It was not the New Year party Kayumba Nyamwasa had hoped for, according to information from a close confidant, who revealed that the self-exiled head of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) is in panic-mode following the 31 December 2018 UN Group of Experts bombshell that provides, in great detail, information that pins Kayumba to activities that include forming a rebellion that seeks to perpetuate violence against Rwanda’s democratically-elected government and to destabilise the country in general.
The terror outfit, organised in five groups operating from the South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), calls itself “P5”: Amahoro People’s Congress (AMAHORO-PC), the Forces Démocratiques Unifées-Inkingi (FDU INKINGI), the People’s Defence Pact-Imanzi (PDP-IMANZI), the Socialist Party-Imberakuri (PS IMBERAKURI) and the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), according to the report.
While much of this information has generally been known to people with interest in political developments in Africa’s Great Lakes, it is perhaps the first report of its kind to provide in particulars that include the actors, routes, and support they receive in the most elaborate way.
Indeed, this rigour on the part of the report’s authors is likely the reason that made Kayumba Nyamwasa sufficiently panicky to feel compelled to gather a few of his trusted partners in crime to think about ways to avert what is clearly an impending UN sanctions regime against him.
Kayumba’s peronal assistant, Kennedy Gihana, and RNC financier Tribert Rujugiro’s publicist, David Himbara, were quickly mobilised and tasked with engaging media houses with the aim of undermining the UNGoE report, according to a source within top RNC circles.
They were given talking points to deny that: Kayumba has ever travelled to the location of the operation base in the DRC; has any force anywhere; indeed, that he knows nothing of any “P5” formation.
They are also to deny that Kayumba knows any of these field commanders of the group in South Kivu, Col. Shyaka Nyamusaraba, Maj. Habib Mudhathiru, Capt. Sibomana “Sibo” Charles, etc.
The duo, according to the source, is also to deny RNC carries out recruitment anywhere in the region, nor receives any logistical support from Burundi, as the UNGoE report states.
This source further adds that these denials should be expected in the media anytime from now.
Among the first media outlets they reached out to is The Daily Maverick, a South African daily online newspaper.
The Maverick, it must be recalled, is an enthusiastic peddler of anti-Rwanda propaganda on behalf of the RNC, including recent efforts to place a wedge in what had otherwise been improving Rwanda-South Africa relations, by fanning tensions with articles such as “Rwanda and South Africa’s rocky road to reconciliation”; “Normalization of South Africa-Rwanda relations has been suspended after insults to Sisulu” and “Murder of Rwandan dissident spymaster Karegeya to come to court at last.”
This time, the fear against sanctions has prompted a more vigorous effort.
Gihana also contacted SowetanLIVE, a South African online paper, to publish similar articles defending Kayumba against the GoE charges.
Himbara, too, went into overdrive. He contacted several US and Canadian media houses entreating them to publish his Kayumba public relations pieces discrediting the GoE report.
His pleas fell on deaf ears, however, as most of the media houses he contacted underlined the rigour in the Experts’ report and their unwillingness to compromise the reputation of their newspapers, the source reported.
Himbara was left with the only alternative at his disposal: his blog and Facebook account!
With the major papers refusing to play ball, Himbara sought to slightly adjust his PR strategy. Reminding Kayumba of the high-stakes nature of the situation, he urged him to now play his last card: Leverage the support of his personal friends in South Africa’s Department of International Relations to exploit South Africa’s membership in the UN Security Council as one of the 10 elected members for the 2019-2020 period.
It had clearly not dawned on Himbara that his friend hadn’t realized the magnitude of the problem he faced and that it was now or never.
Oblivious to this fact, Kayumba kept insisting that the media strategy had served them well in the past against similar accusations in the 2010 GoE report that implicated him and Patrick Karegeya in the serious crimes that were being committed by the genocidal Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels.
All Himbara could apparently do was to listen in amazement as Kayumba failed to grasp that the mountain of evidence in this report makes the 2010 report seem like child’s play.
However, Himbara’s advice to Nyamwasa wasn’t any better, given that this time the GoE report clearly requests for the assistance of the South African government with regard to Kayumba’s activities.
In effect, there’s a mountain of evidence and an explicit call on the South African government to fully cooperate with the GoE on Kayumba.
It would be an understatement to say that Kayumba is caught between a rock and a hard place. It also seems this time round nothing will be sufficient to help him get off the hook of sanctions.
With such prospects for the New Year, who wouldn’t panic?