Who wants Gen Nyamwasa dead?

Rwanda’s former Army Chief of Staff and Ambassador to India Lt. Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa survived an assassination plot on his life yesterday at his residence in Johannesburg but as the revered soldier recuperates in hospital, questions about this incident should be aimed in one direction – Kigali.

Some people will argue that South Africa is a very chaotic country with a high crime rate and that we should consider the possibility of this, having been a case of a robbery gone wrong. Well, to this notion, I say no. Believable as it may seem, such an argument can only hold water if you neglect the rhetoric in the form of accusations and allegations that have been coming out of Kigali.

Gen Nyamwasa it has to be said, is a big fish. He had his moment, spells when he was considered by the regime in Kigali, as a right hand man. He was at one point, Kagame’s blue eyed boy, and rightly so. A lawyer by profession, Gen Nyamwasa was successful at school as he was on the battlefield. Put bluntly, he is not just any other Rwandan soldier; he is an intelligent and learned Rwandan officer.

He gave his life, well, most of his adult life, serving and promoting the interests of a country he regarded as his own. His name even appears on a series of warrants that have been issued in relation to the collective activities of the people with whom he served. When there were wars that had to be fought, he fought them. Those he felt were useless, he flatly rejected. In his own words, he saw no reason of fighting useless wars. These were decisions that were largely based on his personal critique of the whole concept about wars for riches and wars with a cause. Strangely, his superiors resented him for choosing reason over lunacy leading to a combination of misunderstandings that eventually culminated in a massive fall out.

Fearing for his life, Gen Nyamwasa fled the country he had helped liberate to South Africa – the only country to offer him sanctuary. In South Africa, he was accused together with his comrade Col. Patrick Karegeya, Rwanda’s former intelligence chief, of terrorism. Kigali was even quick to accuse the two for being behind the grenade attacks that rocked Rwanda’s capital in April. Day after day, the state engineered missives and write ups in the government controlled newspaper The New Times alleging that the two had run away from corruption cases and accountability issues. Kagame himself went about telling whichever magazine or newspaper that was willing to listen, that the two were ‘flies who needed to be crashed’. First a demobilised soldier and then Jill Rutaremara, the army spokesman and later Job Jabiro went on record to trash Kayumba as a soldier responsible for his own downfall.

The accusations and attacks were relentless. It was clear what Kagame wanted. Get the two back to Rwanda, gag them as he has done to all the opposition and lock them up in some safe place where the only people to talk to would be fellow prisoners .

But when Gen Nyamwasa decided in May to put the record straight by writing a rejoinder in the same newspaper that Kagame had used to tarnish his (Nyamwasa) name, Kigali were caught pants down. The amount of detail and precision with which he delivered his well written piece in the Daily Monitor shook Kigali.

Kagame had fallen out with Kayumba yes, but there seemed to be something new in the general’s well written rejoinder that shook him to bits. The revelation that the Bombardier Global Express BD-700 jets – with a new price tag of $50-million each, acquired by Rwanda in 2003 and 2008 respectively were actually Kagame’s. Put into context, the revelation of such an out of touch spending by the head of state whose sound-bites had always been hummed around accountability and good governance made Kagame look like the thief in chief, especially given the fact that such luxury came at the expense of 60% Rwandese whom the UN says live in poverty.

The government of course tried to cover this up but the well kept secret had been leaked and Kayumba was seen by Kagame as the man who could sink the ship. So, what does the government do?

It will have to be proven for anyone to conclusively and without a shadow of a doubt place yesterday’s attempt on Gen Nyamwasa’s life on Kagame. What we can agree to however is the fact that if anyone wants Kayumba Nyamwasa dead, it is less likely the Johannesburg burglar but the smart politician from Kigali.

What Next?

Gen Nyamwasa is the lucky one. His story helps raise the spectre of the infamous list of people to be eliminated as leaked on the web by my friend Keith Harmon Snow. Just goes to show that no one, and I say no one, is safe. You obviously can not be sure unless you are absolutely clear. It is weird out there but we have to live in hope.

