Alfred Gisa (L) affirms that Late Maj Gen Fred GISA Rwigema is his father
A previously unknown son of Rwanda’s liberation icon Maj Gen Fred GISA Rwigema has surfaced – accusing the wife Janet Rwigema of trying to “eliminate” him and his mother when he was still a baby in Uganda. And the choice of platform for reappearance will surprise many: Facebook.
Identifying himself as Alfred Gisa, the 24-year man says he is reappearing now after being hidden by his mother all these years as Janet Rwigema hunted for them. In a message posted on social site Facebook, Alfred Gisa says he currently is in Rwanda, but does not reveal exact details.
The twist to the story is that when he was born on 16th April, 1990, Gen Rwigema, then in the final stages of planning an attack on Rwanda, named him as Alfred Gisa. Since Gen Rwigema died in October the same year, it means Alfred never got to recognize him as he was still a toddler.
“However, due to the suffering my mother had to endure at the hands of my stepmother Janet Rwigema, while I was still a baby, she opted to change my names and hide me until recently,” writes Alfred Gisa. His name from then on was Alfred Bada (Bada means ‘they will return’ in Luganda, one of the languages in Uganda).
Until now, Gen Rwigema, commonly known in Rwanda as ‘Late Fred’, was known to have father children with only Janet. The two are currently in their late 20s: Eric Gisa Rwigema and Teta Gisa Rwigema. Both are studying in the United States.
Historical records show Gen Rwigema died on battle two days after the Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A) had launched the invasion of Rwanda in early October. At the moment, his remains are laid to rest at a special tomb at the Heroes Cemetery besides the National Stadium in Kigali. He is also top on the list of Rwanda’s heroes.
A special day February 1st, has been set aside for annual remembrance of Gen Rwigema and other known heroes. His known wife Janet lives in Kigali.
The new son identifies his mother as Eunice Matsiko, but does not give any more details. “The point of this message is to tell the world that I am tired of hiding my identity, and had to come out so that I can come to terms with my past,” writes Alfred Gisa.
“I also want to inform those who wanted me and my dear mother eliminated that such an era is gone. They have to accept my presence and live with it. I will no longer hide anymore.”
In the Facebook post, Alfred Gisa gives indication that he will release further details about himself, which could help give more light as to the identity of the new son. “As time goes-by, I will be giving my life story, which I hope will also help me recover from the traumatic past I and my mother have endured,” adds the new Gisa.
The surfacing of Alfred Gisa raises new questions over the conduct of Janet Rwigema. Rumours have over the years swelled around her – with some quarters saying she maintained a network which silenced any woman suspected to have been in any relationship with Gen Rwigema.
However, benefiting from Gen Rwigema’s fame, Janet’s past has remained under wraps. This new information is going to provoke a storm of criticism around Janet, who the public will accuse of not befitting of the false image she had cultivated.
Already, Gisa’s friends on Facebook are congratulating him and wishing him well.
No details are given as to how Alfred survived all these years, but a hint appears in the Facebook post. He writes: “I want to thank my mother for keeping me safe and being that strong through the tough situations she endured while raising me up. And secondly, I thank all my father’s friends who helped me covertly.”
“Like it has wisely been said; EAST-WEST, HOME IS BEST. I am very happy to be home.”