Monday, July 19, 2010

Charles Onyango-Obbo reveals Rwanda's corruption

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Charles Onyango-Obbo during one of his of  "Presidential" visits. Onyango has spent many years covering the RPF and eventually became the RPF's PR journalist.

Charles Abbo Onyango may well be an accomplished writer, but when it comes to his writings on Rwanda, I have a hard time finding something worth quoting or blogging about.

However, an essay he wrote yesterday took me by surprise.

Before you get excited, I should be clear that the essay follows the normal “Kigali New Times” pattern, heaping Kagame with praises and with a deficiency of serious analysis.

Onyango introduces to his readers, TRI STAR Company which he calls “the business arm of the RPF”. He goes ahead to tell us that TRI-STAR has business interests worth more than 20 billion dollars “making the RPF the richest party in Africa”. So much power and wealth in very few hands.

Another optimistic sign, he reveals, “the party's local and international assets could be equal to or larger than Rwanda's gross domestic product.” A classic example of Fascism!

He even sheds more light into the much publicized Lake Kivu “energy” investment. Apparently, the locals will not reap a cent. The investment is a joint venture between TRI-STAR , a British and an American firm.

What is worrying to many of us is the fact that TRI-STAR as a private entity seems to enjoy unfair support from the government. If TRI-STAR is owned by the RPF, then Kagame’s role in securing TRI-STAR’s business interests is a serious conflict of interest.

Now, also worrisome is the fact that TRI-STAR owns more close to 40% of MTN Rwanda. MTN is the country's sole internet and mobile phone provider. That is why when the banned newspaper, "Umuvugizi" went online, the government quickly blocked its website.

I’ve said it again and again, that the much praised development in Rwanda is simply for the benefit of a very tiny minority. Corruption is deep but runs undetected due to the absence of a civil society. Beyond the façade of wealthy elites, the majority of Rwandans are dirt poor and the government has done almost nothing to improve their lives.

1 comment:

Ann Garrison said...

Hmmm. MTN. I'm seeing the Ugandans talk about MTN, Movement Thieving Network amidst their protest. Charles Kambanda was also talking to me about Tri-Star the other day.