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Why General Kagame does not give a damn


Defiant General Kagame always says “I don’t care

Troubling contrasts

Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was widely condemned for his repression against the opposition with the British Government leading the onslaught on Mugabe,
Saddam Hussein was overthrown by British American coalition for killing his own people,
Obiango Nguema of Equatorial Guinea is strongly criticised for his repressive system of government and President Bashir of Sudan is charged for genocide in Darfur.
On the other hand, the General Paul Kagame,
- who has openly used political violence as well as legal and administrative barriers against his critics including politicians and journalists;
- who chose to go to polls alongside his supporters to give a semblance of a contested election;
- who stands accused of having committed a terrorist act by ordering the shooting down a civilian plane killing two sitting heads of state on board hence triggering genocide in Rwanda,
- who is held to be largely responsible for the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo which have cost an estimated 6 million lives while overseeing the plunder of the natural resources of the Congo,
that person remains the darling of the West with the British government leading the way and the US coming second in line of key supporters of the regime.

One explanation is that his ruthlessness makes him a good steward for international corporate interests, has very committed godfathers and pays well his PR firms.

Controversial elections

General Paul Kagame has been declared the winner of the 9th August elections by the Electoral commission, appointed by his ruling party RPF. He got a score of 93 % 6 points lower than his predecessor General Juvenal Habyarimana, whom he is alleged to have ordered the assassination, who scored 99% in 1988. His score also put him 2 points lower than Obiango Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (95. 4 in November 29, 2009 elections), whose regime is considered one of the most oppressive and undemocratic states in the world and only 6 points lower than President Kim Jung of North Korea who also scored 99, 99 % and 7 points lower than Saddam Hussein who scored 100% in 2002, one year before the Anglo-American invasion.
Like in Rwanda the elections were held in a very peaceful and orderly manner. However the elections in Rwanda are said to represent the will of the Rwandan people, the elections in those other counties are condemned by the West as undemocratic and not representing the will of the people.

All independent observers agree that the high score of Paul Kagame, like in all dictatorial regimes is due to repression, muzzling the media and ensuring that the real political contenders to powers are ruled out of the electoral process.

The regime set up administrative and legal barriers to block opposition political parties from registering and to prevent candidates from standing for the presidential elections.
FDU Inkingi, the main opposition party was not allowed to hold its congress and therefore not officially recognised. The chair of FDU Inkingi, Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, is still under house arrest, without freedom of movement following accusations of imaginary crimes.
The Green Party has not been registered either. It has been decapitated with the assassination on the 13th of July of its 1st Vice President Kagwa Rwisereka.
Bernard Ntaganda, President of the Socialist Party Imberakuri was put in jail.

Two newspapers, Umuvugizi and Umuseso critical of government were suspended and most its journalists forced into exile. One brave journalist who refused the advice of his colleagues to flee paid with his life. Rwanda was ranked 157th out of 179 countries in the 2009 Reporters without Borders press freedom index. This was the fourth lowest ranking in Africa, above only Eritrea, Somali and Equatorial Guinea.

One of his former close allies General Kayumba Nyamwasa who fled to South Africa, escaped assassination from those believed to be Rwanda government agents. South Africa has recalled its ambassador for consultation.

The difference between Paul Kagame and other dictators

The UK government is again leading in hailing the elections in Rwanda has “welcomed the peaceful and credibly administered Presidential Elections on 9 August. Rwanda has made huge strides since 1994 and these elections represent another important stage in the country’s development

This time round the US has partied company with the UK through a State statement which rights pointed out: “Democracy is about more than holding elections,” read the statement.

A democracy reflects the will of the people, where minority voices are heard and respected, where opposition candidates run on the issues without threat or intimidation, where freedom of expression and freedom of the press are protected.

As Robert Krueger who served as a U.S. congressman, senator, ambassador at large for Mexican affairs, ambassador to Burundi and later Botswana.The Paul Kagame I Know “makes a poignant reflection on the elections; “Many corporate leaders and economists will be pleased that the government of a Central African country claiming the fastest economic growth in its region has won again. Only justice, democracy, and the silent and terrified majority of the Rwandan population will have lost”

Paul Kagame has money to pay the best Public Relations Firms in London. Thus the success of PR Racepoint in selling Rwanda image has greatly improved its lucrative business and has extended its services to other governments notorious for their bad human rights record.

