By David Himbara
In my book Kagame Ate Rwanda’s Pension, published two months ago, I demonstrated how the Rwandan head of state, Paul Kagame, plunged Rwandan pensioners into poverty while looting the pension for private gain. Using official Rwanda data and reports, I illustrated how millions of dollars of the Rwandan pension are unaccounted for or have financed the ruling party’s US$500 million business empire, Crystal Ventures Ltd. Meanwhile, pensioners were systematically dumped into poverty after contributing their hard-earned money into the national retirement fund during their productive years.
Two months after the publication of my book, Kagame has dramatically addressed one of my findings — how he has robbed pensioners while diverting pensions to other uses. He has sharply increased the benefits to Rwandan pensioners by 150 percent. Here is how the New Times is reporting the developments in its lead story ”Retirees welcome pension increase:”
”A presidential order determining new pension and occupational hazards benefits, which officials said could be published in the official gazette in a couple of days, offers varied increases to various categories of retirees, with the highest increase (150 per cent) going to the retirees who earn the least, between Rwf5,200 and Rwf10,000 a month.
Once the new rates have come into force, retirees who currently receive Rwf5200 and Rwf10,000 a month will get Rwf13,000 and Rwf25,000, respectively.
Those who get between Rwf10,000 and Rwf20,000 will receive a 75 per cent increase, with the highest payout in this category increasing to Rwf35,000.”
Paul Kagame, I am glad that you have come to your senses by giving pensioners their due. But you remain exposed as a gangster. These belated actions cannot undo the damage you have unleashed on the people of Rwanda by looting the national pension. My book stands as a testimony of your crimes against the Rwandan people. When you no longer have impunity and immunity, we Rwandans will see you in a court of law. That I guarantee you.