By Moses Walubiri
THE family of slain Rwanda’s ex-spy chief, Patrick Karegeya, has finally released burial arrangement indicating that his remains will be buried in South Africa on Saturday after holding a requiem mass at St Stephens Church, Bukoto tomorrow.
Karegeya was found dead in Johannesburg’s upmarket Sandton Michelangelo Hotel on New Year’s Eve in circumstances that preliminary investigations point to murder.
According to sources privy to investigations, the Rwandese émigré might have been strangled, with a rope and bloodied towel found in the hotel room safe.
Although the family had already decided to bury the former NRA fighter in South Africa after failing to get clearance from government to intern his remains in his birthplace of Rwenjuru, Mbarara District, the date of burial and other finer details remained a matter of conjecture as family and friends conferred.
“Karegeya will be buried in Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday 18th. There will also be a service on Tuesday 14th at St Stephens Church, Bukoto at 11am,” Karegeya’s wife, Leah Kabuto told New Vision yesterday.
In the wake of Karegeya’s demise, State minister for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, indicated that government was amenable to have his remains buried in Uganda.
However, a few days later, government, through Minister of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Fred Opolot, backpedalled on its earlier position, forcing Karegeya’s family to make what his wife described as “painful and difficult decision” of burying his remains in South Africa.
“As a family, we have taken a difficult decision to have him laid to rest in Johannesburg, South Africa on a day and date I shall make known to you all later,” Kabuto said.
Karegeya fled to South Africa following accusations of indiscipline that saw him stripped of his rank of colonel and a stint in jail.
Karegeya was born in Rubare, Ntungamo in 1960 to a family of Rwandan refugees. Later the family migrated to Isingiro and in 1985 they again migrated to Rwenjeru.
Since his death, relatives and friends have been flocking to Rwenjeru village to commiserate with the family.
Family members last interacted with him in 2009 when he came for Christmas celebrations. They said he had been helping them even when he was in exile in South Africa.
An alumni of Makerere University (LLB), Karegeya was charged with treason in 1982 for allegedly recruiting youths into NRA that had launched a guerrilla war in Luwero.
Upon his release in 1985 following Obote’s ouster, Karegeya joined the NRA.
Later, he was instrumental in the formation of the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) in the early 1990s. He was appointed the head of External security - a docket he held for 10 years before fleeing into exile.