Rwanda’s number one court has upheld which states that anyone who insults the country’s president, Paul Kagame, will be jailed. This measure has really saddened Rwanda’s president.
The law which was enacted last August dictates that any person found insulting or defaming the president could be punished with up to 5 years in jail. As soon as it was exacted criticism arose from several quarters including campaigners, right groups, and the media. According to them, it was undermining the people freedom of expression. The law was challenged in the Supreme Court by a lawyer known as Richard Mugisha. The court, however, ruled in favor of law saying the president status and integrity was too important to be compromised or insulted.
In his response, President Kagame told the court that the issue of defamation should not be criminalized regardless of the person involved. He responded via a statement from the president office.
Part of the reason why there are concerns about hate speech in the country is that it was a major factor that led to the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Though the country present leadership is celebrated as a success all over Africa, most critics have accused him of being intolerant. Kagame through his official statement expresses hope that there will be more debates to sort the issue.