Wednesday June 19, 2013
Behind the Presidential Curtains: Kagame's Obsession with Cars and DrivingNoble Marara for Salem-News.com
An obsession is a very serious illness that causes a person to be someone other than themselves.
(SALEM) - Sources in Kigali have reported how our President his Excellence Paul Kagame experienced an accident on his way from Village Urugwiro heading to the state house in Kiyovu. At the time of the accident he was driving himself as he has always done, this has prompted me to think back when I was still one of the people responsible for his security and transport.
Kagame was the sort of person who enjoyed driving and sadly he was a very bad driver. As very important person (VIP) Kagame owns expensive cars and enjoys all the luxury that goes along with it. He has the opportunity of staying still on the road, even when he drives at high speed. During my time among his body guards he was surrounded by a team of very experienced drivers including myself, with the belief that we were building our nation.
However, accidents occurred although we would manage to keep his car safe. I remember the accident I had at Mulindi near Kanombe as we were on our way from Gabiro to demobilize our heroes that he did not need in the army at the time.
Hours before we left Kigali as I was chatting to Captain Silas Udahemuka, who is now a Colonel, a bird passed by and defecated on Silas Udahemuka’s head, then he said to me that he did not think that our journey was going to end safely, he said that he believed it was bad luck. As I smiled I was called on the Motorola to let me know that His Excellence was coming out of his room and so we needed to be ready for a move.
In VIP protection we had the five minute car known as the lead car; this one opens the road with alarms and red lights just to inform everyone on the road that they should give way.
The next car was the advance car which goes in front of the President; this car is responsible for guiding the principle car which carries the president. And the final one was the rear guard car which is supposed to protect the president; this car is normally filled with the most trusted soldiers who can die to save the president.
This is the car I was driving, which is also allowed to hit other cars or even shot what may come from left or right whether intentional or unintentional, they must be hit to save the president because the president does not stop. During my time with the Presidential guards, I drove this car for quite a long time was involved in most of the incidents that happened where I had to hit a number of cars, this was intentional believing that it’s a way of protecting the President.
A number of injuries occurred and even the death to the poor people who could not even afford insurance covers on their cars. Even though the cars we were using in VIP protection were very expensive and guarded, they never got even a scratch, but most of us we are still haunted, tormented with regrets and disappointment due causing accidents, death and damages to our citizens.
It is my responsibility to take this opportunity to apologise to all of the people who were involved in that sort of dangerous driving while believing that I was doing a good job for our nation.
Most of the accidents were caused by over speeding. An example is the accident I had in Mulindi, His Excellence wanted to arrive in Kigali in a very short timeframe. We drove 140KPH which was very dangerous, unfortunately a TATA lorry which was heavily loaded coming from front failed to stop, and so as a rear guard driver I had to overtake the principle car in order to push the lorry off the road.
This was very dangerous and scary but had to do it to save our president as that is what I believed at the time, we never had time to think on the consequences of what we were doing.
I managed to push the lorry off the road, but lost control and my car rolled three times in the farm. However, I thank God there was no death this time. It was the first time when Kagame indicated that he appreciated my actions because he came out of his car and said to me that the lorry was going to hit his car if I had not overtook him and told him to stay behind. God knows where the lorry driver is today.
On another Presidential transport we were travelling from Gisenyi, His Excellence Paul Kagame was on the wheel and he was over speeding, as usual. As we were approaching Kigali one of our drivers lost control, he ended up in the nearest swamp and two soldiers died on the spot including 19 year old Pte Mushaija, and I wonder what his next of kin think happened to him.
Obviously, like many Rwandans believe, he died to save his country. This occurred on the lead car which was just in front of Kagame’s principle car. The lead car was driven by Cliopa Rutonesha, my comrade; poor Cliopa had experienced another accident before while guiding the first lady. The accident occurred at Hotel Meridian where 23 year old Bugingo Davis lost his leg. Emmanuel Rutagengwa injured both his legs, 29 year old Aimable ended up in a wheel chair, and Cliopa’s back was broken but he recovered.
On the day of the Gisenyi route accident, Kagame was flashing the head lights to the lead car driver signaling him to increase his speed. These drivers were very afraid of Kagame because whenever anyone took the blame for slowing down his speed he would stop the car and punch them. It was a problem because Rwanda is the country of a thousand hills and so the roads were built at an expense and are made of sharp corners at every mile.
President Kagame saw the lead car roll over into the swamp and he never stopped. The driver was in hospital for months and later was imprisoned after being accused of sleeping on the wheel. However even if he had fallen asleep while driving it would have not been surprising because we were always on standby to the President 24/7.
Whether Kagame is asleep or awake we never had a minute to rest, we were over worked and only paid peanuts. It was after the death Desire’s Kabila’s that Kagame realized the dangers of a hungry body guard because he realized that having managed to pay off for Desire Kabila’s death somebody else may pay a hungry one among us for his head too.
Most of the accidents we experienced were man made accidents and mainly by Kagame, a man who was born to Rutagambwa, who was also a driver, this may have been the source of Kagame’s obsession with cars. He started with the cars we used to take from civilians as we fought along, until when he obtained the opportunity to lead the country and gain the access on funds to buy every car he desired.
He even ended up buying planes and heavy weapons that nations like Rwanda do not need.
But, why and what caused his obsession? Obsessions come about when one fails to get something that interests them or is tempted to get something out of their reach. Once this occurs, the satisfaction is never fulfilled, meaning one is in a constant state of torture. Obsessions can also arise from having something and becoming too attached and controlling to the extent of maniacal proportions like in the case of spouses, children or friends.
An obsession is a very serious illness that causes a person to be someone other than themselves. It can also be caused by a person thinking someone’s life is so much better than theirs or thinking their life would be so much better if they had something else in their life. This is why Kagame travels the world over looking for awards and even begging for qualifications, as we all know that he has obtained honorary degrees just to experience the title of becoming a PHD holder and get to be called a Doctor.
In VIP protection we were to make sure that the president was safe on the road and if anyone needed to save him in case of an accident or ambush, we could do it in any way possible. No matter the cost human or otherwise.
After his recent accident in Kimihurura as he had a press conference, he lost his tongue and accused the USA of having planned to overthrow the president of DRC Joseph Kabila, before his previous elections.
This was out of order, a president accusing another country for planning to over throw a different country’s President, what was our president thinking? Congo has become the center of the great lakes region politics; he is out of words the world now understands who really Kagame is from A-Z. very disappointing President who is obsessed with cars and to make things worse these cars are bullet proof, no one else can use them in Rwanda as they are expensive to maintain. They are only driven by Kagame who gets rid of them after a couple of years, they get parked in the Garage and until he finds out of a new car advertised in the western countries.
That is our President, who is being praised for fighting corruption in the tiny nation of Africa Rwanda, accusing his comrades of not being accountable of their actions. President Kagame is and has always been corrupt, greedy, selfish, arrogant and more to come.
By: Noble Marara, former Presidential Guard to Paul Kagame, Rwanda
____________________________________________________Edited and submitted by: Jennifer Fierberg, MSW; a correspondent, Assistant Editor, and Volunteer Coordinator for NGO News Africa through the volunteer project of the UN. Jennifer is also the media co-coordinator and senior funding executive for The Africa Global Village (www.africaglobalvillage.com)
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