It is not the first time that foreign investors grab each other’s necks on Rwandan territory in an attempt to settle various forms of commercial disputes.
In the latest developments, Dr. Jacques Ntogue, a Franco-Cameroonian entrepreneur, is entangled in a very sensitive corporate dispute against a Mauritanian firm, Omnicane, the later is accused of conniving or manipulating Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to mysteriously aquire his shares in a locally registered company.
Ntogue told Taarifa in an exclusive interview that he chose to invest in Rwanda to build an international start up in Renewable Energy and also expand across Africa.
The Franco-Cameroonian entrepreneur was bringing to Rwanda rich experience from Management positions in different companies (Orange in France, BT in UK, Siemens in Germany and African Development Bank in Tunisia).
“I stated with Rwanda because I wanted to leverage my experience and contacts when I was working as Head of Division of Telecom, Infrastructure and User Support within Afdb,” Ntogue said.
He established REFAD Rwanda Limited to embark on a long-term investment journey in this part of the world.
Former Rwanda Energy Minister Eng. Albert Butare was very instrumental in giving Ntogue a soft landing in a country that was so hungry for investments especially in the energy sector to fix the deficit.
“When I created REFAD, I was the MD and had 63% shares and offered 7 % to a local engineer Kris Gahiga ( he did no inject a single euro, this was just an incentive mechanism) and 30% to Jerry Okoko, a US/Kenya Citizen I met in Rwanda with the former Minister, Albert Butare,” he says.
According to Ntogue, after obtaining all necessary company incorporation paperwork, he kicked off by conducting a feasibility study, environmental study ( ESIA), securing the land and the river, PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) and had the Sovereign Guaranty approved by the government of Rwanda.
“Of course most of these expenses were paid from my pocket,” he said, adding that all this took five years to achieve. And at this point most of the difficult work for such projects was completed. The next phase was simply to obtain a funder to inject in cash to begin construction.
Ntogue was introduced to Omnicane by an Insead Alumni, partner of Omnicane at that time. Omnicane was looking for a partner in Africa with a viable Energy project. Omnicane did not want to pay someone to explore Africa and develop projects.
“Given that I worked for 5 years without a salary and financed almost everything to secure the above milestones, Omnicane evaluated this work to €3 million. One should know that in infrastructure projects, all the risk are at the beginning. In fact when you have already signed all contracts there is no development risk anymore,” he said.
In this deal the terms included; evaluation of €3 million, Omnicane was to inject into REFAD RWANDA Ltd €3.1 million in exchange of 51% of the REFAD RWANDA shares. REFAD Rwanda was to seek for a loan of €8 million to complete the construction.
Meanwhile, the total construction of the power plant was to cost ( 3.1 +8) = €11.1 million. And in this deal if the construction cost less than €12 million, Ntogue would get €1 million as a success bonus.
According to documents seen by Taarifa Investigative desk, before Omnicane came onboard, the three owners of REFAD RWANDA transferred their shares in REFAD GROUP AG ( RGAG), a mother company in Switzerland.
“This incidentally means that RGAG became a holder of 100 % shares of REFAD Rwanda Ltd. “When I started REFAD GROUP AG I had 70% shares, Jerry Okoko 28% and Urs Sieffer 2%,” Ntogue explains.
In a nutshell, Ntogue had raised to 72% shares, Jerry Okoko 23 and Kris 5%.
“I bought back Urs Sieffer’s shares a year ago. Urs Sieffert was the president since the Swiss law requires a Swiss resident to be President and member of the board,” says Ntogue.
Ever since Omnicane acquired a 51% stake in REFAD Rwanda, they have never included Ntogue as founder and majority shareholder of REFAD Rwanda and Refad Group AG.
“I asked several times to have the Financial data but they have refused to disclose the information. RDB asked them to disclose this basic data and they refused,” a frustrated Ntogue told Taarifa.
In August 2019, another investor finergreen.com, requested to buy 49% for €3.5 millions. Finnergreen Managing Director went to Mauritius to meet Omnicane CEO.
Omnicane said that they have the pre-emption rights, but they refused to pay.
Since the project was up and running since December 2018, Ntogue is wondering how in 2019 there was a capital increase? To do what? To acquired what new project?
“In December 2019 I was informed by Africa Intelligence that Omnicane has changed REFAD Rwanda Capital structure so that now REFAD GROUP AG has only less than 2% of the shares,” Ntogue noted with concern.
Ominicane did so by creating new shares on paper without informing the 49% owner of the company, no shareholder meeting was held and also there are no minutes and no resolutions.
Since then Ominicane started sucking money from the company in Rwanda to Mauritius. This is pure tax evasion since all the benefit will go to Mauritius and nothing is left in Rwanda because REFAD Rwanda will never make a profit. RDB was informed of that.
Few months ago, Omnicane wanted the Cameroonian to validate the 2019 financial account. “We rejected them, since not only we were not involved in the decision (Capital Increase, Omnicane loan) but we would like Omnicane to implement RDB recommendation first,” he insists.
