Harare East legislator, Tendai Biti, has blasted President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for knowingly harbouring Rwanda’s most wanted genocide fugitive, Protais Mpiranya.
It recently emerged that Mpiranya, a former commander of the Rwandese Presidential Guard indicted for the slaughter of thousands of Rwandans, died in 2006 after hiding in Zimbabwe for four years.
His grave, buried under a false name, was found at Granville Cemetery just outside Harare, ending a 20-year long search for him.
According to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), an organisation tasked with tracking down fugitives, Mpiranya fled to Zimbabwe in 2002 together with his family and a few associates, and their entry was facilitated by local officials who ‘helped’ him evade capture till his death.
Biti told parliament on Tuesday that the nation deserves to know why the government provided a safe haven for the world’s most wanted brutal killer.
“I rise on a matter of national interest in terms of standing order No. 62, I humbly request that if the minister of Foreign Affairs can present to this honourable house a statement of clarification to help our country.
Honourable speaker, you know that almost a million people were killed during the Rwanda genocide in April 1994. Life is important, no one wants genocide, particularly given our own history in Zimbabwe.
“We learnt with sadness that the United Nations (UN) has excavated the body of a wanted genocider known as Protais Mpiranya here in Zimbabwe. Mpiranya was one of the main perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandese genocide.
Biti added: “So, we kindly ask the minister of foreign affairs to come to this August house to explain why he was in Zimbabwe. Why was he using the false identity, why was he buried in Zimbabwe and why was he not surrendered to the UN Commissions on Rwanda?”
Responding to Biti, the speaker of parliament, Jacob Mudenda, said he will have a conversation with Foreign Affairs minister, Frederick Shava. In a statement on Sunday, Shava denied the allegations, saying Zimbabwe “will never harbour criminals”.