How Kayumba got it all wrong

Gen. Kayumba NYAMWASA, should take lessons from Umberto Eco.  Eco reportedly has over fifty thousand books, and yet believes that words do not have meanings but rather, they operate in the context of utterances.I have read Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa’s response to President Kagame reported in the Monitor of May 30th with interest. His words certainly do not have meaning.

Gen. Kayumba NYAMWASA, should take lessons from Umberto Eco.  Eco reportedly has over fifty thousand books, and yet believes that words do not have meanings but rather, they operate in the context of utterances.
I have read Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa’s response to President Kagame reported in the Monitor of May 30th with interest. His words certainly do not have meaning.

They can only be understood in the context of his utterances. I will forego Consider the stated aim of Kayumba’s response. He claims it is for purposes of clarity, and for the sake of his family, friends, countrymen, and those who read the monitor, in that order.

Therein lies the fundamental problem that should be the object of debate.  Public life, as Kayumba sees it, for he has been a public figure for most of his life, is centered around the advancement of his family and friends.

Country and the World at large come a distant third and fourth.  No wonder then he attempts to hoodwink us into believing that he is engaged in a struggle between his family and President Kagame’s.  We are not interested.  Perhaps though, it is inevitable that Kayumba would disagree with President Kagame.

The mindset of family, friends, first and then Country belongs to a bygone era. It is the mindset of an unenlightened monarch of yester years, with the conviction that ‘ L’Etat c’est moi!” Kayumba’s complaint is my joy. 

He complains that Kagame fell out with him when Kayumba allegedly saved his life – a claim I know to be singularly untrue! But that exactly is as it should be. It simply shows that President Kagame puts Country first.

It is refreshing to find a Head of State who does not protect his friends for historical or other reasons, if he believes they are in the wrong, or embraces his enemies of yesteryear when he believes they have mended their ways.

That is Statesmanship. That Kagame should fall out with Kayumba and work with Rwarakabije is the epitome of tolerance, sensitivity, and self sacrifice in the service of the Nation.  It is ample testimony, if any were needed, that Kagame puts Country first, ahead of family and friends. I salute him for that.

Then there is the charge that Kagame does not respect institutions.  Kayumba makes the claim, and then proves the exact opposite.  He says he was saved from arrest because he declared his property declaration forms to the Ombudsman on time and regularly.

If this is true, it simply proves President Kagame helped create Institutions of accountability, and respects them. On the other hand, Kayumba says he holds the people in the RPF in contempt and finds some of its meetings despicable.  One cannot pick and choose.

Either you believe in Institutions, including those who hold responsibilities in them until they cease to hold them through a democratic process, or you do not.

A democrat cannot choose to obey some Institutions and disrespect others. That is not democracy, it is anarchy. Knowing the RPF as I do, anarchists would certainly have a very hard time belonging to it.

As a revolutionary, I find it most strange that Kayumba should boast of having wanted to leave the Army and Government in 2003.  Now that is despicable! In 2003, Rwanda was just coming out of its Political Transition and moving into a democratic, pluralistic dispensation for the first time in the Country’s history.

This was the time for patriots and revolutionaries to engage, not to disengage – and yet Kayumba didn’t want to be part of this – he should be ashamed, not proud of that fact.

What did the good General want to do with his life at this crucial time in the nation’s history, with difficulties within, enemies without and a revolution under siege? Kayumba owes all of us an explanation.

And then there is General Kayumba’s strange understanding of accountability. He seems to think he should not be held accountable for his actions because, as he says, President Kagame has to account for allegations Kayumba makes about his wealth and trips.

I know that the allegations are untrue and contemptible, but President Kagame is more than capable of being accountable for his actions.  However, how does that exonerate General Kayumba and Kalegeya from accounting for their own actions? We Rwandans know, and deserve better. 

Kayumba, like others before him, and many after him, was called to account for his stewardship of the Public trust.  The defense that others should also account for their actions is valid only in so far as one is willing to account for their own actions.

That KAYUMBA run away from this process denies him of any legitimacy to call for the accountability of others!
No, General Kayumba. President Kagame’s accountability demands are not farce, demagogue and playacting to the gallery.

They have resulted in prosecution of corrupt individuals at all levels, through the courts of law. They have restored public trust in the Institutions of Government, including the Army, Police, Community Insurance systems and public procurement.

They have led to better public financial management, increased investment and personal security for all the citizens. They have given the people a voice in their own governance. And, they have no statute of limitations!

If this is playing to the gallery, then President Kagame, play on!  In any case, the RPF is the only guerilla outfit I know of, that did not at any time in its history, have deep dissentions within its ranks based on bad stewardship of its finances and logistics.

If this is not testimony to President Kagame’s rigor as a steward of public resources in and out of Government, then I do not know what is!

Umberto Eco was supposed to be a lawyer but he decided to do semiotics and philosophy. May be General Kayumba the lawyer should have done the same, for his sense of history is bizarre to say the least!  The PARMEHUTU regime under Kayibanda had, as its foundation pillar, the propagation of a destructive pan Hutuism.

The Habyarimana regime, in addition to this, anchored regionalism as a stated mode of governance. These policies led to genocide. The RPF Government is predicated on National Unity and Reconciliation, and the return of Rwanda as a Nation.

If that is not the reason Kayumba joined the RPF, then what is? Surely, whatever difficulties he may have with some individuals, he should be able to identify the fundamental differences between the systems.

That he cannot is perhaps the reason he wants to lower the debate to personalities and families.  And then there is the comparison with Idi Amin – gutter intellect! Idi Amin had a military tribunal that enshrined the firing squad as a key component of State craft.

President Kagame and the RPF have removed the death penalty from the books, and criminals, including those accused of terrorism like Mushayidi will have their day in court.  How can the two even remotely be compared?
I will refrain from commenting on what the monitor called a tale of two families.

Rwanda is not an aristocracy, and Rwandans do not wake up every morning star gazing ‘ruling families!”  Our history is much bigger than individuals and their families. I had expected General Kayumba to raise fundamental issues that require informed dispassionate debate.

That he did not and instead chose to be sensationalist in his response is a deep disappointment to me, and perhaps others less interested in tabloid politics. May be Kayumba should be more innovative. He has a given us a resume in utterances to the monitor and BBC.

Unfortunately he has burnished the resume with unsustainable allegations. He should now give us a kind of anti – resume. He should tell us what he has not done, studied, experienced, or what he has done wrong to the revolution he was supposed to serve.

After all, what one knows is important, but what one does not know but is willing to learn is even more important; certainly in politics, diplomacy, and the military.

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