Did RDB facilitate the fraud?
“What is strange is that RDB validated this change without checking the document nor informing us,” the Cameroonian entrepreneur said.
He added, “How can a shareholder of 49% accept to be reduced at 2%?? RDB changed its mind when we started complaining with all evidence. Then RDB released a letter and gave Omnicane only one month to return to the previous capital structure. RDB has sent two letters to Omnicane. Omnicane ignored the instructions.
RDB has the power and rights to make the change themselves but it is not known why RDB is not effecting the change.
Meanwhile, Omnicane went on and changed the company name from REFAD RWANDA Ltd to OMNYHYDRO- which according to Ntogue is in itself an act of theft; “They are taking away all my hard work and brand name I am building.”
Efforts by Taarifa to reach Clare Akamanzi RDB’s Chief Executive Officer for comment on this dispute have been fruitless as she didn’t respond to our questions.
Don’t Despise ‘Sumbiligi’, They Are Edible And Cure Malnutrition
Five years ago Nicole Iradukunda was aged 5, her health had been deteriorating over a long period but her parents didn’t understand why. They live in Kimihurura a suburb just a stone throw away from Kigali city centre.
Her mother Priscille Bihoyiki couldn’t bear the daughters plight and decided to take her to a nearby AVEGA clinic and sought the doctor’s advice.
The doctor collected samples of saliva, urine and blood from Iradukunda and took them for screening. She was diagnosed with Kwashiorkor disease – a form of malnutrition that occurs when there is not enough protein in the diet.
By standards, Iradukunda’s parents are poor. Her mother told the doctor that they could not afford to provide their sick daughter with a balanced diet because it was expensive to buy the prescribed foods.
However, the doctor had another alternative. He advised Bihoyiki to at least find Guinea Pigs saying they are cheaper to buy and rear at home but also very rich in proteins.
Bihoyiki returned home with her daughter after meeting with the doctor and later informed her husband Jean Bosco Ndinzemenshi.
Ndinzemenshi thought very hard about where to find a Guinea pig. Since the 80’s Guinea Pigs have been reared in Rwandan homes until after the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994, these beautiful rodents are very scarce; they are locally known as Sumbiligi.
He remembered that one of his friends in Musanze district in the Northern Province was rearing these rodents and the following day he boarded a bus for a three hour journey.
By luck, Ndinzemenshi found that his friend was still rearing Guinea Pigs; “I bought one gestating female for Rwf500 and returned home. When my wife first saw it, she did not believe it would cure their daughter. She had never seen or eaten this rodent.”
He told Taarifa that a few days later the Guinea pig gave birth to 12 puppies including 9 females and three males but his wife always disregarded the guinea pigs which according to her looked like giant rats.
He says that his wife gradually changed her mind and the contempt against guinea pigs vanished when she found out about the healing power in these animals’ flesh and blood.
Ndinzemenshi would slaughter one and his wife would cook the meat for Iradukunda to help her recover. “She really enjoyed the food” until they noticed that was gaining weight.
They continued feeding Iradukunda on Guinea Pig meat until she completely recovered from kwashiorkor and began playing with other children in the neighbourhood.
Bihoyiki and her husband did not keep the secret to themselves. They even gave some guinea pigs to neighbours and friends who had children suffering from malnutrition.
Because of the importance of guinea pigs in improving nutrition, local leaders and community health counsellors in the neighbourhood recommended other households to come and buy one guinea pig from the family.
The family advises anyone who despises these rodents or feel shy about breeding them to start raring some because apart from their meat, guinea pigs provide high quality manure.
Now they have 20 guinea pigs but because they reproduce very quickly, they hope that in the next two years they will have tripled.Quick facts about Guinea Pigs
The guinea pig was first domesticated as early as 5000 BC for food by tribes in the Andean region of South America.
How these animals came to be called “pigs” is not clear. They are built somewhat like pigs, with large heads relative to their bodies, stout necks, and rounded rumps with no tail of any consequence; some of the sounds they emit are similar to those made by pigs, and they also spend a large amount of time eating.
Guinea pigs are large for rodents, weighing between 700 and 1,200 g and measuring between 20 and 25 cm in length.
They typically live an average of 4 to 5 years, but may live as long as 8 years. According to the 2006 Guinness World Records, the longest living guinea pig survived 14 years, 10.5 months.
The guinea pig natural diet is grass
Guinea pigs are good swimmers.
Editors Note: Article was first published February 14, 2018
Full Interview: President Kagame Talks To Al Jazeera About His Legacy, Opposition, Mozambique, Uganda
President Paul Kagame dug deep into how he has led Rwanda from a failed state to a progressive one and weather he plans to stay longer or not. He also spoke about the relationship between Rwanda and Uganda. More, he talked about Africa’s new paradigm shift in regard to managing their own affairs void of the west’s hand.
Read more below.
