Open Letter to Gerald Gahima

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Evidence Material
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Dear Gerald,

You have lately teamed with Nkiko Nsengimana, Condo, Musangamfura, Ingabire, Rusesabagina, Kayumba, Karegeya, Murwanashyaka, and your brother Rudasingwa etc to tell the world that you are the latest beacons of economic development, democracy, rule of law, independent and impartial justice, human rights etc for Rwanda.

To the best of my knowledge and recollection, sometime in 2004, you resigned in disgrace and ignominy months after you had been elevated to the second highest office in Rwanda’s judiciary (Deputy Chief Justice) and perhaps the sixth highest rank nationally (Cabinet Minister Rank). This was after the media had unearthed a top secret financial scam in which, while you served as Prosecutor General, you siphoned millions of unsecured and scantily documented Rwanda francs from BACAR Bank (now Fina Bank) through a fictitious account you had opened in your 80-year old mother’s names. If my memory serves me right, at the time, you had placed BACAR Bank under criminal investigation for financial crimes including money laundering. It was under Prosecutorial Surveillance, in fact directly under you, at the time you hatched the plot, took the money in one go and ordered that the file be concealed. Nobody knows for sure where you put that money.

You first vehemently denied knowledge and involvement but buckled when graphic evidence was chronicled in the Umuseso paper, denial was pointless, the public had lost any confidence in you and were demanding nothing less than your exit.  Having succumbed to the additional shame of lying to your superiors and juniors alike, denying facts you knew to be true and abandoning your mother to face a bank fraud she knew nothing about, you swallowed your ego and personally tendered your resignation without an inch of a push from any authority. You should have been prosecuted but you were not, perhaps to give you another chance at life or the time had simply not come or the public humiliation was considered sufficient punishment, I cannot claim to know.

I find your new-found democratic, rule of law, reconciliation and anti- discrimination credentials, in the face of the above facts, very disturbing, to say the least. I find them nothing but shame, guilt and betrayal being twisted into causes to “liberate the Rwandan people.” Surely what do you want to liberate us from? Oh Rwanda, where anything goes!! Not today, Gerald, and not you!!

The truth is that after you became Deputy Chief Justice, many people gave you the benefit of doubt, and hoped that the law reform conflict had taught you a lesson or two. Little did anybody know that you kept a BACAR secret skeleton in your closet which you knew was becoming too big to conceal. When its ghosts finally came out of the closet with a vengeance many sighed with relief. No one hated you, they loved the country more. As for you, even ghosts loved Rwanda more than you did. They came at the right time for you to fall alone without taking the whole judiciary with you. Why you, Rwanda’s Deputy Chief Justice, denied, before your President and your Chief Justice, a fact you knew very well to be true, has been the million dollar question since that day.

Independence and Impartiality icon

Gerald you now claim to be the remaining hope for independence and impartiality in Rwanda’s justice system which “lacks these values.” Again, my recollection is that you as a person were the worst enemy of legal and judicial reform in Rwanda’s justice sector. At stake was the liberation of the sector from you! Fortunately you did that yourself.  Without you in the way, he rest was achievable, and it has been. With you in the sector, the justice system would perhaps never have changed an inch.

Your struggle to destroy the reform process that aimed at revamping archaic, colonial and oppressive laws that we had, as well as review dysfunctional institutional structures in the sector is still fresh in our memory. According to you, the Law Reform Commission had to seek your advice and consent before proposing any reforms; it was terrible to propose to scrap the prosecution’s powers to detain people without being answerable to the courts (a practice you were addicted to); and it was sacrilege to propose that the head of the Judicial Arm of Government should be the Chief Justice, not the Prosecutor General, just because you were the Prosecutor General!! You remember the number of reconciliation meetings between you and the Law Reform Commission at which you always ended up just angry that nobody was seeing your point, if ever there was any. You remember how you blackmailed and coerced your colleagues to support your point of view whether or not they saw one? You remember the very last such meeting, which the President chaired, at which you lost every argument  in the presence of over 100 stakeholders?

Ironically the Deputy Chief Justice position you were elevated to was a product of the very reforms you fought hard to destroy. Some thought you would turn it down.

