The story behind the closure of RIMEG

Much as every human being has a right to express his view point, The New Times investigative desk has unearthed circumstances contrary to those advanced by the Managing Director of Rwanda Independent Media Group (Rimeg), Charles Kabonero, as being responsible for the impromptu closure of his single-manned company.

Much as every human being has a right to express his view point, The New Times investigative desk has unearthed circumstances contrary to those advanced by the Managing Director of Rwanda Independent Media Group (Rimeg), Charles Kabonero, as being responsible for the impromptu closure of his single-manned company.

The New Times yesterday carried a report under the title, “Media group suspends operation” quoted Kabonero saying that publications of Rimeg were suspended on Tuesday and wont open unless the Ministers come up with evidence on what they meant by ‘being used by negative forces’.

The ministers put to task to substantiate what they said are; James Musoni (Finance), Moussa Fazil (Internal Security), Prof. Laurent Nkusi (Information) and Justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama.

Kabonero said: “We suspended publications with effect from Tuesday; we want the government officials who accused us of working with the country’s enemies to explain what they said first,”

On one hand, I intend to apportion some blame to the company’s boss, for one reason.

Not only did he find himself in charge of a company he did not start up, it is also true it was never an idea he ever dreamt about.

On the other hand, I will heap a lot of blame on him for doing whatever he can to mislead Rwandans and the international community about the circumstances that led to the closure of his company.

History has it that the co-founders of Rimeg were John Eddie Mugabi, Assuman Bisika, Kamiri Kayumba, Christopher Kayumba and Shaka Kanuma, among others.

Some of them live in diaspora today.

By the time the paper was launched Kabonero was still in Gahini secondary school.

When he was expelt from school on grounds of indiscipline, he became a freelancer with Goboka and Imbarutso newspapers, both of which died a natural death.

In retrospective, he had never entertained a dream of founding on his own a media as a business. If the reverse were true he would know that in a free market economy which Rwanda embraces, firms have free entrance and exit.

I strongly believe if the rightful owners of the vision to enter media business were around they would appreciate this elementary economics rather than coming up with an alarming scapegoat.

Economists are all in agreement that when a company can no longer manage to meet its variable costs like paying workers, rent and others, then its survival is threatened. According to inside sources talked to, Rimeg’s closure has been long over due and it did not come as a surprise to them.

The company had reached a point of no return. It was in its evening when it began failing to produce its products.

If you want to offend Kabonero, ask him when the last issue of Championi hit the street. I wonder whether it is still the ministers who stopped it.

What about Newsline? How come they stopped coming out long before the ministers said anything?

The true reasons behind the closure range from mismanagement of the company, unprofessional journalism, to phobia of facing the law.

According to officials from the immigration department, the Deputy Managing Director, Furaha Mugisha, alleged to be a Tanzanian national, forged documents to enter the country and a criminal case was filed against him.

Our sources confided that the hearing of his case is due November7. To this end, it is alleged that he plans to flee the country before this date.

Also, Rimeg’s Editor, Didas Gasana has defamatory charges filed against him by a Kigali City business tycoon, which has caused him extreme nervousness, according to our sources. His case is also fixed for hearing next month.

Indeed, their concoctions defeat logic and commonsense.

To buy their argument that they have suspended the company’s business due to the ministers’ observations is far-fetched. One wonders why they have taken a month to take such a self defeating decision, ceteris paribus.

Their predecessors and champions of misguided journalism also used to claim that the government of Rwanda was persecuting them.

They used it as justification to get visas to find asylum. They used this wrong impression to get what they want.

Analysts think that time had come for their disciples after failing to effectively run the company, to impress it upon the international community that they were being harassed constantly.

The truth of the matter is defense mechanisms are set in motion!

Gone are the days when crafty people had all the ground to hoodwink the public.

A senior reporter of Rimeg who spoke on condition of anonymity said that sales of the previous issue of Umuseso were terribly poor.

He blamed the losses to lack of sensational stories, which previously acted as the magic for capturing the market. He added that the paper depended on sensationalism, speculation and blackmail.

“You see things are a bit tricky today; the editor (Gasana) has a case before him, Kabonero has just been set free of a couple of cases; now we no longer give our readers what they expect – we fear to continue with our alarmist editorial line,” the source said.

What was evident during the recent journalists’ meeting with H.E President Paul Kagame is that most journalists who feel there is need to serve the larger national interests were fed up of gutter papers and jungle journalism.

I am intending to give the actual picture of what transpired in this meeting. But, what was clear is that the journalists who crave for a vibrant media have discovered that such media groups which trade in lies should he told off, even by fellow journalists.

By and large the closure or suspension, call it anything, has nothing to do with the ministers’ observation.

In any case the world over, never has the so called independent media been in love with political establishments.

Now if I may ask you Kabonero sir, if by merely branding you negative you were going to close shop, what the hell were you doing in opposition reporting? Did you expect support and praise from the very government you had made it your weekly business to undermine and malign at will?

I always thought you were prepared for the fight before you took on government.         


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