Rwanda : Emergence of a Tutsi lumpenbourgeoisie. Dr Jean-Baptiste Mberabahizi, UDF-Inkingi Secretary General and Spokesperson
The current regime understands its role so-well that Paul Kagame’s Presidential Advisory Council is made of Western CEOs while Tony Blair’s teams are the real masterminders of the Strategic Policy Unit in his office as well as in the Prime Minister’s Office, the ministry of finance and the Rwanda Revenue Authority to name just a few places of power under their direct influence.
The so-called « economic miracle » praised by Western CEOs and their PR firms is in fact the external sign attesting to a social transformation of a special nature, that of the former exiled Tutsi lumpenpetty bourgeois into a ferocious and greedy lumpenbourgeoisie whose survival depends both economically and politically on the support of their Western masters. Thus, these lumpenbourgeois have no account to give to the Rwandan people. It is rather answerable to its masters and is very sensitive to the extent that a cough in the White House or Downing Streat has instant repercussions on the whole establishment in Kigali. Instead of reserving the old same reasons why certain Western powers have protected them so far (geostrategic interests), the purpose of this short paper is to explore through which economic and financial mecanisms this support maintains the RPF system alive.
Unprecedented flows of « Official Development Aid »
From 1994 to 2002, the current Tutsi lumpenbourgeoisie made its primitive accumulation through occupation of assets belonging to the ousted Hutu bureaucratic bourgeoisie, misappropriation of public assets through the so-called privatization process and tenderpreneurship, and lastly plunder of natural ressources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the two invasions and total or partial occupation of that country that took place first in 199§-97 and again in 1998-2002. A residual chain of plunder was maintained ever since and continue to be covered by Congolese Tutsi proxy militias, the CNDP between 2004 and 2009 and again the so-called M23 since 2012. During this period, the primitive accumulation of capital was made possible by internal mechanisms since aid flows were then mainly channelled through NGOs as partof humanitarian aid to a country emerging of conflict.
In 2003, « Official Development Aid » took over and litterally exploded pouring into the RPF elites’ hands billions of dollars. The sources of « aid » indicate a radical shift of allegiance of the Rwandan bourgeoisie in its relationship with the West.
The UK appears for the first time in the sky of major Western « bilateral aid donors » becoming the first bilateral European financial donor of Rwanda in 1994. Between 1962 and 1994, British total aid amounted to the ludicrus sum of 5 million USD (current) in 32 years ! In 1994, in the aftermath of their capture of State power, the British cash flow to the RPF elites shoot up to 44,6 million USD (current). From 1994 to 2011, the UK litterally showered the RPF regime with an unprecedented 1,2 billion USD (current) of aid which had never been seen in Rwanda’s bilateral aid history.
For their part, the USA who had provided small amounts of aid to the country since 1962 (220 million USD in 31 years), they flooded the RPF elites with the huge sum of 1,4 billion USD (current) in just 18 years.
The EU was not left behind. Whilst the European Union had handed to the previous Hutu elites 470 millions USD (current) in 31 years, the new Tutsi elites were drowned into a sea of dollars with the total bilateral aid amounting to 1,13 billion USD (current) in just 18 years. To this, we have to add the flows of multilateral aid from the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Just to give the reader an idea, suffice it to know that for the FY 2010/2011 and FY 2011/2012, the RPF regime received repectively 975 millions USD and 1,2 billion USD.
Unlike under the previous regime where aid was generally project-based, the current elites could access it as General Budget Support or Sector Budget Support which gave them the flexibility they needed to capture it for themselves through self-centered budgetary and fiscal policies. This dependency to aid exposes the true character of the present regime and shows its narrative depicting aid as toxic and advocating for investiments and trade is exceedingly void and demagogic.
Longing for foreign direct investments
Figures from the World Bank also inform us that the total net flows of foreign investment between 1994 and 2011 was just 500 million USD (current), which represents an average of 27,8 million USD per annum, sligthly less than net personal remittances (31 million USD). Suffice it to recall that Net official development assistance and official aid received (constant 2010 US$) during the same period reached the astronomic sum of 12,5 billion USD, aid from BRICS excluded. All the noise being made by the RPF regime is meant to conceal the bitter reality that the ruling elites depend more on handouts from the West than cuts from the meager foreign direct investment endlessly blown at the face of starters and other uninformed audiences.
