Sunday, March 7, 2010

On Nyamwasa and Kagame

It has been a busy week in Rwandan politics.

There is much chatter, both domestically and among the disaspora, about the journey into exile of ex-army chief Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa.

President Kagame laid down a coup challenge, daring his detractors to raise a coup.

There were simultaneous bombs on Thursday evening in Kigali.

Let's contextualise this recent political activity.

First Nyamwasa is one of a long list of members of Kagame's inner circle to have fallen out of favour with him. Nyamwasa's interview with Kampala's Monitor is revealing for a few reasons.

The interview suggests, although Nyamwasa does not say so openly, that there an organised internal (within the RPF) opposition to Kagame's highly centralised and personal rule. It also raises unanswered questions about who is behind the recent bombings in Kigali....

Second, it reveals the extent to which Kagame seeks to control the political space. Dissent of any sort is not allowed; even Ambassadors are not safe. Those who challenge Kagame, or question his commitment to peace, reconciliation or democracy, are eliminated from the political realm.

Of course, there is much missing from the interview, including why Kagame is nervous about Nyamwasa's willingness to testify in a court of law about what he did, as a commander in the RPF, before, during and after the 1994 genocide. This includes Nyamwasa's willingness to speak out about the events surrounding the downing of former President Habyarimana's plane (the event that launched the 1994 genocide). Nyamwasa was indicted by French judge Brugiere, and was found guilty of war crimes.

Kagame reveals his great nervousness about a man who speaks out about his politics (even when they differ from Kagame's) and is willing to testify in a court of law, when he issues a coup challenge to anyone who might question Kagame's power and authority. In an ackward display of political power, Kagame urged his detractors, Nyamwasa among them, to try to take power from him.

Not only do such threat indicate the instability of Kagame's power based in Kigali, it also shows the extent to which Kagame views himself as the only legitimate source of power. This is unfortunate for all Rwandans, elite and ordinary folk alike.


  1. You are totally wrong, the rwandan army is a strong institution that cannot be destroyed by people of bad intention like Nyamwasa. Whoever intends to take back Rwanda to the tragedy of 1994 has no hiding place in Rwanda. Shame on all of you who want to see and celebrate rwandans killing each other.

  2. "....Kagame views himself as the only legitimate source of power. This is unfortunate for all Rwandans, elite and ordinary folk alike."

    Is it? He seems to have done a good job at keeping the peace and developing the country. In fact an incredibly good job. Do you think a soft touch is going to get people working hard to develop the country? Do you know Rwandans at all? Lack of urgency is almost universal. The only time anything starts on time is when the President is there. And of course there are those who oppose development and others who resent the success of others or want to put their hands in the till. Sorry but the "ordinary folk" (as you call them) want and need development and soon. Do you think that is going to happen without someone like Kagame in charge? And if the pace of development slows no doubt you will be the first to complain. Get real.

  3. First of all i marvel at your selfless interest in Rwanda that borders on arrogance.
    With much contempt,i reply to this blog aware of the attention you desperately need to appease your ego.Thanks that it appears no one serious has given your thoughts any attention,judging from the number of people following your blog...

    To go back to your topic of the day(can't imagine am responding to you over matters on Rwanda).
    The "organized internal opposition",you dream of is highly your own creation.
    Rwanda is not Haiti where your Country Canada deposes and ousts presidents like they feel like.May i also remind you that you are so ignorant of the country you arrogantly describe as "being interested in" as if it is a past time subject.Had you been remotely aware of it,you would have realized by now that an individual,whoever it is can't impact on the strength and stability of a nation like Rwanda.

    Hope in your "concern for the oppressed of Rwanda",you take the time to think of the aborigines in your Country whose Land you may be owning by force and who continue to live deplorable lives,thanks to your racist policies.

    lastly.Rwandans are not as foolish as you think and they find your interference in their lives repugnant if not racist since they concern them selves not of how you in Canada lead your lives or which kind of life you choose to lead.

  4. thomson, you are brilliant. an inspiration to all of us who seek truth and justice in the world. please keep your writing and informing us with the TRUTH. come back home to rwanda, where you belong.

  5. I am not happy about it, but the truth is Rwanda may need a (good intentioned) dictator for sometime.

    I am ardent supporter of democracy and all, but I think Rwandan context is entirely different.

    Imagine you were the president of that country and you know that the forces behind the genocide are still very much alive within and outside the country.

    Imagine you know of someone who did believe in "Hutu Power" and now is using your democratic and fair legal system to climb up the ladder. Me, I would lock them somewhere and throw away the key. While you will entertain them to see another genocide brewing.

    Give that country to the wrong person, and in no time you will be back where you started. Of course you will blame Kagame for it.