Nyamwasa Breaks Silence: I Planned To Overthrow Kagame
Rwanda exiled former army Chief Lt. Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa planned to topple his former boss President Paul Kagame before he was shot in South Africa, it has emerged.
Nyamwasa broke his silence this week in an exclusive interview with City Press.
In his first interview since the shooting, Nyamwasa spoke to City Press in a hotel, flanked by three bodyguards and executive members of his new Rwanda National Congress.
The Rwandan government found him and his three cofounders guilty in absentia of threatening state security, undermining public order and propagating ethnic division. They were sentenced to between 20 and 25 years’ imprisonment.
“At the moment I don’t envisage war. I believe we can get rid of Kagame through peaceful means,” said Nyamwasa.
“We are hoping for an uprising in Rwanda. In that case, he’ll be gone within three months. He’s a coward; he’ll run. Don’t be surprised if we extract him from a pipe like the Libyans did with Muammar Gaddafi,” he said.
This is the first time that Nyamwasa is admitting to have planned to cause regime change in Kigali.
His account connects well with President Kagame’s statements made during a recent press conference in Kampala that Nyamwasa was engaged in subversive activities.
Kagame said there was “incontrovertible evidence” that Nyamwasa had as well been making alliances in Congo to overthrow his government.
“We are ready to fight. We have been preparing for them (Nyamwasa and his allies) for a long time. We are very prepared,” he threatened.
Kagame said the issue of Nyamwasa surviving an assassination attempt in South Africa last year is being followed by Kigali.
He said if government was interested in killing, it would go after those who perpetrated genocide – “those that killed our people not those whose names keeping coming up.”
Kagame further stated that Kigali had developed a good piece of medicine to deal with Nyamwasa and his men if they picked up guns to fight his government.
"We shall sort it out. Nyamwasa has a loud mouth but time will come when he will shut up. He said allegations that Rwanda was behind the plot to kill him were untrue and baseless.
Nyamwasa (53) is at the centre of a sensational court case in Johannesburg where Rwandan agents and their hired guns are on trial for allegedly trying to kill him.
The cofounder of a new political movement admitted, however, to plotting the overthrow of Kagame from his South African hideout.
Nyamwasa, once Kagame’s closest confidant, served as Kagame’s paramilitary police commander, army chief of staff, intelligence services head and ambassador to India through the 1990s and 2000s.
He fled Rwanda in February 2010 after suspecting an assassination plot and found refuge in South Africa.
Three months later, he was wounded outside his Johannesburg home in an assassination attempt allegedly organised by his government.
Last year, City Press reported that South Africa’s state security agency was tracking Rwandan death squads dispatched to South Africa to assassinate Nyamwasa.
The incident almost caused a diplomatic breakdown between the two countries and South Africa withdrew its ambassador to Rwanda.
Nyamwasa told City Press that he was forced to implement Kagame’s decisions.
“I told him in 1998 that his policy in Congo was madness. That’s when I should have left, but it was impossible.”
Nyamwasa said Kagame is a “vicious, spiteful, erratic, insensitive, greedy and murderous” man who “wants me dead because I know too much,” he added in what appears as the latest venomous attack on the Kigali government.
Nyamwasa hints that Kagame is responsible for the deaths of three African heads of state. In April 1994, the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali, triggering the civil war.
A debate has raged for years about who shot it down – Hutu extremists or Kagame.
All Nyamwasa will say is: “Let me answer you in this way – I was in a position to know, but I did not participate.”
Several reports by top investigators have in the previous reports exonerated Kagame, saying the missile launched at Habyarimana’s plane was shot from the presidential guard military base which was being controlled by the Hutu army.
But Nyamwasa does say Kagame ordered the killing of DRC president Laurent Kabila in 2001 because he broke agreements with him.
“At a meeting of military chiefs, Kagame said we must get rid of Kabila. I said it would be too expensive in terms of life. We cannot do it . . . It’s an open secret that Kagame went ahead and did it,” Nyamwasa said.
Since Kagame became president in 2000, there have been two presidential elections – both marred by the banning of political parties and the imprisonment and murder of their leaders. Kagame won both with more than 90% of the vote.
Nyamwasa claims he doesn’t want to be president. “I want to rest – once I’ve helped to rid the country of the dictator.”
Recently, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda Maj. Gen. Frank Mugambagye described as “lonely voices” accusations made Nyamwasa.
The SA Litigation Centre and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa have launched a court challenge against the way in which Nyamwasa received refugee status, saying it violates local and international law as he is a suspected war criminal.
Nyamwasa and another former Kagame confidant who fled to South Africa at the same time – former external intelligence Chief Colonel Patrick Kareya – are costing local taxpayers millions of rands, according to City Press.
Both are protected by army intelligence and hosted in state-provided safe houses. Nyamwasa says he’s a refugee and entitled to such protection.
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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