Heightened Cronyism and Power Struggle within RPF
Cronyism and greed have generated a power struggle within the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) leadership.
About a month ago Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) Secretary General Muligande chaired a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) that decided to fire Rwandatel Managing Director Sam Nkusi. When Nkusi learned about this decision, he became furious.
Nkusi has close ties with Rwandan President General Paul Kagame. Nkusi is godfather to one of Kagame's children. As soon as he learned about his dismissal, he sought a meeting with Kagame. During this meeting he demonized Muligande and asked he be fired.
Nkusi then spread a rumor among Rwandan Tutsi returnees from Uganda also known as abagande or Ugandans suggesting that Muligande had fled the country.
Kagame apparently listened to his friend's request but refused to commit himself to Muligande's firing. However, he also refused to fire his friend Nkusi. He instead appointed Nkusi Managing Director of Electrogaz, a state-run company that supplies electricity to the whole country.
Kagame appointed Nkusi Managing Director of Rwandatel in 1994 before even the formation of the government led by former Prime Minister Twagiramungu. Rwandatel was at the time a semi-private company. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund pressured the Rwandan government to fully privatize Rwandatel.
Instead of implementing the policy suggested by the two international institutions, Nkusi, with Kagame's approval, engineered the creation of Rwandacel, another telephone Company. Rwandacel's was created with Rwandatel, TRISTAR, and MTN funds.
TRISTAR is a company that belongs to the RPF. RPF uses the company to siphon off funds from state-run companies and from the public. As to MTN, it is a South African company involved in buying out Rwandan state-run enterprises.
To find office space for Rwandacel, Kagame and the RPF forced Caisse Sociale du Rwanda, a state-run agency to sell its new building. Caisse Sociale du Rwanda has been forced to remain in a run down building it intended to vacate in 1994.
From 1994 to early this year, there was no control to evaluate how Nkusi runs Rwandatel. A senior official in the Ministry of Finance says the company was run like a family business. Whenever Kagame wanted money, Nkusi would issue a check, the official added. This official told AfroAmerica Network that on two occasions he saw Nkusi hand a check to Kagame.
Some observers in Kigali believe that Nkusi will also preside over the privatization of Electrogaz and Electrogaz will be sold to RPF friends. The Rwandan government has privatized factories, hotels, and public utility companies. Individuals who bought them are Tutsi RPF members and some of them did not even pay. Those who volunteered to pay gave the Rwandan Treasury a token fee.
When the National Transitional Assembly (NTA) led by former Speaker Sebarenzi Kabuye tried to investigate the selling off of public companies, senior RPF officials blocked the investigation to prevent the NTA from uncovering the financial schemes put together by the RPF and its leaders.
A Rwandan government official who asked not be identified says: "Today Rwanda is ruled by a Mafia. This Mafia controls the army, the police, the economy, and the people".(c)AfroAmerica Network, March, 2001.
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