By David Himbara
The World Economic Forum (WEF) did it again. It awarded President Paul Kagame an unbelievable ranking. According to the WEF’s 2017/2018 rankings of judicial independence, Rwanda is in the 23rd position out of 137 countries. Rwanda’s judiciary is said to be more independent than that of Germany, the US, and France. Amazing.
Top 30 countries in the WEF’s judicial independence rankings, 2017/8
How WEF arrived at this nonsensical ranking is of no interest here. Rather, what concerns us is the reaction of Kagame’s justice minister Johnson Busingye upon receiving WEF’s shameful flattery.
Busingye celebrated the hoax — and went further. Busingye proclaimed that Rwanda aimed to even surpass Finland’s judicial independence which is the top-ranked country on the WEF’s list. Busingye happily lionized the judicial independence in the Kagame dictatorship as follows:
”We are humbled by this ranking, thanks to all who work to sustain our judicial independence. That said our sights are now trained on Finland.”
Was Busingye attempting an April Fool’s Day joke?
Judicial independence refers to space between the judiciary and the other branches of government — especially the executive branch. Where there is judicial independence, the courts are free from improper influence from the other branches of government or from private or partisan interests. And Busingye would have us believe that his justice ministry is part of an independent judiciary free from Kagame’s influence? Lord have mercy. This is a country with the following article in its constitution:
”Article 114: Exemption from prosecution for a former president of the Republic.
A former President of the Republic cannot be prosecuted for treason or serious and deliberate violation of the Constitution.”
Enter Busingye’s brother Dennis Karera
We now have an ironic situation — Minister Busingye’s own brother, Dennis Karera, has mysteriously vanished for over a week. He is held incommunicado — no one knows where, by whom, or for what. Official kidnappings happen all the time in Rwanda. In April 2017, for example, a pregnant British mother of Rwandan origin was kidnapped in Kigali over her husband’s political standing. Violette Uwamahoro was kept in chains, charged with ”crimes” against the Kagame state. Her British passport saved her — she was dramatically freed after an official intervention.
Karera is a former law enforcement officer who served in the military and police. Karera became a wealthy businessman in real estate and commercial properties in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Now, Karera was kidnapped and denied due process by the very sector that Busingye claims will soon overtake Finland in terms of judicial independence.
I do not find pleasure in kicking a man when he is down — but Busingye had it coming. Any man who lives by singing praises in Kagame’s Rwanda should know that sycophancy has a limit. Such a person does not know what will hit him. We do not know what Karera did — nor do we know what awaits him or his brother Busingye, the praise-singer. But we do know this. Kagame’s Rwanda has zero judicial independence. God knows how much Kagame paid WEF to place Rwanda ahead of Germany, the US, and France in terms of justice delivery.