AD, Rwandan President Paul Kagame today is a billionaire, one of the very few Africans that owns a Bombardier Global Express Jet. His story from rugs to riches is most unusual – anyhow Kagame’s empire includes food-processing, real estate, construction, telecommunications, tea estates, jet fuel and tea estates. He operates through a string of cronie associates such as Prof Manasseh Nshuti, Faustin Mbundu, Hatari Sekoko, and James Gatera while Mrs Kagame operates Egide Gatera.
All this is open secret in Rwanda.
The most fascinating question though is: how did Kagame become a billionaire from a poverty-stricken soldier that arrived from Uganda in 1994 with a mountain of debts and loans?
Paul Kagame used six major routes into his ill-acquired wealth to become super rich.
>ROUTE ONE: Paul Kagame looted MAGERWA warehouse of imports and export goods in 1994. While Rwandans were still burying their dead, Kagame was choosing the best assets to steal – this was also the time he grabbed the prime land at Lake Muhazi in 1994 that became “his” farm in 1995.
>ROUTE TWO: Paul Kagame was the single largest beneficiary of economic sanctions imposed on Burundi after Major Pierre Buyoya took power in a military coup in July 1996. Until the lifting of the embargo in 1999, Kagame levied “fees” on exports out and imports into Burundi through Rwanda, especially petroleum, making him an instant millionaire.
>ROUTE THREE: Paul Kagame set up monopoly companies under the holding company known as Tristar that he ran with only a few trusted relatives and cronies. Renamed Crystal Ventures, this group of companies dominate all Rwandan economic sectors.
>ROUTE FOUR: Paul Kagame would be considers an “insider trader.” The term refers to a practice in which an insider trades on stock based on information obtained during the performance of the insider’s duties – as opposed to public information. Paul Kagame uses information he receives as head of state to advantage himself and his companies. The worst case is where he has bankrupted the national Telecom Rwandatel, to advantage his MTN Rwanda which is his biggest cash cow. Kagame the businessman rents out his Bombardier jet to Kagame the head of state. Kagame the businessman rents out his building to house Rwanda embassy in London, UK.
>ROUTE FIVE: Paul Kagame turned Zaire-DRC into his personal mining fields first by imposing and propping up the regime of Laurent Kabila. When Daddy Kabila was later killed, he was replaced by his son, the current DRC dictator. Baby Kabila tried to fight Paul Kagame but failed and adopted the philosophy “if you can beat him join him. Paul Kagame has in the meantime used Eastern DRC to make a personal fortune and to become fabulously wealthy.
>ROUTE SIX: Paul Kagame has ruthlessly marketed himself as Mr Clean Government. Gullible donors have as a result given him billions over the last 17 years – directly into his government’s budget. Donor direct contribution to Kagame budget remains as high as 50%. This frees domestic resources for looting by Paul Kagame. In other words, donor funding is a cover and an endorsement of Kagame’s unsavoury renting-seeking economic activities that have turned him into a billionaire.
But Sir Paul, what next for you Mr Billionaire? Are you able to sleep? Will your Singapore materialise if you are stealing the money to build it? Oh dear, questions and more questions.
Paul Rudahakana, Kampala
Source: African Dictator