"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


only 289 days to go

Kenyan Law Professor (and the former Special Representative for human rights in Cambodia for the UN Secretary-General) Yash Ghai recently completed a critical report on Rwanda's human rights and political situation for the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Kigali is Not Happy about it. From Shyaka Kanuma's response in Kigali's Focus Media, we see why this report was so upsetting:
The Kenyan academic who was in Rwanda at the request of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative to do a report on human rights and democracy has submitted a report he has written on Rwanda's suitability to join the Commonwealth. His conclusions, some of which he publishes in The Standard, look calculated to scuttle the country's chances of joining the grouping, made up mainly of countries that speak English and that have ties in the areas of commerce, education and so on.
I highly recommend reading the whole thing as it's more entertaining than you might expect. The author accuses the professor of engaging in revisionist history (while not actually refuting any of Ghai's claims) and says that we can't believe anything the professor says because all of his sources refused to speak on the record. Because obviously no reputable person with knowledge of how things work in Kigali has any reason not to want to be named, especially when they're talking to someone with such a long and distinguished record in the study of human rights and constitutional law as Professor Ghai. Then there's this little gem:
Rwanda has repeatedly embarrassed UN bodies such as MONUC, the so called peacekeepers in eastern DR Congo by stepping in and solving problems they can't.
In other news, Reporters without Borders released its annual Press Freedom Index this week. Rwanda clocked in at #157 of 175. This puts Rwanda just ahead of Equatorial Guinea (where everything is controlled by the president's family and torture of political enemies is commonplace) and just behind Libya.

Rwanda's presidential elections are just 10 months away.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so, Texas in Africa, what exactly are you saying? That Ghai is right and Shyaka is wrong? Go on, tell us what you think -- or is that on the topic of Rwanda, everyone is gagged, as Ghai says?

Monday, October 26, 2009 5:15:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

I think the facts about the nature of "journalism" and the level of political freedom in Rwanda speak for themselves.

Monday, October 26, 2009 7:46:00 AM


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