Kigeli V of Rwanda
|Kigeli V Ndahindurwa|
Kigeli V in exile
|Mwami of Rwanda|
|Reign||28 July 1959 – 28 January 1961|
|Predecessor||Mutara III of Rwanda|
|Successor||Successor appointed by reigning monarch; revealed after monarch's death.|
June 29, 1936 |
|Father||Yuhi V of Rwanda|
The titular King currently resides in the city of Oakton, Virginia, United States. In exile, he is known for heading the King Kigeli V Foundation, which aims at promoting and expanding humanitarian work for Rwandan refugees, and for his activities in maintaining the cultural heritage of his formerly reigning royal house.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Reign in Rwanda
- 3 Exile activities
- 4 Ancestry
- 5 Distinctions
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early life and education
Kigeli was born Ndahindurwa on 29 June 1936 in Kamembe, Rwanda, to Yuhi Musinga, the deposed King Yuhi V of Rwanda, and Queen Mukashema, one of his wives. He is ethnically Tutsi. Kigeli had fourteen siblings, being one of the youngest of his father's many children.
When Kigeli was 4 years old, his father was exiled by the Belgian government to Moba, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Following the death of his father, in 1944 he returned to Rwanda. Kigeli was baptised a Roman Catholic in his teens, taking the Christian name Jean-Baptiste. He remains a devout Catholic.
He received his education at the Groupe Scolaire Astrida (now Groupe Scolaire Officiel de Butare) in Rwanda, and at Nyangezi College in the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. After he finished school in 1956, he worked in local government in Rwanda until 1959.
Reign in Rwanda
After his half-brother, King Mutara III Rudahigwa, died under mysterious circumstances on 25 July 1959, it was announced on 28 July that Kigeli would succeed him as King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa. "Kigeli" is sometimes transcribed as "Kigeri". Though married, Kigeli's late half-brother had had no children; the abrupt, shocking nature of the death prompted widespread talk of some kind of assassination having occurred.
Kigeli's appointment was a surprise to the Belgian administration, who were not involved in his selection, and who described the event as a coup d'état, a view shared by the newly politically empowered Hutu elite. Kigeli himself also felt shocked and overwhelmed at the news of his ascension. The tense atmosphere and presence of armed Rwandans at the funeral prevented the Belgians from objecting, as well as preventing Hutu interference. Despite this, Kigeli was initially favoured by all sides: Tutsi traditionalists, Hutu nationalists, and the Catholic clergy all felt optimistic on his appointment. However, the manner of his appointment led to a loss of prestige for the Belgian authorities, and gave both Hutu and Tutsi revolutionaries the impression that violence might further their goals. The fact that the Tutsi establishment had engineered the rise to power also compromised Kigeli's ability to act in the traditional role as a neutral arbiter of differing factions.
Kigeli duly followed regal tradition by disregarding past ethnic and ideological affiliations, embracing the role of the 'father of all Rwandan people'. However, political instability and tribal conflict grew despite efforts by the monarchy and others. Only a month after Kigeli's November 1959 ascension, Hutu versus Tutsi militancy increased to the point that hundreds died. Many Tutsi went into exile. Issues with the increasingly restive Hutu population were encouraged by the Belgian military, promoting widespread revolt. Kigeli later wrote, "I am not clinging to power... I will always accept the people’s verdict; what I cannot accept is that the Belgian Administration should influence or distort this verdict."
In July 1960, Kigeli fled to the newly independent nation of Congo. In 1961, Kigeli was in Kinshasa to meet with Secretary General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld when Dominique Mbonyumutwa, with the support of the Belgian government, led a coup d'état that took control of the Rwandan state. The monarchy's rule was formally overthrown on 28 January 1961. The coup resulted in the 1961 referendum about the fate of the nation's royal system.
The election results found that, with about 95% turnout, around 80% of voters opposed the continuation of the monarchy. Kigeli has criticized the affair as rigged; soon after re-entering Rwanda prior to the election, Belgian officials put him under house arrest. Still, he had gotten pushed into exile.
The government officially deported Kigeli to what is now Tanzania on 2 October 1961. He has lived since in multiple other locations over the years, leaving the region of Tanganyika (living in Dar es Salaam) for places such as Kampala, Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya. A decision granting him political asylum in the United States took place in July 1992; he has since embraced American life.
In June 1992, he was granted political asylum by the United States and settled near Washington, D.C., where he claimed welfare, and now lives in subsidized housing. He subsequently settled in the Oakton, Virginia area.
He has traveled internationally to speak on behalf of the Rwandan people and repeatedly called for peace and harmony between the different groups. Kigeli has continued to remember the victims of the Rwandan Genocide and makes every attempt to reconcile between all political, ethnic, and religious parties in Rwanda to use the democratic process to solve any disputes. Kigeli was a friend of former South African president Nelson Mandela and Patrice Lumumba.
In an August 2007 BBC interview, Kigeli expressed an interest in returning to Rwanda if the Rwandan people are prepared to accept him as their constitutional monarch. He said that he had met President Paul Kagame and that Kagame had told him that he and his family were free to return, but Kigeli said that in order to do so, he needed to know if the people still wanted him to be king. According to Kigeli, Kagame said that he would consult the government about the issue.
He currently heads the King Kigeli V Foundation, whose mission is to bring humanitarian initiatives on behalf of Rwandan refugees.
|Ancestors of Kigeli V of Rwanda|
Status and recognition
As titular King in exile, as part of maintaining his royal family's cultural heritage, Kigeli V issues chivalric orders and titles of nobility with himself as fount of honour in accordance with traditional customs.
