Kagame Big Stuff


Paul Kagame

To Orwell Today,

Here is a very interesting article regarding the current political situation in Rwanda. The author seems to be very well informed about the RPF and what is going on actually inside the system....

RPF Founders attack Kagame, Newsliner, Sep 22, 2010

-Sharangabo Rufagari

Greetings Sharangabo,

I haven't really been following very closely the news about the behind-the-scenes discontent in the RPF army and the defections of some former top generals and the accusations against them by Kagame and by them against Kagame. This type of bickering goes on behind-the-scenes in every political organization and it's impossible for a non-political outsider to separate the wheat from the chaff. For all I know, it could just be sour grapes or individual power struggles.

But it's true what that article says about Kagame having a reputation as an austere disciplined person. That's what Gourevitch said in the first book I'd ever read about Rwanda:

HOW KAGAME BECAME RWANDA'S LEADER (...... A neat dresser, married, a father of two, he was said to like dinner parties, dancing, and shooting pool, and he was a regular on the tennis courts at Kigali's Cercle Sportif; his soldiers revered and adored him and had put his name in many chants and songs....)

I couldn't help but think of the 60's hit-song MR BIG STUFF when the article got to the part about the type of luxurious lifestyle Kagame has lived since becoming President of Rwanda.

~ listen/watch MR BIG STUFF, by Jean Knight

I've adapted the words slightly to spin it from the perspective of disinfatuated RPF soldiers singing it to Kagame:

Mister Big Stuff
who do you think you are?
Mister Big Stuff
you're never gonna get our love

Now because you wear
all those fancy clothes
and have a big fine car
oh, yes you do now

Do you think we can afford
to give you our love?
You think you're higher
than every star above

Mister Big Stuff
who do you think you are?
Mister Big Stuff
you're never gonna get our love

Now we know all the RPF
we've seen you with
We know you broke their hearts
one after another now, bit by bit

You made us cry,
many poor soldiers died
When they tried to keep you happy
they just tried to keep you satisfied

Mister Big Stuff, tell us, tell us
who do you think you are?
Mister Big Stuff
you're never gonna gain our love

We'd rather give our love to
a poor RPF that has a love that's true
Than to be fooled around
and get hurt by you

Cus when we give our love
we want love in return
Now we know this is a lesson,
Mister Big Stuff, you haven't learned

Mister Big Stuff, tell us
who do you think you are?
Mister Big Stuff
you're never gonna get our love

Mister Big Stuff
you're never gonna break our hearts
Mister Big Stuff
you're never gonna make us cry

Mister Big Stuff, tell us
just who do you think you are?
Mister Big Stuff
you're never gonna get our love
Mister Big Stuff
you're never gonna break our hearts
Mister Big Stuff
you're never gonna make us cry
Mister Big Stuff, tell us, tell us
just who do you think you are
Mister Big Stuff

sung by Jean Knight, 1971

Speaking of songs, I love the song in NKUNDA'S PILGRIMAGE OF RECONCILIATION that's playing in the background as General Laurent Nkunda is walking down the hill toward the vehicles that will take him to the celebrations in the villages he's made secure in North Kivu - protecting them from the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide... See NKUNDA'S INTORE HEROES.

I really wish the disgruntled RPF generals would bicker more about what Kagame did to Nkunda than focusing on the lives of the rich and famous - the importance of which pales in comparison to the poverty and war going on next door in Congo since Nkunda was arrested almost two years ago. See READER HAS RWANDA CONFUSION

All the best,
Jackie Jura

Police Escort Kagame Car
RWANDA'S LIVING LEGEND IN LONDON (...We were already on the University grounds when all of a sudden we slowed down and stopped because a motorcade of around eight black sedans flanked by police cars and motorcycles was whizzing across the road in front of us and turning in where we were planning to go. My driver said, "Hey, what is this? Someone very important must be at the University today." I exclaimed excitedly that this must be the President of Rwanda arriving because that is who I was on my way to see, being a part of the Media that would follow him on his tour of the Medical Sciences Building...)

