Ever since he fled the country, three months ego, former Rwandan Ambassador to India, Kayumba Nyamwasa, has worked hard to use the media to portray himself as a victim of what he seeks to paint as a repressive government. Yet as demonstrated in his tirade published in the May 30, 2010, issue of Monitor, the Ugandan daily, he attempts to claim that he had no intention of featuring in the news media.
Kayumba begins with the claim that his name “is always in the media for all the wrong reasons”. This is not only a demonstration of posturing and grand- standing, it’s the epitome of dishonest and hypocrisy. His conduct, after he fled the country, has been anything but quiet.
As soon as he left the country, Kayumba sought out any media outlet that was prepared to listen to his ranting against the Government of Rwanda and this has, pretty much, been his pre-occupation – ranging from newspaper publications in the region, to foreign radio networks. His media campaign in the last three months does not exactly paint a picture of an individual, working to put his past behind him, as Kayumba would like the world to believe. He, indeed, can talk not about moving on, while in the same breath addressing himself to what he refers to as “countrymen”.
At the time he left the country, Kayumba who was still a serving officer in the Rwanda Defense Forces, seconded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contends that he disagreed with President Paul Kagame over issues of governance and “betrayal of colleagues”.
He does not name any of the betrayed comrades he refers to. On governance, however, Kayumba was a military officer whose business was to take orders from the Commander-in -Chief, with no questions asked, the way Kayumba himself expected the soldiers under his command to relate to him.
Soldiers, the world over, take orders, they don’t discuss policy with their Commanders-in-Chief, and Kayumba was no exception. If he had chosen to engage in matters of governance and politics, he was required by law to get out the RDF uniform. There is no way he was going to have his “cake and eat”.
So, when he proclaims that he tolerated his Commander-in-Chief for seven years, the pertinent question that comes to mind is: Who tolerated who under these circumstances? Kayumba served under the command of President Kagame since 1990.
When was his point of departure with the Commander-in-Chief, in the twenty years (not sixteen as he claims) he served under him? He is evidently neither credible nor believable when he seeks to convince the world that after twenty years of working and serving under President Kagame he, one day, woke up and realized that he disagreed with the government and, therefore, chose to leave and keep running.
As Secretary General of the National Security Services, among the violations Kayumba was notoriously known for, that was neither associated with his predecessor nor characterizes his successor, is the harassment and locking up of journalists.
While he is the only occupant of that office who has had the dubious distinction of chocking journalists and muzzling the media, Kayumba now turns around to tell the world that he left the country because there is lack of freedom of speech in the country, a right he claims he fought for. Indeed, if Kayumba was the revolutionary he claims to be, he would have stayed in the country to continue the struggle for the values he says he cherishes.
Revolutionaries stand and fight for what they believe in, they don’t cut and run.
In the his document, Kayumba compares President Paul Kagame, who brought an end to the 1994 Genocide, to Juvenal Habyarimana who planned the extermination of the Tutsi, claiming there is no difference between the two. Indeed, Kayumba, along with other Rwandans, spent some years of his life fighting the Habyarimana regime, on account of its fascist character. Now, if he is convinced President Paul Kagame is as bad as Habyarimana was, how come he is declaring that his intention was to “forget politics and military”?
For a politician who addresses himself to his “countrymen”, given his claim to revolutionary credentials, you wouldn’t expect Kayumba to abandon the people to a government he says is similar to a regime he risked his life to help remove! The fact is, if he fought the Habyarimana regime, when he knew the possibility of losing his life in that war was as good as his chance of surviving it, and now he can’t offer similar sacrifice, there is no way he can compare President Kagame to Habyarimana.
If he fought a dictatorship in the past and nothing has changed, as he contends, why cut and run and not confront it, if he is not running from something else?
Kayumba’s new position on the war that was fought in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), reveals a highly opportunistic individual. He chooses to characterize the fighting that took place in Ituri and Mulenge, as wars that he didn’t agree with. Kayumba knows better than most that these were battles, in a war that successfully brought back peace to Rwanda, and helped stabilize the entire Great Lakes region. His sympathy for Masunzu, who allied with Interahamwe militia to kill his own Banyamulenge people, is equally unprincipled.
Victoire Ingabire’s membership to FDRL, a terrorist organization, was confirmed and highlighted by the November 2009 United Nations report. Subsequently, the prosecution in Rwanda has been showing evidence corroborating what the UN has already published.
Now, for Kayumba to attempt to sanitize Ingabire seeking to portray her as some innocent victim of what he has been peddling as government repression is, simply, to hit rock bottom.
In the last three months, Kayumba has publicly retracted and denounced everything he fought and stood for in the last quarter of a century. From the struggle he participate in, to the government he served.
The question is; was he an adventurer to have invested the youthful part of his life in something he didn’t agree with in the first place?