Ali Aldafiri: When I was 19 years old Mr. President, we only knew Rwanda through the massacres that took place in this country through the news bulletin in the year 1994. Today Rwanda has transformed and changed, there’s a very big renaissance. What have you done, what is the password that you use to achieve this great transformation and success in your country?
President Kagame: Well, truly we have come from far, almost to non-existence to where we are now. The country is stable, is peaceful, we’re making progress, there’s growth, there’s development, people are coming back together, the country was so divided in the past, now there is unity in the country.
So, i think progress is on, there is still a lot of work to do, we have a long journey to travel to be where we want to be, so there is not a secret i think, it’s just people understanding the need to address the challenges we face and we try to do that the best way we can and involve everybody.
And, yes there are leaders, people, ordinary citizens who have to be involved and benefit from different policies, social economic policies that lead to that transformation, that’s what we as leaders have had to do, is make sure that we put in place these socio-economic policies, working together with the citizens and also making sure that everyone moves in good direction.
Ali Aldafiri: There were 800 000 deaths from April to July 1994, it’s not easy at all to turn this page. What were the initiatives that you have adopted over the past 27 years to overcome this issue amongst Rwandese?
President Kagame: I talked about policies, i talked about citizens being involved, i talked about leaders really being focused and also doing things in a way that they earn the trust of the people of this country, i think that’s where we put a lot of energy and we have not been mistaken, the results have been speaking for themselves.
Ali Aldafiri: What are the guarantees that Rwanda will not return to these very difficult days?
President Kagame: Well, because we are not working towards that! We are working towards something else. We do it in a sustainable manner, and it is sustainable because of, one, the people themselves that get involved and understand the need for doing what they are doing, two, it brings stability and we continue to build on that.
So we concentrated on building a foundation, we built institutions; also we tried to create a mindset change, generally for our people.
In the past, we had Rwandans who would sit back and almost sometimes do nothing because there are rich people who help the poor and they will come to help, and so now we are saying, okay let’s not wait for people who want to do well, and do good and bring us, you know, what they can give us to live. Let’s do that ourselves, let’s be able to, of course when you’re working with others or those who want to do good and bring whatever they want to bring, then they should find us already making good progress.
Ali Aldafiri: Mr. President, when a person talks about the future projects, this is important and logical. It is logical that change needs many years to be achieved but when a president talks about the future and has been in power since the year 2000, does this indicate that you intend to stay for longer as president of Rwanda?
President Kagame: Well, I don’t have to be in power to see the benefits of what I’m talking about. Some of the good things have already happened anyway and I am seeing them. There are many other things we expect to happen that are good for us, that are good for the country, maybe some of those will come when I’m not there, but certainly Rwandans will see that or will be contributing to that happening, and so on and so forth.
So, that’s why it takes me back to say, for me that’s not really a big issue, whether what I’m doing now, what i will do or what i will see tomorrow, is just a part of a bigger thing than me, and also it’s part of a process. But as I mentioned earlier, it also depends on what the people of this country want.
Ali Aldafiri: Is the political peaceful opposition allowed to work here in Rwanda and to face the president, to disagree with the president and to seek power by competing with him through the ballot boxes?
President Kagame: The opposition exists. The opposition means people having different views about governance, about whatever is happening in the country. Even if they were ten and were pursuing different lines of thinking, political thinking, they converge on one thing, all of them. That’s my expectation. They converge on the well-being of the people, and also the stability of the country. I think on that one they don’t disagree.
I don’t think there would be anyone called ‘opposition’, and that is understood as being opposed to the established arrangement, thinking that, ‘no, I want to remove these ones and bring instability to the country’. So in other words those are things they converge on.
So, in our case, we have also had that anyway in our history, we have had instability and we have had instability at a time in fact these different parties called opposition parties had emerged, and all of them participated in that instability, all the parties.
This genocide you hear about that happened 27 years ago, it doesn’t matter which side they were coming from, so there was no opposition, so-called which you mentioned, that stood up and said ‘no, we can’t go down this road’. They actually participated in that. Why would you think that happened?
So I’m trying to bring to your attention the fact that each country has its own context and circumstances in which it operates. Therefore, you don’t want to establish just a template and say every country must follow this way of doing things. I don’t think even these champions of democracy actually do that.
Ali Aldafiri: But some people say that President Paul Kagame has a tendency towards the African continent as an African flair that rejects the western standards in matters like democracy and human rights.
Kagame always says that ‘we have African values, we have culture, we are the ones who decide how and in what way we must live’ but the western model Mr. President dominates the world. So how do you face this western model and what other African values do you want to dominate the African reality?
President Kagame: When we are talking about Africa and then we’re talking about the history of Africa and the present time governance and leaders, why should we forget the history as well? People come forth and they want to pretend like the problems are just starting today or that they don’t actually involve these same people we are being told to emulate, to admire, to… No, they are part of my problem.
We have to take the blame for our own wrongdoing, Africa. There’s no question about it, we can’t escape it, we shouldn’t escape. But should we also keep quiet about the wrongs done by others to Africa in the past? By the way, even in the present.
