MP resigns as Kagame raises concerns over alcohol abuse

Friday December 02 2022

Gamariel Mbonimama resigned after was accused of drunk driving. Picture: Courtesy

By Ange Iliza

A Member of Parliament has shattered his political career after he was caught driving while drunk.

This is adds to concerns being raised over the increasing cases of abuse of alcohol among young and adults across the country. The matter was recently raised during the annual gathering of the Unity Club which brings together retired and active public servants.

While discussions at the gathering focused on alcohol abuse among teenagers, President Paul Kagame brought to the fore a case of a Member of Parliament without disclosing his identity who was caught drunk driving by the police but was not arrested because he had immunity.

But by Monday, it became clear who the president was referring to after Rwandan Member of Parliament, Gamariel Mbonimama tendered his resignation admitting that he was caught drunk driving. Mr Mbonimama has been in the lower chamber of the parliament since 2018.

On Monday, parliament confirmed the reception of Mr Mbonimama’s letter of resignation that cited “personal reasons” as a reason to resign. The letter was followed by a series of tweets and quotes by the media of Mr Mbonimama admitting to drunk driving, and alcohol addiction and apologizing to the president and the public.

Videos of the MP seemingly drunk during a traffic check have made rounds on social media, prompting different reactions. He later publicly admitted to drunk driving and apologized.


“I sincerely apologise to the president and all Rwanda people. I committed a drunk driving offence and I have decided to quit alcohol. Please hear my plea. I am ready to fulfill all the other responsibilities you entrust me with,” Mr Mbonimana tweeted and tagged President Kagame.

Mr Mbonimana is a member of the Liberal Party. He joined the parliament in 2018 and was in 2019 appointed to the Francophonie Parliament Association as a committee member on Education, Communication, and Cultural Affairs. Mr Mbonimana is a PhD holder in Philosophy in Education Management. He holds two Master’s degrees in education and logistical courses.

Mr Mbonimana was known in the parliament for his advocacy for social issues. His latest reported work was a Bill tabled before the deputies in October seeking legalized surrogacy and granting access to contraceptives to girls under the age of 18.

The latter was rejected, with MPs saying this was against the country's cultural values.
The team that worked on the Bill with Mr Mbonimpa told Rwanda Today that they will continue working on the Bill until the final stage.

The Bill tabled in parliament as a result loopholes in the law that seen couples seeking surrogacy sent to court for consent. Mr Mbonimpa was a member of various parliamentary committees including the Rwanda African Parliamentary Network Against Corruption.

Drink driving is punishable by Rwandan law with a fine of Rwf150,000 retention of
the vehicle, and detention pending investigation.