David Himbara needs to reveal where he found $190,000 to badmouth Rwanda

There is nothing like a pantomime performance by a disgruntled former hotshot to get my creative juices flowing once again. Throw in an American official who thinks he knows what’s best for Rwanda and you have a medley that banishes any writer’s block I might have been suffering from.

Himbara personally hired a top-tier DC lobbying firm in August 2014, paying them a total of $190,000 since the contract started.

Himbara personally hired a top-tier DC lobbying firm in August 2014, paying them a total of $190,000 since the contract started.

I find nothing quite as sad and utterly depressing as watching a once reasonable and respected man descend into a public joke. But that, in my opinion, is what David Himbara has become; a public joke.

The former head of the Strategy and Policy Unit now seems to spend all his time writing nonsensical posts on Facebook (and replying to each and every comment his ‘fans’ post as well), running to the Canadian police and regaling them with tales of bogeymen living under his bed and organizing press conferences with clueless Toronto Star journalists.

Instead of using his intellect to take a breath and reconsider the path he’s marching down, he’s instead doubling down. And whereas before I could simply treat him like an old man ranting and raving but harmless at the end of the day (a bit like the village drunkard), certain events over the past few days have made me change my mind and realise just how far down the rabbit-hole he’s gone.

On the 20th of last month, the US Congress Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organisations sat down to hear about ‘Developments in Rwanda’.

The farcical two-hour long hearing was an archetypical ‘blind men leading blind men’.

New Jersey Representative Chris Smith is Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee chairman

New Jersey Representative Chris Smith is Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organisations Subcommittee chairman

On one hand you had Subcommittee Chairman Chris Smith, a New Jersey native, and Congresswoman Karen Bass, of California (both who I’d wager had never actually stepped sub-Saharan Africa, never mind Rwanda) and on the other you had Robert P. Jackson (Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary

Bureau of African Affairs at the US State Department), Steven Feldstein (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the US State Department), David Himbara and Robert Higiro (both representing the hilariously named ‘Democracy in Rwanda Now’), Sarah Margon (Washington Director, Human Rights Watch) and, to give a semblance of partiality, Willis Shalita (a Rwandan-American blogger).

As one would expect, the hearing was full of rumors, unsubstantiated allegations and straight buffoonery. I would go into details but I don’t want to insult your intelligence and waste your time.

Despite the hilarity, one thing stood out for me; Shalita’s allegation that Himbara, who ‘works’ as a human rights advocate and good governance consultant, “personally hired a top-tier DC lobbying firm in August 2014. He paid them $70,000 in the first quarter of this year, and a total of $190,000 since the contract started”.

Himbara doesn’t deny this. When someone asked him to confirm the allegation, he wrote, and I quote, “in the United States, lobbying is a way of life. Yes indeed, we raised resources to get technical help to learn how the complex United States government works, and how to get our message across”.

That’s right; a man who lives a middle-class existence in Canada is able to afford a US lobbying firm. This then leads to the question, ‘from where is he getting the money’?

Genocide financier,Felicien Kabuga has successfully eluded international courts for years. Is he the source of Himbara's windfall?

Genocide financier,Felicien Kabuga has successfully eluded international courts for years. Is he the source of Himbara’s windfall?

When he writes, “we raised resources” who exactly is that mysterious ‘WE’ he talks about? Is it money sourced from FDLR-owned mines in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo? Is it sourced from Genocide financier and fugitive of justice Félicien Kabuga? Is it from alleged Rwanda National Congress moneyman Tilbert Rugiro? Is it from chronic meddler businessman George Soros?

The one source of the funds that I must immediately rule out is rank and file members of the Rwandan opposition in the diaspora. Why do I discount them? Due to the fact that the vast majority of them are barely able afford a night out on the town, never mind a donation to a barely there pressure group.

What we are seeing is not an organic manifestation of opposition disagreement, but rather a mysteriously well-funded smear campaign waged against the Government of Rwanda.

