The Rwandan first Lady Jeannette Nyiramongi Kagame her lifestyle is identical to the former first lady of Philippines Imelda Marcos the widow of the late President Ferdinand Marcos who ruled Philippines with an Iron hand from 1965-1986. The Marcos family fled to Hawaii (via Guam) On February 25, 1986, after their regime was toppled by the four-day People Power Revolution at EDSA. Jeannette Kagame has enriched herself in the same way as Imelda Marcos and in fact these days the real power behind the Kagame’s presidential throne is Jeannette.

As I explore the Jeanette’s power and wealth I would like to take the reader of this article to the similarities of these two Iron ladies and extravagance life style. Imelda Marcos is sometimes referred to as the Steel Butterfly or the Iron Butterfly; she is often remembered for symbols of the extravagance of her husband’s political reign, including her collection of 2,700 pairs of shoes. Imelda Marcos is well loved by those she shares wealth with; in the same way Jeannette is to her group of thieves who have milked the Rwandan society without mercy.

In 2011, Imelda Marcos declared her net worth to be 932.8 million pesos (US$22 million), parliamentary records show, as she continues to fight the government over her assets more than two decades after her husband’s reign ended. Imelda is the second-richest Philippine politician behind boxing hero and congressman Manny Pacquiao.

Like Imelda Marcos, Jeannette Kagame has amassed wealth through crooks and proxies in order to evade the public scrutiny. It is on record that after Gen Kayumba Nyamwas’s falling apart with Kagame, the anger of Kagame and his family extended to the family of Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa. Rosette Kayumba who jointly owned the Green Hills Academy with Jeannette was stabbed in the back and her shares were sold or taken by Jeanette.

Apparently all the business in Rwanda and beyond is conducted by Jeanette or her proxies. Others on the list of Akazu, are Gen. Jack Nziza(the Maliyamungu of Id Amin) and James Musoni the Minister of Local Government.

The list does not spare the most trusted business men who operate business on behalf of Jeannette Kagame or Akazu family. Indeed, these business men are called the Kabuga of Kagame and Family. They include Ntazinda, Rushema, Alexandre, Egide Gatera, Mulefu, Ngarambe just to mention a few. These men have eliminated all other business competitors who are perceived not be RPF sympathizers or just unwanted by the clique.

As the Rwandan first lady is trying to catch up with Imelda Marcos whose extravagant lifestyle reportedly included five-million-dollar shopping tours in New York, Rome and Copenhagen in 1983, and sending a plane to pick up Australian white sand for a new beach resort. She also purchased a number of properties in Manhattan in the 1980s, including the $51-million Crown Building, the Woolworth Building (40 Wall Street and the $60-million Herald Centre). However after falling from grace to grass her New York real estate was later seized and sold, along with much of her jewels and most of her 175 piece art collection, which included works by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Canaletto. She responded to criticisms of her extravagance by claiming that it was her “duty” to be “some kind of light, a star to give the poor guidelines.

In almost in the same way, Jeannette Kagame through Eugene Gasana who is now the Rwandan Ambassador to New York from Germany where he was in charge among other official duties was to purchase the latest designs for the first family. He also operated ALTEL on behalf of the first family before his political assignments. Richard Murefu who is Jeannette’s brother runs a fleet of business empires on behalf of his sister Jeannette. Murefu on behalf of Jeannette has bought two largest tea estates. He has also been given the contract of supplying fuel to the Civil Aviation Authority and the Army through the first family proxy of Egide Gatera. Again through Murefu , Jeanette gains from the big concerts organized by the Ministry of Youth under the cover of their company which is in fact jointly owned by the first lady’s family. They also own Contact FM the only so called private radio that is awarded all the lucrative contracts of publicity and considered the richest radio second to the National Radio Rwanda.

Jeannete Kagame has planted her cronies in all business outlets in the country, for example Jeanne Pichette Sayinzoga is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance who is in fact inexperienced but because of the machinery of the first lady, she was planted there to cover-up their lavish spending and she is believed to be running the Ministry Commerce behind the curtains. Another in-law to the first family Byusa the son of Paul Kagame’s elder sister is in charge of many foreign accounts in which the first family deposit their loot. The first family has neither spared Bank Populaire, the clique has planted there Pichette’s sister working as the Human Resource Manager and believed, together with the Nziza’s spy chief in the same Bank Allan Nsenga masterminded the resignation of the CEO of Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR) Herman Klaassen, and his deputy, José Habimana, as a result of financial disagreements.

Similarly Flora Nsinga the wife of Richard Murefu (brother of Jeannette) is planted in Bank of Kigali in the Human Resource department and together with James Gatera are entrusted overseeing the economic interests of the first family. The chain of thieving in this country by the first family is endless, the Minister of Health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho who was their family Doctor in charge of their domestic pets, runs the lucrative Health projects funded by the Global Fund in which the Jeannette racket and syndicate swindle a lot of money for their own business empires.

Like Imelda Marcos, Jeannette Kagame definitely shall answer to all these corruption charges, when the Marcos family was still in power little did they know that, they will stand trial after their good days in power, in fact Marcos was the first wife of a foreign head of state to stand trial in an American court (Marcos vs. Manglapus).

Dear Jeannette take this article very seriously because you might be the next Imelda in Rwandan courts or elsewhere.

By Ruganzu Vicent