Gen Joseph Nzabamwita is the Secretary-General of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) since 22 March 2016.

By Erasme Rugemintwaza

Rwanda is a country renowned for its espionage against its neighbors, in search of information about its enemies. This is perfectly normal because no country can do without doing so. On top of that, however, while there is no freedom of expression in Rwanda, everyone is afraid to talk, to say what they want, what they see and feel, even about things that are supposed to be ordinary. Because the intelligence system that forms the basis of the Kigali regime, is eyeing everywhere. Apart from the well-known intelligence services, or the intelligence departments of the security organs, it is said that in Rwanda when there are 3 people together, one of them spies on the others! How is this panoply of Rwandan intelligence structures built?

What characterizes any dictatorial regime is a combination or better a range of security and intelligence forces. The citizens of these countries are supervised by the security and intelligence forces, so that these forces are always and in all circumstances the first interlocutors of these citizens, instead of the administrative authorities.That is the Rwanda of Paul KAGAME, a well-known agent of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) that put him in power in Kigali to finally eliminate one after another, Habyarimana and Ntaryamira, then Mobutu who was no longer the darling of the Americans, Jonas Savimbi and others, more recent, that the truth will add to his hellish list.

At a press conference on 8/11/2019, President Paul KAGAME said that he was spying on Uganda because it is common in all countries to spy on its neighbours for security reasons; but he mocked Museveni who instead of arresting real Rwandan spies who are certainly in Uganda, is attacking the simple and candid citizens! He said that in addition to men, there is also technology. “Espionage is the prerogative of all countries. We are used to using human resources, and we excel at it. And sometimes I blame myself for doing it, we do more than that,” he said. It should be remembered that Rwanda has enacted a law on listening to everyone, and it is doing so with the help of its friend Israel, through the company NSO (Niv, Shalev and Omri), which has had a lawsuit with Facebook, owner of WhatsApp, for having installed listening technology in people’s phones. Regarding Kigali’s listening or interception of communications, you are not unaware that David HIMBARA was its victim. In fact, the contents of his interview with the Ugandan government newspaper, New Vision, was published by the Rwandan state newspaper New Times!

Espionage is in itself ordinary and is one of the main security concerns for any state; it is also one of the factors in the classification of powers in terms of security. At the global level when it comes to espionage, everyone immediately thinks of the three main giants of espionage: the CIA, KGB (FSB) and MOSSAD respectively American, Russian and Jewish, without putting aside to not to mention the British M16 and the Pakistani ISI, which without truce or respite skillfully eliminate their enemies. In addition to international espionage by well-trained professional agents in the art of proper killing and kidnapping, there are well-known public intelligence agencies in Rwanda. This is the case of  the NISS (National Intelligence Security Service), which is responsible for the country’s internal intelligence and the Directorate General of Immigration. In addition, these two agencies are added the security organs, RDF, the RNP, the RCS, the RIB, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the DASSO and the “Reserve Force” which operates as far as the village. These institutions, in conjunction with the administrative, district and provincial bodies, constitute respectively at these levels the Security Council, a strong decision-making body, recognized in the imposition of resignations on political authorities and mere officials of these levels. But how do these agencies and intelligence agencies work with local government and the community? All administrative bodies at the national level, from the province, district, sector, cell, village to Isibo (between 10-15 households) even if the latter has not yet acquired the right to be a governance entity, must ensure security. At each level of government, security is a priority, so security boards are governed by very strict laws; meetings of these boards focus on issues of competence and capacity at each level. This cannot be possible without gathering information.

