"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


this will end badly

From the BBC:
A former Rwandan army chief of staff, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, has been shot in South Africa and taken to hospital in a critical condition.

His wife told the BBC the couple had been returning from shopping when a gunman opened fire on the car.

She said it was an assassination attempt as there had been no demand for money or goods.
It's going to take awhile to sort this one out. Nyamwasa is reported to still be in surgery. There's a conflicting report that says he was shot while on his way to the Ghana-Australia World Cup match that took place earlier this afternoon, but the basics of the story seem to be the same from the media accounts that have been published thus far.

I'll need a lot more information before being able to offer anything in the way of reasonable analysis of these events, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
  • Nyamwasa and his former colleague and friend, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, despise each other. They've been having a bit of a tit-for-tat for months now; Kagame blames Nyamwasa for the grenade attacks that have periodically hit Kigali over the course of the last few months. Here's some background on what they're mad at each other about.
  • None of this will be helped by this report from Rwanda's official news agency that was published last week, in which the author refers to Nyamwasa in the past tense. That gives the conspiracy theorists fodder, although I'd expect that the "was" was used more in the "dead to me" sense than in the "he's actually dead" sense. Nyamwasa was most definitely alive on June 10 and, as of this writing, is still very much alive as well. (HT: @baldaufji)
  • The shooting took place in Johannesburg, which, as we all know, can be a violent place at times and in certain neighborhoods. That said, as Mrs. Nyamwasa alludes, violent crime in Joburg is typically connected to theft. That this was apparently not that sort of crime - and that the shooter kept shooting until his gun jammed - gives some credibility to her claim that it was a targeted assassination attempt rather than random violence.
  • There are reports of a strong troop presence on the streets in Kigali today, with both the presidential guard and the army posted along key routes, including the road to the airport. I don't see how this isn't connected to the Nyamwasa shooting; he certainly still has supporters in Kigali and the government is likely monitoring their activities. Of course, there's always concern that this could result in another grenade explosion after night falls.
  • There are French and Spanish warrants out for Nyamwasa's arrest on charges relating to the lead-up to the genocide.
Long story short, there's no telling what actually happened today. I'll keep an eye out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any chance it could indeed be an assassination attempt without it having come from the Rwandan government? I.E. Would it be to the benefit of the FDLR or other groups orginating from Rwanda, DRC or Uganda to have attempted this?


Sunday, June 20, 2010 10:29:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Hard to see how, but of course in the Great Lakes, you never know. The FDLR aren't nearly as strong as Kigali paints them to be, and it's not at all clear as to why they'd want Kayumba dead.

Sunday, June 20, 2010 9:12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not know what happened but if the FDLR regard Kayumba as responsible for the death of many interahamwe in the DRC in late 1990s they would be happy to kill him and if they can make it look like it was Kigali then that suits their agenda too. Seems, if the story is true, that Kayumba thought he needed no security guard in SA.

Other possibilities could be a falling out between businessmen. Remember Kayumba seized land in late 1994 which Kagame made him to give away to people who had none. One of the reasons for the "falling out" along no doubt with Kayumba's idea that He should be President not Kagame.

With a need for funds to live in upscale SA maybe Kayumba was calling in favours from people he had some hold over. If he feels that people like him should inherit large areas of land in Rwanda his unsustainable ideas are no loss to Rwanda.

Monday, June 21, 2010 8:14:00 AM

Blogger Adam Hooper said...


Rwanda News Agency isn't "official". It is a private company. It doesn't get funds or special treatment from the government. (Unless you know something I don't?)

Think of the name "Rwanda News Agency" the same way as you think of "American Broadcasting Company": just because the country's in the name doesn't mean the country's paying for it.

The article you cited was an opinion piece forwarded by a government official. Rwanda News Agency often publishes these without edits and makes them public-access, while most original content is subscriber-only. (You can form your own opinions as to why.)

In my last week interning here I'm going to try to make sure future opinion pieces are more clearly labelled, so future misnomers can be avoided.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 2:44:00 AM


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