LAND AND COMPANIES IN THE IRON HANDS OF THE RPF AND ITS OLIGARCHS: ANOTHER FORM OF SERVITUDE AMONG RWANDAN PEOPLE.

Rwanda is a country situated in central east Africa, landlocked and estimated to be among Africa’s smallest nations with an area of 26,338 sq.km and a high population density rating over 436 inhabitants/sq.km. Rwanda is a poor country with more 83% of its population living below the poverty level. Since the 1994 power takeover by the RPF Inkotanyi, Rwandan nationals have suffered terrible land problems, servitude and alienation.

First, Kagame and the RPF aristocracy took the best land properties they wanted from the vast eastern plains to the western mountain crests of the country. A large number of Rwandan natives faced eviction from their lands and homes without any legal expropriation requirements fulfilled. This new form of colonization plagued all over the country and the land conquerors brought the feudal system with ranch as land unit. They dispossess the poor of their lands claiming that the government of the RPF pursues its political agenda to share out the lands among the nationals and yet the members of the RPF aristocracy accumulate hundreds of hectares on a day-to-day basis for themselves with no idea to share their properties with the miserable low people. Kagame himself has got a farm of 45 hectares on the shores of Lake Muhazi in the Eastern Province.

While Rwanda was torn with disagreements based on land issues, in 2004 the European Union and other development partners donated 75% of US$60 million then needed to institutionalize an adequate program for land regulation but the money was used in the regime’s imperialistic ambitions and the crisis remained unsolved.

Deputy registrar in Rwanda National Reserve Agency (RNRA) Engineer Didier Sagashya asserted that about six million inhabitants of Rwanda were given assistance and land conflicts tampered off. Yet, the current state of affairs tends to worsen inasmuch as Rwandan authorities feudally conquer vast ranches for their cattle across the country. This problem does not only limit to land property but it also has affected all domains of private property. In Rwanda the RPF has an iron hand on every man’s property and any complaining results in death or prison.

According to Law No 18/2008 of 19/4/2007 related to the eviction process on the grounds of public interests, it is inalienable that no citizen should be displaced from his property without first getting the equivalent indemnities. But it is far beyond one’s imagination to see how the RPF regime has evicted legion Rwandans without meeting any legal requirements and lots of examples of this alarming injustice are circulating in media and in law courts.

The new landlords either disappeared the former landowners without trace or falsely charged them of genocide and committed them to prison unjustly. Those who survived this doomsday fled to the neighboring countries and the rest have now become something of a shanty ghetto. As these pillages were done by the powerful men and women of the RPF, the victims have no possibility to bring them before the corrupt justice of Rwanda which serve the will of the RPF regime, because those who should authorize the resolution of the issues are the main connivers in the mafia game. And any person who dares to raise their voice about persecution become the enemy of the country and they incur the worst of fates. That’s why in Rwanda there is thunderous silence in the face of oppression, servitude and social inequalities because once bitten, twice shy.

Second, Kagame recklessly seized all marshlands from local peasants and put them in the hands of RPF entrepreneurs.

For example:

After 1995 Colonel Dodo took the marshland of Kibagabaga in Kigali and there he implanted an important part of his business. The marshlands of Gasogi and Mbandazi became private properties of Rumanyika (ex-boss of Sky Hotel) and Kalisa also known as BCDI. The land along the valley of River Nyabarongo measures about 80,000 acres and was leased to Madivan Investments for 99 years without consent of the owners.

All these illicit enrichments were carried out without considering the detrimental effect they have on the local owners. In a country where 83,3% of the population depend on the agriculture, people couldn’t escape from the far-reaching economic effects of such atrocious conquests. Very few people can eat twice a day in Rwanda and severe malnutrition diseases are present everywhere. The little development that there is appertains to the ruling elite and it is solely limited to urban areas. In rural areas the poor are getting poorer and in cities the rich are getting richer. In a nutshell, there’s but development in separateness.

On the rule of the RPF regime, nobody are entitled to their private property because whenever the RPF wants to, it evicts you forcefully and keep your possessions freely. People who can remember how successful lemonade industries like “SHEMA FRUIT” and “AGASHYA” of Sina Gérard worked can testify to this question. Thus, the latter were closed to leave the place to Kagame’s “INYANGE INDUSTRIES” which enjoy the monopoly of the lemonade market in Rwanda.

In 2008, a gradual process to sweep away the citizens who used to be engaged in the building sector was set in motion. HORIZON emerged and the ideological architects of the RPF perfected the intrigue as to how their companies like COTRACO, REAL CONSTRUCTORS and FAIR CONSTRUCTION should enter into a rotating circuit and keep undesirable Hutu entrepreneurs in exclusion. False accusations of genocide were trumped up against the former constructors and most of them landed in prison with the aim to shut down their companies.

Meanwhile, Rwandan industrialists and tycoons were being forced to give bucks of funds to the RPF oligarchy. I can recall a case back in the early 2010s when the late boss of RWANDA FOAM Mr Bertin Makuza refused to give funds in the RPF and the local government of Kigali City threatened to demolish his story which was under construction advancing the excuse that the tall building valued at US$ 40 million was against the standard norms of the Kigali urbanization plan. Finally, Makuza agreed to fund in the RPF and Kagame himself came to inaugurate the building in 2015. However, Makuza did not last with his property because the regime ended up getting rid of him in 2017 and his building remained in the hands of the RPF managers. It should also be signaled that the assassination of the boss of TOBACCO PREMIER COMPANY Mr Assinapol Rwigara is associated with the covetous aspirations of Kagame and his courtiers given the current unlawful auction of the Rwigaras’ belongings. And so many other cases of crying injustice.

In fact, in the Kagame administration a project keeps its terms of property before it becomes clearer that it will generate significant profits. When a project or business starts to generate money, the patrons of the RPF seize it from the hands of its owner and by now his life runs the risk of being murdered so that the regime may take the property without consequences. This fact refrains many countrymen from investing their money in Rwanda avoiding to reveal their economic capacity and therefore bring about their own peril.

Written by:
Jean Rukika
A London-based independent activist
26 May 2018

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