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First Rwandan President Mbonyumutwa “Must Be Exhumed”

Kigali: A row is brewing in Southern Rwanda after local officials ordered the family of Rwanda’s first President, Dominique Mbonyumutwa, to exhume his remains, reports suggest.

Parmehutu hierarchy (L-R): M.V. Kayuku, Gregoire Kayibanda, Dominique Mbonyumutwa, B. Bicamumpaka. This was during the proclamation of the republic on January 28, 1961. The spot in the photo is the exact place where Mbonyumutwa was buried. (Photo:

Outspoken lady mayor of Muhanga district Ms. Yvonne Mutakwasuku has reportedly given the family a period of 60 days to decide where they want him re-buried.

Mr. Mbonyumutwa died in 1986, and was buried in a small stadium dubbed the ‘referendum stadium’ just next to the former provincial headquarters – which is now the mayoral office.

It is in the same place that the monarch was abolished and replaced by the republic.

Rumours of the plan to exhume the remains of Mr. Mbonyumutwa surfaced have been doing the rounds for sometime, but eventually appeared in the local press recently.

According to Muganga district mayor, the area in which the tomb is located is needed for “redevelopment”.

Mr. Mbonyumutwa served as the first provisional President of Rwanda, from January 28 to October 26 in 1961, immediately following the abolition of the monarchy by the Belgian colonial administration. At the time, exiled King Kigeri V was visiting other nations while conducting international relations.

Mr. Mbonyumutwa’s family told the BBC that the government order contravened an earlier court ruling, which instructed the government to take care of the tomb.

The issue of the late president was history up until this January when vocal opposition politician Ms. Victoire Ingabire visited the tomb from her exile. The ex-president was among the leaders of the extremist Parmehutu party accused to have executed the mass slaughter and expulsion of Tutsis in the 1950 and 60.

Mr. Mbonyumutwa was succeeded as president by another deceased Grégoire Kayibanda. He was allegedly starved to death by Juvenal Habyarimana, who deposed him in a coup of 1973



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