Open Letter to East African Community Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta, John Magufuli, Pierre Nkurunziza, and Salva Kiir.
Your Excellencies, Rwanda head of state Paul Kagame is alleging that Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa is financing Rwandan rebels based in Uganda. This is neither the first time nor the last time Kagame tarnishes Ayabatwa’s reputation.
Permit me to give you concrete evidence. In 2012, President Kagame’s government alleged that Ayabatwa was supporting armed groups in eastern DRC. Mr. Kagame further claimed that Ayabatwa had purchased a fleet of vehicles for the rebel groups. The United Nations Group of Experts investigated the Kagame allegations and concluded as follows:
”The UN Group of Experts is not aware of any link between Mr. Rujugiro and any armed groups operating in Eastern DRC. The Group has not found credible evidence to corroborate or substantiate the allegations that he sent vehicles to support armed groups in North Kivu province of DRC. Furthermore, as Mr Rujugiro has never been designated by the Security Council Committee…concerning the Democratic Republic of Congo, he is not, and has never been subject to any UN travel ban or assets freeze.”
Your Excellencies, the attached UN document should alert you to the fact that President Kagame has been assassinating Ayabatwa’s reputation for years. This, after illegally seizing Ayabatwa’s businesses in Rwanda and revoking his citizenship even though Ayabatwa is a Rwandan-born native. Do not be misled by President Kagame’s hatred campaign aimed at tarnishing the reputation of Ayabatwa’s business operations in your countries.
Ayabatwa’s companies do business according to the laws of host countries, and only on that basis should they be judged. Ayabatwa manufactures products in 9 African countries, 1 in the Middle East, and trades across Africa. Ayabatwa does business in all countries neighboring Rwanda. Please ask yourselves why it is only in his homeland, Rwanda, that Ayabatwa’s businesses were taken over without compensation.