The Canadian Police has turned down a request from exiled Rwandan activist David Himbara to access information regarding an alleged plan to harm him.
Himbara, a former Principal Private Secretary of President Paul Kagame, fled to South Africa and later Canada after breaking ranks with the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).
Himbara recently alleged that Rwanda’s Defence Intelligence chief, Brig Gen Vincent Nyakarundi “formed a network with intent to harm” him.
He said the network’s main objective was to “stop me from tarnishing the government of General Paul Kagame.”
However, the Toronto Police Service said in its response to Himbara that the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act “preclude the dissemination of information prior to the conclusion of a police investigation.”
The police, in a letter dated September 13, 2019, said disclosure of a record “may be refused if the disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter.”
The law enforcement body further said disclosure would “constitute an unjustified invasion of another person’s privacy.”
Himbara has since been advised to appeal the police’s decision.
Contacted, Himbara expressed reservations about the delay in releasing the investigation report.
“A professional investigation that takes half a year or a year does not protect me,” he said.
Himbara told police that he received a “chilling” phone call on March 19, 2019, from a Rwandan living in Western Canada with shocking news.
The caller reportedly informed him that during 2017–January 2019, he was under pressure to befriend him.
Asked to shed light on the integrity of the caller, Himbara observed: “I trust the person 1000 percent. The Police in his city interrogated him and believed him to the extent of providing him with a measure of advisory for his protection.”
He added: “Federal and local police are involved. Meanwhile in my city, Toronto, they have refused to release their report because the investigation is live, five months later.”
The Toronto Police Service is considered one of the most professional and efficient law enforcement bodies in the world.
Informed that police appeared to have legitimate grounds to deny him information with the view of protecting the integrity of the investigation, Himbara responded: “The person who was recruited reported the matter. I also reported the matter. Five months later, the police denies me access to their findings because the investigation is still live which puts me at risk. I rather that the findings are released one way or other.”
Cases of Rwandan dissidents being hunted and assassinated have been widespread in the diaspora.
However, the Rwandan government vehemently denies harassing its opponents living in foreign countries.
Himbara, a harsh critic of President Kagame, is a brother of Col tom Byabagmba – the jailed former commander of the Republic Guard that protects the Head of State and entire First family.