So how then do I even as a person accept that those dictates prevail, that i should keep quiet about certain wrongs that have been done to me, against me, and just follow the dictates of others to me even when they make similar or worse mistakes in their own situation?
Ali Aldafiri: There were some problems that happened with Uganda in March 2019 in the Great Lakes region. Have you overcome this matter, especially since Museveni is an ally of President Paul Kagame as you have worked together for long periods of time?
Have you overcome this matter and how has this dispute affected the region here in East Africa?
President Kagame: Not yet. I think there are still a number of issues that will have to be resolved. Well, it takes two to tango, I guess both countries will continue searching for a solution to the problems that still exist, we understand the root cause, therefore we should be able to find the way forward and better understand than we have had in the recent past.
Ali Aldafiri: Mr. President, what is the nature of the dispute between you and Uganda, in particular the problems between you?
President Kagame: We have had opportunities to discuss some of these problems openly, for example I just state two key facts: a big part of the border is closed and some people will say just open the border and do trade and…which everyone wants and in the whole region. Now, for us the problem is what actually led to the closure of the border that needs to be answered before the border as such is open.
We have had a situation where Rwandans suffer or are not allowed to go to Uganda to do their business normally, the establishment in Uganda simply hands down Rwandans wherever they find them, they have all kinds of pretexts they put forth talking about insecurity that is caused by Rwandans, and we have raised issues around that which really amount to persecution rather than anything originating from Rwandans that go to Uganda.
But when Ugandans come to Rwanda, they have not experienced the same hardships as Rwandans do when they go to Uganda, and the question here is if you are talking about border closure, a border is for people, the people who cross back and forth.
Ali Aldafiri: Why is Museveni, your former ally, doing this? Some people say that there is a fear of Paul Kagame’s leadership and hegemony in the region. Is this more of competition than disputes over borders?
President Kagame: I don’t know, I don’t want to argue for somebody else. If you ask me what concerns me, I’ll tell you, but if you ask…
Ali Aldafiri: Mr. President, do you call President Museveni or do you communicate with each other?
President Kagame: We used to. We used to talk to one another but of late it has more or less stopped.
Ali Aldafiri: Is it a long time ago?
President Kagame: It is for some time. And until these issues are resolved then, talking isn’t just talking for the sake of it, we talk because we relate and have to do things together, but if not then what is talking about?
Ali Aldafiri: Mr. President, what is the Rwandan army doing in Mozambique, in Central Africa, how long will the army stay outside the country?
President Kagame: Well, the Mozambican problem, we were, first of all as Africans and as even friends of Mozambique, when Mozambique had a problem and wanted us to work with them to address whatever problem there was, they went to other countries it’s not just Rwanda, and for us we responded the way we could and we have worked with the Mozambicans to address the problems that, and the way we had to, I think much success has been achieved.
So, again it’s between us and Mozambicans and whoever else they asked to help to decide the way forward, and the way forward would be dictated by the conditions on the ground and the work that has to be done, eh… in view of that. So I really don’t see that as a problem.
Ali Aldafiri: Till when will the Rwandan army stay in Mozambique? Shouldn’t this mission be left to the Mozambicans? So is your army going to stay longer in Mozambique?
President Kagame: This is what I’m saying, it will be solved between Rwanda and Mozambique. We are capable of discussing and seeing what issues on the ground to address and how and what time it takes.
But some of these things you don’t just give a date and say ‘no I’m going’, even when we were going, we were not saying we are coming to resolve this problem in one week, in one month, and we are gone. It doesn’t happen that way. So what can we do about?
A lot has to depend on the circumstances as well. It depends on what is on the ground really, and also the feelings of the Mozambicans who asked for help in the region, the southern African region, who asked us, and there is a lot of discussion that goes on in knowing what to do next. So that’s not a big problem.
Ali Aldafiri: You chaired the African Union during that before last session; you offered several Africans integration projects such as Free Trade, the Single African Air Transport Market and African Free Trade.
In your opinion what is the volume of problems facing the issue of African cooperation and building a strong economic block that depends and benefits from the wealth of the continent in achieving progress amongst the countries?
President Kagame: Africa has to come together and that’s why we have an African Union, it was to try and bring Africa together, to work together for cooperation, for, you know, to be able to address the many challenges that face Africa.
So when I became the chair of the African Union in 2018 but even before or even after that, we always emphasize on Africa working together. Whether it is for security, for trade and investments, or, actually facing together these injustices that we talked about earlier.
Ali Aldafiri: What is the obstacle? Some people say the large part of obstacles of Africa is coming from outside Africa.
President Kagame: Well, that’s what we have to agree first of all. Does it come from outside? Is it something we can… and therefore, whatever it is, wherever it comes from, even if it comes from within by the way, we can still work together to address it.
It’s not that we should come together to address what comes from outside. No, it’s coming together to address what affects us commonly, even if it was to originate from another country within Africa, you know, affects us or affects a number of us, it needs to be addressed.