Above all Paul Kagame counts heavily on the connection, public image and advice of members of the Presidential Council who last met in March this year. The council was composed of the following people:

Kagame and members of his Presidential Advisory Council (PAC)
Kagame and members of his Presidential Advisory Council (PAC)
  1. Sir Tom Hunter – Scottish entrepreneur, philanthropist, co-founder Clinton-Hunter Development Initiative
  2. Dr. Donald Kaberuka – President of the African Development Bank Group, former Minister of Finance, Rwanda
  3. Dr. Clet Niyikiza – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Vice President of Worldwide Research & Development
  4. Kaia Miller – founder of Aslan Global, Inc.
  5. Joe Ritchie – Rwanda’s Honorary Consul in Chicago, founder Fox River Financial Resources, Inc and CEO of Rwanda Development Board.
  6. Michael Roux – Rwanda’s Honorary Consul General in Australia, Chairman, Asian Markets, KPMG; Roux International Pty Ltd; RI Group;
  7. Bishop John Rucyahana – Retired ex-Bishop of Shyira Diocese of Rwanda
  8. Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa – Rwandan Entrepreneur, Board President of Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency
  9. Dr. Eliane Ubalijoro – Assistant Professor at McGill University, Canada
  10. Pastor Rick Warren – Religious leader, founder Saddleback Church, and PEACE Plan.
  11. Prof. Michael Porter is also a member of PAC though he did not attend the launch.
  12. Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  13. Bel Dowson
  14. James Musoni, Rwanda’s minister of Finance
  15. Rosemary Museminari, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister ( now replaced by Louise Mushikiwabo)
  16. Gatare Francis, new Personal Representative of President Kagame to the NEPAD Steering Committee
  17. Himbara David, Private Secretary to President Kagame
  18. Kanimba François. Governor, Rwanda National Bank
  19. Michael Fairbank, Chairman Emeritus and founder of The OTF Group, a software and strategy consulting firm based in USA.

The group is responsible for offering strategic advice and guidance to the Rwandan Dictator General Paul Kagame, while the PR firms rewrite the history of Rwanda to give a moral justification to their enterprise. The council was officially launched in Kigali PAC on September 26, 2007 and is reported to be meeting in April and in September every year.

Paul Kagame backers must be happy with General Kagame’s assessment of Rwandans namely that they are so backward and not rational enough to be trusted with exercising their vote when faced with choosing between two or more opposed political programmes. It is left to Paul Kagame and his Party to decide when the Rwandan people can pass the test of using their vote rationally without being supervised. For the moment what Rwandans need is to fill their plates: stomach first and democracy thereafter.

This was made clear in his speech on the 16th anniversary of genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda; Paul Kagame talked straight to western backers in telling them: “Some of these who give us lessons have been on a journey of thousands of years to democracy and they want to wake up one morning and distort our situation

One of the advisors of Kagame, former Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair seems to have backed down on his statement to the US Congress on the 18th of July 2003 and bowed to the wise assessment of Paul Kagame. Blair had stated in regard to the invasion of Iraq:

“Ours are not Western values. They are the universal values of the human spirit and anywhere, anytime, ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same. Freedom not tyranny. Democracy not dictatorship. The rule of law not the rule of the secret police”. Strangely the statement does not apply to Rwandans.

However Blair throws a challenge to the rest of Rwandans, who are not part of the selected few in charge of their emancipation, setting out values worth fighting for:

  1. Freedom to earn a living and be rewarded by your own efforts.
  2. Freedom not to bend your knee to any man in fear.
  3. Freedom to be you so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others.

If Paul Kagame does not give a damn to being criticized for tyranny instead of freedom, dictatorship instead of democracy, police state instead of the rule of law and is backed by the international community and big business interests, it is indeed up to Rwandans to decide if they merit enjoying the freedoms set by Blair and if they are worth fights for. I don’t encourage the same methods used in Iraq that are destroying the country but rather carrying out the struggle using non violent means.