Unfortunately for whoever is funding Himbara nefarious moves, the evidence on the ground here in Rwanda will always reign supreme. As President Kagame famously declared, “Les faits sont têtus”. There is no getting away from the facts.

The government that we, Rwandans, elected to has brought real change to our lives. A government that distributes livestock to the very poorest among us; one that embraces the rights of women; one that put in place a free 9-year basic education policy; one that fought and defeated a genocidal regime. It is one that has made ‘small’ Rwanda a major international player.

To Himbara and his funders I say, keep throwing good money after bad. You need more than a Washington DC lobbying firm to effect change. You need to convince us that you are credible. Sadly, you are the furthest thing from credible.


18 thoughts on “David Himbara needs to reveal where he found $190,000 to badmouth Rwanda

  1. Lionel Nishimwe Ngayaboshya says:

    I must mention that this is quite an interesting piece.You have effectively done your research.

    However,as a young Rwandan,free from hate and historical favouritism,I am inclined to question some of your analogies.

    Dr David Himbara is well-exposed.Finding $190,000 is not a hussle in Canada provided that he saves.Why did you overlook this alternative?

    Paul Kagame has transformed Rwanda on an economic front.What of his poor human rights record?Should it be ignored because of his economic policies?

    If Rwanda was any good(politically stable),why do Rwandans keep seeking assylum in other countries?

    How does one explain mysterious deaths of political dissidents within Rwanda and beyond?

    Such questions raise a cause for alarm.Though not sanctimonious,Dr David Himbara wanted the Rwandan people to ask these questions and find an answer or a durable solution.

    How he got that $190,000 remains trivial.Canada is way more advanced both economically and socially than Rwanda.It does not take years to make such amount of money.

    « …Nous n’avons pas la majorité parmi le peuple et, sans cette condition, l’insurrection est impossible… »

    Yet,we believe that the end always justifies the means.’A guilty mind needs no Accuser.’If innocent,Paul Kagame must exonerate himself through a public response.

    • Lionel,
      Himbara himself says that it wasnt his own money. You ask why Rwandans keep leaving the country and seeking asylum; I ask, why is it that so many more Rwandans are coming home from the West?

      • Lionel Nishimwe Ngayaboshya says:

        I am Lawyer.What guarantee do you have that my criticism of Paul Kagame will not place me in a political dilemma?

        We love our Country but we also demand the ‘rule of law’ to be upheld.Equality of the law should apply to everyone,not a select few.

        As for those returning home,I am afraid the reasons are still unknown.Last time I checked,Mr Paul was celebrating the death of his colleague.How inhuman?

      • You mean that he was celebrating the death of a man who vowed to unseat him violently? Was he supposed to be sad? Plus, I have not seen him anywhere celebrating Karegeya’s death

    • Yulian says:


      Good that you are a lawyer. on your point on how does one explain mysterious deaths of political dissidents within Rwanda and beyond? Are there any supporting documentations to prove this????

  2. Ibra says:

    One thing for sure we will never see another ’94 Rwanda or Burundi Ivory cost list goes on. Kagame’s administration works tirelessly and they play on high level I don’t think that those who feel deprive (oppressed) their own right can count on Drunkard like Himbara (mister Good old Days) who is misleading them because they just want get drunk to forget their poverty and misery. Where is his wife and kids, what his family and brotherhood friend think of him??? Hero or loser???what is his motivation in life. When I’m talking about Good old day To him it’s when he earned PhD was miracle back then.he still comparing himself to his brothers who had no opportunities like him. He is But today Rwanda has brilliant educated folks in every single category u can name Himbara is an attention seeker but he is touching hot pot with soft hand no gloves on. He has no more shame to his age, yet he still digging more room for urubwa the rest we should wake up and the mindset of this young Rwandan and the mindset if Rwandan leadership Yes “Never again” is relevant Yes the future is promising.