Ali Aldafiri: What is the worst picture in President Paul Kagame’s memory in the years of asylum that is still stuck in your mind?
President Kagame: Well, I say it’s an image of poverty, it’s an image of deprivation, it’s an image of instability because even when I was a kid, four years old, when we, my family was fleeing the country and going to the neighboring country Uganda, I still, even as a young kid I remember the chaos that I could see, the way we are being rushed here and there, so as I kept growing, these memories also kept in my mind up to now.
Ali Aldafiri: Colonialism for decades and centuries has created a negative image or stereotype for the Africans. Today, there are various successes made by the Africans.
Does the image of the Africans today concern you at the time where the Africans are presenting successful strong and unique models?
President Kagame: For me, I see myself as a person, as a human being, as a Rwandan, as an African, and therefore these struggles are things we have to confront and deal with directly without any apologies, without any fear, without even a sense of feeling we are doing it as a favor to anyone but rather to ourselves, to humanity, to many others who have not been able to maybe have a chance or have a thought about doing what we have done.
So it’s quite a broad thing, I see indeed my way of evolving into this as part of the history of many Africans, as many, given that history whether it is in colonial times or bad governance of today or injustices, double standards that exist in the world that affect us today.
Africa or Rwanda, you will find we are a country you want to do, you know the citizens want to do the best for themselves.
You happen to be a leader of these people, but you find there are these injustices and all kinds of problems that affect you, that are not of your own making, that come from somewhere else, that are linked with the history of how people view you, how they want to see you, and, so you are caught up right there in the middle and you have to do something about it.
There is not much you can do just as an individual; you have to do much with other people and it all comes and builds on the political thinking people have.
Ali Aldafiri: Mr President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, thank you very much.
Understanding Museveni Through The Byanyimas
Back in December, 2005, Boniface Byanyima (2nd right front row), the recently-deceased Ugandan Politician, bared all to Benon Herbert Oluka in a special interview.
Museveni spent a good part of his early life at Mzee Byanyima’s home and the two remained close until mid-1990 when they fell out. Here is a reproduction that is still fresh in more ways than one.
I don’t remember the year but he came to Mbarara High School when I was teaching. It was in 1950s I think. He came in [Senior] One. That is when I first met him.
It took me time to understand him because Museveni is secretive. You cannot understand him at once. There is one side, which he shows you, and another side he keeps to himself. So, it took me time to understand him.
At first, he appeared to be friendly to me and my family. He visited us frequently. He liked me and my family,…my children. We treated him as our child. Those were the first impressions we got; he was a friendly person, a friendly young man.
Mzee Byanyima (seated 2nd R) and some members of his family
Even when he went to Ntare School, he used to come to my home. When he was staying in my home, he didn’t appear to be political. But he was interested in learning like other students, like the [Eriya] Kategayas. He was an ordinary student.
He was not actually one of the bright students, but he was trying to learn. When he was staying at my home, I would give him little pocket money like all the [needy] students. We stayed with him but it was on and off. He used to come for holidays. Even when he went to Dar es Salaam, he used to come here to our home and we stayed with him.
He was a young man of ambition, always trying to show that he was better than other students. And he appeared to be ambitious in small things. Whenever he got a chance, he wanted to show that he was an important person. He wanted to be respected.
For example, at one time when I was MP staying at Uganda Club [present-day Kampala Club], he came to see me. I had my nephew there and I wanted to give them lunch at Uganda Club where I was staying. I wanted to take them to the dining room, but he said: ““No. Me I can’t go there. I can’t dine with this young man who is a son of Kanyamunyu.” Kanyamunyu was the treasurer of Ankole kingdom.”
He said: “Me Museveni, you give me my small money, I will go and eat in Shauri Yako. I can’t eat with big people.” Small things like that. He wanted to show that he was different from others… to be recognized.
SIGNS OF A POLITICIAN
When he was in Dar es Salaam, he started coming to my home with communism literature. He was talking of Russian-type communism. He was praising Lenin and other communist leaders. He was talking about communist slogans and phrases like proletariat, common man…
He never told me of his political ambitions. He only told me that he was fighting for the common man. He was praising people like Che Guevara, a South American revolutionary. He was praising the [Julius] Nyerere leadership and talking of crushing capitalists. That kind of language.
One day he came to my home and said he had been to Mozambique. He came towards the end of his holidays, and I asked him why he was late. He told me he was in Mozambique fighting the Europeans who were grabbing African land.
And he was boasting that he killed a white man there. I said I don’t want that sort of language here. He kept quiet but whenever he got a chance, he would boast of his activities against capitalists.
FIRST SHOT AT POLITICS
When he came back from Dar es Salaam, he joined [Milton] Obote’s government. He was in the intelligence section, and I interacted with him at that time very often. He was talking of overthrowing the Obote regime because Obote was a capitalist. Before [Idi] Amin overthrew Obote, there was talk of elections which Obote was proposing in 1970. They wanted a type of election where a candidate would have four constituencies; it was called three plus one.