The lot of a refugee is no lot to desire, by Ingina Y'igihanga, New Times, Sep 25, 2011
As refugees in the 1960s, I remember there were times we thought we were blessed to be in such a situation. It sounds naïve – no, outright stupid – to think that you can be happy about living without the right to citizenship, but such is the hopelessness of a refugee that you’ll find it normal when people spit on you. When they give you food, you’ll worship them. In Nshungerezi, in the south-western district of Uganda, they were giving us food. Today I know that the food came from the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) but we worshiped the people we saw dishing to us our rations and took them to be our saviours. Knowing the way we revered them, they also made sure they capitalised on our glorification of them. So, our parents competed for their favours, offering them drinks and daughters. Which meant selling part of our little rations and giving out our sisters to be abused. Still, we lived happily. The food was sorghum. Yes, sorghum that we could never have used as food back in our country was now the principal item on our menu. However, it was not your usual ‘shenzi’ (ordinary) sorghum and it was not the usual burnt-brick colour. It was ‘mazungu’ (hybrid?): almost the size of maize and of greyish-white colour. Moreover, it did not come alone. It was accompanied by tinned soya-bean oil. Today, I may laugh at such rations but those days they meant the heaven to us. In fact, sorghum prepared with soybean oil made a finger-licking delicacy many a youth was ready to die for. For that, we took it as our breakfast, our lunch and our supper! Little problem was, considering that our breakfast consisted of the cold leftovers of the previous evening’s supper, woe unto you if you made the mistake of sitting next to a primary school pupil who was thus satiated after such a breakfast . The gases that were emitted through their mouth were a lesson of ammonic study in a Chemistry class! Alternatively, we received rations of fish. Even today, a delicacy especially for young ones, you’ll say. And I’ll concur, since again it did not come in the usual ‘shenzi’ sizes. It came split-up and salted and was the size of a split-up mature goat. Only small problem again was, it was so heavily salted it took days of repeated boiling and water-emptying before it could be consumed. Even then, the salt never went away completely, with the result that we were always burning with thirst. Still, we thought we were a privileged lot.

Alright, there was the small trouble of a majority of our fellow youth not going to school, since only few parents could afford, but what is school when your tummy is in bliss? There was also the small difficulty of no medical care. If you were sick, the burden was loaded onto the shoulders of our treasured ‘health-guards’, Messrs Karemberi and Naho. Of course, it was unfair to them since they were provided with only a few drugs to cater for all the refugees. Consider also that a clinic was not heard of, let alone a hospital. Still, we ate and made merry and hoped that we’d not fall sick. Which is not to say that we left everything to fate. Many knew the ways of the jungle, especially those among us who’d just come from the then Congo Kinshasa. So, our parents made sure that we all took a sip of the potent ‘urwagwa’ (banana brew) every morning to guard against malaria. For other diseases, there were different herbs to restore you to sound health. Even a snake bite could be sucked away, though you’d have to make sure to get someone without a wound in the mouth to do it. So, generally, we were a happy-go-lucky community enjoying the good times and not breaking a sweat over it. Sometimes you could even smuggle a few names into the list of your family members. That way, you could get sizeable bags of extra rations, which you sold to locals and made a good bundle of clean shillings. Those thus inclined indeed made loads of shillings and some even began to appear on the list of the wealthy of Uganda.

Then, one morning, everything came crushing down. UNHCR cut the assistance to aught, blank, cipher, nil, zilch. One minute we were laughing, the next we were mourning. And our eyes opened. We were refugees, stateless: no country, no citizenship, no autonomy, no community, no origin, no race, no identity. We were zero and had no status. That is why I grieve when I think of our fellow Rwandans who still prefer refugee life or are letting themselves be misguided by these opportunistic so-called opposition politicians in exile. For having committed crimes, those politicians are using them as shields behind whom to hide and hope to be hived back into their denounced home by some Western do-gooder. They are hoping against hope but know that their strident sabre-rattling will come to zero.

Reader Hiram asks my thoughts on the Rwandan situation and Kagame

Political arrests will hurt Rwanda, Independent, Oct 5, 2010 (...There is also a pending case of a Congolese national, Gen. Laurent Nkunda, who was arrested in Rwanda on January 22, 2009. He has never appeared in court, his family has expressed serious concerns.... The Constitution of Rwanda, which Kagame vowed to protect a few weeks ago, guarantees all these detainees and every Rwandan citizen a right to appear in court and to a fair hearing....)

Key political risks to watch in Rwanda, ReutersAfrica, Sep 30, 2010 (...Diplomatic sources say the arrest of Congolese Tutsi rebel Laurent Nkunda has also fuelled tensions within the ruling elite. A U.N. panel reported in 2008 that the RPF had supported Nkunda's rebel war in eastern Congo.... Rwanda's arrest of Nkunda heralded a new era in relations between Rwanda and Congo. For years the two accused each other of backing the other's rebel factions. What happens to Nkunda could still influence relations. Congo wants him extradited for war crimes but analysts say Rwanda would be reluctant to let him go, fearful of what he might say about Kagame's administration.... The assassination of several high ranking CNDP officers in Goma in recent months highlights the fragility of stability in Congo and the risk that settling of old scores could spill over to Rwanda....)

