Source: Newsline, Vol. III No. 002, 13-20 Aug., 2010
Kagame’s secrets declassified: just the beginning.
By Didas Gasana
Last week, Rwanda’s exiled former spymaster Col. Patrick Karegeya made an astounding revelation. Speaking to the BBC, Karegyeya authoritatively said President Paul Kagame ordered the assassination of Rwanda ’s first post-genocide internal affairs minister, Seth Sendashonga.
Col. Karegeya further said there is a long list of politicians whose death warrants were signed by President Kagame, but he did not divulge the details. “He believes in killing his opponents, that is the problem I have with them, there is a long list of people that have died politically,” he said. The fact that Karegeya was one of the country’s top spies puts him in an authoritative position to know. Whether that position puts him in position of complicity as well, is another subject.
As Karegeya avers, there is a long list of politicians and army officers who were mysteriously assassinated. And, apart from Sendashonga and Lizinde, the others include Lt. Col. Augustine Kiiza, Major Alexis Ruzindana, Assiel Kabera, Lt. Col Adam Waswa, Col. Charles Ngoga, Major Sam Byaruhanga and Andre Kagwa Rwisereka among others. In all these assassinations, Kagame lies at the centre of suspicion. In an official statement August 5, Kigali strongly denied the charges. But there was more to come, from another quarter.
In the same week, August 8, Kagame’s former Director of Cabinet Major. Dr Theogene Rudasingwa, was also hosted on the BBC. During the interview, Rudasingwa said that the ruling RPF stole the 2003presidential elections, and emphatically stated that the elections were won by Faustin Twagiramungu. When Rudasingwa, formerly one of Kagame’s most trusted confidants, confirms HRW’s position that the 2003 elections were rigged, you have a reason to believe him- their political animosity notwithstanding. Indeed, like Col. Karegeya, Maj. Rudasingwa was in position of authority to know what the RPF was doing because before being appointed Director of Cabinet in the Office of the President, Rudasingwa was the Secretary General of the RPF.
These two army officers are the most senior former members of Kagame’s inner circle to expose Kagame’s most guarded secrets. Simply put, the leaks are just a tip in the iceberg. Many more are coming. The two officers know the darkest and ugliest of their former Commander-In-Chief, right from the days of the ‘liberation’ war to date.
Neither Karegeya nor Rudasingwa’s revelations can easily be brushed off by Kigali ’s PR machinery. Karegeya is not the type of Lt. Abdul Ruzibiza, whose allegations that Kagame ordered the shooting of former President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane, were easily countered by Kigali. President Kagame, a darling of the west, had always portrayed himself as an angel to most foreigners (except his accomplices), but his dark side is emerging; and dates far back.
Cunning and ruthless
Throughout Kagame’s military- political career in Uganda and the 1990-94 war in Rwanda, close friends describe him as a cunning and ruthless fellow whose sole pre-occupation is exerting his control. In this quest, Kagame has used all laws of the jungle to outmanoeuvre his bush colleagues and establish himself as the indispensable politico-military figure during the war, and after the genocide. Some in the rank and file in the RPA believe Kagame ordered murders of the likes of Byaruhanga and Adam Wasswa – officers that would question his authority during the war.
There are also accusations that Kagame ordered mass slaughter of innocent civilians during the war and he is also accused of ordering mass killings in the internally displaced refugee camps in Kibeho. Further, during the ‘Congo War’, there were reports of mass killings carried out by the RPA soldiers on his orders.
So, how he rigged the elections in 2003 to maintain his authority is now an open secret. But how he has sidelined his opponents since then, and assassinating others, hasn’t yet come to limelight.
Not surprising however, soon or later, all this hitherto classified information will make it to news paper pages courtesy of people like Kayumba, Karegeya and Rudasingwa among others. It is also not clear as to whether defence Minister Gen. James Kabarebe or Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Charles Kayonga will not ask themselves why their comrades are where there are. This, despite what they say in public.
The larger picture is that the RPA/F, once an acclaimed revolutionary and intact group, is torn apart. The revolutinary bond- the survival of the endangered Tutsi group is long gone. Also eroded is a free and democratic Rwanda the RPF claimed to fight for because today Kagame’s driving agenda is his survival in power, at whatever cost. Unfortunately, this driving agenda has shown his dark side: personality deficiencies, intolerance to diversity and betrayal of the revolution for which many paid dearly.
As we wait for more declassified info to get to the limelight, the question of how Rwanda got here is answered. What is left unanswered is whether this is reversible, how and when.