Mutara III of Rwanda

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Mutara III
Mwami of Rwanda
Reign 1931–1959
Predecessor Yuhi V of Rwanda
Successor Kigeli V of Rwanda
Consort Rosalie Gicanda
Kinyarwanda Rudahigwa
Born 1912
Died 25 July 1959
Bujumbura, Burundi

Mutara III (also known as Rudahigwa; 1912? – July 25, 1959) was the Mwami, or monarch of Rwanda between 1931 and 1959. As a member of the Tutsi people in Rwanda, stereotyped as tall, he stood a symbolic 6'8" tall. His Christian name was Charles Léon Pierre, and he is sometimes referred to as Charles Rudahigwa Mutara III or Rukabu.

Mutara was known for being the first Mwami to convert to Catholicism, spearheading a wave of baptisms in the protectorate, and for his ostentatious efforts to supplicate the Belgian rulers, at one point thanking "Christ-the-King to have given Rwanda the divine light of Belgian colonial administration along with its science of good government."[1]

Mutara died on July 25, 1959, after being treated for a headache by a Belgian physician in Bujumbura on the way back from a consultation with Belgian officials, in what Rwandan conspiracy theorists consider to have been an assassination. In her book, Land of a Thousand Hills, Rosamond Haley Carr wrote of a discussion she had with a physician who had examined the body, Dr. David Stewart of Louisville, Kentucky. His opinion was that the Mwami had died from a cerebral hemorrhage. It was learned at the time that Mutara III had been undergoing medical treatment for some time due to excessive drinking. Mutara was succeeded by his younger brother Jean-Baptiste Ndahindurwa as Kigeli V. After Mutara's death, his wife, Queen dowager Rosalie Gicanda, remained in Rwanda. She was murdered on April 22, 1994 during the Rwandan Genocide, under the orders of Captain Idelphonse Nizeyimana by Lieutenant Pierre Bizimana.

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Yuhi V of Rwanda
King of Rwanda
Succeeded by
Kigeli V of Rwanda


  1. ^ Kalibwami, Justin. Le catholicisme et la société rwandaise: 1900-1962