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“Foreigners imposing ‘hooligans’ like Ingabire on Rwanda”

Paul Kagame

In a 45-minute tirade, President Kagame fired at Ingabire, the west and the Generals. "They call me Hitler... but I'm not bothered"

Kigali – President Paul Kagame on Wednesday accused foreign critics of trying to impose values on Rwanda as well as preferring ‘hooligans’ to govern the country – categorically singling-out opposition politician Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, RNA reports.

In a firry 45-minute address to mark the 16th anniversary of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide, Mr. Kagame accused the opposition – specifically naming Ms. Ingabire in person, of “political hooliganism”. The President also accused the critics of “abusing me” in the name of freedom of expression, but said he is “not bothered at all”.

Some people here want to encouraging political hooliganism,” he said in English, before going into a tirade of attacks on Ingabire, as the crowd behind him was in constant applause.

Some people just come from nowhere…useless people…I see every time in pictures some lady who had her deputy – a Genocide criminal, talking about ‘there is Genocide but there is another’…that is politics…and the world is also saying ‘the opposition leader’…

The President was referring to Mr. Joseph Ntawangundi, the aide to Ms. Ingabire who was recently sentenced to 17 years for Genocide.

“They call me Hitler”

In a culmination with loud applause and clapping from the audience, President added: “To that we say a big no. And if anybody wants a fight, then we will give them a fight”.

The President dismissed the notion of free expression as promoted by his foreign critics such as campaign groups, saying Rwandans know what freedom means more than anybody else can teach them. He also attacked those he described as “constantly meddling in our politics” by propagating and making up “lies” about his government.

The President warned his critics of hiding behind freedom of express to “abuse me” but also added that he does not “give a damn”.

They break tool, they call me Hitler…am not bothered at all…I just hold them in contempt,” he said amid more applause. He wondered how his critics attack him and “at the same time complain about press freedom?”

You are even free to abuse people, you have no respect for anything…and you turn around to complain that you have no freedom to express yourself? …What more do you want to express about yourself or about others?

Ni watu gani awo?”

Mr. Kagame said “bad national politics converged with bad international politics” to cause what was being commemorated at today April 07 for the next three months.

Who are these giving anyone here lessons honestly? …Ni watu gani awo? …who are these? …are these Rwandans complaining? …or have they sent you to complain on their behalf? …” he wondered in a mixture of English, Kinyarwanda and Swahili, amid applause.

He added: “These Rwandans you see here and elsewhere are as free, as happy [and] as proud of themselves, like they have never been in their lives.

The President accused the west of preferring to criticize his government but do not want to be held responsible for their role in the Genocide. He also said the west was undermining “our dignity”, “our values” and “our pride”, arguing that democracy took time to get to the current level in their countries.

They wake up in the morning, distort [the] situation, tell lies about everything…plus they are responsible for many of the things that put here today to commemorate this Genocide…,” he said.

…yet when they talk about freedom of expression, they don’t want you to express yourself about their responsibility in this Genocide…What freedoms are you teaching me if you cant take responsibility for the politics that killed one million people in Rwanda.

The Generals

He added: “I know those who say it and support that, know it is wrong. But [it] is an expression of contempt these people have for Rwandans and for Africans…that they think Africans deserve to be led by these hooligans.

Turning his guns on the government officials who are fleeing the country apparently complaining about “no political space”, the President accused them of “running away from accountability”.

These Generals fleeing the country should not be taken seriously,” he said, in apparent reference to ex-army chief Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, who has political asylum in South Africa.

Earlier, Sports and Culture Minister Joseph Habineza also attacked the man behind the Hollywood movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’. Mr. Habineza did not name Mr. Paul Rusesabagina but was clearly referring to him.

Using poetic speech, the Minister also fired at the vocal opposition causing laughter in the otherwise somber occasion, saying they are blocking the reconciliation among Rwandans.

Paul Kagame lights the flame at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center

Paul Kagame lights the flame at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center

Earlier, in the same stadium amid silence as thousands waited for the arrival of the President, loud cries could be heard from difference sections as survivors erupted in emotional bursts. They continued all through the hours-long function – indicative of survivors remembering their traumatic experiences.

At exactly 12:00, a minute silence was observed in the stadium, as with other areas where commemoration activities were ongoing.

A women survivor narrated how she has rebuilt her life very successfully over the last sixteen years. Her ordeal started on April 07 in Kigali, that by April 12, she could barely move herself as she had been machetted on several parts of her body. The advancing RPF rebels saved her and others on this date – providing all sorts of aid.

As part of the national vigil, local musicians including those from within and outside of Rwanda sung emotional songs composed for the commemoration. White was the top colour they were dressed in – with some combinations of black trousers.

A group of about 200 children – wearing white dresses and purple coverings on their heads delivered a moving presentation in a mixture of English and Kinyarwanda. All through the act coupled with singing, poems and messages of hope for the survivors, traumatic outbursts could be heard as people were driven up by emotion.

Earlier, President Kagame led a brief vigil at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center where some 250,000 victims are laid to rest. In the courtyard of the Centre, the President lit a flame, which will burn for 100 days in symbolic recognition of the 100 days of the Tutsi slaughter.

