In this exclusive interview with Uganda’s New Vision, Rwandan billionaire, Rujugiro, reveals that he was once a refugee in Burundi for 20 years, where he fought alongside Kagame’s loyals in order to topple down Habyarimana’s government during the Rwandan war of 1990-1994. Rujugiro is now living in Uganda where he is the owner of Meridian Tobacco Company.
However, ‘blood has not kept being thicker than water between Rujugiro and Kagame‘. Kagame’s government accuses this Rwandan tycoon( owning a business worth over $100m) that he is training and funding rebels ready to topple Kagame’ s government.
Asked how he separated or fell out with Kagame whereas they were formerly close friends, Rujugiro stated that he ‘does not like how Kagame is ruling’, but adding that he has no intention of overthrowing Kagame.
“Kagame knows that very well. I am not interested in Politics. I funded the 1990-94 war because I was a refugee and I had no passport from my own country. I had a reason. When I saw my brothers and friends suffering outside their own country, I decided to help”.
“This time, I have no reason at all to involve myself in politics. I have my business and he knows very well that I don’t venture into politics. Kagame knows that if I opted to help the rebels fighting against him, it would take less than six months to defeat him“, Rujugiro said.
In the New Vision interview Rujugiro was asked if he has links with Rwanda intelligence officials to help to overthrow Kagame’s rule, as Kigali alleges, but he denied to have such links.
“What does Uganda get from Rwanda? Nothing. They closed the border now it’s them crying. Listen to the radios. The people are complaining of hunger”.
“Claiming that I am working with Ugandan military to destabilize Rwanda is totally wrong and I am sure there is no Ugandan military man who has that intention”, Rujugiro told Sunday Vision.
Rujugiro acknowledges that he has met Museveni, on the request of the latter. Museveni was talking with him over the request of Kigali to close down his business in Uganda since it is used to ‘fund rebels wanting to destabilize Rwanda’, as Kigali says.
Museveni did not act according to Kigali’s wish to close down Rujugiro business in Uganda even if this magnate is now seeking to ‘sell off his Uganda shares(around 10% of his net business worth)’, the interview concluded.
Rujugiro’s image resurfaces in politics during this standoff between Uganda and Rwanda over border row. Uganda accuses Rwanda of putting an embargo on his goods by unilaterally closing the Katuna border, whereas Rwanda accuses Uganda of plotting with and funding rebels ready to do away with Kigali’s regime.