The Us, France and other foreign allies have strong diplomatic relationship with Rwanda. The US Government continues to stick their head in the sand to the horrifying situation within Rwanda, as they did during the 1994 genocide, and continues to support President Paul Kagame, known dictator of Rwanda. Why does the US ignore the desperate situation brewing inside of a country led by a tyrant while so many innocent people inside and outside of the Rwanda believe the country is on the verge of another genocide? There are many governments in exile from Rwanda waiting to have an opportunity for a free and fair election in order to return to Rwanda and create a safer place for the lives of all who live there.
There is very little freedom in this small but powerful country. Young boys are being held as prisoners on Iwawa Island, dozens of people are being killed for voicing opposing political opinions, journalists are disappearing and whole news organizations are being shut down for speaking out against the Rwandan Government. During the August 2010 election no other political parties were allowed to register their platforms in order to be considered for the election. Two opposing political leaders sit in prison today and a third was found beheaded back in August. The ruling party of Rwanda has denied any connection to the ongoing question about their involvement in the murder as well as in the Kigali bombings but the evidence to support these claims is overwhelming yet the West and other supporters continues to turn a blind eye to the atrocities he continues to inflict upon his people.
The most disheartening point in all this support is the support that comes from the American “mega-churches.” The people of Rwanda deserve the support of these religious organizations but in order to receive this help the churches have to express support for Paul Kagame. A simple web search will turn up photo op’s of Paul Kagame with author and mega-church leader Rick Warren. How can a Christian leader like Rick Warren support a man who, at his core, is murdering his own countrymen? I desperately urge Rick Warren to change his views of the leader of Rwanda and learn how to support the innocent Rwandan lives as opposed to their callous dictator.
A crack in the veneer of support began to seep through with President Obama’s reaction to the August 2010 election in Rwanda which ended with the re-election of Paul Kagame by an overwhelming 93% of the votes. The Obama administration stated, after the election, that they have much concern over the legitimacy of the elections and urged the Rwandan government to develop a fair and democratic government. They further acknowledged the violence leading up to the elections including the dismantling of two newspapers, the disappearance of journalists, the murder of an oppositional party who was not allowed to register for the election as well as the subsequent arrest and imprisonment of other political leaders who attempted to register their party. Rwanda has a long history of imprisoning those they claim to be dissidents or genocide supporters yet never giving them a fair trial or any chance at a diplomatic process. Just this week, the Rwandan courts have asked for 35 year sentences for two former military officials from Rwanda for committing crimes that there is no proof of. These men are in exile now and many have come to their defense stating the charges are completely fabricated.
In September, the UN high commission for human rights issued a monumental document on the crimes committed in the DRC. The report claims to have “damning evidence” that, Kagame’s forces committed genocide against Hutu refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Tony Blair, like other supporters of this murderous regime did not say a word when this report was released. As a matter of fact, they were right to keep quiet considering that Britain, under Blair, was the largest donor to Rwanda when the countries forces were committing these massacres in the DRC. Given this past failure, it would make more sense for Mr. Blair to undergo some soul searching and possibly apologize to the Rwandan people and the great lakes community in general.
To claim that Mr. Blair supports a man that is responsible for the vast share of violence that has affected the lives of thousands, is both criminal and obtuse.
Recent events in Rwanda have shown that Kagame is losing control over the country. There is clear and growing dissent within the ranks of the Tutsi ruling elites. The military—the backbone of Kagame’s state—is deeply fragmented.
The UN, France and the other allies must take a closer look into what Kagame is really doing to his fellow countrymen. How can they continue to support a vicious dictator who murders for sport and has damaged the people of Rwanda for generations to come? To what benefit is this diplomatic relationship? Please, supporters of President Kagame, take your head out of the sand and stop seeing only what you want to see. Stop supporting Kagame out of guilt for not acting during the 1994 genocide.
As Anwar Sadat said, “He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress.”
By: Jennifer Fierberg, MSW
Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch
Welcome to Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library