South Sudan

S. Sudan Humanitarian Delegation Visits Rwanda

There is no lost love between Rwanda’s former Monarch and its current President, advice Paul Kagame- or so the rumor often goes.

King Kigeli, the last King of Rwanda with one of the shortest-lived reign, has been in exile since 1960 when he was ousted by Rwanda’s first President Mbonyumutwa who then led a referendum to abolish the monarchy.

Today, it is no secret that his living conditions are a far cry from his brief prestigious past. In “A King with no country,” the author Ariel Sabar described a King living in poor conditions in the United States and barely surviving on food stamps.

More than fifty years of exile later, what is the real reason the King of Rwanda has yet to return home? Is he truly unwelcomed by the current government? Or is he like every other individual of Rwandan decent welcome to return home at a moment’s notice? Should he be allowed to retain his title of ‘Mwami’ at the very least on an honorary basis?

These are the questions I set out to elucidate.

Unfortunately, my quest for intrigue and secret feud between a Republic and a King led me to a much less exciting discovery: an ill advised, aging King who seems to have lost the values of dignity and placing citizens before self that should define any leader.

As they often do, the rumors of a below the surface conflict with Rwanda’s government proved to be untrue or at the very least extremely misguided. In fact, it turns out the Government of Rwanda has been working for the past two years to ensure a dignified return for Rwanda’s last King.

According to sources close to the steering committee set up to lead talks with the King, King Kigeli himself expressed excitement at the idea of his return.


Contrary to popular belief, it was a return that aimed to respect his role as a representative of a historical institution.  He was to be provided a beautiful home overlooking the town of Nyanza, the former capital of Rwanda and a sizable allowance. My sources went further to confirm that the return of Mwami Kigeli V was imminent.

As the final stage of his return drew near, a delegation led by Pastor Ezra Mpyisi, a former advisor to Mwami Mutara Rudahigwa, made the trip to visit King Kigeli V only to find the plan had changed.

The King was suddenly to have opted out of returning home.

According to the committee in charge of his return, King Kigeli V referred to a neighboring country as the reason for his change of heart.

Part of Rwanda’s process of reconciliation includes making peace with our past, however troubled it may have gotten at one point or another. This is what the Rwanda sought to achieve by attempting to restore dignity to the King and preserve an institution future generations could learn from.

With his choice to remain in exile, as a refugee living on food stamps, the King seems to have acted in blatant contradiction with what one might consider common sense.

At 78 years old, as not only the longest African Monarch living in exile and having out-reigned all his ancestors, why turn down the opportunity to be part of his homeland again? Did anyone advise him otherwise?

Could King Kigeli V be more interested in being a pawn in regional politics than part of a nation seeking to build a dignified future and reconcile with its past?

Your guess is as good as mine.

 Albert Rudatsimburwa

Editor/ Political Analyst Great Lakes

A team from Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA) South Sudan arrives in Kigali Friday, prostate to learn from the success stories and experience of AHA’s response to development challenges in Rwanda.

The delegation consisting of 8 people including 4 Community workers (volunteers from IDP and refugee community), look 2 county commission staff (agriculture and health office), a primary school teacher and AHA staff is led by the AHA Country Representative.

The excited delegation came all the way from Pariang County, in Unity state, South Sudan where AHA has IDP and Refugee operations.

Rwanda has achieved some of its MDG goals by investing more in community based approaches. Rwanda maternal mortality rate has fallen by an impressive 76 percent as part of a continuum of interventions borne out of community approaches.

Integrating Home grown solutions like the Kitchen garden per household approach to improve household nutrition, has been known to accelerate the fight against malnutrition in Rwanda, and can be replicated to help communities, refugees and IDPs in Pariang County, South Sudan.

The experience of Rwanda will help to dress the already good experience AHA South Sudan established as a foundation in both refugees and IDPs situation.

African Humanitarian Action (AHA), formed in response to the 1994 Rwanda genocide against Tutsi, operates in 17 countries in Africa providing programs in capacity development, health care, public advocacy, relief and recovery, gender-based violence prevention and response, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria prevention and care. AHA also provides emergency, health and social services to refugees in partnership with UNHCR and others.

AHA was born in Rwanda and throughout its 20 years, the country office together with the Rwandan Government has accumulated good experience to date.

Rwanda moved first from a humanitarian to recovery and later development and the experience can serve South Sudan in the current phase of early recovery.

Its success story in fighting malnutrition using home grown solutions and community based approaches has seen it make tremendous inroads in achieving millennium development goals, and most importantly, Rwanda has been open in embracing gender with female leaders in key roles to spur their development.

The Deputy Commissioner, Commission for Refugee Affairs, Government of South Sudan Hon. John Dabi Dominic, commended AHA for championing such an initiative. Like in Rwanda, he added, “Community Health workers in South Sudan must be vigorously involved in campaigns to fight health challenges and mobilize communities to rebuild their lives”.

AHA responded to the South Sudan humanitarian response in April 2013, and to date provides camp coordination and camp management, protection services with focus on humanitarian response and durable solutions to internally displaced People and host communities in Pariang County–Unity State in South Sudan. In addition, AHA South Sudan also provides comprehensive primary health care, nutrition and services in Ajuong Thok Refugee camp in Pariang County, in Unity state, South Sudan.


South Sudanese nationals in the team are excited about the visit to Rwanda.

“I have always wanted to visit Rwanda, because as South Sudanese, we can learn from it. The resilience the Rwandese people have is a lesson we can learn from, and this visit to see Rwanda in action is a big investment for our team” Uwar Danto Mathew the AHA IDP Pariang assistant manager added.

The team will visit AHA Rwanda’s development projects, and will also tour the Rwandan capital and other corners of the country to see the progress that has made Rwanda the talk of many.

The visit to Kigali is intended to provide technical and practical value with which the South Sudan team can immediately implement when back in South Sudan.

“Rwanda has been a success story to the world, and our team is really excited about this trip. The opportunity to learn from AHA Rwanda’s interventions will most definitely be invaluable to the South Sudanese nationals who are at the core of our visit. It will also enhance partnership and collaboration and knowledge transfer between our AHA operations in Rwanda and South Sudan,” the AHA Communications officer, Mr. Patrick Oyulu who is also part of the team, added.

The South Sudan team will be in Rwanda for five days, and departs next week on Thursday.

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