We, Rwanda MenEngage Network (RWAMNET), come together with other activists and concerned Rwandans (attached petition signatures) to demand the cancellation of Koffi Olomide’s Live Concert, which is scheduled to take place on 4 December 2021 in Kigali.
RWAMNET is a network of 29 local organizations working to promote male engagement in development programs including gender equality, human rights & GBV prevention, health programs, women’s empowerment and others in Rwanda. RWAMNET is strongly devoted to eliminating gender-based violence (GBV) and working towards promoting gender equality, thus speaking out against people and movements that directly violate our work efforts and the human rights of women and girls.
Koffi Olomide has a lengthy documented history of committing violence directed at young girls and women and has numerous times been accused and formally convicted of rape and sexual assault, human trafficking, physical assault, and sexually abusing children :
1) In 2007-2013 four of Koffi Olomide’s dancers, including one who was 15 years old at the time of the crime, filed a complaint for being sexually assaulted by him several times between 2002 and 2006 in DRC as well as in France, including at a villa outside Paris where the women were held against their will :
a. In 2009, facing a French arrest warrant, he fled to DR Congo (www.africanews.com/2019/03/19/)
b. On 25 October, 2021, Koffi Olomide was on trial for sexual assault and kidnapping of four of his former dancers and the Versailles Court of Appeal convicted him and sentenced him to 8 (eight) years in prison (TV5, 26 OCT 2021).
2) In June 2016, The Kenyan authorities deported Koffi Olomide, after he was filmed kicking one of his female singers in the stomach (www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-36875676)
a. In 2016, Koffi Olomide was charged and detained in prison in his home country DRC after being deported from Kenya for kicking one of his dancers. ( www.newsweek.com )
3) In 2018 Zambia issued an arrest warrant for Koffi Olomide after the court ordered his arrest for assaulting a Rwandan photojournalist Jean Nepomuscene Ndayisenga at the luxury Pamodzi hotel in Lusaka on December 28, 2012. (www.africanews.com/2018/09/22/)
4) In March 2019, Koffi Olomide was convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl ; he was convicted in absentia because he did not show up to court, and did not serve any jail time for this conviction. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47615273)
5) In June 2019, in South Africa Koffi Olomidé concerts was cancelled by organizers due to pressure from government and CSOs who clearly stated that allowing him to perform in South Africa would undermine the victims of his actions (www.jeuneafrique.com/790632/)
These crimes against humanity are the reason why he is banned in other countries including South Africa, Kenya, Zambia and France and the precedent has to be set in Rwanda as Koffi Olomide’s statutory rape convictions are known information. They should be reason enough for Kigali/Rwanda to ban him from performing - especially because Rwanda is a country that has worked hard to achieve gender equality, our gains should be sustained and rather not compromised.
Additionally, Rwanda has joined the world in the 16 Days of Activism to Fight Gender-Based Violence and more importantly, last week on 25th November heads of states convened in DRC to discuss positive masculinity and tackling the harmful mindsets and attitudes that contribute to violence against women and girls. Supporting and celebrating a known abuser and child rapist is a perfect example of the toxic mindsets and attitudes that continue to normalize and perpetuate violence against women and girls at pandemic rates around the world and in Rwanda.
Consequently, in reference to the above, allowing Koffi Olomide to perform in Kigali directly violates the commitments Rwanda has made to achieving gender equality and ending violence against women and girls. These actions enable others to commit horrific crimes of rape and GBV and uphold misogyny, and to continue to live their lives with impunity, being defended and celebrated by others.
Rwanda is set to host the global Women Deliver conference in 2023. Women Deliver 2023 will be the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the rights, health, and well-being of women and girls. Rwanda cannot host a well-known, documented, convicted abuser of women and girls while also claiming to stand for gender equality and ending violence against women at the same time. This is hypocrisy of the highest order.
We must actively dismantle the systems and structures that allow rape, GBV, and gender inequality to persist in order to achieve justice. Gender-Based Violence is a systemic issue and supporting abusers reinforces normalizing violence against women and girls. As a society, we cannot look the other way in the face of women and girl’s pain and suffering and ignore a well-known and documented abuser.
We are demanding :
Skol the sponsor, Intore Entertainment the organizer, QA VENUE SOLUTION/Kigali Arena the venue, Private Sector Federation, and Rwanda Development Board to immediately stop trading women’s bodies and dignity for monetary benefit by giving a platform for fame and financial enrichment to a convicted child rapist, pedophile, abuser of women and human trafficker.
We are appealing :
To the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, Ministry of Youth and Culture, the Gender Monitoring Office, Rwanda National Police, Rwanda Investigation Bureau, Kigali city, Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration, National Child Development Agency, and the entire Civil Society to join our efforts in requesting to cancel Koffi Olomide Concert in Kigali.
We stand in solidarity with all victims of rape, abuse, and gender-based violence both in Rwanda and around the world ; thus, we demand that Koffi Olomide is banned from performing in Kigali on 4 December.
The Chair of RWAMNET
Paper Crown Rwanda
Programs and Partnerships Manager, Rwanda
The Secretariat RWAMNET
Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre