The Miss Rwanda pageant has been suspended until further notice following an investigation into alleged cases of sexual abuse in the pageantry.
The event was suspended after an official in charge of the pageant was arrested over alleged sexual exploitation of contestants who participated in the Miss Rwanda pageantry over the years.
The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) said Dieudonne Ishimwe, a former musician popularly known as Prince Kid, was taken into custody on April 27 over alleged “sexual assault related crimes”.
On Monday May 9, the ministry of youth and culture released a statement saying that “the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant has been suspended pending completion of investigations” into the accusations against Ishimwe.
The 36-year-old is facing charges that he allegedly committed offences against former contestants of Miss Rwanda at various times, RIB spokesman Thierry Murangira told AFP at the time of his arrest.
The sex scandal that has rocked Miss Rwanda came to light after current Miss Rwanda, Nshuti Divine Muheto, recently spoke out and shared a recording of Ishimwe soliciting sexual favours.
RIB has also arrested Ms Elsa Iradukunda, the Miss Rwanda 2017 winner, for allegedly using forged documents in attempts to obstruct the ongoing investigations.
Sources say the former beauty queen, who is said to be in a relationship with the embattled pageant boss, has been manipulating victims who testified against Ishimwe into signing written documents that deny having been sexually abused by him at any time.
Miss Rwanda debuted in the global Miss World competition in 2016, according to its website. It bills itself as the East African country’s leading beauty pageant.