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City Tycoon Seeks Kagame’s Intervention Before Horizon Chokes His Business




A heated dispute between Paul Muvunyi, a prolific businessman, and Horizon Group ltd, a business arm of RDF, has prompted him to seek President Kagame’s intervention for an amicable settlement.

On February 11, 2020, Muvunyi wrote a three-page letter to the Justice Minister, Johnson Busingye, and attached a dossier of dozens of pages.

He copied the President, the Minister of Defense and the Army Chief.

In the letter, he details a 12-years battle he has fought with Horizon Sopyrwa Ltd, as subsidiary of Horizon Group Ltd.

The firm deals in pyrethrum business.

Muvunyi is throwing in the towel after failure to secure justice, according to him, even though he has been engaging different institutions to help him from what he terms as being “swallowed by the shark.”

It all began with him buying off what was formally known as Sopyrwa, a state owned company then, that was involved in pyrethrum production and export.

It was sold off through privatization.

Muvunyi ran the firm for some years, made a fortune and attracted dozens of farmers into growing the lucrative crop in the Northern Province.

Later, the government concluded he was incapable of expanding the firm and investing in farmers for more production because it needed intense capital injection, which he did not have.

It also was clear that the firm had to deal with cumbersome obstacles that required involvement of different institutions.

An agreement was reached and Horizon Group Ltd bought him out and formed an arm called Horizon Sopyrwa Ltd.

Twelve years later, today, the two parties are still involved in endless wrangles with counter lawsuits and appeals in the courts of law.

First, a definitive arbitration sentence handed down in 2011 ordered, in favor of Muvunyi, that Horizon pays him US$597,890 as remainder from the buyout.

Until today, Muvunyi has never received the money.

Instead, there emerged a case against Muvunyi.

Horizon sued him for embezzlement.

He was accused of having exported 1000 tonnes of pyrethrum and did not pay due taxes. An initial price tag was slightly over Rwf1billion.

Horizon claimed that during the buyout, he had not declared a debt with the taxman.

Horizon would later be asked by RRA to pay the arrears. That is how Horizon dragged him to court to pay this money.

A final judgment in 2019 was handed down by the Supreme court, instructing him to pay slightly over Rwf500 million to Horizon.

He did not have the money on spot. He offered to place one of his prime properties worth over Rwf900m as collateral as he looked for the money to clear his debt.

While all this wrangle ensued, Muvunyi was about to secure a credit from IFC, over US$7million to invest in a hotel in Akagera National Park and expand other properties.

The loan was going to be secured against some of his properties.

Then one day bad news hit Muvunyi that the properties he had offered as collateral to IFC are under a caveat lodged by Horizon.

In an unclear circumstance, Horizon wrote to the Rwanda Landa Center, instructing them to place caveats on all Muvunyi’s immovable assets.

The Land Center never bothered to validate Horizon’s rational behind their request for lodging caveats on all of Muvunyi’s assets.

Taarifa reliably learned that Muvunyi has been pleading with the Land Center and Horizon for an amicable settlement. His efforts yielded no results.

He cannot sell any of the properties to settle his obligations nor offer the properties as collateral to secure a loan and pay Horizon or secure the IFC credit.

Taarifa has also learned that the property offered as collateral to Horizon will be auctioned this Friday.

We spoke to Horizon Group CEO,  Brig. Gen. Fred Muziraguharara to get their side of the story.

He declined to comment.

At first he said we had called the wrong number even after having sent him a text message clarifying who we are and why we were calling him. He called back asking again who we were and what we wanted.

“Maybe this is a wrong number,” he said.

When we asked him if he is indeed not the CEO, he said,  “…but I am not the one who will be answering this.”

He referred us to the company secretary. He promised to share the contacts of the company’s secretary, but he never sent it.

Meanwhile, Taarifa sought classification from Esperance Mukamana, the Director General and Chief Registrar of Land Titles.

“Horizon told us they had an unresolved matter with Muvunyi,” she said.

Pressed on whether they verified their claim, she declined to go into details saying the matter is complex to be discussed on phone.

She referred us to the legal officer.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister told Taarifa, in response to an inquiry on the letter written to him by Muvunyi, that he would respond to him not later than Wednesday (today) the latest.

He said that he would not want to intervene beyond what the order of the supreme court.

“I am only interested because I am the Attorney General,” he said.

He also wondered why the two parties have not reconciled on what they owe each other.

Regarding the caveats, he said “ask the land center. Lodging caveats is normal, but they should give you reasons why….ask them to explain.”

Apparently Horizon’s explanations to the Land Center were based on a case that was dismissed indefinitely. We have seen a copy of that case. The Land Center did not care to verify.

Also, Taarifa is aware that Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was dragged into the case.

RDB CEO, Clare Akamanzi, told Taarifa that she never wanted to interfere with the case. “The matter was in court so we left it to court to decide,” she said.

Muvunyi is cornered. He says only the President can help him.

“Only his Excellency the President can help me, I know who I am up against, no one wants to get involved …what don’t you see?”, he says as he fights to hold his tears.


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Kagame Advocates For Investment Into Africa’s Agriculture Value Chain



Agriculture and agri-business, especially in Africa, will drive the continent’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, President Paul Kagame has said.

