Businessmen Are Endangered Species In Kagame’s Rwanda

By David Himbara


President Paul Kagame’s Rwanda is a dangerous place for businessmen. In Kagame’s Rwanda, businessmen tend to disappear, end up in prison, lose citizenship even though Rwandan-born, flee the country, or even mysteriously die. The latest victim is Denis Karera who has evidently disappeared.

It is reported by the online newspaper Chimpreports that businessman Karera, owner of Kigali Heights and Park View Court vanished. Chimpreports quoted Karera’s family members confirming that he has disappeared:

”He was taken about a week ago and efforts to trace him were yet to bear fruit. We have checked all police stations in Kigali but we can’t find him.”

Karera in neither the first nor the last businessman to suffer this fate. Recall the following cases:

  • Valens Kajeguhakwa — lost his Banque Continentale Africaine du Rwanda (BACAR) and fled.
  • Alfred Kalisa — lost his Bank of Commerce, Development, and Industry (BCDI) and ended up in prison. His bank was sold.
  • Assinapol Rwigara — died mysteriously, his hotel demolished, and his Premier Tobacco auctioned.
  • Venuste Rwabukamba — the Rwamagana-based businessman died mysteriously.
  • Tribert Rujugiro — his Union Trade Center Mall and residence were seized. He lost his citizenship even though he is a Rwandan by birth. His mall was auctioned.

Karera is said to be a brother to Kagame’s justice minister Johnson Busingye. Perhaps Busingye will help investigate where his missing brother might be. I am fully aware this is wishful thinking — and that the reverse could happen, meaning that Busingye too might end up in trouble by being related to Karera. One must always hope that there might be a good ending in a tragedy like this.