Hafsa mossi : a great lady assassinated

After the killing of the East African Legislative Assembly MP that occurred on the 13 July, Iwacu would like to inform again about this crime and the career of the former outstanding journalist and minister.

By Abbas Mbazumutima, Christian Bigirimana, Fabrice Manirakiza translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana, Innocent Habonimana, Lorraine Manishatse and Diane Uwimana

The “Burundi Chapter” Chairperson at EALA assassinated

The funeral prayer led by Sadiki KAJANDI, the Burundi Muslim Community Representative

The funeral prayer led by Sadiki KAJANDI, the Burundi Muslim Community Representative

It is 10:30 a.m. when the police spokesman confirms on tweeter on Wednesday, 13 July, the heartbreaking news of the assassination of the moderate militant of the ruling party- CNDD FDD at Nyankoni Avenue in Gihosha zone in the eastern part of Bujumbura City Council.

Pierre Nkurikiye spoke of two criminals in a Toyota T.I car with tinted windows and a Tanzanian Identification Number.

Several dignitaries with a reinforced guard live in the locality where the crime occurred.
Some eyewitnesses, safe guard agents from a Safe Guard Company on duty outside Nyabungo Hotel confirm this attack having seen a Toyota “Premio” car drive into the black Mercedes of the Former Communication and East African Affairs Minister from behind.

The criminals ’vehicle overtook that of the former Burundian legislator within EALA before hitting it and thus leaving some stripes on the left side of the bumper. One of the headlights of the Toyota “Premio” was broken. Surprised, Mrs. Mossi wound down her car’s window to see what was going on. She opened her Mercedes Benz’s door to assess the damage. When she got off the car, one of the criminals shot her on the chest and she fell down on the spot.

According to the same eyewitnesses, those criminals shortly after shot heavily in the air before they ran away.
The same sources indicate that there were three men in the Toyota “Premio” vehicle.

It was seen that a woman, who was passing near the locality where the crime occurred, evacuated the former journalist in her vehicle to Kamenge Military Hospital where she died of gunshot wounds.

When heavy gunfire occurred, the crowd that came to testify what was going on all scattered to hide.
It was only when the criminals had driven off that everyone came out of hiding.

A lady living nearby the locality where the shooting of the late EALA member occurred, watch over the Mercedes Benz after she had called the senior daughter of the victim.

The vehicle was in the middle of the road. Shortly afterwards, it was brought in one property opposite to the crime scene where the police and the anti-riot squad found her to enquire about what was happening.

Inhumation according to the Muslim tradition

The funeral ceremonies were arranged in the afternoon of the same day, 13 July, just after the recuperation of the body of the Late MP of the East African Legislative Parliament.

The Imams and Sheikhs decided to bury the deceased in the afternoon of the very fateful Wednesday. It was Sadiki Kajandi, the Chairperson of the Burundi Muslim Community himself who presided over the ceremonies.

The event began with a mortuary prayer for the deceased. The late East African Legislative Assembly member was buried in a Muslim cemetery located in the Industrial area situated in Rohero zone of the Mukaza Commune in Bujumbura City Council.

Several Muslim officials as well as the EALA MPs attended the burial ceremonies of Mrs. Hafsa Mossi.
The government of Burundi was represented by the Minister in charge of Good Governance along with his counterpart in charge of the East African Community Affairs.

>>> Reactions

Since the announcement of the killing of Hafsa Mossi, reactions arose from all sides.

Philippe Nzobonariba

Philippe Nzobonariba

Philippe Nzobonariba

The spokesperson of the Burundi Government qualified the assassination of Mrs.Hafsa as an ignoble act. In the statement issued on 13 July, Burundi lost a high official who contributed a great deal in the integration process of her country within EAC. “Burundi lost one of its children, the most hard working and honest politician. Her death left an unforgettable empty space.” Philippe Nzobonariba also extended his condolences and compassion to the bereaved family particularly, and generally to all Burundians that she represented in EAC and EALA .The Burundi Government spokesperson in the end called upon competent services to conduct thorough and urgent investigations to identify the authors of the crime as well as their sponsors so that they should be brought to trial and be punished accordingly.

