How Frank Habineza is both an asset and a liability to both Paul Kagame and Kayumba Nyamwasa

By Didas Gasana

Frank Habineza came to my office early 2009 seeking my take on forming an opposition party. I am naturally cold and a cold reception he got. But this was a guy I knew in the media- having worked together as our bureau chief in Butare. I advised against but he succeeded in convincing me why it was important.

The first meeting for the party was held at a place I won’t mention for now. I was one of the attendees- not as a honorary advisor but as a clandestine journalist sympathetic to have some people occupy the political space we from the independent media were occupying then.

Sometime in 2010, late (RIP) Patrick Karegeya called my cellphone from South Africa. He asked me to speak to someone. On the line was my blood relative General Kayumba Nyamwasa. That call put me at ease for at I was worried about Nyamwasa.

Two days ago, a high ranking official from Frank Habineza’s party called me complaining of something I never knew before- that Gen Nyamwasa, in his application to the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, called his party a “Kagame creation”.

My immediate response to him is that he has many more days to breathe. My argument was that if Kayumba considers their party as a creation of Kagame, then Kagame has no reason to run after him. Basic science.

Having read the application by Kayumba Nyamwasa at the ACHPR, I read two things. One is that a lawyer hired to draft the complaint didn’t check with Nyamwasa before he or she drafted the final complaint. If he or she had, Nyamwasa would have reminded him or her how many times he (Nyamwasa) referred to Andre Kagwa Rwisereka as one of Rwanda’s political matyrs.

Secondly, I read that Nyamwasa was playing a very good strategy. By projecting Frank as a useless bunch, he wants PK to let him and let live, which would be advantageous to Nyamwasa.

Had the opp parties in the diaspora praised Frank and his party (I usually forget the name), then Frank should have got a reason to worry. And so should have been Paul Kagame.

Not until an exchange of words ensued between the two camps that I realized there was after all no strategy at play.

But all is not lost. As a retired farmer, all I see is that much as Habineza is an asset to PK, he can, if harnessed, be more of an asset to Rwanda’s opposition than he is to Paul Kagame. Having projected him as a useless fella, something that has inadvertently given him extra security, the diaspora opposition should start to clandestinely work with him. You see, he has people. The last time I checked, it wasn’t easy to get more than 200 delegates from across Rwanda. That he did. Such are the people RNC will need to spread its non-violent message of regime change (and violent means if non-violence doesn’t work).

Caveat: I am a retired farmer. I don’t know what our politicians are doing behind the scenes. Take my word at your own peril.