Industrialist Mironko Francois Xavier is fed up, at least going by his unusual public outburst – alleging a plot involving government agencies to destroy him.
For starters, Mironko is a well-known household name in Rwanda. He owns Mironko Plastics Industries, maker of most of the plastic materials used all over Rwanda, and beyond. He is the first Rwandan to start a manufacturing plant decades ago.
However, since the early 2000, his troubles have not seized. The same plastics factory was closed for a month in June 2009, over what Kigali authorities said was failure to renovate the facility.
Last week, power provider REG announced on Twitter that it had found the Mironko factory in Kigali was stealing power. The utility posted photos of the factory’s electrical connections, where the power theft was allegedly being done.
Mironko Jean Pierre, son of the industrialist, and managing the recurrent operations of the plastics factories, was arrested. Subsequent reports said his file had been submitted to Prosecution, and was awaiting trial.
The father, usually a reclusive businessman, has opted to go public about what he calls a “long-standing plot” (akagambane kamaze igihe) to destroy him. The decision to choose a foreign media is perhaps evidence enough he is crying out for help from the outside, convinced it was not possible from the inside.
He narrated his ordeal to Kinyarwanda broadcaster of the Voice of America (VOA). He revealed that the factory where REG claims power was being stolen, had actually been already closed long ago by the authorities.
“How can the factory steal power yet it was closed,” he said.
Referring to REG as “terrorists”, Mironko says following arrest of his son, was told by the power utility that he had to pay Rwf 10m fine and the son would immediately be released.
He said: “I rushed immediately and paid the money. My receipts were stamped by REG. But then I was told my son’s file had been sent to prosecution. You can see that the issue is not stolen power, it is a long-standing plot.”
“My name, which I worked very hard to build, has turned into a play Toy. I receive phone calls from all kinds of people, who intimidate me.”
“In custody, my son is being tormented and told ‘we will show you‘. They have been harassing us for a long time. There is a Kinyarwanda proverb; ukubita umugabo kera ukamumara ubwoba (a man’s fear goes away the more you beat him).”
“Even if am old, I won’t accept this injustice. There are laws. I have worked for this country, and will continue. What I’m experiencing is utter disrespect.”
As for allegations by power utility REG that Mironko factories in Kigali were stealing power, the elderly Mironko said that days before arrest of his son, people came repeatedly entering and taking photos without the presence of owners.
“It is as if REG had taken over my factory. Imagine that level of injustice. Actually, it is beyond injustice, they are treating me with contempt.”