He would have to stand in all regions of Uganda; his home constituency, then plus three others in other regions. And Museveni took the opportunity to become a candidate, to stand against Vice President [John] Babiiha.
He was trying to stand in North East Ankole against Babiiha because he was opposing Babiiha for establishing ranches in Ankole. Museveni said he did not want ranches because ranches were capitalist institutions. He was trying to show me that he was fighting for the common man.
But I didn’t believe him because I could see that he also wanted an opportunity to show that he was important. I thought that even if he took power, he wouldn’t put into practice what he was talking about. I looked at him as the kind of person who wanted to promote himself rather than working for a principle because he would say one thing now, then another time a different thing. He didn’t show me consistency.
Then one day he came to me to help him, to give him DP young men to campaign for him in my constituency because DP had been banned. I told him I could not because my party is banned and I am not practising politics at the moment, and in any case I don’t want your party, UPC. It was 1970.
So, he tried to campaign for himself against Babiiha. When they were campaigning, Amin overthrew their government. Obote ran to Tanzania and Museveni and others followed him there.
I did not meet him throughout the time Amin was in power. I met him after they returned from Tanzania when Amin had been overthrown. Then he came here and deceived me. He told me that Obote was not coming to Uganda. Nyerere would not allow him because he knew that Obote had committed mistakes in Uganda.
He never revealed what kind of government Nyerere was intending to establish in Uganda. He only kept on saying that Obote would never come back here but Nyerere would restore democracy. At that time I had no other information; so, I believed Museveni. [Yusuf] Lule was appointed president, in two months he was overthrown.
[Godfrey] Binaisa came. But Museveni kept on telling me that Nyerere is going to bring democracy back in Uganda. How? I didn’t know, but one day… one night it was 9 O’clock, I saw a Tanzanian Land Rover coming into my compound here.
Then [Chris] Rwakasisi [former Obote minister now pardoned from death row] jumped out. He told me he was going to Bushenyi to prepare the way for Obote’s return.
I said: What? Obote is returning? He said: “Yes. That is why I have come to tell you as chairman of DP to start reviving DP so that we can compete.”
I told him what Museveni had been telling me. Rwakasisi told me it was a lie.
“We know that Museveni has been lying to the people of Uganda, telling them a lot of lies. Museveni is trying to find his own political line in Uganda. We know him,” Rwakasisi said.
The next morning Museveni came here. I told him Rwakasisi had been here at night and had told me Obote is coming. Museveni appeared shocked. He said: “
”What? Has Rwakasisi told you that? You see, these people are bad. He is revealing Mwalimu’s secret.”” So, I said:“ Museveni, that means that you have been deceiving me all this time. You knew that Obote was coming back. So, you have been working for Obote. You always come to my house while you are working for Obote and you tell me Obote is not coming back?
That is Museveni. He is secretive. He has got his own line of thinking and he can’t reveal it to you. But he appears friendly, talks to one person one language, then talks to a different person another language. So, from that time, I trusted Rwakasisi more than I trusted Museveni.
OBOTE IS BACK!
After a few months, Obote arrived. He started campaigning. But all along, Museveni had been pursuing his own political line; he had been recruiting his own soldiers and calling them Fronasa, giving them guns…I was seeing that.
I think the money was coming from Tanzania. They were bringing money to recruit soldiers to replace Amin’s soldiers. Obote came like a president. He was accompanied by Tanzanian soldiers, he was treated like the president of Uganda, and Museveni was lying low. He was not meeting him.
I could see that because he had been undermining Obote’s plans of returning to power, and Mwalimu Nyerere’s policy of returning Obote. When the 1980 elections came, the elections were rigged in favour of Obote and Museveni went to the bush. He was already well-equipped. He had soldiers, he had guns. He was prepared.
I don’t think [Museveni was right to go to the bush]. When you go to the bush, you go for a purpose and for a good purpose. Museveni said he went to the bush because elections were rigged. But do you think it is true? Then why does he rig elections himself?
MUSEVENI IN THE BUSH
When Museveni was in the bush, I never saw him. He sent me his men, and he wrote to me a letter. This was about 1983-84. They continued to come here. For example, this [Maj Gen Jim] Muhwezi came here. In the letter, he was sending a message of cooperation. He was asking DP to cooperate with his soldiers.
I never believed in him but of course when his people came here, I wouldn’t hand them over to Obote to be killed. For humanitarian reasons, I sent them away, but I avoided direct cooperation with Museveni because I knew that Museveni was a liar and a troublemaker.
But whenever his men came here, I treated them nicely. I gave them food and transport to go back. These Muhwezis, until [Tito Okello] Lutwa overthrew the Obote government.
Then Lutwa asked Museveni and [Dr Andrew Lutaakome] Kayiira to come from the bush and work with him to form a government. But when he came from the bush, he again undermined Okello’s government. He overthrew Okello and took over power himself. I knew that was typical Museveni because by that time I had understood him. I wouldn’t work with him.
