President Museveni and Paul Kagame in a past function
What betided Rwanda recently shows that Rwandan President Paul Kagame is slowly losing his grip on Rwanda. Reports that the country's former chief of staff Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa fled Rwanda to South Africa will have telling effects. It is a lot to do with the weathering of Kagame’s power.
President Kagame has the credit of calming Rwanda down and ushering in notable development. He must however embark on true democracy and avoid overstaying in power like his Ugandan counterpart.
Naturally, arrogance creates self-destructing seeds. For long, Kagame has been everything in Rwanda. After taking over and appointing a stooge in former president Pasteur Bizimungu, he kept pulling strings behind the curtain till he deposed Bizimungu. Apart from manipulating the constitution to remain in power, Kagame has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist. He has banked on genocide as a pretext to punish or thwart alternative ideas. Refer to the recent attack on opposition leader and presidential aspirant Victoire Ingabire, whom he accused of touching the scars of the nation simply because she inquired why Hutu’s are sidelined. President Kagame also lodges serious crimes against his critics. Nyamwasa is a recent casualty. For a while Kagame’s gimcrack gimmicks have worked. But as time lapses, it seems, his magic bullet is losing credibility thanks to taking on the members of his inner sanctum.
What is going on in Rwanda borders the episode of an egg eating hen. After eating all eggs, the hen found itself facing the big question: How will I forge ahead without procreating? Kagame, like any dictator, does not think about dying or democracy but ruling for life. This is the take of his opponents.
Sixteen years down the line, people are starting to question the infallibility of Kagame. They’re tired of boot licking. They want true democracy. Ingabire says that Rwandans want politics based on true democracy; not claptrap, deceit and backstabbing. Hell bent to stage a clean and tough fight, Ingabire has brought new breath in Rwandan politics.
Regarded by his foes as a self-appointed guardian and custodian of stability in Rwanda, Kagame needs to understand that the well being of a country depends on the citizenry as whole, not a one man show. Although he’s always maintained that he is not a dictator, the words of Nyamwasa, one of his inner sanctum that recently fell out with him, speak volumes.
“Look at the turnover of all people who have served in that regime. It tells the whole story. Look at all those who have served with President Paul Kagame, ask him who is still serving with him now. If all of us are bad and he is the only good person, then Rwanda has no future,” says Nyamwasa.
Most African rulers give ambassadorial posts to perceived ‘rivals’ to make them forgotten by the people at home. Kagame’s been disposing almost all comrades he regards a threat to his rule.
Lt. Gen. Nyamwasa, who until he fled was Rwanda’s ambassador to India, joins a growing list of former senior Rwandan army officers who in recent years have fallen out with President Kagame -- and ultimately left the left country. In 2007, Col. Karegeya, also fled to Uganda and then to South Africa. Others include Theoneste Musindashaka (July 27, 2009), Senator Stanley Safari (June 2, 2009), Lt. Col. Sam Baguma (April 2009); Capt. Evarist, Capt. Eliphaz Ndikuyezu, Capt. Claude Bizimungu, Capt. John Uwintari, Capt. John Bosco Muhizi, Capt. Theobal Gakumba, Capt. John Ontabuka, Jean Pierre Kagubare and Maj.Gen. Emmanuel Habyarimana (2004).
How things happen in Rwanda is not any difference from how they are happening in Uganda. Where are comrades like James Kazini, Noble Mayombo, Brigadier Nakibus Lakara (former Chief of Staff), Brigadier Henry Tumukunde (former director general of the Internal Security Organization) and others that were buddies of Museveni?
Kagame must reconcile with his people by doing things the way they democratically want. It’ll be surreal shall Rwanda lose the gains she achieved under Kagame.
Source: The African Executive Magazine March 17, 2010.