By David Himbara
I am quite fascinated by President Paul Kagame’s minister of environment, Vincent Biruta. This gentleman has achieved the impossible — he continues to survive and thrive under Kagame. Biruta has just clocked in 21 years in the Kagame government. But how has Biruta accomplished this formidable feat? Here is Biruta’s record for the past 21 years in various prominent categories:
- Minister of Environment, 2017 to present;
- Minister of Natural Resources, 2014 to 2017 (3);
- Minister of Education, 2011 to 2014 (4 years);
- President of Senate, 2003 to 2011 (8 years);
- President of the National Transition Assembly, 2000 to 2003 (3 years);
- Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communication, 1999–2000 (1 year);
- Minister of Health, 1997–1999 (2 years).
Not even the recently-dumped Kagame crony, James Musoni, came this close. Biruta is a magician — people who were Kagame’s ministers are either poverty-stricken, exiled, or even died mysteriously. Most of them keep a low profile somewhere in Rwanda or in exile. Biruta is an exception — he is thriving indeed.
So what is Biruta’s secret? Pretend to be a leader of an opposition party but fully support Kagame
Biruta is supposed to be the leader of the opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP). But in reality, SDP is a fake front for Kagame. SDP supported Kagame in the 2003 presidential elections. Kagame allowed SDP to win 12% of the vote in the 2003 parliamentary elections – and seven seats. In 2010 presidential elections, Kagame allowed SDP to win 5% of the vote — coming second to Kagame who ”won” 93%. In 2017, SDP did not even bother to field a candidate. SDP’s candidate was no other than Paul Kagame. Biruta, in other words, is a closet member of Kagame’s party, Rwandan Patriotic Front.