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1 safari { 08.16.10 at 1:18 pm }

I wish to any rwandan who will read this infomation to think twice;what he can contribute to free his matherland.If it’s not the case Idon’t any future we give to our childreen.

2 manyamuala { 08.16.10 at 2:20 pm }

There is no independent Sub-Saharan African country! Those fake annual independence celebrations are merely commemorations held by proxy African warlords, chiefs and the ruling elites, appointed by the former colonial powers who are operating underground, to bamboozle poor citizens into thinking they are now being ruled by the own!
The colonial powers and foreign investors are in control of all natural resources in exchange for foreign aids and exorbitant loans advanced by World Bank Group.
The foreign aids are used for military hardware used by local police and military to keep law and order and ensure that foreign investors controlling and looting Africa’s resources are not threatened by poor African citizens. Foreign aids flowing into Africa are specifically earmarked towards the payment of salaries of the elite civil servants in charge of giving orders to law enforcement chaps. In other words, the ruling African elites are not there to develop Africa; they are there enforce the laws that keep African citizens constantly under check!

Apart from those poor Africans living in rural areas, many Africans are restricted to slums where law enforcement can round them up rapidly, a fact that was highlighted during the 100 days of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It would have been difficult to slaughter 800,000 people in 100 days had it not bee for the fact that the masses of poor unarmed African population were kraaled and condemned in slums. Once surrounded, there were no escape routes!

How many fellow Africans own tourist businesses described in the link below or how many of you can afford to take families, even for two hours, in the joints mentioned in the link below? Who owns these pristine and lucrative structures? Take time and check each link by country. You people will then understand why African governments are restricted to law enforcement duties through dictators who enforce them! These are a few of the reasons why people like Paul Kagame have western private armies advice and protection around the clock!

3 dk { 08.16.10 at 6:18 pm }

It is only a select few (with specific interests, no less) that believe Kagame downed that plane, “triggering genocide.” Amazing how prepared some of the country was for such an event, no? As you are no doubt aware, the common global consensus – particularly among governments and academics abroad – points to this theory being patently untrue.

This article, as with most published here, appear to serve only the purpose of attempting to incite unrest.

Kagame is undoubtedly a dictator, but to compare him to Bashir, Hussein et al. (and, in the process, to glorify Mme Victoire Igamire Umuhoza – whose backing warrants scrutiny -no less) is just plain folly.

4 manyamuala { 08.17.10 at 1:00 pm }

You conveniently omitted the link that accompanied my above comments! May I know why?

This is the link:

I think it is fair to discuss whose security the mighty armament of Sub Saharan Africa countries is serving and who is the enemy? The only people being slaughtered, dislodge from their homes, and constantly monitored are unarmed poor Africans. Are these poor Africans the enemies and whose enemies are they?

5 I. Nsengiyumva { 08.18.10 at 3:41 am }

to DK
I am not not a court of law or a judge I am basing myself on existing investigatons and relevant documents that allege that Kagame ordered the shooting down of the plane. If you believe that Kagame did not order the shootng of the plane fair enough. It might be true, but all serious investigations and rigid analysis point to this fact that he did. There are existing investigations and international warrants of arrest. Tell the many who say the contrary with evidence and I drop what I wrote.
To clear the air would you support a petition to ask the UN to carry out an international enquiry into an act which is clealry terrorist costing the lives of two sitting Heads of State? Does it not surprise you that the UN decided to set an adhoc Tribunal to investigate the assassination of a former Prime Minister of Lebanon Fariri but declined to carry out an investigation into the assassination of two Heads of State and their entourage, especially that there was an allegation in the UN report that set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda speciffically that the assassination of President Habyarimana led to the heneous crime of genocide and had recommended an enquiry?