As Kagame becomes increasingly tense, Kigali’s list of enemies will continue to grow bigger and bigger. Anyone can be on this list. Anyone of us will or could be massacred at any point. The question is, do we give up in fear of assassinations to a rampant dictator whose job is to kill all his perceived enemies both real and imaginary? Or do we stand up to the challenge and say, well, you can kill us all but the spirit and hunger for freedom shall live on forever?

Remember my friends, at the end of every chess game, the King and Pawns get to sleep in the same bag.

Good luck to you all. As to the man in hospital, I wish you a quick recovery.

…over to you my little monsters.


Author: ellyakanga

I am Eleneus Akanga. Welcome to my blog about my experience as a Rwandan journalist and all that comes with the trade in East Africa. It's been a great journey so far but very challenging at times. Join me, let's get cracking! ellyakanga@usa.com

4 thoughts on “Who wants Gen Nyamwasa dead?”

  1. Ely,

    I thought at one time you said you didn’t believe all this trash that you spew up here.

    Can you, in your heart of hearts, state categorically that Nyamwasa was honest and you have reason to say you are sure? Suppose those jets belong to RPF, would you say RPF belongs to Kagame and not ALL Rwandans? Get me right, only some Rwandans belong to that party but see where it has brought everybody, regardless of a few renegades like Sebarenzi, Rusesabagina, Habyarimana Emmanuel, you and now Nyamwasa.

    I don’t want to be dragged into that, anyway. Just think. Nyamwasa! Don’t you think a man who was ready to sacrifice his life for a cause should not betray that cause? What is his personal life when he considers that all Rwandans have regained their dignity, respect, unity, country, etc. that he was ready to die for in contributing to restore them?

    Do you appreciate the magnitude of that cause? And yet a general can be like you and sell his soul to protect his little ego?

    Mzee Pan

  2. Mzee Pan,

    While I regard you with the respect you deserve for being who you are, I would be deceiving myself to accept some sweeping comments from you. I can only assume you were joking, casting me as a renegade, in the same light as Habyalimana and Rusesabagina.

    Honestly Mzee Pan, you are not the type to blatantly stereo-type, are you? Having a different view from one officially accepted by whoever is official in this case, does not make me a renegade surely. I still believe in what I have always believed in since you knew me and turning into a turncoat has never been my intention.

    Not anywhere did I say that Nyamwasa is honest. I always try and avoid judging people because that is not my style, unless of course there is something to support the judgement.

    Nyamwasa was until his escape from Kigali an accredited Rwandese Ambassador to India, a core member of the RPF and a former Army Chief of Staff – and therefore one to believe on matters involving dealings in Kigali. Me thinks.

    So, if a South African paper breaks a story about Rwanda spending so much on luxurious planes alleging that a certain Repli Investments is being forwarded as a pseudo company to shield the real owners of the said planes ( a story version that Kigali vehemently denies) and then later, someone who has worked with the said government and is in each sense an inside source reveals the owner and challenges the official version, who are we meant to believe?

    Even with a bank loan, it still beggars belief that an embassy employee and a retired professor would raise enough to get a $100 million loan for the purchase of bombardiers.

    If this is a question of genuine belief, not taking seriously the version of events as told by an inside source would be tantamount to refusing to accept the teachings of Jesus Christ – if I may use this analogy!

    Tell me, Mzee Pan. What is it that is Kayumba Nyamwasa’s case? Why would he make these allegations and fall out with a regime he so elegantly fought to install and risked his life for?

  3. Men like Kgame have been exposed , he will definately have to change startegy, but for you KAyumba you are a soilder how do you allow your self to be killed like a rat , get serious with your life, get armed some bullet proof clothes because KAgame the maderer will do anything to kill you ven in NAirobi, the first attempt fsiled but the second one never failed, so i know you gat it, Well i am praying for Rwanda and i say no more Blood that was enough Kagame please you do not have to insight another Genocide .

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