Anxious General Kagame on the defensive — Rwandinfo_ENG
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Anxious General Kagame on the defensive

Paul Kagame, the General who rules over Rwanda, is now engaged in another lobbying offensive. Feeling that his government’s heavy media campaigns launched these last months have not managed to convince observers that he is not one the worst dictators on the African continent, he decided to take the pen and write personally to the Financial Times and plead for his democratic records.
Here is what he published yesterday in Financial Times in an article titled “Rwanda’s democracy is still the model for Africa”:

Rwanda’s democracy is still the model for Africa

by Paul Kagame.

A listener sent me a text message during a radio show after Rwanda’s recent elections. It read: “I didn’t vote for Kagame, but I still expect him to bring electricity to my village.” In this way it is now common in Rwanda to hold leaders to account, and to demand they improve livelihoods. Yet while few doubt my country’s rapid social and economic progress, too many observers are blind to the successes of our political evolution.

“Some in the media and the international community seem uninterested in fact-checking, and simply invented stories that play to damaging historic prejudices. It is a shame that some so casually disregard the views of the majority of Rwandans and prefer to elevate the dangerous opinions of fly-by-night individuals, which in turn threaten to reverse our hard-earned stability.”
General Paul Kagame.

Those who look in from outside ignore the fact that competitive democracy requires sustained social cohesion. It is important to look at the challenges my country has faced, healing the deep-seated wounds of a shattered society in need of both justice and reconciliation. No country has moved from genocide to confrontational politics overnight. But Gacaca, our system of community courts, has tried more than 1.2m genocide suspects in the last five years. These reformed perpetrators have been allowed to resume their lives by acknowledging their crimes and asking for forgiveness. Today they live peacefully with their victims.

Many also fail to understand that it was precisely a system of pluralistic politics that played a major role in the genocide, as newly formed parties with shared extremist ideology outperformed the former one-party state in mobilising the population to commit mass murder. It was, therefore, unsurprising that in 2002, during consultations for a new constitution, the people of Rwanda were wary of endorsing any type of political activity that could renew sectarian violence. Instead, they accepted political pluralism on the condition that parties would not operate at local level.

“Rwanda is one of the countries that have chosen to apply unconventional mechanisms to solve daunting challenges.”

“We, Rwandans, will not be distracted by criticism”.
General Paul Kagame.

But, we are making progress. Stability and cohesion have since increased, so in 2007 we amended the law to allow parties to operate at grassroots level. Other reforms came too: because Rwandans gradually accepted the need to tolerate even those who killed their families, we also abolished the death penalty.

Rwandans do have a voice in their own affairs. We have developed an effective system of decentralised government, in combination with a process drawn from Rwandan cultural tradition – known as Imihigo – where district mayors commit to targets, and compete to top their counterparts. This has made institutions more responsive, and has improved public services – for example, in the building of 3,000 new classrooms last year.

The massive attendance at rallies during the campaign was a loud statement of confidence in our democracy. Rwandans voted the way Americans, Brazilians or Germans vote: not along the lines of ethnic division, but by the inherent unity that has always existed among us. The subsequent high turnout spoke volumes too – for why would so many vote, if the contest was not important to them?

Nonetheless, these truths were ignored during our election. Some in the media and the international community seem uninterested in fact-checking, and simply invented stories that play to damaging historic prejudices. It is a shame that some so casually disregard the views of the majority of Rwandans and prefer to elevate the dangerous opinions of fly-by-night individuals, which in turn threaten to reverse our hard-earned stability.

But this is part of a wider problem. For decades, one-size-fits-all development and democratic prescriptions have been imposed on Africa, with unsatisfactory, sometimes tragic, results. Yet to break from the cycle of underdevelopment we must seek innovative, home-grown solutions. Rwanda is one of the countries that have chosen to apply unconventional mechanisms to solve daunting challenges. And it is working.

Read previous views of General Kagame on Democracy:
“Your model of democracy, why should it be suitable for me?” says Paul Kagame

African countries that take this stance, and the partners who support them, are reaping political and economic benefits. But this is often in the context of misguided criticism that undermines Africans’ ability to take charge of our destiny by, for example creating misconceptions which may discourage investors. In the coming seven years before I pass on the leadership to the next generation, we Rwandans will not be distracted by such criticism, but will continue along our own path to an increasingly constructive and competitive political environment that takes full account of our history, political culture and evolving circumstances. We have learnt the hardest way that, at the end of the day we, and only we, bear responsibility for what happens to us.

