President Kagame has just performed another ritual of appointing Ambassadors to foreign nations. Rarely do reigning despots make fifteen moves simultaneously on their diplomatic chessboard. When they do, there are strong personal, domestic and international reasons.
For Kagame’s reign of terror, national interests are tightly interwoven with personal motivations to extend his cruel and bloody realm by all means possible. For two and half decades, his domestic dictatorial rule has implied an aggressive and belligerent foreign policy in the Great Lakes region. Increasingly, he has been isolated regionally and has been criss-crossing Africa and the world in search of new friends and businesses.
Of course, for somebody who runs a criminalized state with many skeletons in its cupboards, his travels are also a futile search for a soothing portion to quiet his otherwise restless and taunted spirits.
Rwanda’s foreign embassies have progressively become outposts of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), and the sole ruling party Rwandese Patriotic Front(RPF) to enforce Kagame’s will abroad. Kagame’s motivations and overarching strategic considerations in foreign policy are war-making, assassinating opponents, harassing Rwanda’s Diaspora and refugees, overseeing his financial investments concealed as Crystal Ventures, Horizon Group and many other local and foreign businesses.
In his latest diplomatic moves, one can decipher a connecting thread in motivations especially as illustrated by the following four appointments:
Lt. General Charles Karamba; In 1994, he was the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) intelligence officer for the battallion in Kigali. Reporting to Kayumba Nyamwasa who then headed RPA’s Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), Karamba also reported to Charles Kayonga who was the battalion commander. Karamba was in charge of the surveillance and subsequent deployments, leading to the shooting down of the plane in which Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprian Ntaryamira of Burundi and all their entourage died. Charles Karamba, Charles Kayonga, James Kabarebe, and Kayumba Nyamwasa are all generals, and were Kagame’s accomplices in the above assassination and other crimes committed in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Eugene Kayihura: Kayihura is a DMI operative whose family enjoys closeness to Kagame and his wife. He spent time in a military jail in Rwanda after his service as a First Secretary in Rwanda Embassy in Washington DC. Behind the scenes, he was charged with embezzling funds belonging to the Republican Guard, the elite and privileged army within an army that protects Kagame and his family. Kagame quietly pardoned him, and appointed him as Rwanda’s Ambassador to South Korea, and then High Commissioner to Tanzania. He has now been appointed to be the High Commissioner to South Africa, the epicenter of DMI’s criminal activities in the whole of the Southern Africa region.
Vincent Karega: As the High Commissioner to South Africa, Karega has overseen the DMI’s vast transformation of Rwanda’s embassy in South Africa into a staging ground for multiple assassinations and assassination attempts (Patrick Karegeya, Camille Nkurunziza, Kayumba Nyamwasa, , etc). Now he is being transferred to the Democratic Republic of Congo to continue DMI’s work against Rwandans and Congolese people,
Alfred Kalisa: A prominent businessman who went into banking business( BCDI) with RPF, he fell from grace, and his business was confiscated. Perhaps his public flamboyance and sense of independence played a role in irking Kagame’s notable insecurity. Kagame jailed him for a couple of years before pardoning him. He then sent him to Angola as the first Ambassador of Rwanda to that nation. He has now been appointed Ambassador to Egypt. Kalisa was also involved in Rwanda’s wars of plunder in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1990s, He was detained there until he was released with the help of a foreign power.
You may now note that all these four are Tutsi, and integral components of DMI’s operations abroad, under the cover of diplomatic service, to enforce Kagame’s will. Distinction in committing crimes, family ties, being Tutsi, and serving as an accessory in business attract rewards from Kagame.
Now and then there may be a few cosmetic tactical moves on Kagame’s diplomatic chessboard.
Fundamentally, the raison d’etre of Kagame’s diplomacy is regime survival through war-making in the Great Lakes region, state-sponsored criminal activities targeting opponents, a fake national development facade on display in Kigali, and, ultimately, personal financial gain.
A nation so divided and built on menacing its citizens and its neighbors will not stand for long.
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
16 July 2019