Commemorative activities were taking place at village level across the country. In Kigali, city authorities organised a procession from Kacyiru to the national stadium in the afternoon.

10 comments

1 G.B. ENOCK Safari { 04.07.10 at 2:05 pm }

It is really sad to see that some people seem to take advantage of a such had time as this to light another fire of hatred among Rwandans. We all know where we came from, we know where we are now , all what we ignore is why we have to be treated as we are. It is of a high shameful indignity and irresponsibility to see somebody being proud of equalizing Hitler , and claim that he doesn’t care. And you think this is the one we deserve as a leader?! Using opportunity as genocide memorial moment to make people shut up as continuing to kill many more is another proof that some people were happy to sacrifice this ‘million’ of genocide victims. Rwandans, and the whole world should say ‘ no’ to this kind of leaders.

2 John { 04.07.10 at 3:24 pm }

So Kagame himself has acknowlegded that he is the Hitler of Africa but he doen’t care. Well, the law will catch up with him. Between Ingabire and Kagame, who is the hooligan anyway. Who’s past is full of violence? I think that Kagame is the hooligan. Ingabire wants peace for all.

3 Karegeya { 04.07.10 at 6:31 pm }

As a Rwandan who lost my mother and three sisters in April 1994 i find it verry arrogant from President Kagame to undermine what rwandans really feel inside. Leaders like him who don’t want people with different ideas to express them are the origin of catastrophes like the 1994 genocide. To be honest what has Ingabire done wrong except speaking hard what most rwandans are thinking deep inside.

4 Deo { 04.07.10 at 7:40 pm }

It is so sad that after 16 years Rwandans cannot let the dead rest in peace! It is sadder that kagame enjoys worsening the ethnic hatred using the genocide he has caused, 100%. It is sadder and dangerous that he continues to provoque and humiliate rwandans who did nothing wrong but to tell him that Rwandans have the right to enjoy their democratic freedoms, that they need peace and development for all. Instead of listening to them, he kills, emprisons, sends them into exile, calls them names such as “nothing, useless, hooligans… Isn’t he really worse than hitler?

5 KAMUGISHA { 04.07.10 at 8:20 pm }

what makes you to think that you tutsis are the only Rwandans only and hutus are not Rwandans?what makes you think that the people you killed since October 1990 and Habyarimana plus our parents you killed in Kibeho,, DRC do not deserve to be honored like any other Rwandan?you guys Kagame is saying he want a fight tell him that the fight is not yet here. he will be driven out of Rwandan like in 1959 if he does not reconcile with Rwandans… hooligans,, he is the super hooligan who killed 2 presidents and now he is impersonating.useless

6 umukonya { 04.07.10 at 10:37 pm }

what makes me sick is all those bones and schelleton they are showing are mostly hutus they killed.
if you don’t confess soon you are going to hell

7 Colored Opinions { 04.08.10 at 6:16 am }

Kagame clearly lived up to the expectations using once again the genocide commemoration to attack his political ennemies. Let’s start sending him messages on twitter, this guy clearly needs to get back to reality. He somehow thinks he has become God Almighty.

8 Angie { 04.08.10 at 8:34 am }

My parents (one of them who was a Tutsi) and 4 siblings were killed by Kagame- his army, on June 5, 1994. They were picked up from a Camp that RPF had established at a location called Indera in a bus full of other victims.. women, men and children were full in that bus.. countless victims, mostly Hutus,day after day were selected by RPF army and taken to be killed in a secluded area where no pictures were taken or media reached. Their bodiers, i’m certain lay today in those genocide memorials all Rwanda. My family were not the only ones, there are hundred thousands stories like mine.. but does anyone really thinks in Rwanda anyone would be darn to share such story? Thank God for saving me and taking me out of that country, till the day I left Rwanda, at the age of 11 yrs old.. i was still being hunted by the army.. their strategy is to leave none to tell their story..I’m certain Kagame would be pulling his hair right now if he was to read this..wondering, how stupid his army was to not be sure that they erased the whole family. RPR is no different from the Interahamwe or those who were killing Tutsis just because.. they only different is whom they target. May God help all broken hearts of Rwanda heal. As for Kagame and all others who murdered innocents people… be very afraid of the day you leave this earth..

9 Ntihabose { 04.09.10 at 4:21 am }

he should not be fully drunk of power by oppressing and showing the world that they are nothing .
he should be mindful that the whole world was cheated and blindly he made them to support tutsis’ wrong cause ,while he made unforgivable mistake by failing to kill us all ,hence letting us leaving the country to explain what transpired and thank God slowly they are changing .we are not cheating to be understood but saying the truth for his removal and it is soon that Kagame ,his followers and before his soon can descend on his father’s throne we will have them nailed or fired at as he did for Karamira and others by live firing squad.i thank all men and women who are fighting hard for democratic change in our mother land.one will cheat all people for some time but not all the time.(said Bob M.)

10 President Kagame sets criteria to be Rwandan: check your identity! | Rwandinfo_ENG { 05.17.10 at 1:48 pm }

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