Apparitions challenger claims court unjustly fined him in case against Catholic Church

Herman Manirareba who dragged the Roman Catholic Church to court for “claiming apparitions of Rwandan’s Queen Mother Nyirarumaga to be Jesus’ mother Mary” says the court unjustly fined him even after rejecting his lawsuit.

“The court does not fine one whose case was rejected without a hearing, such as in my case” Manirareba told Kigali Law Tidings on Monday 21 December 2020 about the fines he was slapped in 2017.

The Ministry of Justice recently announced a six-months campaign to collect over Rwf3 billion as the monies people owe the government from court fines such as Manirareba who owes it the Rwf950,000 court fines.

“I know the bailiffs will soon require me to sell anything I have to pay the unjust fines imposed on me” he acknowledged, adding that he is ready to lose whatever will be taken due to his “endeavours to save Kibeho” as a place of Rwanda norms.

“I would challenge the fines but I discovered that the institution I was suing has more Rwandans who belong to it than the Rwandans who belong to their norms and traditions” Manirareba said in an interview.

In November 2017 Manirareba dragged the Roman Catholic Church of Rwanda to courts, challenging the claim that the church’s Virgin Mary and Queen Mother to Christ the King, appeared to three girls in the 1980 at Kibeho in Nyaruguru Southern Province.

Manirareba claimed that the apparitions phenomenon was the appearance of the 1500s Nyirarumaga, Queen Mother to King Ruganzu Ndoli who used to get reverence from Rwandans on the same hill before the church took over in 1900s.

The apparitions were approved in 2001 by the Vatican and the Pope to be the church’s Virgin Mary mother of God who appeared to the three girls.

Thousands of catholic faithful pilgrim the area for benediction on a day the church believes is when their Mary went to heaven (assumption day), a public holiday in Rwanda.

Manirareba quoted several books and oral traditions depicting Queen Mother Nyirarumaga appearing to several Rwandans on the same hill, a place that Rwandans used to offer supplications to her.

The man submitted that the one who the girls claimed to have appeared to them spoke Kinyarwanda, was barefooted and was black not white or adorned like the church’s Virgin Mary.

The applicant wanted the court to overturn the Virgin Mary claim in the apparitions, such that the Queen Mother Nyirarumaga can claim back her place on her traditional sacred hill.

Nyarugenge court rejected the 50-year old man’s lawsuit, prompting him to proceed to the High Court which also maintained the lower court’s rejection.

Both courts never heard the substance of the lawsuit on grounds that “Manirareba had no mandate to represent the rest of the Rwandans in protecting the people’s culture or advocate for the state values.

Manirareba had based his lawsuit on the constitutional rights for Rwandans and the state to safeguard national values.

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