Dear Institute for Policy Analysis & Research, Rwanda – What Became Of You?

Dear Institute for Policy Analysis & Research, Rwanda (IPAR), greetings from Toronto, Canada. You may not know this but I think fondly of you. You see, our relationship is nearly 20 years old. Our relationship began in 1998. That is when the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) funded a team I led to formulate a strategy for reviving key Rwandan institutions, including the Ministry of Finance and the National Bank of Rwanda. I strongly felt that, besides reinforcing strategic institutions, Rwanda needed an independent research institute that would provide evidence-based advice to policy-makers.

Fast-forward to 2008. You, IPAR, was born as an independent, research and policy analysis institute. With the support of government, ACBF, and Canada’s International Development Research Center (IDRC), you finally became fully operational. It was not an easy journey to get you off the ground. This is shown by the fact that the IPAR dream was realized in 2008, when the idea was conceived in 1998. That is a ten-year labour pain – but hey, you were finally born. I was the proudest parent as IPAR founding chairperson. Even when I left Rwanda, I keenly followed your progress with the enthusiasm of a parent.

Fast-forward to August 2017. I was invited to debate the 99% electoral win by Rwanda President Paul Kagame on Eljeezera Television. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered that I would be debating an IPAR senior fellow, Mr Gatete Nyiringabo. IPAR had become of age – yes, we held different views – but that is not the point. The point was that IPAR was being represented by an able mind on a global stage.

IPAR’s Gatete debating Himbara

But I was shortly to be disappointed. The same IPAR senior fellow, Gatete, authored an article in The New Times, a piece that was immediately deleted by the newspaper. Below is Gatete’s article in its entirety.

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How much is the US Congress worth?

By: Gatete Nyiringabo, Published in The New Times: September 29, 2017

‘Africa doesn’t need strong men, it needs strong institutions!’ Barack Obama declared in an epic speech at the University of Alexandria in Egypt, amid cheers of young Africans, NGOs and activists who have been repeating the catch phrase ever since.

If he says this, one would think, it means in his country institutions are ‘Strong’. Imagine my shock then, when I learned that Rwandan dissidents paid $440,000 in order to appear before the US Congress, to profane Rwanda and it’s leaders at wish.

It’s easy!’ someone said to me: ‘you pay money; you get to meet and sway the American congress’ opinion about any country…’

Was Obama an impostor? Are they all? Saying one thing to us, practicing the exact opposite? How do the American people feel, when the actions of their country towards other nations are driven by interests of cartels and syndicates’?

Do they even know who David Himbara is? Who his sponsor Tribert Rujugiro is? Or to rephrase the questions; do they know who their congressmen hang out with?

Is the American Congress like the FIFA executive committee, a club of old cutthroat crooks, auctioning away the future of young talents?

As I watched the hearing, I felt pity for the American people. You see, being victims is something we Rwandans have gone through, but at least we were well aware of what was happening to us and why, which is how we managed to come out of it.

Being a blissful oxymoron to one’s betrayal and exploitation; that’s a terrifying thought!

In Rwanda we have a word: Agaciro! It means self-worth. It is a historical concept, enshrined within the Rwandan culture. A fund created recently to facilitate the gradual phase-out of foreign aid was given the same name, to signal that within our little means, we believe that our dignity is not for sale.

How much is the US Congress worth? How much money does one pay to spend the evening with an American Congressman? Or two of them, and that regardless if the client is a cigarette, drug dealer or a terrorist? How many foreign policy decisions has the United States of America taken, because an evil person paid off their politicians?

Many do not know this, but Himbara comes from a long line of masters of intrigues.

His great-grandfather, Nzigiye, was a famous wine handler for Rwandan King Kigeli Rwabugiri; what we call in Kinyarwanda: ‘‘Umunyenzoga’, who used his skills to calumniate the entire king’s circle and got them executed one by one, until he was left alone next to the old, drunk king.

True to his legacy, the progeny must have pulled the same tricks when he worked for President Kagame, whom, unfortunately doesn’t drink; so it didn’t work.

For 440,000 American Dollars, Himbara has bought a Member of the American House of Representatives, before whom he and his acolyte Higiro have appeared twice now.

In this post I have not commented on their allegations towards the Rwandan government, because the hearing was simply inconsequential.

For one, unlike the US Senate, the US Congress is one of the least trusted of any US public institutions: about 16%; Second, as a friend remarked, ‘they brought the same two guys, two years later, to say the same things, as they continue to pay 150.000 USD per year to a top flight Washington lobbying firm… taints the whole process and discredits it.’ The firm in question is Podesta – a name, as Americans would know, is associated with humiliating failure.

Thirdly, all those allegations were extensively rebutted in the same hearing last time, by the testimony of Mzee Willis Shalita, who appeared alongside them before the US congress.

As for the ‘flavor of the month’, Diane Rwigara, their new hero, I went on a debate with Himbara on Al-Jazeera and had the opportunity to debunk all his sheer nonsense.

The debate was moderated by Mehdi Hassan and it is airing this Friday evening at 7:30 GMT; don’t miss it!

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Dear IPAR, you can read my response to Gatete’s article here. After my response was published showing the lies Gatete had concocted, The New Times embarrassingly deleted his article.

Dear IPAR, and so I conclude my letter with the same question I posed at the beginning. What became of you? Do Gatete’s writings represent the quality of an IPAR senior fellow? I don’t think so. Even a mere newspaper deleted his trash on realizing its deceitfulness. One other question: if Gatete writes in newspapers and appears on television in his personal capacity, why does he not use a disclaimer that he is not representing IPAR’s views? Lastly, can a person who concocts lies, inaccuracies, and crude propaganda, qualify as an objective senior researcher able to provide useful advice to policy makers? I don’t think so.

And so dear IPAR, I ask once again, what became of you?

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