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Kayumba Nyamwasa Bought His Rank in NRA

5 Min Read

In February this year, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa a renegade soldier formerly serving in the Rwanda military marked 12 years since he sneaked out of the country fearing interrogation by prosecution over criminal activities.

On February 26, 2010, he smuggled himself out of the country through Uganda, Kenya and later South Africa.

Some reports had pointed to Uganda as a hiding place for the General.

“Our security forces informed me that he came through a smuggling route and went through to Kenya and he is believed to be in South Africa,” Sam Kutesa, the Foreign affairs minister, told a local radio station.

The state run Ugandan daily then quoted anonymous sources that Nyamwasa had sneaked out of Rwanda through Uganda before escaping to Kenya from where he flew to South Africa.

At the time of his escape, Kayumba had been serving as Rwanda’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to India- a title of  diplomat of the highest rank, accredited as permanent representative to another country.

The government had at that time been questioning Nyamwasa about his criminal activities, nepotism, intrigues, divisionism and primitive accumulation of wealth, and self glorification among others. The investigation and prosecution organs wanted him to clarify on the criminal activities and he decided to flee.

Kayumba who has turned 62 years old this year is treacherous which  enabled him to master the art of pretence and concealing his true character.

In 1985 as the National Resistance Movement rebels commanded by Yoweri Kaguta Museveni were about to capture power, Kayumba Nyamwasa joined the rebels. Uganda fell to the rebels and Nyamwasa would also be assigned various responsibilities under the NRM government.

For those who know Kayumba Never in his life of 62 years has he ever pursued a cause greater than a personal ambition for status and glory.

“In 1986 if you had money you could go to NRA headquarters and pay the records master or a senior officer there to buy a rank,” according to one of his colleagues who had joined the forces prior to Kayumba.

Kayumba and the officer that recruited him into the force were assigned the rank of “private.”

Incredibly, Kayumba was appointed the Assistant District Administrator for Gulu, in northern Uganda, where he leveraged his position and resources to buy the rank of Second Lieutenant.

The Post of Assistant District Administrator was equivalent to today’s Assistant Mayor of a district. Kayumba enjoyed this position and used his influence to loot from grannaries of millet, sorghum and processing machines which he sold far away to clients in other districts.

Since the Northern Uganda region had been engulfed by attacks from ousted regime allies still challenging NRA authority. The region regularly received government and military officials coming on ground to assess the progress.

Deputy Defence minister Maj.Gen. Fred Rwigema and a senior military official Gen. Salim Saleh visited Gulu and it is then that Kayumba got to rub shoulders with Gen. Fred Rwigema.

In 2011, the Military High Court in Kigali condemned Kayumba and other Rwanda National Congress founders for terrorist acts, threat to state security and public order. He was stripped of his military rank, removed from the army and sentenced to 24 years in prison. All four men were tried in absentia.

A December 2018 report from the United Nations accuses Nyamwasa of traveling back and forth from South Africa and the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo recruiting soldiers to fight Rwanda.

Nyamwasa commands a militia group, called P5 (Platform Five), said to be under the umbrella of the opposition group in exile Rwanda National Congress.