Country FilesEast & HornRwanda Country Profile 2015: Political and security rifts

Sat,15Dec2018

Posted on Friday, 20 November 2015 11:00

Rwanda Country Profile 2015: Political and security rifts

By The Africa Report

altAlthough the government will try to keep the spotlight on Rwanda's economic advances, it will become increasingly difficult to disguise the political rifts within the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

President Paul Kagame has lost the loyalty of several former colleagues but is working hard to recruit younger supporters. An increasingly critical issue in the next two years will be determining who, if anyone, might succeed Kagame when he comes to the end of his current term in 2017. He has consistently refused to clarify his position about the constitution and its term limits.

A July 2014 cabinet reshuffle was the largest since Kagame came to power in 1994. It brought in 10 newcomers, including new prime minister Anastase Murekezi from the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

That appointment was seen as a political balancing act, but it was the appointment of youthful RPF parliamentarian Francis Kaboneka to the key ministry of local government that sent signals that Kagame wants fresh blood, either to take over in 2017 or to rally support for his third term.

Clampdown on dissidents

The reshuffle was followed in August by a harsh clampdown on RPF members thought to have links with the exiled Rwanda National Congress (RNC) based in South Africa. The RPF political bureau accused several named individuals of engaging "in acts of conspiracy".

Top military officials were arrested on charges of tarnishing the image of the government and the country's leadership, as well as illegal possession of firearms. Later, one of Kagame's former bodyguards was sentenced to life imprisonment for an alleged assassination plot.

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In September, a further bombshell came with the resignation of the outspoken senate president Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo – an SDP member, but second only to the president in the official hierarchy.

Senior RPF cadres in parliament had been planning to censure him for abuse of office and for disregarding advice from the top leadership.

Rwanda's international standing has mostly survived the negative publicity deriving from its earlier support for the Mouvement du 23 Mars rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Finance minister Claver Gatete reported in 2014 that all donors had renewed financial In September, a further bombshell came with the resignation of the outspoken senate president Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo – an SDP member, but second only to the president in the official hierarchy.

Senior RPF cadres in parliament had been planning to censure him for abuse of office and for disregarding advice from the top leadership.

Rwanda's international standing has mostly survived the negative publicity deriving from its earlier support for the Mouvement du 23 Mars rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Finance minister Claver Gatete reported in 2014 that all donors had renewed financial In September, a further bombshell came with the resignation of the outspoken senate president Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo – an SDP member, but second only to the president in the official hierarchy.

Senior RPF cadres in parliament had been planning to censure him for abuse of office and for disregarding advice from the top leadership.

Rwanda's international standing has mostly survived the negative publicity deriving from its earlier support for the Mouvement du 23 Mars rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Finance minister Claver Gatete reported in 2014 that all donors had renewed financial support.

In security terms, the biggest threat comes from the remaining Hutu rebels still operating in DRC. The UN has backed Rwanda's determination to pursue a military solution to this problem, but there has been a major falling out with Tanzania, which Rwanda accuses of supporting the rebels.

Rwanda will continue to be prominent in regional and continental security arrangements, contributing more than 5,000 peacekeeping troops to different missions as well as police, helicopters and field hospitals. It has also been allocated security responsibilities under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Investment incentives

One of the items high up on the government agenda for 2015 is the creation of a new investment code with provisions for tax and other incentives.

Kigali is also looking to reduce its reliance on foreign aid. Real gross domestic product growth is slipping below recent levels, according to the World Bank, which attributed the drop to delayed capital expenditure and a continued slowdown of credit growth to the private sector.

Although the trade balance shows a large deficit, this is offset by investment in services, manufacturing, telecommunications, tourism and energy as Rwanda steps up integration with Kenya and Uganda. The three countries plan to hire a contractor in 2015 to build an electricity interconnection system.

If, as expected, Rwanda goes to the market in 2015 to issue a second eurobond of up to $1bn, the proceeds will be used to fast-track construction of Bugesera International Airport and energy projects.

Holiday resorts and convention centres are being built as the country begins to implement the single East African tourism visa. In 2013, total foreign exchange earnings from tourism were $293m.

Investors are now sought for spa and golf resort hotels along Lake Kivu and a cable-car system on the slopes of the Volcanoes National Park.



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