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The former Rwanda’s State House is now a major museum and leisure centre



Henry Lubega


Leisurely pacing the gate is a lone gate man armed with a stick. Beyond the gate on the paved walkthrough are A4 size papers with the couple’s names littering the ground and giving directions to the wedding reception.

Guests stream in to attend different wedding receptions scattered across the more than two-acre compound. At the extreme end of the paved walk through is a huge one-storeyed building with fading tiles. At one end of the compound is another lone security man in the watch tower, blankly facing the wreckage of the former presidential crash jet.

Welcome to the former fortified Rwanda State House in Kanombe, a suburb of Rwanda’s capital Kigali, now turned into a museum and wedding reception venue.
Located four kilometres from the country’s Kigali international airport, formerly known as Kayibanda International Airport, the museum finds itself in a heavily-militarised zone with very few ordinary civilian homes.

A short distance to the former State House away from the airport is the military police headquarters, a military hospital, and a military high court. Construction of the State House, which was home to two of Rwanda’s former presidents, started in 1976 on the orders of Juvénal Habyarimana (March 8, 1937 – April 6, 1994) who became president through a military coup in 1973 when he deposed his cousin Gregoire Kayibanda, the country’s first president.


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