RPF founders attack Kagame
Newsline, Sep 22, 2010
...Myth 2: Kagame is an incorruptible, austere man of absolute integrity:
...President Kagame and his handlers labour strenuously to portray him as an incorruptible, austere man of absolute integrity. The reality could not be further from the truth. The words of Lord Acton, the famous British moralist and historian, to the effect that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” aptly convey Kagame’s transformation over the time he has been in office....President Kagame is also responsible for financial impropriety and theft of public resources on a grand scale. Contrary to the false perception that naive outsiders have of him, President Kagame does not even bother to portray himself as an austere leader, let alone live like one. Austerity is about living within the means that the country can afford. President Kagame lives a lifestyle that even the richest people in the world would find lavish. The President is by far the most expensive ruler that Rwanda has ever had. Compared to Rwanda’s ancient kings, colonial governors and past presidents, President Kagame’s lifestyle is not just scandalous; it is criminal. 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. [Kayibanda was thrown into prison and starved to death by Habyarimana* ~ jj]

President Kagame, on the other hand, lives simultaneously a lavish and ostentatious lifestyle and is a huge drain on the national treasury. President Kagame has raised neighbourhoods to the ground or sealed them off to the public in order to build luxury palaces, even at a time when housing was in very short supply. The Rwandan government spends tens of millions of dollars every year to maintain his personal household. He drives very expensive cars, of which he has a large fleet at any one time. He changes these fleets very frequently to avail himself of the luxury of every new model. He is obsessed with luxury aircrafts and has spent more than US $150 million on such aircrafts. President Kagame loves travelling, and he travels very frequently. When travelling, he insists on staying in the most expensive hotel in whatever city he is visiting.

During his time in public office, President Kagame has amassed a fortune beyond imagination for a ruler of such a poor country. The fortune is drawn from both the national treasury and the vast wealth of the business investments of the RPF. The RPF is the biggest business enterprise in Rwanda. Some believe it may indeed be the largest commercial enterprise in East and Central Africa. The flagship holding companies for the vast network of RPF investments are Tri-Star Investments Sarl and the Rwanda Investment Group. The RPF has investments worth at least hundreds of millions of dollars. The portfolio of the RPF includes investments in aviation, banking, agriculture, telecommunications, energy, construction, real estate development and management, security, communications and manufacturing (including food processing, cement production etc). The assets of the RPF are, for all practical purposes, the personal wealth of President Kagame. The RPF does not have any committee or body that oversees all of its assets. President Kagame spends and manages the vast wealth of the RPF single-handedly. He alone appoints the senior managers of the various RPF enterprises. He alone decides in whose names the major bank accounts of the RPF are to be maintained. He alone decides how the funds on these accounts are spent. The people in whose names the bank accounts are maintained answer only to President Kagame. Only President Kagame has information on the complete state of affairs of the RPF’s business investments. President Kagame never reports to any of the organs of the RPF on the financial affairs of the RPF’s business enterprises. The President has always ignored calls for transparent over-sight of the business affairs of the RPF.

The enormous wealth that the RPF has amassed during its time in government is, for all practical purposes, the personal property of President Kagame; and he treats it as such. The involvement of the RPF in business inside Rwanda has many negative implications. Apart from the vast fortune of the RPF, President Kagame also has unlimited access to the financial resources of the state. President Kagame treats the national treasury like a personal bank account. The President insists on being paid (in addition to his salary and the large budget for the running of his personal household) a large operational fund (worth tens of thousands of dollars every month, that he does not account for. When travelling, the President takes hard cash of up to $100,000 on every trip that he again does not account for. Despite the obvious conflict of interest, President Kagame frequently presides over cabinet meetings discussing business transactions between government entities and commercial enterprises belonging to the RPF. President Kagame has, on occasions, even ordered the direct transfer of government assets to the business entities of the RPF. The President has also, on occasions, sanctioned the illegal transfer of government assets to the RPF, as has been demonstrated by the transfer of Global Express jets that were paid for with government funds to the RPF. President Kagame’s image of an austere leader of high integrity is a monstrous deception. Kagame sets very high standards of integrity for most of those who serve under him, but is unwilling to live by the same rules....

