By David Himbara
UPDATE – barely one year after becoming CEO, Gatera dumped and replaced by Kook Fong Lee from Singapore. We are seeing a new trend whereby Kagame is internationalizing CEO positions, as has happened in REG.
James Gatera, Chief Executive Officer of Crystal Ventures Ltd – the business conglomerate owned by Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front – has been dumped. Gatera’s name has been deleted from Crystal Ventures’ website.
I hope Gatera is OK.
Gatera became Chief Executive Officer of Crystal Ventures Ltd only in February 2016. Prior to that, Gatera served as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Kigali from 2007 until he joined Crystal Ventures in February 2016. Between 2005–2007, Gatera was the Deputy Managing Director in Bank of Kigali. Prior to joining the Bank of Kigali, Gatera was Director of Finance in Kagame’s office in Urugwiro Village.
So what might have happened to Gatera? He has been in Kagame’s good books for many years, which is unusual. Kagame staffers normally don’t last. Gatera somehow managed to survive Kagame for a long time – incredibly for 16 years – moving from the presidency in 2005 to Bank of Kigali, and to Crystal Ventures in February 2016.
I began to suspect that something was wrong when Gatera did not appear at the National Leadership Retreat, which was held from February 25 to March 2, 2017. And now his name has been deleted from Crystal Ventures website.
This means that Gatera barely lasted one year at Crystal Ventures. His predecessor, Jack Kayonga served as the Chief Executive Officer from May 2013 to February 2016. He lasted 3 years.
Before Jack Kayonga, Crystal Ventures Ltd was headed by Manasseh Nshuti whom Kagame regularly tossed from position to position.
In a period of 8 years between 2005 and 2013, Kagame gave Nshuti 5 jobs beginning as minister of commerce and industry; minister of finance; minister of public service and labor; presidential adviser; and then executive chairman of Crystal Ventures. Nshuti barely lasted a year and half in each job.
So what became of Gatera? Has anyone seen this man?