If there was anyone who fits the term “sly opportunistic chameleon”, none would beat Gerald Gahima.
The former Prosecutor General seems to have a very short memory and expects everyone to be hoodwinked. Gahima’s journey in the corridors of Rwandan politics has left an indelible mark that is a far cry from the choir boy image he is trying to portray.
If Gahima thinks that his history of arbitral arrests and shady deals was a close kept secret, he has another think coming.
This column will attempt to unravel some of the many skeletons from Gahima’s cabinet.
His reign at the helm of the Prosecutor’s office brought a lot of worms out of the woodwork of his true character; abuse of office, greed and unparallel arrogance and disregard to lawful authority.
One event that quickly comes to mind is when Gahima nearly brought the judiciary to a standstill when he had the audacity to arrest five judges from the Cassation court, the quasi-totality of the bench.
Gahima took the five men into a room where arrest warrants and arresting officers were waiting. The judges were herded to separate prisons on allegations of corruption and the Prosecutor General would tell all who cared to listen that he had been instructed to disband — if not to destroy — that important arm of the Supreme Court.
Gahima made sure that those who managed to escape his purge were later coerced to resign
His tyrannical streak could not allow him to exercise a modicum of respect in front of the Chief Justice who had demanded to know why Gahima had arrested members of his staff without giving reasons. This followed an earlier altercation in the Chief Justice’s office when Gahima walked out and arrogantly slammed the door.
Had it not been for the intervention of the country’s top leadership, the judges would have languished in jail. It later turned out that the victims had ruled against Gahima’s vested interests and it was his way of getting back and removing frustrating obstacles.
Does he remember when he imprisoned people who refused to serve his interests? Does he remember the unfortunate person he sent to jail simply because the individual refused to falsely testify against a certain prosecutor? This person went to exile after his release and only came back when Gahima was no longer in the country.
His quest for cheap popularity and always wanting the world to revolve around him, had no limit. When the country embarked on widespread reforms in the justice sector, Gahima was always putting the spoke in the wheels, tirelessly working to undermine the reforms simply because he had not been appointed to spearhead them.
So today when he bad-mouths the judiciary, it is simply a matter of the proverbial soar grapes.
When Gerald Gahima was the Director of Cabinet in the Ministry of Justice, he also owned a garage down town Kigali; Mohamed’s Garage. Not only was Gahima directing his entire ministry’s car repairs to the garage, the workshop was notorious for switching vehicle parts; replacing good parts with bad ones.
Perhaps one of the major incidents that highlighted Gerald Gahima’s corrupt tendencies was the so-called “BACAR affair”.
This bank at one time came under investigation. Gahima’s office, the police and other relevant government department were involved in the probe. But when it came to serve his personal interests, Gahima had no qualms disregarding conflict of interests.
Valens Kajeguhakwa, the former majority shareholder in BACAR, now Fina Bank, had appointed Gahima on the board of directors for which he was paid Rwf 600,000 per month on top of a hefty sitting allowance.
Gahima being Kajeguhakwa’s mole, did all he could to shield the bank, and in return, received a handsome reward. Bacar availed him a Rwf one billion (approx. $3m) loan, with no guarantee, to build a hotel.
Owing to his dubious enterprises and defaulting on loans, commercial banks blacklisted him, but there was no-go zone for the former senior government official now turned “opposition politician”.
His morality hit rock bottom when he exploited his poor 70-year plus mother in his shady schemes. Gahima took another loan, this time a modest Rwf 70,000 (approx $200,000), but he did so in his mother’s name, a mere peasant who was herded to BACAR to affix her fingerprint on the documents.
Gahima is simply an immoral and delinquent self-seeker who should be treated with all the contempt he deserves.