*Grégoire Kayibanda, Wikipedia (...Kayibanda served as President of Rwanda from 1962 until July 5, 1973, when he was overthrown by his defense minister Major General Juvénal Habyarimana in a military coup. Although described as bloodless, as a result of the coup, an estimated 55 people, mostly officials, lawyers or businessmen close to the previous regime, were reportedly executed. The families of these people were given sums of money to pay for their silence. The new government held Kayibanda and his wife in a secret location, where they were reportedly starved to death....)

"Rwanda briefing": A case of sour grapes
by Willis Shalita, New Times, Sep 26, 2010
There is a seditious document titled "RWANDA BRIEFING" that has just been published and circulated, courtesy of Nyamwasa, Karegeya, Rudasingwa and Gahima. Sounds like a law firm, but it is not. Besides inciting the population to rise against the lawfully elected government of Rwanda, which has just been re-elected by overwhelming popular vote, the authors seem to be calling for the overthrow of the government by any means necessary. And that constitutes treason. Out of the blue, and after a long hiatus, the authors seem to think nothing works right in Rwanda, and the country is headed for a violent showdown because of what they call the impunity of the minority against a marginalized majority. Yet the four are former high government and military officials who for many years contributed to the state of affairs they now find reprehensible. One need not be a genius to realize the essence of this sham. It is typical reportage similar to many that are published, a dime a dozen, by so-called human rights organizations with a focused agenda. I wonder if most of it is not in fact a regurgitation of what Human Rights reports have concocted against Rwanda. The question is, how much were the authors paid by their handlers to deliver what in the end will be shelved only to collect dust? And how far are they willing to go?

While I have never been a refugee or lived in exile, I hear either one breaks a man’s soul. Desperate men are driven to do desperate things and usually succumb to putting their soul on the block looking for the highest bidder. This document is not only wildly accusatory it gives no evidence. Yet two of the authors, I hear, are lawyers who ought to know better. It maligns the integrity of the Rwandan government and its institutions without ample facts and evidence, and stoops to the lowest denominator of using coded words and phrases to incite ethnic feelings which they claim to be against. The sad part is that the authors of this bizarre and repugnant document fail to realize that there is a new Rwanda that has risen from the ashes and blood streams of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. They live in the past and hope, through masquerading as patriotic citizens, that they can recapture their lost claim to power and all that goes with it.

The claim that “Rwanda is less free today than it was prior to the Genocide” is simply idiotic and laughable. This is merely a childish attempt to appeal to the very people they fought against during the liberation war who are now on the run from their crimes, and with whom they are seeking to form an un-holy alliance. And if the authors really believe what they say that Rwanda was more stable and democratic under Kayibanda and Habyarimana, how come they never returned to Rwanda to make a contribution to the regimes of these magnanimous leaders they so admire? I doubt that even Theoneste Bagosora would stretch his wicked mind to this extent.

To say that “the Rwanda government is more repressive than the one that it overthrew” is not only moronic but goofy. Who are they kidding? And then they go on to say that “The government is not considered legitimate by the majority of the population in general, and the Hutu community in particular.” Did somebody forget to tell them that recently there was an election in which the government was returned by an impressive, overwhelming vote of confidence? “Rwanda Briefing” is a work product of four sour, desperate men whose present stations in life are compromised. They have in their own minds exaggerated their importance and relevance and cannot stomach the thought of being summarily rejected by the very system they helped create. This document must not be taken seriously, but nor should it be dismissed. While much of it is sour grapes, the characters in this sad saga of our journey out of the abyss of sixteen years ago, ought to be watched. A man without a moral campus is bound to end anywhere. Rwanda deserves a chance to heal her wounds and carve its future. This Gang of Four ought to lick their wounds and move on, realizing that they cannot, now or in the future, slow down Rwanda’s momentum to become Africa’s prized example.

Accountability by Public servants vital
New Times, Sep 26, 2010
It was reported that 99 percent of government workers declared their wealth on time this year. Out of 4,929 civil servants, only 13 failed to comply with the law requiring public servants to declare their wealth. The requirement that obliges public officials to demonstrate how they acquired their wealth, ensures that illegal accumulation of wealth and the use of public offices and positions for personal benefit is curtailed. Legislation and administrative measures aimed at curbing corruption have helped to create an excellent system of public service delivery in the country. These practical results, like efficiency, are witnessed daily by people, both citizens and foreigners, who seek services from various public offices on a daily basis. A recent report by Transparency International indicated that corruption in Rwanda is negligible. This has been possible because there is political will to have an accountable and corruption-free public service. The leadership of the country has led by example and instilled a sense of accountability among the Rwandan society. Thus, citizens are also aware of the responsibility they have towards their country and also understand that being served by public officials is their right and not a favour. Public officials clearly understand the consequences of not declaring their wealth and not being accountable. At the same time, all stakeholders should be commended for their efforts and also encouraged to stay on the course.