Sadiki Kajandi

Sadiki Kajandi

Sadiki Kajandi

In his funeral sermon at the Muslim Cemetery located near the COTEBU ground where the burial of the late Hafsa Mossi was held, Sadiki Kajandi, the chairman of the Burundi Muslim Community (COMIBU) focused on the crime and sin.
He said that The Koran makes it clear that he who willingly kills a human being is considered as a murderer of humanity in the eyes of God.

He reminded that Hafsa Mossi was neither ill nor died a natural death; but was rather murdered. For him, such an assassination must serve as a lesson, not only for all Muslims but also for the community as a whole. “Someone who lives with hatred, willing to kill in their heart, must know that they will pay for the crime on the judgment day”, he said. Concluding his sermon, Sadiki Kajandi called upon Burundians to lay down their arms for the blood shed is more than enough.

Léonce Ndarubagiye

Léonce Ndarubagiye

Léonce Ndarubagiye, EALA MP

Deeply shocked, this EALA MP indicated that the EALA MPs, Burundi Chapter had chosen Hafsa Mossi as the chairwoman of their parliamentarian group in the EALA because she was a hard worker, a great organizer and a full-hearted woman.

A unanimously appreciated politician

After her assassination, messages of condolences came from everywhere as well as impassioned terms to describe the personality of the former minister. Kind, brave, devoted, moderate…..apparently Hafsa Mossi was unanimously appreciated.

The Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly describes Hafsa Mossi as an industrious person and committed to the ideals of EAC integration

The Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly describes Hafsa Mossi as an industrious person and committed to the ideals of EAC integration

The assassination of Honorable Hafsa Mossi is a horrific and cowardly act. It is an inestimable loss for Burundi, her family and the East African Community,” tweeted Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza just after the crime.
“A kind woman Hafsa Mossi has just been assassinated by enemies of peace. R.I.P my dear elder sister” said Willy Nyamitwe, the senior advisor of communication in the office of President.

The Chairman of the Burundian diplomacy, Alain Aime Nyamitwe spoke of a great loss for the Nation and EAC. His Rwandan counterpart Louise Mushikiwabo declared to be deeply affected for her friend whom she described as a dedicated politician woman.

The National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), the ruling party to which the deceased belonged conveyed its condolences to the former journalist’s family and pointed out her assassination as a heavy blow for the country.

The opposition platform, the National Council for the Respect of the Arusha Agreement and the Restoration of the Rule of Law (CNARED) said it was dismayed by the crime “by condemning that wave of indiscriminate violence caused by the illegal third term.”

Several politicians and civil society activists also expressed their considerable consternation.
“I am hurt today. Honorable Hafsa Mossi, thank you for the support you gave me when I became the EAC Secretary General,” wrote on his tweeter account Liberat Mpfumukeko.
Pacifique Nininahazwe, Focode Chairman said to have been shocked, too.“ A big-hearted woman.”

The international community also condemns ….

The Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly Daniel F. Kidega, firmly condemned the murder and deplored the death of a hard worker committed to the deals of the EAC integration. He called for calm and urged Burundian authorities to do their best so that culprits involved in that barbaric and cowardly act could be apprehended.
It is the same sentiment from the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The latter said she was horrified by this barbaric act likely to destabilize further the Burundi security situation. She called on all Burundians to exercise the utmost restraint and to avoid any act of retaliation that would heighten tension in the country.

…..and calls for an inclusive dialogue

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma mentioned that only an inclusive dialogue based on the respect of the Arusha peace and reconciliation agreement and the Burundi constitution can open the door to a real and lasting political solution for maintaining and strengthening national peace.

It was also the view of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. . …Condemning that assassination, he stated that the act of violence only serves to create division, strengthen mistrust and destabilize the country.

He reiterated the necessity to intensify efforts to reach a negotiated agreement on the ongoing crisis and asked all concerned parties to be totally and sincerely involved in the initiated peace process.

In the same line, The European Union indicated that the assassination of Hafsa Mossi is a further step towards the Burundi political polarization and “requested that the light be shed on that crime and all other crimes so that they may not go unpunished.

