By David Himbara
A cabinet minister’s survival rate in the government of Rwanda’s General Paul Kagame is no more than two years. An appointment to a leadership position in Rwanda is a kiss of death. Kagame ministers end up in poverty, exile, or even death. A few magicians who continue to escape Kagame’s kiss of death include the current senior and junior ministers of Foreign Affairs – Vincent Biruta and Manasseh Nshuti.
The senior minister of foreign affairs, Biruta, is a magician. He not only survived Kagame, but thrived to head at least 6 ministries, the senate and parliament from 1994 to 2020. Biruta, the magician survived Kagame for 26 years. After serving in parliament from 1994, Biruta ran the Health Ministry from 1997 until 1999. From 1999 until 2000, he served as the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications. Biruta was the President of the National Transition Assembly from 2000 until 2003. From 2003, until 2011, he was the President of the Rwandan Senate. In 2011–2014, he was the Minister of Education, and from 2014–2017, serving as Minister of Natural Resources. From 2017 to 2019, Biruta was the Minister for Environment, and from there, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The junior foreign affairs minister, Nshuti, is another magicIan. In 2003, Kagame appointed him Minister of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Cooperatives. In 2005, Kagame made him Finance Minister. In 2006, Kagame appointed Minister of Public Service and Labor. After sacking from ministerial service, Kagame made Nshuti Economic Advisor. Kagams soon made Nshuti Executive Chairman of Crystal Ventures Ltd, the US$500 million business empire of the ruling party. Kagame dumped Nshuti from Crystal Ventures Ltd in 2013. From there, Nshuti became Kagame’s propagandist, writing in the New Times justifying why Kagame should stay in power and why Uganda is enemy of Rwanda. Kagame just recycled Nshuti as junior Foreign Affairs Minister.
The term magician refers to a person who is skilled in producing illusion. Biruta is a brilliant magician who has successfully tamed his master. Biruta survived Kagame for 26 years. Nshuti managed 10 years, collapsed – and just resurrected. Stay tuned.