World, here comes the Third World!
by Ingina, New Times, Sep 26, 2010
When I saw our president handing over the Broadband Report to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, with another gentleman, I wanted to know who the gentleman was. I asked around and was told that the man was a Mexican tycoon…… Well, I thought, I’ve known rich people in my time. There was, for instance, the big boy of Bufumbira, southern Uganda, in the early 1960s, who is my relative, now tired of limb. Jemusi Bigirimana was definitely rich, and he liked to flaunt his riches, by tossing away coins. He started from humble beginnings, freshly exiled like all of us. Being a robust and hard-working boy, however, he tilled the land for the natives and was paid according to the day’s work. The pay was not the highest, but the money had value then. If one ‘gitobore’(half-a-cent coin) could buy twelve ‘hilled’ sweets, for instance, you can imagine what you could buy with fifty cents – which constituted a day’s earnings! A coin was called ‘igitobore’: it had a hole in its middle, which made it easy to keep as many people wore no clothes. That meant that nobody had any pocket and so people passed a string through the hole and tied the string around the body. A sweet was ‘hilled’ because sweets of the time had a succession of 12 ‘mounds’. They were not like the mean sweets of today and one sweet was enough for twelve youngsters, each taking one ‘mound’/‘hill’. Jemusi knew we cherished the delicacy of sweets but didn’t want to offer them to us on a silver platter. He wanted us to break a sweat working for them, just as he had sweated for the cents. So, when he tossed the gitobore in the bush, we scampered to look for it and whoever got it would be boss for the day.

It was not until the 1970s that I realised Jemusi had not been that rich, after all. I was in Kampala then, during the reign of Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada as president of Uganda. The big gun of Kampala at the time was known as Mathew Opoka, who made money selling tyres. When Opoka flaunted his riches, every bar patron went home on all fours! He liked to hang out (today’s lingo!) in the triangle of the big hotels of Kampala at the time: International, Imperial and Speke Hotels. The bars in these hotels were usually crowded in the evenings with everybody nursing their one bottle, in anticipation of Opoka’s arrival. His opening words on arrival were always the same: “Fuanya vile tuko!” That was the corrupted Ugandan Kiswahili for “Fanya tulivyo!” but no one knew better or cared. What mattered was the import of those words, for they meant “Do the needful for everyone!” which meant to give everybody a drink. When his ‘porter’ (money was in bags when it was a lot, those days!) looked at the bill and announced the amount, Opoka always dismissed it with “They haven’t even finished one tyre!” Opoka was from West Nile. In Central Uganda, a Muganda who is a multi-millionaire may not even own a car, like a Mkikuyu in Kenya. Yet a rich man in Kenya is not seen in terms of tyres. Rather, a truly rich man there owns chains of hotels and swathes of land with factories and ranches.

When I came back to Rwanda, where everybody shuns showing off, it was even worse. Yes, you could tell that late Miko (Bless His Soul) was well-heeled by an expensive taste he betrayed here and there. However, by looking at Rujugiro, can you tell that that shopping mall belongs to him? As for late Rubangura (Bless His Soul), you could have pitied him with an offer of alms!...... My interlocutor, who had told me about the Mexican tycoon, interrupted my thoughts with “Uhm….did you hear what I said?” I responded with “Ah, yes, yes. You said that was a Mexican tycoon. Sorry, I was reflecting on the rich men I’ve known in my life.” “Ingina,” said he, “what I mean is, do you know the richest man in the world?” I chuckled, wondering if he was not off his rocker. Everyone knows the Microsoft Software mogul who has been on top of the list of moneyed men and women for almost as long as I’ve been eating dust on this earth. Of course, I know that occasionally, when it has not been Bill Gates on top of the list, it has been Warren Buffet, the American investment bigwig. Or had the Indian manufacturing magnate, Mukesh Ambani, tipped the scales? When I expressed my thoughts, he simply asked: “Does the name Carlos Slim ring a bell?” Oh, yes, Carlos Slim Helú, the Telecommunications big enchilada of Mexico! So, a Third World big shot can now top the world? One man in countries with single-digit billion budgets having access to an income as colossal as $60 billion? I betcha, a dozen of them can create enough employment to drag every poor person in the Third World out of poverty! Well, West, Wealthy Third ‘Worlders’ are coming!


10.The Rulers & 8.Classes of People & ORWELLIAN PIGS AT TROUGH

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com