WATCH THE VIDEO OF THEOGENE RUDASINGWA'S PRESENTATION
By Sam Chafe
What if you were sentenced to prison for writing negatively about the U.S. government?
This is the reality for Theogene Rudasingwa, former secretary-general
for the Rwandese Patriotic Front, and many of his colleagues.
Rudasingwa recently was convicted by Rwanda President Paul Kagame and
sentenced to 24 years in prison for writing about Kagame’s oppressive
regime and the need for peaceful reform. The paper that Rudasingwa
co-authored is called “The Rwanda Briefing.”
In the briefing, Rudasingwa and his colleagues share information about
the current administration that is in place in Rwanda. They discuss how
Kagame is a corrupt leader who does not allow for political opposition
and actually uses his ties with the western countries as a way to hold
his “monopoly of power.” Rudasingwa is part of the reason Kagame has
these ties. As the first post-genocide Rwandan ambassador to the U.S.,
he helped the flow of resources from U.S. companies for the
reconstruction of Rwanda.
“The U.S. and the U.K. have been friendly to Kagame,” says Rudasingwa. “He uses those friendships for intimidation purposes.”
Rudasingwa thinks that the U.S. and other big western countries need to
throw their weight behind the people instead of the government. He also
sees the current situation in the Middle East as an opportunity for the
people of Rwanda to gain and use the support of the U.S.
“It will depend on if the situation in Libya drags on,” says Rudasingwa.
“If it goes quickly, then Rwanda could get help, but if it drags on,
then the western countries are likely to shy away.”
Bill Smith, director of the university's Martin Institute, compares this to the U.S. involvement in Somalia.
“Somalia happened a few months before the Rwandan civil war and
genocide,” says Smith. “If that went smoother and quicker, there’s a
chance the U.S. would have stepped in and helped Rwanda.”
However, the message is far different from the current situation in
Libya. Rudasingwa and his colleagues want to build the citizens freedoms
“The people of Rwanda still have not recovered from the war and genocide
in the early 1990s,” says Rudasingwa. “They do not want more war and
According to Rudasingwa, more than 1 million people were killed in the Rwandan genocide.
“Egypt is a great example of peaceful change,” says Rudasingwa. “Once
militaries get involved, the fight for change becomes more difficult.”
Rudasingwa will be speaking at the 2011 Borah Symposium, which addresses "Human Security in the 21st Century."
“It’s great that this year’s theme is highlighting human security,” says Rudasingwa.
Human security is essentially being free from oppression and fear. Both
of these are things, he notes, that the Rwandan people have been
experiencing for many years.
He hopes to educate the students at the University of Idaho on the
broader view of human security. Rudasingwa says that the situation in
Rwanda, as well as the Middle East, may affect the average college
student more then they know. He also sees a great importance in speaking
at University of Idaho because of the idealism of college students.
“Many college students want to change the world,” he says. “We need to
tap into that resource because the youth truly are the leaders of
Rudasingwa feels that students everywhere need to be aware of what is
happening around the world because it affects us all, even here in
“It is imperative that people be involved,” he says. “If the U.S. was to
get involved then that is American tax dollars and American lives that
will be affected.”
He said it is like the “Butterfly Effect” because the actions of the world have a far lying affect.
“Being future leaders, these are the challenges that they will be facing
and need to face,” he says. “Students are motivated by these causes;
they don’t have as much baggage as my generation does and have fewer
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