To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie,

I am pleased to share with you good news regarding the Rwandan Defence Force and to let you know about some discussions going on among Rwandans regarding the admission of Ivan CYOMORO KAGAME, the son of President Paul Kagame, at the prestigious military school of WEST POINT.

As you know, this is a school which has among its alumni some of the greatest military figures in American history.

Most of those greatest officers had fathers who had been great generals before them. This is the case of General MacArthur, for instance.

When it comes to CYOMORO, who's father is also a great general in African history, some Rwandans think there is foul play.

As they say, no one is a prophet in his homeland.

All the best,
Sharangabo Rufagari

Greetings Sharangabo,

Thanks for the exciting news about President Kagame's son being accepted at West Point Military Academy. That's a major accomplishment, no matter what country a person is from. I'm sure it takes far more "what you know" than "who you know" to achieve that prestigious goal. There's just so much a dad can do - no matter how important he may be in his own country - and after that a son is on his own, being judged on his own merit. I think all Rwandans can definitely be proud.

I'll share the email exchanges with "Orwell Today" readers who are interested in all news about Rwanda.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

question from Mrs Salima:

Hi Mr Sharangabo,

Just one question for you: Is Mr Cyomoro a Rwandese or American citizen? If he is still Rwandese, one would imagine that he had to go through the normal admission process as other foreign nationals.

International Cadet Program, West Point Military Academy Admissions

The most important step was to obtain reference from a high ranked official; the score in physics and whatever, was secondary. Who else could get so much support from Rwandan officials? Obviously, Mr Cyomoro was in position to win the (con)test given backings from home and his education in an American school. I am still curious about the 99% in physics. Should you show us the source of your figure, I would appreciate.

-U. Salima

answer from Sharangabo:

Dear Mrs Salima,

I commend you for doing good research on how those endowed foreigners get to be admitted to WEST POINT.

To be referred by a high ranking official from one's country of origin, as you read it, is just one of the requirements but definitely not the most determinant. Being well informed about what it takes to get admitted to that prestigious military school, I can myself give an exact insight about what's going on, besides telling what I know about Cadet Cyomoro.

I would like to let you know that some of MOBUTU's sons tried to get there back in the 80s; those fellows were my colleagues but it did not happen because they could not meet some very hard requirements. And believe me, MOBUTU of those days was not a small leader by any means, especially for American interests around the world.

As far as WEST POINT and Rwanda are concerned, let me brief you on the beginning of it for the benefit of all Rwandese.

As you certainly know, Rwandan soldiers and officers started going abroad for courses as far back as the next day after they liberated Rwanda in July 1994. From that time up to now there are hundreds of junior officers and senior officers who have taken the advantage of learning and sharing their experiences throughout the world. With their reputations for efficiency, discipline and performances on the battlefield, it was basically easy to get them into any of the best military schools in the world.

To get them to WEST POINT was initially a kind of different task. The effort to get them there started in 2001. It proved to be difficult because the educational system in Rwanda and the USA is different. Also, for the most part, WEST POINT remained a very selective military academy. On top of the academic requirements there is the physical part, which in itself could be a high challenge, even for the best INKOTANYI who can walk 1,000 miles across the jungle. I remember back in my time, what we used to call A WEST POINT PUSH-UP. This was a perfect vertical that one had to do 100 times with both arms and then fifty times each with one arm. (This gives you a small idea what it is like).

As for cadet Cyomoro, I would like to inform you that he competed among 13 other Rwandans and numerous others around the world and was among the 18 to make it. In short, this year WEST POINT chose 18 foreigners and IVAN CYOMORO is among them. He scored 99% in ACADEMICS overall and passed all the PHYSICAL.

CLASS OF 2009, Brooks School, Massachusetts (Ivan Cyomoro Kagame in 3rd row from back, just left of middle)

Let me state also that to go to this school, WEST POINT, it was his own choice and only his own. And this had nothing to do with his father's wishes.

Finally, in responding to your latest question about my sources. Salima, we have known each other on these forums for a long time, and you certainly know that I have the authority, without having to divulge where I get it from, to present the information I have.

All the best,
Sharangabo Rufagari


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~