General Charles Kayonga has been dumped from the position of Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) Chief of Defense Staff and was not assigned to any other position. The unceremonious firing was expected for quite some time after he was suspected of conspiring against Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame. He was replaced by the former UNAMID blue helmets commander, Lt General Nyamvumba, promoted to the rank of General.
Photo: Rwandan Defense Forces General Charles Kayonga.
The changes in the top military junta leading Rwanda have led to further consolidation of power within the hands of a shrinking circle of confidents around General Paul Kagame: permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defense and Rwandan President Kagame’s Military Intelligence Adviser Brigadier General Jack Nziza, promoted to the rank of Major General and to the Inspector General of the Rwanda Defense Forces, Colonel Dan Munyuza, promoted to Deputy commissioner general of police, and Military Intelligence Chief Brigadier General Richard Rutatina promoted to Major General.
Military Intelligence Chief Brigadier General Rutatina, then head of External Intelligence Colonel Dan Munyuza, and an army division commander Brigadier General Wilson Gumisiriza were suspended and placed under house arrest on Tuesday January 17, 2012 along with the Reserve Force Lt. General Fred Ibingira. At the moment, the statement to the press by the spokesperson of the Rwandan Ministry of Defense, Colonel Joseph Nzabamwita, attributed the suspending of the high ranking military officers to reasons of “indiscipline with respect to getting involved with civilians in business dealings in the DRC.”
However, AfroAmerica Network sources close to the Rwandan military intelligence had given a different reason, with the smuggling of Congolese coltan, gold and timber being an excuse. According to the AfroAmerica Network sources, the real reason were that the four military officers were punished for their close relations with the Joint Military Chief of Staff (Chief of Defense Staff) General Kayonga. General Kayonga had become one of the main rivals of General Paul Kagame, especially after General Kagame escaped an assassination attempt on July 4, 2011 (see our article here).
The long march to disgrace for General Charles Kayonga started long ago: see our articles: Rwandan President Kagame’s Divided House After July 4, 2011 Failed Assassination Attempts of September 12, 2011 and Rift within Rwandan Army or Comedy? General Paul Kagame Suspends Top Military Aids of January 12, 2012. Now that he is disgraced, Charles Kayonga’s political wildness may have started.
The fact that General Charles Kayonga was dumped from the top military leadership while promoting and shifting commanders suspected of being close to him may be a way to further divide the Rwandan Defense Forces commander to preempt any attempt of a coup against General Paul Kagame. Any rumors of coups against General Paul Kagame are ripe in Kigali City, with Charles Kayonga’ and Kayumba Nyamwasa’s names appearing in most of them. In some rumors, General James Kabarebe, the current Minister of Defense is also mentioned.
Is the change a new sign of a growing rift with General Paul Kagame’s circle?
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