Fears of a coup in Rwanda: The number of casualties is growing

Col. Tom Byabagamba and Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara

It looks like since late last year 2014 Kagame believed there is a plot to remove him from power via a military coup.

First he got rid of the former head of the Republican Guard, Col Tom Byabagamba. Those who worked with Tom say he was a fearful person and many times Gen Kabarebe wanted to take him to the battlefield and Tom would run to Paul Kagame begging for mercy and shielding from insane James Kabarebe, which pleased Kagame and he made him (Tom) head of the Republican Guard. This move allowed Kagame to personally give orders to unit commanders and even rank and file member of the Republican Guard. Analysts say however that with time Col Tom Byabagamba grew confident in his work and became capable of planning but not executing operations (relying here on streetwise operators such as Silas udahemuka). Despite this improvement they say Kagame believed Col Tom cannot singlehandedly organise a coup but with a noisy brother (understand here David Himbara) and a brother-in-law veteran general, the missing strategic and tactical brains were in full supply. So Col Tom had to go but could not be killed due to the noise the brother makes outside.

Then because of paranoia, Kagame looked at the hands, the skills and the knowledge that could be available to planners and strategists like Tom and David. Kagame did not have to look far to see who to target: anyone who has been around for a while, has close personal knowledge of Kagame, his wife, the children and friends and who had reasons to be angry and mad at Kagame. Those who know Capt Kayitare say he was angry at anything and anyone “sajya”. His sajya subordinates were always in trouble and never felt comfortable around him. He openly showed his disdain of their manners. He blamed kagame for their behaviors. With time he grew dissatisfied with the kagames themselves and openly disrespected kagame’s wife and put her in her place as she tried to boss him around. As for the doctor, he had sacrificed his career and opportunities it offered but served kagame who turned him into a goffer (someone sent to do meaningless errands by superiors). The doctor obviously never took that kindly. But nothing shows that they ( Kayitare and Gasakure) were intent on acting on their sentiments. The businessman was probably suspected of financing the operation but since when did internal coups require financing? This was an unnecessary assassination.

Kagame has now disposed of the perceived threat. But the real threat still remains. The threat is a circle of professional killers, most of whom never went to school and who kagame believes can never challenge him intellectually. They are not senior officers of RDF but middle ranked and junior officers (captains to colonels) who are known, feared and respected by rank and file soldiers and held in high esteem by retired/retiring generals. Through years of action with impunity, shielded by the master, they have grown confident and believe that they are invincible, untouchable. Some of them say it openly knowing that subordinate soldiers can never tell the boss what they hear as they fear to be misunderstood. These killers know they can get rid of the boss and replace him with a docile, virtually unknown member in the establishment.

But while he is still at it, who is his next victim?