Former Green Party official resurfaces, accuses party president of betrayal

By IAfrica
In Rwanda
Feb 5th, 2014
Former head of communications in Green Party Omar Leo Oustazi

Former head of communications in Green Party Omar Leo Oustazi

A former head of communications unit in the opposition Green party has resurfaced after going missing last year, and accused party President of attempting to ruin his life.

Drama unfolded in January last year, when Green party officials reported to security organs that their communications secretary, Omar Leo Oustazi had gone missing.

Few days after Omar’s disappearance, Green Party announced his dismissal from the party, accusing him of displaying highest level of “irresponsible behaviour.”

In the same period, a section of party officials and government critics went on social media and other communication channels linking Omar’s disappearance to the work of government agents.

The Green party leadership immediately informed all government agencies and diplomatic missions in Kigali, calling on immediate investigations into the case.

Police’s first trace of Omar

In February last year, the Rwanda National Police said its investigations had indicated that Omar was in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura saying it had no reason to continue pursuing what it termed a ‘stage managed disappearance.’

Later, Inspector General of Police Emmanuel Gasana said that Police would not “keep incurring public resources following up on faked missing persons reports or staged disappearing acts.”

Police further insisted that Oustazi was still active on social media especially Facebook, even as some people said his captors were behind the posts.

Oustazi accuses party president of betrayal

After dramatically returning to the country, Omar was on Tuesday presented before the media to narrate his ordeal at Police headquarters in Kacyiru.

The former Green party official told journalists that he fled the country after learning of a plot by his colleagues in the party to kill him and then pin his murder on government.

The former Green Party senior official singled out party President, Frank Habineza of being the key architect behind his murder plot.

He accused Habineza of trying to oust him from his position several times because they could rock horns disagreeing on several issues regarding party agendas.

“To be honest, I fled the country to save my life that was being targeted by my own colleague (Habineza) and other party officials who were against the government.

This started after disagreeing with them on some of fabricated reports they were publishing in the opposition media outlets like Radio Itahuka and Umunyarwanda. Some of these publications didn’t make up to the party line of communication and realized that they were up to dangerous plans,” said Oustazi.

“I was following whatever was being said. There was a lot of speculation on social media, especially Facebook. People were saying that I had been killed by government, but all that was designed to cover up the true intentions by some of my colleagues in the party,” added Oustazi.

Admitting prior Police trace of him

Speaking to reporters, Oustazi admitted to prior police investigations which indicated he was in Burundi days after he went missing.

“It’s true. I spent most of the time in Nairobi, Kenya, where I arrived after a brief stay in Burundi and Tanzania.”

Asked what tempted him to decide on his return to the country despite fleeing for fear of his life back home, Oustazi said that: “I first telephoned Criminal Investigations Department (CID) chief Theos Badege last month to inform him about my fear and the latter assured me of a guaranteed safety if I returned home.

I also thought I needed not to remain a refugee because one or two people had threatened my life, that’s why I had to return home, I believe this is a law-abiding country,” said Oustazi.

Habineza refutes accusations

In a couple of posts on his facebook wall, the opposition Green party president, Frank Habineza said of his former communications secretary that: “Omar Leo was relieved from his duties as Communication Secretary last year after making several irresponsible communications on social media. He therefore, does not belong to the party. All his allegations are naked lies,” said Habineza

Habineza went to add in the media that: “We were also surprised as a party by the circumstances under which he fled the country, maybe he just didn’t want to be seen as if he’s opposed to government.”

Police says Oustazi welcomed like any other citizen

Yesterday, Police said Oustazi was welcome back just like any other citizen.

“At least the wrong impression and speculations caused by his alleged disappearance will be no more. His return vindicates us,” said Emmanuel Kabanda, a Police communications officer.

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