What you need to know:
Who’s Gen. Nyamwasa?
- Born in 1960s.
- Obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Makerere University (in 1980s) after taking A-level examinations at Mbarara High School in western Uganda. He was a resident of Lumumba Hall while at the university.
- In 1984, he joined the National Resistance Army rebel group, then headed by President Museveni, and later the Rwanda Patriotic Army/Front that took over government after the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
- Gen. Nyamwasa headed RPF’s military intelligence during its bush days and was later named the army Chief of Staff.
- In 2001, he was sacked as the military chief and replaced with Gen. James Kabarebe . The general was, in November 2002, re-deployed as Head of Security Services.
- A couple of years later, the Gen. Nyamwasa was appointed Rwanda’s High Commissioner to India. Early this year, he fled from Kigali during a government retreat in Rubavu.
The Rwandan government immediately stripped him of diplomatic immunity after the defection that stirred suspicion with neighbours.
Daniel Kalinaki & Tabu Butagira
Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa has been shot and seriously injured in Johannesburg, South Africa where he is living in exile. The General, a former chief of staff in the Rwandan army, was shot at around 1 p.m. (12 p.m. South African time) on Saturday at his home in a Johannesburg suburb.
An unidentified man armed with a pistol fired two bullets one of which reportedly hit the general in the stomach. Witnesses told Sunday Monitor that Gen. Nyamwasa tried to disarm the gunman after the pistol jammed to fire bullets. The assailant, however, managed to flee into a waiting take-away car driven by an unidentified accomplice.
Gen. Nyamwasa was taken to Morningside Clinic where he received emergency medical care and was set to undergo surgery by press time yesterday.
The South African Police did not issue any immediate statement on the bloody incident and the assailants never took any items, according to witnesses.
In late February this year, Gen. Nyamwasa during a summit in Kigali for Rwandan envoys from around the world, fled through Uganda and Kenya after falling out with President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front leadership.
He eventually sought asylum in South Africa, which has declined to extradite him as requested by Rwandan authorities, after President Jacob Zuma said his country was obliged to respect international law on asylum seekers.
President Kagame, in an interview with Monitor in May, accused Gen. Nyamwasa - Rwanda’s Ambassador to India by the time he fled - and Col. Patrick Karegeya, the former head of Rwandan Intelligence, of promoting divisions in the army and running away from accountability.
He said: “People like Kayumba or Karegeya or others who flee the country will always say whatever they want to say in an attempt to absolve themselves from any responsibility.”
“I think for them to escape - already there is a responsibility they are escaping or fleeing from.”
In a rejoinder emailed to this newspaper a week later, Gen. Kayumba denied the accusations levelled against him and instead made several allegations of his own against President Kagame and the RPF government.
“President Kagame is not honest when he alleges that we ran away from accountability. [Our] disagreements [are] centred on governance, tolerance, insensitivity, intrigue and betrayal of our colleagues,” he wrote.
And he added: “Accountability should begin from the top; beginning with the President before he demands accountability from his subordinates.”
“In Rwanda, the Head of State is the most unaccountable person and has no moral authority to demand accountability from anybody. In Rwanda, President Kagame is the institutions.”
The Rwandan government denies these allegations.