Gerald, you cannot convince many that from the shame, guilt and betrayal of your people you have suddenly developed independence and impartiality; at least you cannot expect the people to swallow this lying down. These values should have been seen in you. Your record is of a predator of justice. You prided yourself in detaining people without trial or with trial after eternal jail. You imprisoned Mugenga, Rebero, Mbanda, Bugingo, Kabati, Gakuba and countless others in those very circumstances. You intimidated and/or imprisoned judges (including Supreme Court Justices) and prosecutors. You coerced others into resigning. All because they took decisions you didn’t like. You claimed they were corrupt yet, as Prosecutor General, you never prosecuted a single one of them. Cases in point are Justices Gasatsi, Mulindwa, Nzamukwereka, Zitoni, Shoshi and others.

It is after you that independence and impartiality found meaning. The terrible image the justice sector struggled to correct from 2004 included, in large measure, the reign of judicial terror your name echoed and your actions exemplified.

But if you have suddenly metamorphosed into an anti-corruption and rule-of-law guru from your new found love with with the “gang”, then, indeed, God works wonders. But remember the biblical transformation of the prodigal son as well as that of Saul? They admitted and confessed first.  Therefore kindly confess:

– your involvement in the Asian-owned company that supplied computers to the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution when you were at the helm.

-your involvement  and that of your wife in the set up of Muhamad’s Garage, a garage run by a handpicked lumpen from Kampala, where you coerced staff to take vehicles for repairs when none were ever done but you personally paid the bills into your own BCDI accounts

-your obnoxious practices of handpicking suppliers for everything including toilet paper

-your involvement in the coercion of importers to appoint your wife’s clearing and forwarding company to clear and forward their cargo or face possible prosecution on charges you would surely trump up

-that you were on Kajeguhakwa’s secret payroll and drew 600,000 frws per month, just because you were Rwanda’s Prosecutor General, to be of use when time came. Did it ever cross your mind that this could be laundered money? Do you realize, as many of us do, that Bacar’s money laundering should have been investigated much earlier and its bankruptcy and collapse could have perhaps been avoided, but for this 600,000 frw you received monthly?

-your ego that still makes you feel you are the best and will get the best or nothing, which has characterized you from Kenya to Rwanda!

If you have metamorphosed, face up to this ugly past, otherwise it will be your undoing. It will haunt you no matter how the Peace Academy in Washington and your friend Michael Johnson continue to package you in an excellent CV. That CV is extrinsic. The intrinsic one contains ego, bad faith, liar, fraud, corruption, abuse of power and office etc and it is the one that hounded you out of the International Court in Kosovo, threw you out of a lucrative contract in Australia, got you only two months in Liberia. You simply will not run faster than your intrinsic self.

Perhaps you are now where you belong, with birds of the same feathers. And, because the word shame doesn’t exist amongst the “gang”’ you are busy deceiving yourselves that it has also ceased to exist in the English vocabulary and the world no longer knows or ever knew it.

The millions of Rwandese and other people you are now deceiving believed in and worked for a truly independent and impartial justice system by facing the challenges along the way head on. They have recorded immense achievements and are continuing to do so, towards a more perfect justice system. As for you, you betrayed each and every aspiration and all those who trusted and supported you.

You fought the fixing of the rule of law, you violated it when it was fixed, you grossly abused your office, you took what belonged to the public, you prided yourself in detention without trial, you trampled court orders under your feet, you intimidated and coerced judges, you desecrated your own mother’s name and record by attempting to abandon her in a bank fraud she knew nothing about! It is easy, with hindsight, to understand your resistance to change and eventual tragedy. You arrived in Rwanda as a liberator and, come what may, you would recover what you lost in your 30-year absence. Naturally the Rwandese Patriotic Front’s values of accountability and transparency would block your way, whether in public service, in justice, in the prosecution or in the judiciary. Then you had a head-on collision with them.

Gerald, your time to be a beacon of justice in Rwanda is long tarnished and gone. Your failed project was self-generated, self-inflicted, foreseeable. You and your cartel’s new-found judicial independence and impartiality is mere eccentricity and sour grapes.

James Gaga

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