Thursday, December 27, 2012

Is Rwanda under Kagame becoming the next Zimbabwe?

By Jacqueline Umurungi
Brussels, December 26, 2012

Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown was caused by economic mismanagement under President Robert Mugabe’s leadership and sanctions as he grabbed the white farms which were the backbone of Zimbabwe economy. The sanctions by the West were intended to force Mugabe and his cronies to refrain from orchestrating a breakdown in the rule of law in Zimbabwe. If Kagame’s domestic and international polices don’t change Rwanda might face the same economic meltdown. Economic analysts warned Mugabe that the deliberate campaign of intimidation, abusing the rule of law and substituting national policies for political party programmes Zimbabwe economy was decimated, institutions undermined and people were impoverished and persecuted which in fact eventually scared away investors.

Just recently President Kagame in what he calls the Annual National Dialogue, the president was Preaching Nationalism and Economic Independence exactly the same way Iddi Amin the former Ugandan Dictator preached nationalism and what he called the economic war as Donor Aid Cuts suffocated all the government and private sectors.

The cost of Kagame’s brutality on Rwandans and neighbors will be immeasurable not only to himself but also to Rwandans who don’t have any hand in what he is doing. It is unfortunate that, the country has been hit by significant donor aid cuts as a result of widely publicized United Nations reports pinning Kagame in fomenting trouble in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by backing M23 rebels.
While Rwanda denies backing the rebels, several western countries including Britain, Netherlands and Sweden have suspended millions of dollars to Kagame’s government.
In unprecedented concede of defeat the Rwanda’s Finance Minister john Rwangombwa said the country’s economic growth could be hit if donors fail to reinstate aid payments, with the economy only able to withstand the stoppage until the end of the year.

Rwangombwa told Reuters in an interview that he was at present unconcerned about the impact of the aid suspensions, but that if they persisted into next year, they could start hurting the economy.

“We think by the end of this year we should have resolved these issues of the donors. If it doesn’t go beyond December it won’t affect us, if it’s prolonged that’s when we will have effects,” he said.

“There’s the possibility of slowing down our economic growth because the government is part of the major players in this economy. It depends on the magnitude of the prolonged delay.”
The economic war of Gen. Idd Amin Dada was a result of western aid cuts because of his brutality not only for Ugandans but also his neighbor Tanzania in the same style and model of president Kagame on Congo and his own people. The only difference between the two dictators is that, while Idi Amin Dada was a straight man in his actions, Kagame is cunning and a liar of the highest degree. Therefore Kagame has been squeezed; government employees are not payed on time, the liquidity of money is at the lowest, all the local radio stations have been airing people crying that this Christmas is the worst since RPF came to power 18 years ago. In a nut shell the government coffers are drying up. This is why president Kagame has declared an economic war in the name of (ukwigira). But will he succeed without bending his neck for the Donor Money?

On August 1, 1972 Idi Amin declared the economic war. On that day Asians were to start leaving Uganda. The country was attacked by Obote and Museveni troops with the intention of engaging Idi Amin’s troops as the British landed to prevent the Asian exodus. From October 1972 Idi Amin started eliminating all the people linked or suspected of working with the British, Obote, and Museveni against his government. Idi Amin established the State Research Bureau into a killing machine targeted at his opponents and those with links to imperialists. This is the same in Rwanda by the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and other Kagame Security organs. The local authorities have been warned not to allow people they don’t know in their areas and register all the people who spend a night in their localities. When Idi Amin managed to suppress all the internal discontents in the same way Kagame has managed to squeeze every Rwandan, many Ugandans fled the country in the same way Rwandans are now fleeing the country. Indeed, in July 1973 Obote gave up fighting Idi Amin. In August 1974 Museveni also gave up fighting to start an internal guerrilla war against Amin. However the British government continued undermining the economy under Idi Amin in Uganda, in the same way donor countries have switched off their taps for Kagame.

While Kagame has created business empires and has increased taxes on many commodities so that he can eliminate all his competitors, on the other hand in July 1974 Amin rejected a budget increasing taxes by very high percentages. He said that he would never allow the overtaxing of the people at a time when they were involved with his government in a war against poverty. Will Kagame manage where his counterparts, Mugabe and Idi Amin failed? Unlike Kagame who feeds lies to his people Idi Amin in August 1974 admitted that an economic war was probably much more difficult than a military war.

Like Kagame, Idi Amin sought and won the title Doctor of Laws (PhD) from Makerere University. He sought to use this title to wear the intellectual authority necessary to advise the rest of Africa on policy vis-à-vis the unliberated regions of the continent. It could be submitted that with many honorary PhD’s the Rwandan Head of State has acquired, maybe he will use those free skills to turn the Rwandan economy around without the donor aid. However, he should refrain from more killings where he is really becoming mad with killing everybody using his killing machines; otherwise history will judge him harshly as it has done to his predecessors.


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