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Diane Rwigara

Diane Rwigara

Diane entered the political spectrum as one deemed a surrogate of the struggle. Though highly regarded as an activist, Diane’s rise cannot be separated from the tragic death of her father who is purported to have lost favor with the government of the day despite hefty contributions to the party and his business empire ranking among the highest adherers of tax. What further fueled the tragedy in this circumstance was the professed lack of a conclusive post mortem report attributed to government interference.

In a politically repressive environment where ethnic polarity was once the measure of qualification, her point of activism was centered towards material concerns such as, poverty eradication, a functioning heath care system over and above security of person as a right coupled with freedom of expression that includes political contestation. For stepping out and contesting against a leader who is revered beyond the borders of Rwanda as having delivered independence, Diane became the subject of personal attacks bent on destroying her novice political career and family. What Diane exposed to the world was that, in as much as there is equality preached and transformation glossed in the media, the East African republic is inherently authoritarian and hostile to contestations of power more importantly from a woman.

Upon her announcement as Presidential contender, nude images of her circulated, although dismissed as fake, they projected her in her most fragile form. Despite the fact that nudity within politics has become a powerful tool of expression, the unwarranted portrayal of an individual becomes a violation bent on destruction. Within the African custom now laced with eurocentrism this single act deemed her morally bankrupt and unfit for office.

Standing her ground, Diane continued on her intended campaign which was subsequently dismissed by the electoral commission prior to the election based on insufficient, fraudulent signatures, against the stated number for a presidential aspirant.

Although Rwandese, Diane has been discounted by some on the basis of her family’s wealth. This has fueled criticism against the authenticity of her activism particularly in light of the fact that her prominence was illuminated post her father’s death. With that said, Diane has inspired other women within Rwanda to challenge the norms and perhaps may have been the inaudible motivation behind the hailed transformation of parliament to be gender comprehensive. Diane’s story is one that will motivate further interrogation as her case is presently in court.