Rwandan Billionaire Rujugiro: If I Helped Rebels, Kagame would be Ousted in 6 Months. Rwandan billionaire businessman Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa has denied claims of backing rebels seeking to oust President Kagame, saying he is not interested in politics.
The businessman’s multi-million dollar tobacco business is at the heart of the worsening relations between Uganda and Rwanda.
President Kagame recently said he raised the issue of businessman Tribert Rujugiro who runs business in Uganda and “bankrolls groups that seek to destabilize Rwanda.”
Mr Rujugiro, a very wealthy man, runs the multi-million dollar Meridian Tobacco Company operation which opened in Arua a few years ago. The plant is a subsidiary of Pan-African Tobacco group, the manufacturers of Supermatch cigarettes.
Kagame in his speech at the retreat of national leaders in Gabiro accused Museveni of feigning unawareness about the said tycoon.
“Initially, he (Museveni) said he did not know him, then I proved to him that he knew him,” Kagame said unreservedly.
Rujugiro speaks out
In an interview with New Vision published on Sunday, Rujugiro was asked about claims of helping Rwandan dissidents.
“These allegations are false and President Kagame knows that very well. I am not interested in politics. When I funded the war, it was because I was a refugee and I had no passport from my own mother country. I had reason and I saw my brothers and friends suffering outside their own country and I decided to help. This time I have no reason at all of involving myself into politics,” said Rujugiro.
He, however, warned that “Kagame knows that if I opted to help the rebels fighting against him, it will not take less than six months to defeat him.”
Rujugiro emphasised that millions of Rwandans, including those who cannot cross the border to look for opportunities in Uganda, because Kagame has locked up the border, are not happy with what he is doing. “Rwandans will sooner or later deal with him in their own way,” he observed.
Kigali recently issued a travel advisory to its people against traveling to Uganda, saying many had been arrested and tortured by security operatives. Uganda responded that law-abiding Rwandans should not fear to cross to Uganda but that acts of criminality would be dealt with firmly.
On claims that he is working with Ugandan army officers to destabilize Rwanda, Rujugiro said “this is most aburd and totally false,” adding, “Kagame has his own problems and should deal with them.”