Research in 2016 found that noble Rwandan titles were given to non-Rwandans by King Mutara III, the prior King of Rwanda. This was consistent with King Kigeli's statements that his elder brother, when he reigned as King, granted orders and noble titles to non-Rwandans. An independent article confirming this was printed in an article titled "African King Gets Papal Honor from Vatican" in The Guardian, a publication of the Roman Catholic diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas, United States, 4 July 1947.
However, the activities have also been a subject of controversy by critics.
An article in 2013 presented that donations between $1,000 to $8,000, and services of up to $30,000, have been given prior to the grant of honours. The web site of King Kigeli states that awards are based on merit, related to past demonstrable charitable work, occupational achievement, and educational background, and that a passage fee may apply.
Since the President of the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry could not recognise the titles as part of Rwanda's historical tradition in 2013, he labelled Kigeli's activities in titles “very sad”, calling on them to not be awarded. The King's Secretary General of the time replied, “Who has the right to question his authorities but God and his countrymen?”
Title and style of address
- Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Drum, first awarded by Kigeli
- Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Crown, first awarded by Kigeli
- Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Crested Crane, first awarded by Kigeli
- Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Lion (Intare), first awarded by Mutara III Rudahigwa
Foreign orders and decorations received by the King:
- Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (House of Savoy)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa (House of Braganza)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Michael of the Wing (House of Braganza)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Queen of Sheba (Solomonic dynasty)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Ethiopia (Ethiopian Empire)
- Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of Solomon (Ethiopian Empire)
- Grand Collar of the Royal Order of Ismail (Royal House of Egypt)
- Grand Collar of the Order of the Eagle of Georgia (Royal House of Georgia)
- Knight (single rank order) of the Order of Saint King David the Psalmist (Bagrationi dynasty)
- Grand Collar of the Order of Merit of the Portuguese Royal House (House of Braganza) 
- Honorary Cross, Royal and Merciful Society of Belgium
- Roman Catholic Diocese of São Tomé and Príncipe: Cross of São Tomé, Apostolo by Bishop Abílio Rodas de Sousa Ribas
- Knight of the Most Prestigious Brotherhood of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Noble City of Lisbon, Portugal
- Freedom of the City from the City of London Corporation
- Gold Star Award by the International Strategic Studies Association for Outstanding Contributions to Strategic Progress Through Humanitarian Achievement for his work for Rwandan refugees in Africa
- "A King With No Country". Washingtonian. 27 March 2013.
- "Rwanda: Clan of the dynasty Abanyiginya". Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 31 October 2002.
- Randall Fegley (2016). "Hutu Power and Genocide". A History of Rwandan Identity and Trauma. Lexington Books. p. 29.
- Alison Des Forges (2011). Defeat Is the Only Bad News. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 245.
- A. Ndahiro; J. Rwagatare; A. Nkusi, eds. (2015). Rwanda: Rebuilding of a Nation. Fountain Publishers. p. 13.
- Aimable Twagilimana (2007). Historical Dictionary of Rwanda. Scarecrow Press. p. xxviii.
- J. J. Carney (2014). Rwanda Before the Genocide. Oxford University Press. p. 107.
- "The Kings of Rwanda - Fathers of a Nation Part III: Not For the Power, But For the People". H. M. King Kigeli V.
- "GSO-Butare marks 83rd anniversary". The New Times. 25 September 2012.
- "Kigeli V: Rwandan king with no throne". Daily Monitor. 16 March 2014.
- Aimable Twagilimana (2007). Historical Dictionary of Rwanda. Scarecrow Press. p. xxix.
- "Kingdom of Rwanda". Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- Aimable Twagilimana (2007). Historical Dictionary of Rwanda. Scarecrow Press. p. 181.
- J. J. Carney (2014). Rwanda Before the Genocide. Oxford University Press. pp. 106–7.
- Aimable Twagilimana (2007). Historical Dictionary of Rwanda. Scarecrow Press. p. 82.
- Deborah Mayersen (2014). On the Path to Genocide. Berghahn Books. p. 124.
- Endre Sík (1974). The History of Black Africa. IV. Akadémiai Kiadó. p. 332.
- Leonhard Praeg (2007). The Geometry of Violence. AFRICAN SUN MeDIA. p. 39.
- Pickert, Kate (2008-06-05). "Life After the Throne, As King Gyanendra prepares to depart from the Nepalese royal palace, TIME takes a look at how other former and wannabe Monarchs have weathered the loss of their crowns: Kigeli Ndahindurwa V, Former King of Rwanda". Time.com. Time. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
- David Bamford, "Rwanda's former king eyes return", BBC News, August 18, 2007.
- Lyons, Patrick J. (2007-07-23). "Dwindling Links to Monarchies Past". The Lede, The New York Times News Blog. The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
- "African King Gets Papal Honor from Vatican". The Guardian. Arkansas: Roman Catholic diocese of Little Rock. 4 July 1947. p. 5.
- Stair Sainty, G. & Heydel-Mankoo, R. (2006). World Orders of Knighthood and Merit. Burke's Peerage. pp. 795–798.
- "Other Non-Ruling Dynastic Honors and Orders of Merit". Augustan Society.
- "Noble titles: Honours and offers". The Economist. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- "Clarification on Awards of Honors, H M King Kigeli". 13 September 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- King Kigeli
- "COMMON COUNCIL" (PDF). City of London Corporation. 16 July 2016. p. 6.
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Kigeli V of Rwanda
House of NdahindurwaBorn: 1936
|King of Rwanda
25 July 1959 – 28 January 1961
|Titles in pretence|
|Loss of title
|— TITULAR —
King of Rwanda
28 January 1961 – present