MUSEVENI AND WINNIE
Karagwa [Winnie Byanyima] joined Museveni in the bush [but] she did not tell me she was going to join them. She was at school. She had gone to Europe as a refugee. She was at Makerere University first. When her cousin, a young man called James Kanyamunyu, was killed by the Amin regime, Karagwa got frightened.
She ran out of university and went to Europe. She joined Manchester University. She stayed there and took a course in engineering, and when she was finishing, she found Museveni.
I can’t remember when or how she joined them, but she became one of the guerrillas, and then she was in their government. When they came from the bush, she came here and I warned her. I told her not to join the Museveni government. I told her that Museveni was not a reliable character. But she wouldn’t listen to me.
Then Museveni came here proposing marriage. He wanted to marry her, which I opposed. I told my daughter Museveni was not a reliable character. I think it was in 1987. By then he was married to Janet [Kataha]. I knew that.
First, there came his father [Amos] Kaguta to propose. I said no. Then Museveni came here when he was president. I said I can’t agree. I said if you are marrying her, …if she wants, it will be her responsibility. Me I don’t want that.
They stayed together for a while. When people are staying together, you can’t know for how long [but] they were staying together at Entebbe. Then Karagwa realised that Museveni was not a good person to stay with. I think she discovered what I had told her about the character of Museveni; so, she left Museveni and his government.
When Museveni became president, after a month or two, he started coming here. He was always coming here every week or every month to see me.
First, he came to ask me to marry my daughter, which I refused. He was not annoyed because he knew that I would not allow it. He took it lightly. That didn’t prevent him from coming here often just to say hello. He continued to appear friendly.
JOINING HIS REGIME
No. He knew I wouldn’t because I was even trying to block DP from joining his government. I told [then DP president general Paul] Ssemogerere never to join his government. When I heard that Ssemogerere had joined his government with some senior DP members, I went there and told them that they had made a mistake.
The Museveni government was not a proper government to join. They would be disappointed. I told Ssemogerere, [Robert] Kitariko, [Evaristo] Nyanzi and [Joseph] Mulenga that they had made a mistake because that was not a broad-based government.
He was deceiving them. He was only employing them as individuals. So, I proposed approaching Museveni to make [an] agreement with him about a broad-based government so that all parties might work together with a purpose of having direct elections at a later stage.
Museveni kept on dodging us without agreeing to form an agreement as a basis of cooperation. I told Ssemogerere and others to quit but they didn’t. They stayed until 10 years later when they were disappointed, and some of them were imprisoned like Nyanzi, some dismissed. Ssemogerere got out. He tried to stand against him, he was defeated and Museveni went on strengthening his regime and killing parties until now.
At a personal level, when he attacked my ranch. It was in July 1990 when soldiers and many squatters entered my ranch with guns. They beat up my people, heaped [the squatters] everywhere. When I went there, I could see that they were [sent by] government because soldiers were driving the cattle of squatters which were entering the ranch.
Museveni had given me his telephone, the direct line; so, I rang him and said I am being attacked. Museveni pretended not to know [about it]. He said: “Who are they? I am sending my bodyguard, Kavuma, to check so that we can deal with them.””
Kavuma came to my ranch. He found many people [camping with their cattle]. He was surprised and went back. I waited for two weeks, nothing happened. Then I rang Museveni again. Museveni pretended again not to know.
He said: “Nothing has been done? Even police has done nothing? I am now sending another guard called Kabwisa.”” Kabwisa came here; I took him to the ranch.
He saw people were still camping there, causing damage on the farm. He went back to report. I waited and another month passed, nothing happened. I telephoned him again.
He said: “Now I am sending a high-ranking soldier who will do something.” But by that time, I had noticed squatters were not invading my ranch only, they were invading other ranches in central Uganda. The high-ranking soldier came, a man called Mugume Chagga. He found my cattle had started to die because of ticks, he was surprised. Then he went back.
I waited and nothing happened. So, I knew that Museveni…well, it was not the first time of course to know that Museveni was treacherous. I had already formed an opinion that Museveni was not a man to trust.
So, I went to Entebbe. I asked for audience. I went to his office. I told him, face-to-face, a piece of my mind. I told him I had now confirmed that he was not a leader. He couldn’t lead Uganda because he was a tribalist, treacherous and not a person to trust. And now I had ceased my cooperation with him altogether, and I would join forces to overthrow his regime.
Then he said: “How can you fight me? How can you fight my regime?”” I said: I have no guns but I will join people who want to fight your regime because your regime is a bad regime.”
I said: “I kept your mother when you went to the bush; you left your mother in Mbarara township, she was stranded. She was attacked by hooligans. I took her to my house, I kept her, looked after her while you were in the bush, until you came to government. And when you come to government; that is how you have paid me! You have been treacherous to me. He kept quiet. I went out.
I went home, waited for him to remove the people he had put on my land. After two or three years, when he didn’t, I took the matter to court. I won the case and the government appealed, I also won it. The court awarded me compensation of about [Shs] 100 million.
