Nyamwasa shooting: After 4 years, SA ruling leaves more questions than answers

Bemused.

That is the only word I could come up with while following the judgment in the Kayumba Nyamwasa attempted murder trial in South Africa on Friday. Thinking that the case would either give us a ‘smoking gun’ proving the Rwandan government’s involvement in the crime or absolve it, I waited keenly to hear Magistrate Stanley Mkhair’s ruling.

The six men who were accused of attempting to murder Kayumba Nyamwasa entering court on Friday

The six men who were accused of attempting to murder Kayumba Nyamwasa entering court on Friday

First a quick recap of Friday’s events and those preceding them. Four years ago, some people attempted to take the life of former army officer Kayumba Nyamwasa in crime-riddled Johannesburg. He was shot, I believe, in the stomach and even before the police had released a statement concerning the crime, Kigali was fingered as the prime (and only) suspect.

Six men were arrested for the crime; his driver Richard Bachisa (who actually grabbed the gun, saving his boss’s life), Rwandan-Belgian businessman Pascal Kanyandekwe (who was fingered as the financier and mastermind by both the police and prosecution service), Tanzanian Hemedi Dendego Sefu (who was identified by Nyamwasa as the shooter) and the three accomplices Rwandan Amani Uriwane, and Tanzanians Hassann Mohammedi Nduli and Sady Abdou. Kanyandekwe also faced the charge of attempted bribery after being accused of offering police a bribe of one million rand to release him from custody.

After four years of hearings, speculations and finger-pointing the magistrate found the driver innocent, saying that his actions of grabbing the shooter’s gun had saved the former officer’s life. That was followed by a ruling finding Kanyandekwe innocent of all charges against him. And that’s when the confusion begun.

By stating “all items found in Kanyandekwe’s possession proves he knew about conspiracy to murder but doesn’t create sufficient bases to convict him”, Mkhair left a cloud hanging over Pascal’s head. If there was insufficient evidence to convict, then why the need to act like there was? If the South African prosecution service couldn’t prove his guilt, he was therefore innocent. The magistrate wasn’t correct in making a ruling that left such a grey area.

Convicting Hemedi Dendego Sefu as the shooter and the other three as his accomplices, the magistrate

Mistaken: Kayumba Nyamwasa in court with friends and family in court. He believes that the judgement is a 'landmark' one proving that the Rwandan government attacks its opponents.

Mistaken: Kayumba Nyamwasa in court with friends and family in court. He believes that the judgement is a ‘landmark’ one proving that the Rwandan government attacks its opponents.

departed the world of law and reason and entered the world of innuendo and hearsay. “The attempted murder was politically motivated, emanating from a certain group of people from Rwanda”, Stanley Mkhair voiced.

How he knew it was politically motivated he didn’t say. And how he knew it was from a group in Rwanda, again he didn’t say. Was it guesswork? Did he just wake up and say the first thing that came to his head? Did he have super-secret information that he couldn’t reveal? We will never know because he won’t ever have to justify his words. I mean, there are many groups in Rwanda. There is a ‘group’ of tall people. There is a ‘group’ of baldheaded people and a ‘group’ of Primus beer lovers. There are millions of groups in Rwanda. Which one is the ‘certain’ one?

All that was proved was that Hemedi Dendego Sefu received money to kill Nyamwasa. However, whom he got the money from remains a mystery; especially because Kanyandekwe was the person they’d pinned as the financial kingpin of the plot. I’m left wondering, who handed him the money? Wasn’t there some sort of paper trial? Did the police and prosecution service even try to find it?

Of course the ruling was hailed as a ‘landmark’ case. Well, those calling it one are either naive or lying to themselves and others. The case proves nothing other than the fact that Nyamwasa was shot. That is the only fact that is without dispute. The rest of the noise emanating from the case is simply that, noise.

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