Recently, four Rwandan renegades Kayumba Nyamwasa, Patrick Karegyeya, Gerald Gahima and Theogene Rudasingwa were in the media, as usual, attempting to tarnish the image of the Government of Rwanda and its leadership. In their joint work, misleadingly entitled “Rwanda Briefing”, that appeared in the print media, the four renegades personalize issues and fail to hide their true character and personality.
Brigadier General Richard Rutatina and Lieutenant Colonel Jill Rutaremara respond to the misguided “Rwanda Briefing” report in a three-part series. - Part 3
ATTACKING THE PERSON OF THE HEAD OF STATE
The renegades hurl many attacks on the person of the Head of State. For example, they question the credentials of the Head of State as an exemplary strategic thinker and visionary leader. They also question the universally held view that President Kagame is an incorruptible austere man of absolute integrity. These and other attacks are baseless as shall be demonstrated hereafter.
Firstly, the renegades question President Kagame’s visionary and strategic leadership. The renegades themselves are fully aware that it is not out of nothing that President Kagame is widely recognized as a visionary leader and strategic thinker. The achievements that prove his visionary leadership and strategic thinking tell it all. Recent history of the region is replete with marks of his legacy. At a time when many in his generation were occupied with mere survival, Kagame, who had always been concerned about the plight of Rwandans, decided to participate in the liberation of Uganda as a stepping stone for the subsequent liberation of Rwanda.
He started by joining the Front for National Salvation Army (FRONASA), which was part of the forces that ousted dictator Idi Amini in 1979. In 1981, he was one of the 27 vanguard fighters of the Uganda National Resistance Army (NRA) that liberated Uganda in 1986. Immediately after the Uganda liberation war, he was instrumental in planning for the eventual liberation of Rwanda under the banner of RPF.
After the death of Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema in October 1990, Paul Kagame found RPA in disarray and on the verge of total defeat. With his visionary and strategic leadership, he turned defeat into victory, a feat that has perplexed the best military minds in the world. Kagame’s credentials were further confirmed when the Rwanda Patriotic Army he commanded defeated the genocidal regime and ousted it from power in July 1994, bringing to end the genocide against Tutsi that had seen over one million people killed in 100 days. This was achieved single-handedly in spite of the betrayal by the international community.
After the 1994 genocide, Rwanda was a failing state and could have degenerated into a failed state if it were not for the visionary leadership and strategic thinking of Paul Kagame. As Vice President and Minister of Defense and later as Head of State, Kagame played a central role in restoring peace and stability, and spearheaded political and socio- economic transformation of the country.
To date, Rwanda is credited for her security, socio-economic development and democratic governance. Currently, President Kagame has projected Rwanda onto the international scene as a respectable player. All these achievements that Rwanda has registered in a short period could not have come without a visionary and a strategic thinker at the helm of the country as the renegades would want us to believe.
Secondly, while President Kagame is widely known for his unquestionable integrity, accountability, impeccable discipline and zero tolerance to corruption, the renegades want the world to believe otherwise. They use a number of simplistic and cheap arguments to attack the person of the President. Take, for example, the attempt to compare President Kagame with the previous presidents.
In their own words: “President Habyarimana lived in a simple home and only received a salary. He drove a very old car. He lived a down-to-earth life and did not, upon his death, leave any significant wealth. His predecessor, President Kayibanda, lived an even simpler life and may have died a pauper”.
These renegades dwell on flimsy and cheap issues to attack the person of the President on accountability issues. The accountability of a Head of State cannot simply be judged by the type of vehicle he drives. It is judged by how he steers a country towards socio-economic and political development and accounts for national resources.
A President is a symbol of a State. There is no sane person who can give credit to a Head of State that drives a very old car leave alone dying a pauper. In fact, such a President would be an insult and a disgrace to the nation he leads. While Rwanda is known for having probably the smallest fleet of presidential vehicles, it is no big issue when a President drives a very expensive vehicle. The fugitives have no moral authority and credibility to question the integrity of the President. Kayumba, Karegyeya, Rudasingwa and Gahima must be having a short memory.
Gahima acquired a huge bank loan worth billions of francs to put up a one-hundred-and-three room Five–Star Hotel in the posh suburb of Kimihurura in Kigali. But, given his usual kleptomania, he diverted a big fraction of the loan to his foreign accounts and could not complete the hotel.
