Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
An ex beauty queen has been arrested and a ‘Miss’ beauty pageant suspended amid an ongoing sexual abuse scandal.
The government of Rwanda has suspended the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant until further notice amid investigations into alleged sexual abuse at the contest.
The scandal emerged after current titleholder Nshuti Divine Muheto shared a recording of a pageant official soliciting sexual favours.
This led the Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB) to arrest the man – named as Ishimwe Dieudonne – who is now under investigation.
Dieudonne, who goes by the moniker Prince Kid, is the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Inspiration Backup, which organises the pageant.
He has been accused by at least four Miss Rwanda contestants of sexual assault and now faces charges of rape, soliciting sexual favours and sexual harassment.
On the same day the government in Kigali suspended the pageant, the RIB also arrested Elsa Iradukunda, who was crowned Miss Rwanda in 2017.
The bureau believes she used forged documents in an attempt to obstruct the ongoing investigations.
The Ministry of Youth and Culture in Kigali said in a statement yesterday (Monday, 9th May): “Following the ongoing RIB investigations into the sexual abuse allegations of Miss Rwanda contestants levelled against the CEO of Rwanda Inspiration backup, committed at different times of the pageantry, the Ministry of Youth and culture informs the public that it has suspended Miss Rwanda competitions pending ongoing investigations.”
And an RIB spokesperson said: “She [Iradukunda] is accused of forgery and tempering [sic] with an investigation related to the case of Ishimwe Dieudonne. She is detained at Remera RIB station.”
The scandal was even denounced by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who told the Rwandan Patriotic Front Congress on 30th April: “I was compelled to talk about it because people who were supposed to benefit from the event are not getting value for their money, but organisers themselves in an awful way do benefit.
“You find that men behind it are involved in trafficking and abusing participants. It happens and some people know, but don’t denounce it.
“Our children should have the courage to denounce it even though they may say that they will lose what they are otherwise entitled to.”