“This is especially true as we work to make
up for the time lost to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said adding that, “Each country and region must chart its own pathway to transformation, but this is also a global challenge that we must address together.”

Kagame was speaking in his capacity as the Chair of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee at the official ceremony of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 Pre-Summit.

In Africa, he continued, 70% of the working-age population is employed in the agricultural sector.

“But our continent’s food markets are often fragmented, and links to food processing and value addition services are sometimes lacking,” the President said.

He noted that digital technologies and biotechnology are playing a greater role in African agriculture, but too many farmers do not yet have reliable access.

And that financial services and products for farmers, including insurance, are generally inadequate.

“As a result, Africa’s food producers do not earn the level of income that they deserve, and they must cope with high levels of economic risk and uncertainty,” Kagame added.

According to the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, David Beasley, 41 million people are on the brink of famine today.

“Planet earth, shame on us that we let a single person go to bed hungry,” said.

“We have the expertise to end hunger, but we urgently need the money. This is a global call to action – all hands on deck,” he added.

Transformation is a necessity, according to Presidemt Kagame.

This is why the African Union Development Agency, NEPAD, has worked to facilitate an African Common Position in advance of the Food Systems Summit, in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

Kagame offered two proposition.

Africa will pursue solutions in the following priority tracks:

One, adopt nutritious food policies, establish food reserves, and expand school feeding programs.

Two, support local markets and food supply chains, invest in agro-processing for healthy foods, and expand trade in food products within Africa.

The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for the UN’ Food Systems Summit, Agnes M. Kaliba,  told participants that the summit is much very powerful than she thought.

“The energy,  and hopes in each room today were palpable!. We need to leverage the incredible power of food to deliver a step change in the SDGs- this is a one in a generation opportunity,” she said.

Myrna Cunningham, speaking for Indiginous People, said that, “Our current Food Systems is based on extreme irresponsibility; We need a food system that is based on rights including Economic empowerement and rights and rights to land.”

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Airtel Rwanda MD Steps Down



It is learnt through reliable sources that Amit Chawla has decided to step down after completing a three-year term as Managing Director for Airtel Rwanda.

Normally, he would have had his contract extended or rotated to another operation in the company’s footprints, but a source told Taarifa that he is leaving the industry to do other businesses.

A new executive will be announced soon, it is said.

Amit, who took over the newly merged entity on August 31, 2018, during which time he oversaw the achievements of several milestones.

Chief among his accomplishments include the consolidation of the brand Airtel after the takeover of Tigo, its people, products and services as well as modernization of the country’s network, a project that saw the expansion of the Airtel Rwanda Network and saw the consolidation of Airtel’s reputation as the internet provider of choice for Mobile Internet in Rwanda.

During his time with the organization as MD, Airtel Rwanda oversaw great changes. Under his leadership, programs grew and services became more easily available to all customers.

Chawla led the company’s pandemic response that saw Airtel Rwanda direct its CSR budget towards governments efforts to tackle the initial response to the Global pandemic.

Under his leadership, Airtel has gained a reputation for launching ground breaking and bold campaigns such as the recent Va Kugiti Campaign that generated a lot of buzz in the Rwandan market.

Chawla, also oversaw the successful roll out of the Airtel Money Branch (AMB) concept, with 71 shops opened in Kigali alone.

The AMB’s concept has completely revolutionized the proximity of a telecom operator to her network of Agents and Freelancers, enabling them to access up to Rwf5 million within walking distance.

Chawla was unavailable for comment.


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First Chinese Electric Car To Reach Europe Disrupts Markets



Chinese automaker Aiways has resorted to livestreaming its all-electric cars to potential clients across the globe.

“The design is very simple and uncluttered,” one of the presenters said as she detailed the U5’s design and capabilities. “The car is modern, and even the mode of distribution is modern.”

“Modern” distribution here means replicating the “live commerce” experience of Aiways’ home country — using livestreaming events to drum up interest and sales online. The company ships its cars through local partners to customers in Europe from its factory in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi.

That arrangement helps Aiways keep prices down. The U5 is priced from around 39,000 euros ($46,000), 10% to 15% cheaper than its rivals, according to the company.

Alexander Klose, the Aiways executive vice president in charge of overseas operations says, “We have some challenges, but overall, I would say it has been fairly positive for us, and we have seen a fairly positive recognition.”

Aiways is not alone: A growing number of Chinese EV makers are setting their sights on overseas markets — and they intend to compete on quality as much as price.

BYD, the Chinese automaker backed by U.S. investment guru Warren Buffett, is betting on Norway. It shipped its first 100 European-specification SUVs to dealers there this June, and it plans to deliver 1,500 by the end of the year.

Like Aiways, BYD is keen to take advantage of overseas consumers’ improving perception of Chinese products.

“We are not going to make the same mistakes as other Chinese brands did more than 10 years ago in the European theater. They tried to launch vehicles in a very cheap and rushed way, without being fully prepared,” a BYD spokesperson told Nikkei Asia.

“Most people haven’t heard of BYD until now, so it is more important to do things right than [to] start talking about [sales volume].”

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