In everyday life, however, there are many intelligence officers or informants in Rwanda. The first striking thing is that every village chief is a great informant! These elected representatives of the population numbering 14,837, constitute a basic network of informants and they were bought mobile phones for this. They have a pre-paid system of communications between themselves and with other authorities. Every morning and evening, they must send a written message, indicating the security situation of the village, to the executive cell secretary. This message is called “Sitrep,” a term normally used in security services. The message reflects the security situation in the village; everything is reported, even a simple dispute between spouses. These messages are compiled and harmonized at each level of government. In addition to the “Sitrep”, these village chiefs are required to immediately call any authority, and even the president of the republic, if they find something unusual, such as an unknown or suspicious person. In addition, every Rwandan is required to report anything unusual that he has seen or heard. Thus the Mayor of the District of Kirehe MURAYIRE Protais was dismissed  from his post during a meeting headed by Minister KABONEKA Francis, for a simple call from a peasant, reporting that the mayor prevents them from speaking!

In general, every Rwandan is called upon to spy, so much so that bringing something back, often in competition with the authorities, gives him satisfaction and confidence. In a small system that would literally be translated from Kinyarwanda to “Neighbor’s Eye,” each household is required to know the information from the neighbor’s house and report any suspicious items. Each household is also required to have a visitor’s notebook, to record anyone who spends the night in the house, which must also be presented to the village chief. This spirit of snooping everything, in everything, and reporting everything to the authorities and, if necessary, denouncing parents, brothers and sisters, was adopted by Rwandans for security reasons. Isn’t that a Rwandan maxim, literally translated, says that “when lives are in danger, every person defends his own”! This spirit of suspicion takes its essence in the period of insecurity – in the north of the country – during which one was obliged to accept to hide the “enemy” even if it were your child- but to report it discreetly to the security services, unless he takes risks to be considered as  a traitor or accomplice and thus undergoes the same fate as that enemy. The spirit was strengthened during the trial period of the Gacaca courts, where we had to say everything we saw and heard risk being imprisoned. I pointed out that in Rwanda, when you are three of you, one of you is spying over the others. This intelligence system is well branched into all sectors and services of life. In the public transport sector, especially in the city of Kigali, it is well known that the drivers of these famous VWs taxis are intelligence agents, but also those conducting ordinary taxis. Motorcyclist associations, in particular, are run by demobilized military personnel. What about these students also sent to schools, universities, where they use all their strength to become representatives of others, because it helps them to better infiltrate and address teachers and administration on the behalf of students they represent. So don’t be surprised if you meet your class leader wearing a military uniform  holding a senior officer’s ranks on his shoulders, the day after your graduation! Prisoners would also spy on their fellow prisoners in their daily ordeal. These spy prisoners are often placed in the representative bodies, which helps them to get closer to others because they are their spokesperson.

Government institutions, such as the district and the province, have a budget that is worded “security.” This money serves to buy information from certain informants, who cause panic in the villages where they live with an overconfidence considering themselves as real intelligence agents. This budget is not audited!

In addition to this, there are various forums, be it for women, youth, people with disabilities and children, in which informants swarm. I would not like to dwell on the election of the committees of these forums: from the basics to the upper echelons, committee members are appointed by the security services. It is the security services that sit down and determine the members of the committee, the voters receive only the names of the candidates designated in each place to complete the formalities. In this complex intelligence system, there is above all a new body of Volunteers, these are the unemployed young people, led at the national level by the former mayor of Nyanza, MURENZI Abdallah. They are real intelligence agents working full time  from morning to night seeking information in the villages. It is a real civilian branch of the National Police that works diligently under the motivation of some favors or advantages as counter party. These young people expect that they will be able to have jobs and some funds that are made available to young people. They are currently making a stand in the campaign to fight Against Covid-19.

