One David Himbara has been at it again, trying in vain to portray Rwanda in bad light. He does so with the hope of derailing the country’s development process. His motive is to tarnish through misinformation, the image of institutions regarded as central to the rapid economic transformation we have seen. Knowing that Rwanda Social Security Board and Crystal Ventures Limited are among the top, the self-exiled disgruntled former staff of President Paul Kagame never misses a chance to drag the two in the mud. Plus, he always finds a way to falsely tie them to the name of the Head of State, labelling one as his personal property, and the other as a mismanaged gigantic national corporation set up to enrich the first family. Because Himbara remains relentless in his lies to the world in this regard, we remain vigilant in exposing his sinister agenda.
His latest distortion is a wild allegation. “It is a miracle that RSSB is not bankrupt given the extent to which it is forced into investing in highly questionable business ventures, including the ruling party’s companies,” Himbara says. He cites Inyange Industries and Ruliba Clays Ltd as examples to try and drive his point home, saying RSSB, Rwanda’s pension fund’s investment in the two ventures serves private, not public interest. This is wrong, and he knows it well! If he was honest, he would consider the difference between the current RSSB and the defunct CSR, to highlight the former’s role in spurring national economic development. Why would any well-meaning mind criticize a national financial facility that funds other national companies, employing nationals, no matter the ownership of those companies? Never mind that RSSB pays pensioners for as long as they live. But it does a lot more, strangely the reason he feels bad.
For example, ISCO Security, one of the affiliates of Crystal Ventures which Himbara loathes, employs over eight thousand men and women of humble economic background. From reliable sources, this leading security services provider is also advanced in the process to create a mega SACCO that will further uplift the lives of its employees through provision of lowest interest loans. And that’s not all. The USD 45 million modern Inyange Powder Milk Factory under construction in Nyagatare District which he refers to, when fully operational will buy half a million liters of milk from Rwandan cattle keepers per day. According to a highly placed source in CVL, when this quantity is added to the usual liquid milk bought by Inyange, the farmers will be able to sell one million liters of fresh milk every day. At the current farmer’s price of Rwf 300 a liter, that is a cool Rwf 300 million per day industry. That money will go straight into the pocket of your ordinary Rwandan cattle keeper!
Now where is the validity of this man’s accusation? For the resources being invested in this venture to come from the pension fund, is that a sin? What exactly is the problem if the Rwanda Social Security Fund is doing profitable business with RPF’s Crystal Ventures Limited? Is it not the job of RSSB to judiciously invest and multiply workers’ savings, which also include Himbara’s own? We will understand if he has long lost confidence in the board’s ability to make sound investment decisions. If that is the case, he should claim his money, which I think he genuinely needs given his known low liquidity, move on and leave us alone. Do critics of this business relationship forget that the party’s membership is exclusively made up of Rwandan nationals? While they like to point out that Rwanda is literally a one-party state because at the last general elections RPF got almost 99% of the votes, they naively never realize that this criticism boomerangs right in their faces whenever they insinuate that the ruling party’s businesses exist for the benefit of only a few.
For the information of such blind critics who want to take advantage of people who may not have time to think a little deeper, it is RPF’s role to drive the Rwandan economy to the middle-income level as fast as possible. Thoughtfully, Rwandans found such kind of business relationships as seen between RSSB and CVL, to be among the most feasible mechanisms for fast tracking economic transformation. For Rwandan resource facilities (as opposed to borrowed from out) to fund Rwandan projects, which in turn prioritize employment of Rwandans is a development model commendable by any right thinking and fair economist.
Another clear case in point is the contribution of NPD in the construction of the national road infrastructure. Were it not for the involvement of this one other strategic CVL affiliate, the several kilometer network of Kigali roads upgraded efficiently in the lead up to CHOGM probably would never have been possible. Again, when this local company is doing its work, you can guess its funds are borrowed from another indigenous financial institution, Bank of Kigali. And guess where the biggest local bank reinvests part of the handsome profits accruing to it from extending huge overdrafts to NPD. It is into BK Arena to keep the events facility attractive to international sports organizations like NBA’s Basketball Africa League, and the ongoing Rwanda Championship. Women tournament. How this directly feeds into the MICE Market Vision for Rwanda by solidly positioning the country as a leading African destination for first class incentives and events is not rocket science.
According to a World Bank press release of 11 July 2023, “Rwanda’s economy grew by 9.2% in the first quarter of 2023, following 8.2% growth in 2022,” Rwanda Maintains Strong Growth Momentum in Early 2023 (worldbank.org). The country remains firmly ranked seventh or there about among Africa’s fastest growing economies. It is now steadily climbing back to the highs of the pre-COVID-19 era when growth averaged 7.9% annually. The economic pragmatism responsible for these impressive growth figures are what Himbara brainlessly castigates. A “professor of international development” we are told!
In a nutshell, Himbara practices typical intellectual dishonesty. He should be firmly put in his own place using known facts to lay bare the bad faith he holds against the government of Rwanda. Succumbing to personal political vendetta, he pretends to argue from informed points of view, when in actual sense what he does is to deliberately flip information expecting to cause citizen dissatisfaction for own political gain. He did not succeed yesterday, and he won’t succeed tomorrow. Rest assured.