Thriving on aid and selling lies
During the last Rwanday Day UK 2013, the RPF Uganda born mouthpiece Andrew Mwenda appearing on a panel on Rwanda’s so-called economic miracle stated bluntly that Rwanda was « the most equitable country in the World ». Paul Kagame himself later tried to force down his audience’s throat that his regime managed to « lift one million people from poverty ». The series of lies went on and on. The objective of that compaign is to make the public believe that the growth registered in terms of GDP benefits to all Rwanda and is equitably shared. Nothing could be further from the truth. For Rwanda is among the most unequal societies in the World.
The Gini index is the most commonly used to measure unequality in a given population. According to the World Bank, the Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consomption of expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. Hence, a Gindi index of 0 represents a perfect equality while 100 implies a perfect inequality. Rwanda’s Gini index was 50,8 in 2011 and was the highest of the East African Community since i twas It stands at 33,3, 47,7, 37 and 44 for Burundi (2006), Kenya (2005), Tanzania (2006) and Uganda (2009) respectively.
In 2010, the US and the UK who are the main providers of aid to post-genocide Rwanda’s elites had a Gini index of 38 and 34 (after-tax) respectively. Sweden’s, Norway’s or even Belgium’s or Switzerland indexes were respectively 25, 25,6 and 33 in 2011 and stood at 30.4 for the EU in 2009. The 10% richest hold 43,2% of the National income.
There were close to 300,000 Rwandans earning a salary both in the public and the private sector in 2002 according the RPF government (Politique Nationale de l’Emploi, 2007) out of an active population of 4,500,000 individuals aged between 15 and 65 years. The rest (92%) were self-employed, mostly in rural areas (87,6%). For those who know the reality behind these figures, at least 50% of these Rwandans are either landless or poor peasants working less than 15 hours a week. The truth is they are unemployed.
The upper-class of the public servant entertains various connections with the private sector. Sometimes, so-called private companies are owned by the ruling party in a way that the separation between private and State ownership is hard to figure out. It’s worth mentioning that 80% of Rwanda’s current businesses were created after 1994 (IFC, Enterprise Survey, Rwanda Country Profile, 2011). They were launched by Tutsi returnees who form the core of the upper-strata of the ruling party. It seems like the only thing they share is that common background, though. These factors combined are block the emergence of a real national bourgeoisie, a wide national petty bourgeoisie and obviously complicate the formation of a vigourous and organized proletariat.
A class that lacks self-awareness
The main psychological characteristic of the ruling Tutsi bourgeoisie is a mix of ethnic supremacism, the mindset of a community besieged and constantly under threat. Beyond this, there is no real class awareness because an individuals easily passes overnight from the wealthiest condition to the poorest depending of his/her allegiance to the reigning autocrat. Their sense of belonging to a class is non-existent. Their fate is determined by the will of the ruling autocrat by whom passes the external financial support they collectively strive on. These elites are conscious that what they possess can vanish in a wink without prior notice. Because of this characteristic, they tend to see the whole society through the lenses of their own fate, negate the existence of class stratification and class contradictions in the Rwandan society and feel comfortable in their ideological confusion. This ideological vacuum was filled by evangelical preachers that mushroomed since 1994.
As a consequence, even though they are linked to the global ruling capitalist classes in the West, their discourse can barely discern the exact nature of their link to them. This blurred vision leads them to behaving like the lumpen proletariat in many ways. Having all to lose in case of change of guard on the part of their masters, they dont hesitate to blackmail them whenever they feel « betrayed » by their masters. This happened recently when Paul Kagame’s Rwanda was threatened of sanctions and possible indictment by the ICC for his destabilizing activities in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and when the cash tap was turned off for some time.
To conclude, Rwandans’ internal enemy is clearly a thuggish Tutsi supramacist social class whose economic base is « official aid ». Andre Gunder Frank and Samir Amin have everyone in their own way exposed the essence of such a class and how its links to multinationals and their serving governments in the center of capitalism consolidate dictatorship and develop underdevelopment in its periphery, namely in Latine America or Africa. Rwanda’s ruling class is a case-study in this regard. To uproot this particular lumpenbourgeoisie, we need to comprehend its essence and organize the Rwandan masses and lead their struggle for national liberation and a new social order, based on a non-ethnic and non sexist democracy, a people-centered and internally generated economic growth and a shared prosperity.
Dr Jean-Bapstiste Mberabahizi
Secretary General and Spokesperson