On the 7th of December 2006 in hard talk interiview on BBC, journalist Stephen Sackur pressed President Kagame on why he would have killed Habyarimana in the following words: question: “But you didn’t have a right to shoot down his plane and to assassinate him?” answer: “Well I had a right to fight for my rights”!
In addition, ten days after the publication of the report of the French anti terrorist judge Bourguiere accusing President Kagame of having ordered the shooting of the plane the pro-government paper New Times wrote in its editorial that he attack against the plane of the late president Juvénal Habyarimana was “a « legal » action committed in time of war”.
As journalist Stephen told President Kagame: “Rwanda cannot move on until the real responsibility for the assassination of the president of your country in 1994 is established”.
DK if you have any better information or good source please provide it.

To conclude I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OHT THAT Saying that Kagame could have been involved does not absolve the perpetrators of genocide to be brought to book but that ANYONE, including Kagame, who is alleged to have played a part must be investigated and if found guilty to account for it.
I dont think that it is true that pointing out the mistakes of the regime is equal to supporting Ingabire. Rwanda has many political parties and groups that criticise Kagame without being supporter of Ingabire. The the beauty of democracy is that difference is celebrated and not suppressed like in Rwanda.
The comparison between Kagame and Bashir or Sadam is that having a high score in elections does not necessarily indicate that such or such President is wonderful.

I am waiting to be advised with evidence on what is wrong with what I I wrote.

6 dk { 08.19.10 at 8:33 am }

Thanks for writing, Nsengiyumva,

Nor am I a court of law and, look, I concur there exist serious concerns about the current status of democracy and press freedom in Rwanda — and there may always be questions about the role Kagame and the forces he led played. There are many black marks of guilt to go around (though I do not suggest for a minute they are equal).

You’re right we don’t share the same belief regarding the plane (and nothing has been proven conclusively either way), but to say “all serious investigations and rigorous analysis” points to Kagame would lead me to suggest you do a little more research. That is the story some accounts tell, but I would argue much of the literature paints a different picture. (To your point in the interview – which was, oddly, if it was really that inflammatory, not widely covered – he continues to deny any involvement; your quote is conveniently selective.)

As for arrest warrants, I seem to remember Spain recently and France in the past (no conflict of interest there, is there?), but wasn’t that thrown out? Any I’m missing?

(With regards to the UN, nothing surprises me anymore. That organization – and individuals involved with it – was so utterly complicit in the goings-on in the country and failed its mandate miserably. From the very top.)

And fine regarding your point about the correlation between Kagame and other leaders, and their election scores (which I don’t entirely disagree with). Perhaps it’s just a different writing style. Where I live, a journalist simply couldn’t get away with such a statement as it infers too much.

Yes, ideally, people all people who have committed crimes should be held accountable. You and I both know that’s going to be impossible, with how many perpetrators there were. The systems aren’t in place, and there’s not enough time to provide trials for everyone.

Frankly, I wish nothing but peace and prosperity for all the country’s people; it’s a place for which I have great affinity, and in which I have many great friends.

Peace to you.

7 I. Nsengiyumva { 08.20.10 at 6:51 am }

Dear DK

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I am so happy that style and tone of this response is diffferent from the 1st one. I am very glad that we really share the same aspiratins I quote: “I wish nothing but peace and prosperity for all the country’s people; it’s a place for which I have great affinity, and in which I have many great friends.” so do I

This will only come about , according to me, if we exchange views without animosity as we have done and accepting our difference. Reality and the future of events will be our judge. We cannot wish away reality. I agree with you that I could have used another word rather than rigorous analysis. I just wanted to say that I do not have any other credible investigations and wondered why the UN despite various recommendations would not be willing to carry out an investigation on the assassination of two Heads of State in what is clearly a terrorist act which the RPF party newspaper called legal, so that we end speculation over who did what? Unless truth is told and accountability is established like night follows day we shall go back to the dark days of our history. We all have our heroes which is natural and the way the minds of us ordinary mortals process information is to exclude or distort incoming information that does not fit into our comforatable zones of thinking. You and me need to make extra efforts to question our deep held truths. Therefore I undertand where you come from. I am sure you would understand where we come from.
I wish you well and hope we all keep our eyes on the prize ie “peace and prosperity for all the country’s people” and not on who wins the argument for his or her hero.
Peace be with you.

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