Delusion of grandeur refers to the flattery that one is much greater and more powerful and influential than he or she really is. Another term that explains this phenomenon is “megalomania” – a condition characterised by delusional fantasies of power, or omnipotence.

A similar and useful term to explain this state of being is “arrogance” The dictionary definition of arrogance is “overbearingly assuming, or making pretensions to superior importance.” The synonyms of “arrogance” include the following: autocratic; contemptuous; disdainful; and high and mighty.” In this sense, “political arrogance” refers to those who practice politics in a manner that reflects features variously captured by the term “arrogance” and its synonyms.


It is a no-brainer to show that the politics of both the immediate past Rwandan head of state, President Juvenal Habyarimana and the incumbent, President Paul Kagame, stem from delusions of grandeur.

So megalomaniac was Habyarimana that he even nicknamed himself “Ikinani cyananiye abagome n’abagome n’abagambanyi.” This roughly translates in English as “one who is invincible or incapable of being vanquished or defeated.”

The delusional reign of President Habyarimana ended in 1994 after 21 years in power – when he was shot down from the skies as he was about to land in the Rwandan Capital Kigali. What of course followed was the unleashing of the genocide that took up to 1 million Rwandan lives.

Fast-forward to Kagame’s Rwanda. In one of his extraordinary Kinyarwanda speeches, the Rwanda President uttered the following startling words:

“Babandi rero baba hanze aha baba bababeshya bababwira ngo ntimutahe, n’ushatse gutaha bakamubuza ngo ba uretse, ngo ntutahe, ibintu biri hafi gutungana, ngo bazabanza bavaneho Kagame. Ryari se? Ryari? Binyuze mu yihe nzira se? Iya democracie se? Iy’intambara se? Iyihe? Barabashuka!” Roughly translated in English, Kagame is mocking hIs opponents for their daring to imagine he (Kagame) can be removed from power by any means known to humankind. President Kagame bombasticly asks: “By what means would such deed become even attempted? By democratic means? By war or what? Dream on!”

Perhaps there is no greater sign of the delusions of grandeur on the part of the incumbent Rwandan ruler than his assigning his ruling party RPF the “homework” on what is to be done in 2017. That is the year that the Rwandan constitution bars the Rwandan president from political power. By 2017, Kagame will have run Rwanda for 23 years – first as the kingpin from 1994 to 2000, and from then to 2017 as president. In other words, Kagame will have outruled Habyarima by 2 years as head of state.

But why is the assigning of “homework” to RPF a sign of megalomania?

Because Kagame still has 4 years before completing his current term. Were he not suffering from delusions of grandeur, he would know that 4 years in politics in a very long time in which anything can happen. Here is a man literally involved in all manner of ugly conflicts not least with DRC, Tanzania/SADC, UN, jailed political opponents, exiled former army chief of staff among others, and Hollywood actor Mia Farrow who is UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador. Within RPF, the Rwandan ruler just dumped the “last historicals,” namely Tharcisse Karugarama and Protais Musoni from government. And then Kagme has the audacity to sweep all that aside and instead begins to plan for post-2017. The Rwandan ruler has in this case given the phrase ‘delusional politicians take their nations for granted’ a new a meaning. Former British prime minister, Harold Wilson, famously stated that “a week is a long time in politics.” But not for Kagame evidently, who has began plotting how to retain his autocracy in 2017 while 2013 is barely over!


Picture this happening in mid-July 2013 – eleven Rwandans dared to attempt staging a protest outside the presidential state in the capital, Kigali. To say that protests outside Kagame’s residence or anywhere in Rwanda for that matter is unheard of, would a gross understatement. Yet it happened!

Interestingly enough, the protesters said they had a “vision from Virgin Mary” to inform the Rwandan ruler “to introduce reforms or risk bloodshed.”

These Rwandan braves who sought to tell Kagame to reform or ruin the nation, like his predecessor Habyarimana, speak for millions of their compatriots. We have been here before – but as these peaceful protesters are saying, it is not too late to save Rwanda from bloodshed! As previously stated here on my facebook page “IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO PREPARE FOR A PEACEFUL TRANSITION TO THE NEXT GOVERNMENT – EVEN IN RWANDA.”

himbara2Dr David Himbara was the Principal Private Secretary to President Paul Kagame in 2000-2002 and 2009. He was the founding chairperson of the Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU), the founding chairperson of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the founding chairperson of the Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR).  A Rwandan-Canadian, David Himbara is an independent reform strategist and an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Witswaterand, South Africa which he has been associated with on-and-off since 1994. Himbara left Rwanda and returned to South Africa in January 2010.