After defaulting on the loan, the bank auctioned it and it was bought by a businessman who completed it and named it “Oasis Hotel”. Similarly, his half-brother, Theogene Rudasingwa, borrowed hundreds of millions of money from a local bank and put up an exotic hotel, also in the posh Kigali suburb of Kimihurura. He also diverted a big part of the loan and later sold off the hotel which has since been named “Select Hotel”. Kayumba and Karegeya each own two of the most luxurious villas in the up-market Kigali suburb of Nyarutarama and other houses outside the country.
This clearly shows that the four renegades had no intentions of dying paupers like Kayibanda whom they purportedly admire. By glorifying poverty and visionless leadership characteristic of Kayibanda and Habyalimana, the renegades are indeed exposing their true selves as cheap, ideologically bankrupt and opportunistic individuals.
THE RENEGADES’ WAY FORWARD
The renegades finally come up with what they believe is a panacea for their perceived Rwandan problems. Before they announce their wish, they act as prophets of doom. In their own wish: “When Rwanda shall implode, as it inevitably will unless President Kagame changes course, the implosion could have also devastating consequences for Tutsi communities in other countries of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.”
This is exactly similar to the prophecy of an apocalypse by Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, a renowned architect of the 1994 genocide. One may therefore wonder whether these renegades who have become fanatic supporters of Bagosora’s beliefs are not busy mobilizing for a second genocide. This is an insult to Rwandans to whom memories of the 1994 genocide are still fresh. In particular, it is a grave insult to the Hutu whom the renegades think they can manipulate into committing genocide. Rwandans have sworn to never again have a repeat of the 1994 genocide.
The renegades propose an ambiguous outfit called the ‘New National Partnership Government’ in which they are members. A key tenet of this new arrangement would be explicit representation of the Hutu community. It is clear that they are suggesting an ethnic quota system (équilibre ethnique) such as was practiced under the Habyalimana regime. This would bring back the old divisive politics and ethnic identity cards that deliberately identified Rwandans as Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The proposal by the renegades is tantamount to political regression, erasing all the achievements won at a high cost in blood and treasure.
Needless to say, Rwandans have advanced to such a degree of political maturity that they cannot countenance such a backward and reactionary proposal. In fact, the proposal exposes the true colours of the renegades who masquerade as democrats.
Four renegades in the persons of Kayumba, Karegeya, Rudasingwa and Gahima have hurled wild, unsubstantiated and malicious allegations against the Government of Rwanda and the person of the Head of State. The authors’ background is tainted with a criminal record and they have failed to live up to the high standards of accountability espoused by the government of Rwanda under the leadership of President Kagame.
They lack the moral authority and credibility that would qualify them to criticize, let alone challenge, what the Government of Rwanda, her President and the people of Rwanda have achieved. They should therefore be treated with the utmost contempt that they deserve.
The renegades, like the other habitual critics of Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, allege that Rwanda is in crisis due to a system of democratic governance that excludes the Hutu; that there is one-party state and that there is no reconciliation in Rwanda. They question the integrity and visionary and strategic leadership of the Head of State. The renegades hope to sow discord among Rwandans and to present themselves as a political alternative to the current political order. This is simply a figment of their imagination.
Contrary to the whims of the renegades, the reality is that Rwanda has registered impeccable achievements in the areas of democratic governance, socio-economic development, and national unity and reconciliation. Under the leadership of President Kagame, Rwanda has emerged from the abyss of the 1994 genocide and become a regional and international player of repute. Rwanda has been recognized by the World Bank and other development partners for her exemplary record in good governance, fighting corruption and ensuring accountability.
Several international accolades have been bestowed upon the President for his visionary and strategic leadership. More importantly, the people of Rwanda, who are enjoying a climate of national harmony, peace and security and socio-economic prosperity, have shown their full confidence in President Kagame by electing him overwhelmingly for a second seven-year mandate.
The people of Rwanda have made enormous strides in nation building and do not subscribe to the backward divisive politics along ethnic lines as propagated by the renegades. They reject and shun any manipulation by self-seeking renegades that have failed to live up to the high accountability standards demanded by the government of Rwanda.
All Rwandans and members of international community should rest assured that Rwanda is safe, secure and progressing well economically, socially and politically. Nobody including the renegades can reverse this trend. The renegades and their prophecies of doom pose no threat to Rwanda’s national security.
The renegades and their allegations or proposals should be treated with the utmost contempt that they deserve. Rwanda, under the leadership of President Kagame, is stronger, more united and more prosperous than at any other time in history and looks to the future with greater hope and confidence.
Brigadier General Richard Rutatina is the Defence and Security Advisor to H.E The President. Lieutenant Colonel Jill Rutaremara is the Defence and Military Spokesman.