I cannot close this attempt to analyze Paul KAGAME’s intelligence network, which blends the real intelligence institutions, the public administration and citizens of all stripes, without mentioning the religious, especially those of these countless new churches. Many of these churches are state-of-the-art tools for easily getting information under pastoral dress. For many, this delicate task helps them to get means to survive especially since their communities are not sufficiently funded to duly take care of them. Thus it is not only NIYOMWUNGERE Constantine who has committed a sacrilege to be more mundane than a true pastor. There are many others who enter without prior appointment at ministries or other offices to provide information and leave with wads of banknotes. Many are also selected from among the Hutus to help the RPF-Inkotanyi spy on their blood brothers. No one knows the case of NEMEYE, a pastor from the Rwandan northern town of Musanze who was appointed to often provide false testimonies against his Hutu brothers prosecuted in ICTR at Arusha. To facilitate his free movement in neighboring countries, under the guise of evangelization, the government helped him and facilitated the creation of a Christian sect called Shalom. Now he has been abandoned and even ruined by his former masters of the RPF, as the saying goes “after  squeezing  the orange, you throw the barks”!This is what happened to the rough pastor BIKEKA Faustin, currently incarcerated in the prison of Ruhengeri. If these pastors were spying on the foreigners, there would be no concern for the citizens, the irony is that they are attacking each other. When you talk to one of them, he can easily tell you that such is the eye of the government among them, that no one speaks in his presence. The question remains to know why “these children of God” are working hard for worldly baseness! But here too one of them suggested to me the answer: to become a bishop, the approval of the state is a requirement in the Vatican or Canterbury!

I wouldn’t want to talk much about the oldest method of espionage practiced even before Jesus Christ i.e. the  use of beautiful girls of which Delilah is the ancestor.

Thus, Rwanda, thanks to the beauty of Tutsi women, excels in this method. Many of these girls go the easy way to become these social media prostitutes under the label of “Slay Queens”. But there are others who are ordinary civil servants, employed in government departments and institutions. In addition to their beauty, these women must master foreign languages and know national information. They welcome different people who visit the country, help them to know the country, accompany them everywhere and when necessary accompany them to hotel rooms. This is a reality and not a fabulation!

When we talk about espionage in Rwanda, we can de facto think of people for whom the PPF has not or has lost confidence and who are blacklisted. This is not the case, the fact is even proven among his high dignitaries. there is noticed, for example, that in a given district, the powerful man of the RPF system is not the mayor or the vice mayor, rather someone else, for example, the district executive secretary, This quidam is the child of the regime sent to report on everything that happens in the district. Even simple jokes or humors debited without any back-pending in simple routine work meetings, are recorded in the subjects of the reports! This creates suspicion or skepticism within the District Executive Committee, which is a real impediment to good governance, sometimes delaying decisions on public interest projects.

Even in the upper echelons of the Being, among the country’s leading leaders, MPs and ministers, the situation is in the similar order: they are not allowed to speak as they please. We remember that when KABONEKA Francis was an MP, his RPF pairs feared him terribly; everyone was silent in his presence or preferred to talk about daily vulgar stories. For the slightest slippage was the subject of bullying. We will never forget the case of Ministers Mugorewera Drocelle and Joseph Habineza when the latter transferred to the presidency the personal message of his colleague who asked him for restraint and to be more reasonable!

One would very much wonder where all this information, provided by so many people, by so many bodies, at so many levels, is being channeled, how it is processed and used.

In the blink of an eye, first-time information is sent, examined or still original, to the relevant upper echelons and to the presidency of the republic for a quick response. That’s why once someone says something “forbidden”, believing himself with friends, and is asked to wear handcuffs after a brief period of time! if he goes back home, he’ll never get home! If God still watches over him or her we will hear that the missing person reappears in a police station, here and there!

In a nutshell, this is the intelligence system of the RPF-Inkotanyi regime and its super spy Paul KAGAME. The spying system that prevents talking even about the vicissitudes of life over a glass of beer!

Because “In vino veritas”! a parent spies and denounces his child, and vice versa! Even a pastor betrays his flocks: the shepherd is not ashamed to bring one of his sheep and lock him in the lair of wolves! In Rwanda, it is self-control in everything and everywhere. You have to walk on eggshells, on the tips of the feet because if you do not look well you walk on the feet of the RPF-Inkotanyi or where the spy Paul KAGAME has spread his flour. Beware if you throw any dirt in it! When all this will end up.