Is Angola’s Minister of External Relations doing the bidding for President Paul Kagame in Rwanda-Uganda talks?
1. The announcement by Angola’s Minister of External Relations that Angola was willing to mediate in the Uganda-Rwanda conflict took a significant number of political analysts by surprise. First, there is no significant socio-economic or political connection between Angola and Uganda or Rwanda. Second, Uganda and Rwanda are members of the East African Community. Logically, the East Africa Community should mediate in any conflict between or among East African countries. Third, Angola is tens of thousands of miles away from Uganda and Rwanda. Conducting negotiation between Rwanda and Uganda from Angola imposes unnecessary economic costs. Fourth, Angola claimed that it’s interested in Uganda-Rwanda conflict because of what they called “Pan-African spirit”. The “Pan-African” ground for Angola’s interest in Uganda-Rwanda conflict is improbable.
2. Why has Angola taken interest in the Uganda-Rwanda conflict? Did the two parties, Uganda and Rwanda, agree on Angolan mediation? Why Angola? Is Angola a neutral party to the Uganda-Rwanda conflict? Do some Angolan top government officials have vested interest in the conflict? While answers to these questions might not go the genesis of Uganda-Rwanda conflict, it’s of paramount importance to address these issues to determine whether or not the Uganda-Rwanda talks have been undertaken in good faith, not merely for manipulation.
3. The United Nations Force Intervention Brigade that smoked President Paul Kagame’s troops out of DR Congo’s mines in 2012 was comprised of troops from South African Development Community (SADC) countries; South Africa, Tanzania, and Malawi. President Paul Kagame’s defeat by United Nations Force Intervention Brigade in DRC taught him one important lesson if he was to continue destabilizing and plunder DRC. Mr. Paul Kagame needed a strong SADC country with a relatively weak government which he could manipulate. Angola fit this description.
4. President Kagame’s strategy to win Angola’s support for his broader strategy to destabilize and plunder DR Congo, was meticulous and timely. By 2014, the fall of José Eduardo dos Santos regime in Angola was inevitable. Mr. Paul Kagame identified two people he believed would be the most powerful in the post José Eduardo dos Santos government; Manuel Vicente, who was José Eduardo dos Santos Vice President and Manuel Domingos Augusto, then Assistant Minister of External Relations of Angola.
5. The President of Rwanda used two major tools to hoodwink high profile government officials of Angola; money and the “girls’ brigade”. President Paul Kagame is infamous for using well trained beautiful girls to spy on, and/or take compromising photos of, high profile foreign and local dignitaries. Mr. Paul Kagame deployed money and “the girls’ brigade” to Angola, unsparingly.
6. In 2016, Mota Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa (Mota-Engil), a Portuguese company in which Manuel Vicente (then Vice President of Angola), allegedly owns substantial shares, was offered a contract to construct a brand-new airport in Rwanda, Bugesera Airport. The same company was offered a contract to manage Bugesera Airport for up to 40 years. Thus the vice president of Angola, Manuel Vincente, became Kagame’s business partner.
7. Kagame believed that Vicente would become the President of Angola, after José Eduardo dos Santos, but Vicente did not succeed Dos Santos. The new government of Angola sent Vicente to jail. When President Kagame learnt that Vicente’s political career came to a sudden end and he was no longer an asset, Mr. Paul Kagame kicked Monta-Engil out of the Bugesera Airport construction deal. However, before Mr. Manuel Vicente’s political career went down the tubes, Mr. Manuel Vicente and President Paul Kagame had established different business companies in Angola and Rwanda, including pre-cast concrete factories. Angola’s Minister of External Relations, Mr. Manuel Domingos Augusto, who is in charge of Uganda-Rwanda mediation, is allegedly a shareholder in President Paul Kagame’s pre-cast concrete factories in Rwanda and Angola.
8. Mr. Alex Bayigamba, Mr. Paul Kagame’s personal aide, close family friend, and business manager, runs all of Mr. Paul Kagame’s businesses in Angola. Mr. Alex Bayingana is the official owner of Afriprecast Ltd, which Mr. Paul Kagame co-owns. Last year, Bayigamba’s daughter, Gisele Bayigamba, got married to Elisio Augusto. Elisio Augusto is Manuel Domingos Augusto’s son. Therefore, Angola’s Minister of External Relations is Mr. Alex Bayigamba’s brother-in-law. Angola’s Minister of External Relations allegedly has a Rwandan lover and trained Rwandan spy. So effectively, President Paul Kagame’s business partner, in-law, and family friend - Angola’s Minister of External Relations - is coordinating mediation between Uganda and Rwanda.
9. Uganda-Rwanda so-called mediation is proof of how far Mr. Paul Kagame can go to manipulate people and public institutions. Angola’s claim that they are mediating between Rwanda and Uganda as Pan Africanists is a lie. On the contrary, Angola’s Minister of External Relations is using the government of Angola to help his business partner and family friend, Mr. Paul Kagame. Angola’s Minister of External Relations and some of his colleagues are too close to Mr. Paul Kagame to mediate any conflict in which Mr. Paul Kagame is a party. It is not clear whether Angola’s Minister of External Relations disclose his relationship with Mr. Paul Kagame to the government of Uganda before spearheading mediation in Uganda-Rwanda conflict. In the likely event that neither the government of Angola nor Mr. Paul Kagame disclosed the obvious conflict of interest to Uganda, the Angola talks are manipulative and in bad faith. It’s lucid that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the people of Uganda are left waiting in the wings, unaware.
Prof Charles Kambanda