The writer, General Paul Kagame, is the president of the Republic of Rwanda

Source: Financial Times – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d23f7a6a-abc2-11df-9f02-00144feabdc0.html.

6 comments

1 Manzi { 08.20.10 at 2:23 pm }

Kagame is one of those perpatrators. Were Gacaca courts prosecuted him? How cn we have credibility in courts set by criminals as far as these corts are working under manipulation and influence of people who were involved inhorrible human breaches like Kagame and his party, RPF?

He is making progress by widening the gap between poors and riches? He is making progress where more then the half of the budget is funded by external donors? he is making progress where the annual commercial balance is always in deficit?
The only people that are earning something from the so-called progress are those returnees from Uganda,. Those earnings are especially from embezzled external donations and DR Congo minerals. Even genuine genocide survivors are getting meaningles help.

2 susan phelps { 08.21.10 at 4:15 pm }

The President Paul Kagame !!! Sir !! You ” ATTACTED RWANDA ” on the 1st of October 1990 and then proceeded to terrorize Rwanda for the following 4 years !! This you have called ” GENOCIDE” If tomorow America should attack France would this be called ” GENOCIDE ??? ” This is called ” WAR” and as you said in HARD TALK ( BBC) Rwanda was at WAR !!! So Mr President where does GENOCIDE come in on all this ?????? Mr President you waged WAR on Rwanda 1990 not GENOCIDE !!!! So you CANNOT arrest people for denying GENOCIDE that does not exist. ” A CIVIL WAR ” YES as terrible as any CIVIL WAR can be !!! but you cannot declare GENOCIDE as YOU were the ” FIRST AGGRESSOR ” for what ever reasons the FACT REMAINS is that YOU ATTACTED RWANDA on the 1st of October 1990 and TERRORISED RWANDA for the following 4yrs until YOU ordered the SHOOTING DOWN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL PLANE !!! Of course you will say that the renoun French and Spanish Judges are not telling the truth !!! So Mr President your ” LIES ARE CATCHING YOU UP ” !!!!

3 Bandi { 08.23.10 at 2:37 am }

This guyy is desperate! He thinks that his PR machinery will help him cover up his real responsibility in the Rwandan genocide! As someone once said, you can’t lye to all the people all the time. If you analyse President Kagame’s speeches and writings and you confront them with reality, it comes out that the guy is a paranoiac liar. When his rebels attacked Rwanda in 1990, they were the ones asking for pluralistic democracy, whereas the then president wanted a gradual democratisation of the country to avoid ethnic confrontation. Kagame and his followers and supporters refused preferring to fuel ethnic hatred through multiparty democracy. Now Kagame pretends to forget this and says “Many also fail to understand that it was precisely a system of pluralistic politics that played a major role in the genocide…” And he dares to publish this under his name! This is really lunatic!

4 Munyarwanda w'i Rwanda { 08.24.10 at 2:11 am }

You are a pure LIAR by saying that you did not vote for Mr. Kagome. Whoever you voted for … who cares anyway… Every candidate was playing a movie of elections. Why don’t you guys come to Hollywood in America (California ,Los Angels) and do your business there instead of spreading your lies of shameful waste of money you get from all over the world and especially the african children’s blood in Congo?

5 Tensions emerge between Rwanda and Western backers | Rwandinfo_ENG { 08.26.10 at 4:52 am }

[…] Kagame has received extraordinarily high levels of aid from the West since he came to power in 1994 and has previously been virtually immune from criticism in the press. The shift in attitude can best be traced to the welcome that Kagame has extended to China’s growing investment in Africa. A warning is being delivered to Kagame’s regime that the tolerance he has enjoyed to date will not continue if he aligns himself with interests hostile to those of the United States and other Western powers. Related: Anxious General Kagame on the defensive […]

6 Rwanda: General Paul Kagame is painting a grim picture of democracy | Rwandinfo_ENG { 08.26.10 at 1:29 pm }

[…] by General Paul Kagame in his “Rwanda’s democracy is still the model for Africa” (see Anxious General Kagame on the defensive). This irony is exactly what Franz Neumann said some time ago: “If the concepts […]

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