There are only three constitutional monarchies still standing in Africa and they are in Morocco, Lesotho and Swaziland. Although, not enshrined in the Rwandan constitution, Rwanda also had one last king Kigeli V.
The last king of Rwanda ruled the east African nation for less than a year before he was forced into exile when he clashed with the Belgian colonial power. King Kigeli V had been born Jean-Baptiste Ndahindurwa and he came into power in 1959. In 1969, Rwanda’s monarchy was abolished.
King Kigeli V, who was exiled, then began a life in Kenya from where he moved to Uganda before finally ending up in America where he settled in 1992. His death was announced on his website which published a statement that read;
“It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that His Majesty King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, the last King of Rwanda, died early this morning,”
“He was a devout and dedicated believer and the last anointed African Roman Catholic king to reign over a full country.”
The published statement also said that funeral arrangements, and details on the heir to the throne, will be announced at a later date. While King Kigeli V was exiled in the United States, he led the King Kigeli V Foundation to aid Rwandan refugees.
He had spoken about returning to Rwanda and the issue of his return was severally brought up in Paul Kagame’s Presidency but every effort to bring it to pass failed. The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) alleged that they were ready for him to return but only as a private citizen, meanwhile, the former monarch held out hope he could return to the throne.
An opposition party in Rwanda, the Democratic Green Party, had even argued back in May that the king might be a force of unity for the country, with the party chair Frank Habineza asking the Rwandan government to ensure that the king could return to Rwanda with an official role of “safeguarding Rwandan culture,” while enjoying the benefits of a former head of state.
All those plans will sadly not be fulfilled as the King is now dearly departed.