But for the damages and animals which had died and the pasture destroyed, it was not enough. And these people are still there. Government has refused to remove them up to today. And it is not only my ranch. It occurred on all ranches, from Mbarara to Buruuli in central Uganda, which the government grabbed to settle in Bahima.
NOT A NATIONALIST
When he was young, he appeared to be friendly, but when you closely observe all his actions and moves, he is a selfish person. He works alone, is secretive and his politics is like that.
I wouldn’t describe him as a nationalist because a nationalist works for the benefit of a nation as a whole but Museveni is selfish person…he is looking for the promotion of his own clan, his own family. He is not a straight kind of person.
MUSEVENI vs PAST LEADERS
Past leaders were not selfish. Obote was a nationalist. Although I opposed him for 10 years, I can describe him as a nationalist. He was trying to work for a nation but he made blunders.
Amin was a nationalist. People hated Amin but I thought Amin was more nationalist than Museveni. He was trying to work for Uganda, but they never gave him chance.
He made mistakes because he was not educated. All the mistakes Amin made were not intentional. He failed as a person who was not educated. But I would say the people he killed, he killed them in self-defence. They wanted to kill him too.
But in my view, he was genuine. He was not working for self-interest. He was not working for his family, for example. I would say Museveni is like Amin in one respect. That he is using militarism to keep himself in power. But unlike Amin, he is promoting his family against the wishes of Ugandans.
He is too selfish, and I wouldn’t say that Amin was selfish. And I wouldn’t say that Amin, for example, was taking money from this country, or was looting Uganda, or was looting other countries around.
Has Museveni done anything good of lasting importance? I don’t see it. For example, he hasn’t built hospitals like Obote. Whatever Museveni does is of temporary value and it is to promote his interests. He does it for politics.
This UPE is nothing to boast of because the schools have deteriorated. The quality of teaching has deteriorated because imagine one class containing 100 children! How does one teacher teach 100 children?
He simply ordered that tomorrow, all schools are free. There were no preparations for it. So, as a result, the quality of education in primary is poor.
If they say the army is disciplined, why are they slapping people? Is that discipline?
No, his army is not disciplined. His army is politicised. I think it is even worse than Obote’s because if you study the causes of the northern war, I think it is indiscipline in the army, which caused that…
I was told by my friends from the North that they had to take up arms again because they were being killed for tribal reasons. So, the [Joseph] Konys and others went to the bush again.
When [Lutwa’s regime] collapsed, Museveni’s soldiers went up to the North and continued to hit these people, to kill them. So, I don’t see any good things he has done. If anything, he has caused tribalism because [in the past] an MP of UPC was recognised anywhere in Uganda. If he was a Langi, Ankole or easterner, he was accepted by Ugandans wherever he went.
But these Movementists in parliament, they don’t appear to be nationalists to me. An MP from Mbarara, for example, I don’t think he is accepted in Acholi, or even in the East. He is being looked at as a Munyankore looter.
Whereas Obote was trying to unite the people of Uganda, I think Museveni has divided them. I think people of Uganda now are more tribalistic than they were during the Obote regime.
MUSEVENI’S STRONG POINTS
When they went to the bush, they looted [commercial] banks. When they came here, they changed the money and for a man who had one million shillings, he came out with seven thousand shillings. I think this was looting. Where did this money go?
Now, neighbouring countries are not free from Museveni. I hear Congo has been looted. They are being accused.
They looted properties of Uganda that were set up by previous governments. [Uganda Development Corporation] is no more. Government houses are no more. Government institutions are no more. They sold them up cheaply. That is the strong point of Museveni. It is the only one.
HIS WEAK POINTS
His greatest weakness is lying. When this man took over, he said he had come to bring democracy back, which we had been denied by Obote. And he set up a system which he called the all-embracing Movement government.
But it was so funny that those people from other parties who went there found that it was not all-embracing. They were elbowed outside. Only the hardcore Museveni men were inside.
Then in parliament, he told parliament that they were one family. There was no division, no debate. It was called a democracy…they were to discuss things as one family. But behind parliament, he had what he called a caucus which he told his secret policies. And the caucus consisted of members of one tribe, who steered government policies. The rest of the MPs knew nothing.
First of all in parliament, he said MPs were being elected on individual merit. Then he deceived them on that and they went to parliament on individual merit so that they may not unite and discuss a point there. No, everybody should be for himself. He divided them like that so that he could push his [interests].
Now, when these people found that Museveni had divided them like that after 20 years in power, he brought this other element of one person with a vision. Now these people of individual merit are nothing. They are not being encouraged now. He is encouraging himself as a man of vision, and a man of vision is himself.
That is why he says a man like Kizza [Besigye] cannot rule because he has no vision. Nobody [else] has a vision. But who appoints this man of vision? He appoints himself. It is him who appoints a man of vision. And who is the man of vision? It is himself.
No. Museveni has spoilt this country.
Editors note: This article was first published in the Uganda Observer in 2017 under the title The love-hate relationship between Museveni & the Byanyimas
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