for President Paul Kagame even against monumental developmental achievements.
Rwanda currently has four known journalists in prison. The nation has chalked a number of successes, however, it has one of the highest number of journalists that have been jailed.
The highest number, according to CPJ, was in 1995 during the Rwandan genocide with 15 journalists losing their lives.