  3. jovit says:

    About people leaving Rwanda to seek “political” asylum elsewhere, let me bring some facts to everyone’s attention. More than 11000 ex-FDLR militia men have returned to Rwanda voluntarily from DRC through Mutobo demobilisation center. For a bunch of politicians with a forked tongue like Himbara, who really cares? Traitors are despicable. Even to those using them.

  4. Ngabo says:

    I agree with you Jovit.. The so called politicians and activist like Himbara, Rusesabagina, Agathe habyarimana, Dr Paul Murayi kabuga’s son in law, Victoire Ingabire and others bunch of desoriented folks. It’s mixture of no sense in one hand you have those was Allie with FPR who are too weak to accept and manage their own personal failure like Himbara , Gerard Gahima, Rudasingwa Theogene who had wrong mindset about managing country being in exile for so long they taught if they won the struggle they will do anything they wanted without accountability Yes they abused their power even some accusation they are bringing up they were directly or indirectly involved while they was in Government and another side of those who grew up with the former genocidar Regime they have the same mindset of Inyenzi Tutsi are not Rwandans some even have directly involved in genocide planning and execution so when you mix them they lie to each other in public eyes that they taught for some purpose but they in realite they don’t even trust each other. It’s kind of mental disease to see someone like Himbara to be selfish to the point of
    Inciting hate and promoting chaos in Rwanda at this age when he was an adult to realize where our country was 22 years ago insteady of help to build Rwanda where his kids, nephews and others will enjoy some to others too they shall accept to pay for their mistake but guarantees thei own childrens to have a country. In Rwanda there is no mistake you can not be forgiven for if you sincerely accept and apologize, matter of fact they freed a bunch of genocidar in day broad light
    God Bless

  5. Yulian says:

    Himbara is truly a selfish guy, the way he talk, they he argue, they way he puts himself.

    One clear Point is Kagame in personal has no enemy, whoever attacks him attacks the Interest of Rwanda.

    you better convince us NOT confuse us.


  6. Lionel Nishimwe Ngayaboshya says:

    I am the most objective Rwandan guy living in diaspora you will ever converse with.

    I think above board and rise only to occasions that call for serious analysis.The opposite is just that.

    I do not loathe Paul Kagame but his modus operandi vis-a-vis political dissent is anything but inspiring.

    Rwanda is bigger than individuals.Paul must pave a way for others to carry his legacy,if he has any.

    If given a chance to rule Rwanda,I will maintain his immunity for the sake of tolerance and the contributions he has made thus far.

    We want to return home but how do we do so when the legal regime governing Rwandan is that of personality cult?

    David Himbara worked with Paul Kagame.As a Lawyer,I am have no option but to listen to his story.For all fairness,he might put a point across.

    Hence,the Congressional hearing.By the way,what happens after Paul Kagame is no more?

    Will Rwanda turn into DR Congo?Let us not create another Mobutu-Rwanda is not a kleptocracy.

  7. Lionel Nishimwe Ngayaboshya says:

    ‘Governing Rwanda’ I mean,

    ‘I have no option’ rather.

    My apologies for the few orthographical errors.

  8. Lionel Nishimwe Ngayaboshya says:

    His Excellency Paul Kagame claims to have liberated Rwanda from totalitarian rule.That claim could be true-Juvenal Habyarimana was a Dictator,so was Gregoire Kayibanda.

    I am Hutu who is well aware of the above.I am 22 years old and I do not like to be categorised as ‘Genocidaire’,like many youths I too am a victim irrespective of where I stay.

    However,”He who comes to equity,must come with clean hands.”

    Come 2017,if Paul Kagame leaves power and refuses the unconstitutional call to ammend Article 101 which is tantamount to a COUP D’ETAT,I will be the first one to call for his amnesty.

    I give credit where it is due as no man is infallible and life is a fickle.

  9. Lionel Nishimwe Ngayaboshya says:

    I would also would like to caution those who are defaming David Himbara to stop their subjectivity.

