Mutara was known for being the first Mwami to convert to Catholicism, spearheading a wave of baptisms in the protectorate, and for his ostentatious efforts to supplicate the Belgian rulers, at one point thanking "Christ-the-King to have given Rwanda the divine light of Belgian colonial administration along with its science of good government.
Mutara died under mysterious circumstances on July 25th, 1959, after a routine vaccination treatment administered by a Belgian doctor in Bujumbura, on the way back from a consultation with Belgian officials, in what many Rwandan consider to have been an assassination. Mutara was succeeded by his younger brother Jean-Baptiste Ndahindurwa as Kigeri V. After Mutara's death, his wife, Queen Rosalie Gicanda, remained in Rwanda. She was murdered on April 22, 1994 during the Rwandan Genocide, under the orders of Capt. Idelphonse Nizeyimana via Lt. Pierre Bizimana.