Letter to Life-President Of The Republic of Rwanda Major General Paul Kagame

Dear Sir, so now that you are president-for-life, then what? Before reflecting on this important question, I must concede that your resilience is impressive. You are already president-for-life before the so-called referendum takes place tomorrow. When your senate voted by 100% and your famously women-dominated parliament voted by 99% to support your power grab; and when these women and men stated that they could only find 10 Rwandans opposed to your power grab, it was game over. You were already king. And the same parliament gave you a clever formula known as 7+10(5×2) that extends your rule to 2034. I am naively assuming you won’t change the constitution again. In 2034, you will still be a teenager, at 74. After all the current African Union Chairman, Robert Mugabe is only 93 years young.

It has been a long road to your glory Mr President-for-life. Take a brief look at how you got here.

• Straight from secondary school you started fighting, first in Yoweri Museveni bush war in Uganda;
• You led your own bush war in Rwanda;
• You invaded Congo and removed a head of state;
• You re-invaded Congo to remove the head of state you had installed;
• You fought your former commander Museveni deep inside Congo for control of Kisangani;
• Your militia M23 grabbed Goma leading to aid cuts and suspension;
• You imprisoned, exiled, and made “disappear” former comrades, opposition figures, media leaders, and all kinds of Rwandans;
• UN Mapping report accused you of possible genocide in Congo – up to 6 million people perished due to wars you ignited;
• You grabbed people’s businesses in Rwanda without compensation;
• You built a business empire in the name of your party, Crystal Ventures which cannot survive without contracts from your government – the most shocking cronyism is chartering luxury jets from Crystal Ventures to transport you. No wonder you travel so much.

Back to the question – now that you are already president-for-life, what do you do that you did not achieve in past 21 years?

The trouble is that few people know what you have achieved. Nothing is what it appears to be in Rwanda. Even your beautiful city of Kigali is the largest city of latrines in the world. Without central sewage, all human waste go into ground water, and the rest into Nyabugogo, Nyabarongo, and Akagera water system that sustains most Rwandans and beyond. You say poverty is disappearing and unemployment in Rwanda is 3.4%. You are aware Sir that foreign aid brings more money of about $1 billion a year than money from taxes that amounts to $900 million a year. This is not surprising because there is hardly any private sector. So where does employment and prosperity come from Mr President? Clearly you fabricate your statistics.

I felt sorry for you recently, when in a Dubai conference someone asked you why he had not seen any product made in Rwanda, despite the fact that you say you are one of the fastest growing economies in the world. You remember your response? You replied that you manufacture computers. I think you were thinking about Positivo BGH, a small Argentinian company branch that came to Rwanda in August 2015 to rescue your failed one-laptop-per child project. Mr President be truthful. There is a bigger problem – you can’t manufacture anything because you have neither energy or skills. Only 4% of Rwandans meet their energy needs via electricity, 11% petroleum, and 85% biomass. For cooking needs, use of biomass goes to 90%. Even most of the Kigali elite cook with charcoal.

So what will you do Mr President between now and 2034? I have one simple request. It is something that the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice mentioned in her speech in Kigali on November 23, 2011. She noted that some Rwandans are “intimidated by late-night callers. Some have simply disappeared.” Could you at least end making people disappear Sir?

With Warmest Regards

Dr David Himbara