    Let us argue and address issues,not people.

    They say-“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance.It is the illusion of knowledge.”

    Let us act in an academic manner and give credit where it is due.

  10. Lionel Ngayaboshya Nishimwe says:


    As Rwandan Refugees all over the world celebrate the World Refugee day,it is better to highlight why Rwandans cannot return home.

    ” The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. “-Albert Einstein.

    Rwanda will never reach the real democracy if we don’t attack the root cause which is ‘CULT OF PERSONALITY’.

    It has been said that the world is three days i.e., yesterday, today and tomorrow. And if you do not know yesterday, you won’t know what day today is and surely tomorrow will take you by surprise.
    And General Ignatius Achempong of Ghana said:
    ‘’Anyone who has a quarrel with the past losses today and risks to lose the future as well.’’
    The past, present and the future are entwined together such that one affects the other. We cannot make decisions or actions in life that are in one way or another that influence or affect the past, present or future. The future is something you mold with every move you make in the present. The future is very valuable to all of us because whatever we want to achieve in the future is usually defined by what happened in the past which dictates how we build our future that we dream of.
    However, here is a warning: Those who fix their eyes on the past risk a severe collision with the future; those who only see the future can hit much too hard the speed bumps of today. Only those who fix their eyes on God can effectively negotiate the right pace of life.
    A concerned citizen wrote some sticking words illustrating the truth that evil schemes cannot and will never succeed:
    ‘’There are few citizens in any given country of this universe whom God preserves to stand up to call a spade, a spade and sound the alarm when evil starts taking root and His people are taken for a ride.’’ (The Post 1st November 2002).
    Over the past few months,Rwandans have been forced to petition to the Rwandan Legislature in support of the constitutional amendment.This is despite widespread international alarm against this unconstitutional move.
    Rwanda has lived to see a series of tragic events,some allegedly planned and others beyond circumstances.In its strictest definition,democracy­­­ has been inalienated in the land of a thousand mountains for over four decades.
    This is why it is not surprising to see how complacent ordinary Rwandans have become where the political future of their country is concerned.Their minds have been inculcated with a submissive mentality.In modern Rwanda,the State machinery is marred with political patronage,nepotism and some sources have indicated that Rwanda is on a verge of ‘kleptocracy’.
    Why should Rwandans speak out?
    “Personality cult”is defined as the excessive public admiration for or devotion to a famous person, especially a political leader.
    This is what keeps bringing Rwanda aback.Ordinary Rwandans(Hutu or Tutsi) are meant to believe that only Paul Kagame can guarantee the future of Rwanda.He is praised for many things inter alia;
    1.Economic transformation,
    2.Peace,security and stability,
    3.A Justice system that allows for true reconciliation(see Gacaca Courts),
    4.A Growing Information And Communications Technology.
    However,the philosophy behind a political success story should be to inspire,not to suppress dissent.
    I will not dwelve too much into the veracity of the current strides Rwanda claims to have achieved but I will ask three questions to all supporters of Paul Kagame;
    1.If Paul Kagame is as ‘sanctimonious’ as he claims to be or simply portrayed by his western cronies,what will he lose if he were to allow the law to take its course?
    2.How is Rwanda going to identify other Leaders if they cannot be put to test?What precedent will this unconstitutional amendment of the constitution set for future leaders?
    3.If Rwandans have learnt anything from the past,what has always been the source of our demise?
    4.What are we teaching our youths?Does it mean that the whole country lacks a mature Leader to take after Paul Kagame?Are Rwandan adults irresponsible to this extent?
    “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”-Martin Luther.
    My dear brothers,I hope that one day you will be able to see Paul Kagame for the real person he is-a tyrant who uses a false account of history to sway public opinion in his favour.Until then,open your mind to different perspectives.Do not be fixated to the RPF propaganda,lest you learn nothing and regret when true change comes.

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