The EU recalled that any consensual political solution to the Burundi crisis cannot be obtained by violence. France and The United States also condemned that murder and appealed to all stakeholders to be firmly committed in a peaceful and sincere dialogue in order to resolve the current Burundi crisis.

In tears in Mahama

Hafsa Mossi in tears in Burundian refugees camp in Mahama-Rwanda

Hafsa Mossi in tears in Burundian refugees camp in Mahama-Rwanda

The entire sub-region witnessed the emotionally overwhelming scene in the Mahama camp sheltering Burundian refugees in Rwanda, a year ago. During a visit by members of the EALA [East African Legislative Assembly] in the camp, Honorable Hafsa Mossi broke down in tears as she talked with some of the refugees.

Her colleagues along with other high dignitaries –members of the [visiting] delegation- tried to comfort her but in vain. Her tears trickled down her cheeks for some time. Cameramen, photographers and all the people present looked attentively at that emotional lady who was leading the visit. Pictures of that scene were spread around the world.

She may have been misunderstood for that gesture, but that native of Makamba [Southern Province of Burundi bordering Tanzania], a daughter of a businessman, experienced with her family, life as a refugee during the events of 1972. It is true that her family, more or less at ease compared to the less fortunate did not suffer much of the exile that was short. A journalist who met her revealed: “She is emotive and to a higher extent sensitive to all types of injustice.”

She did not talk much about her family, but she once confided to a friend that she had grudge against them for having arranged her marriage just as she just started her higher studies at the School of journalism. She married at a very young age and her husband died some time after. “I had a hard time with my two children because my salary at RTNB [Burundi National Radio and TV] was not sufficient”, said one day that native of Makamba.

Fluent speaker of French, English and her two mother tongues Swahili and Kirundi, the young widowed journalist did not drop her guard. She was ambitious and got a job at Channel Africa in South Africa in 1993. She always praised her colleague, the late Apollinaire Gahungu, who worked for that channel. “He took me in like a brother, and since he was disabled, he occupied the ground floor and gave me and my two children upstairs rooms. When I went to work, he got me a baby-sitter.”

In 1998, she ended up in London where she joined the English section of the BBC. Hafsa Mossi used to say it was thanks to the late Laurent Ndayuhurume, a Burundian prominent journalist, that she integrated into that great world radio. “And from there I had the chance to travel, talk to many personalities, have many meetings, meet people of different nationalities, interview politicians from the sub-region and my country. And that’s when began my interest in the fight the CNDD FDD was engaged in.”

A kind of trigger: “Though I talked to those people and understood their fight, I remained professional until I decided to return home and build my country in a different way. I accepted to leave my comfort, my salary”. And that’s when her political career began. She officially joined CNDD-FDD. The “party of the eagle” had just signed the Global Agreement of Cease-fire with the transitional government headed by Domitien Ndayizeye.


Since she had extensive experience in matters of communication, a position of a spokeswoman of the kingpin of CNDD-FDD was offered to her before she was designated as the Minister of Communication. Despite her ascension, Hafsa Mossi remained discreet, moderate, open, and very humane.

That ascension may have created jealousy within her camp. When there was a cabinet reshuffle around 2007, she found herself, to her great surprise, head of the new Presidential Ministry of East African Community Affairs.

The country is indebted to her for the organization of the 13th Summit of the heads of EAC in Bujumbura in November, 2011. Though there were reservation and fear even within the members of the government, she gave herself body and soul for the success of that event. “The support of the Head of the State was her asset. She did her best for Roca Golf Hotel to be ready to host high personalities. She thought of fixing up vast tents for meetings just in the area surrounding the hotel”, says a person close to the late lady.

Hafsa Mossi was afterwards appointed Member of Parliament within EALA. Another person close to that woman revealed that the latter felt betrayed and disappointed by her colleagues when she wanted to stand as a candidate to head that institution. “And yet, it was the turn of Burundi. She was pleased to represent them, the ‘Burundi Chapter’. She even was at the head of women members of the Parliament of EALA”, stresses that person close to her.