By David Himbara
Kagame Illegally Seized Rwandatel From Wyler. Rwandatel Collapsed. Wyler Became A Global Tech Leader. Wyler Returned To Rwanda To Lecture Kagame How To Make Broadband Accessible To The Masses.
In 2004, Kagame invited Greg Wyler, an American entrepreneur, to invest in Rwanda. Wyler set up his firm, Terracom.
In 2006, Kagame asked Wyler’s group to buy Rwandatel, Rwanda’s sole landline telephone company owned by the government. Terracom bought Rwandatel’s assets for US$20 million.
In 2007, Kagame grabbed Rwandatel from Wyler and sold it to Libyan Investment Portfolio (LAP) Green, for an initial investment of US$100 million. LAP Green promised to invest an additional US$177 million over the following 5 years.
In 2011, Rwandatel collapsed.
In 2013, Kagame sold the remains of Rwandatel to Liquid Telecom from South Africa for US$4 million.
Meanwhile in the US…
Meanwhile, in the US, Greg Wyler became a global leader. Wyler built OneWeb, a global communications company with over US$1 billion assets. The company’s goal is to provide internet services to “hundreds of millions of potential users residing in places without existing broadband access”.
In May 2018, Greg Wyler came back to Rwanda.
Wyler came to lecture Kagame and his Transform Africa how make the internet accessible and affordable to the masses.
Wyler had the last laugh.
The moral of the story?
Kagame routinely seizes private businesses — the Wyler case is neither the first nor the last to be hijacked. The moral of the story is that Kagame and his government act as criminal organizations to gain maximum and corrupted advantages. Or to just punish somebody Kagame dislikes for whatever reason. Kagame uses the judiciary to ensure impunity. But fraud never pays. In Wyler’s case, the malicious seizure of his business made him a better man — and a global transformative leader. Kagame remains where Wyler left him, namely, a ruler of a Banana Republic.