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


rwanda breakdown

The United Nations has demanded a full investigation into allegations of politically motivated killings of opposition figures in Rwanda in the run-up to the country's election next month.

The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon demanded the inquiry in a meeting with Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, after a series of attacks on figures unpopular with the regime in Rwanda and in several other African states.
That's from Peter Beaumont, who had two pieces on the increasingly worrying situation in Rwanda in Sunday's Observer. The second piece focuses specifically on Kagame's public image:
But Kagame has never lived up to the breathless hype. Not Blair's, who described him as a "visionary leader". Not Bill Clinton's either, who last year handed him a global citizenship award for freeing his people's minds. Nor from his other gushing British fan, the former international development secretary, Clare Short, who had a blind spot over Kagame's failings, once describing him as "a sweetie".

The real question is not whether Kagame is as marvelous as his supporters claim, but whether he's as sinister as his fiercest critics charge...
The comments on the second piece are particularly entertaining. I never get tired of the immediate response from Kagame's loyal web-watchers, which, while almost always failing to actually refute a single point, tend to be hysterical rants about racism, neo-colonialism, a "desire for Rwanda to fail," and a bunch of other attempts at distracting the global public from the regime's flaws.

As for what's going on in Rwanda, it's increasingly clear that divides within the RPF over the party's future (particularly regarding the question of how long Kagame gets to keep running the show and controlling the party's finances) are likely driving much of the targeted violence we've seen of late. The situation is likely to get worse leading up to the August 9 election. Stay safe, friends in Rwanda.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

To supporters of Kagame the media obsession with attacking Rwanda is also puzzling. In your final para you allege that there are divides within the RPF. What evidence do you have for that? How do you know? You do not say.

As for "politically motivated" killings" well there is no evidence that the gov't had anything to do with them and in fact all the evidence points the other way. If someone subsequently admits their role it is never reported by the outside media. Why?

Finally, if the likes of Kayumba are unhappy that they have not benefited as much as they would have liked, that for example land he had grabbed has been distributed to those that had none at Kagame's insistence, then why do the outsiders, whose motives are supposed to be in favour of justice, fairness and development for the poor, not back Kagame rather than his opponents in this fight?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 6:06:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

The evidence of divisions within the RPF is pretty clear; several army officers have been arrested, Kayumba fled to South Africa over a falling out, and we've known for months that there's a lot of anger in the RPF over Kagame's decision to centralize party finances in his own hands. Not to mention the Nkunda question.

I have never said that the government was responsible for the killings, but it cannot possibly be a coincidence that in a country as safe and stable as Rwanda that everyone who has been murdered in the past month has been an enemy of the regime in power. I don't know who is behind the killings; I think Kagame is too smart to be directly involved, but the odds that these were random killings are extremely slim.

I don't back anyone in this fight. I just think it's very clear that Rwanda is in trouble, and that if true democracy and political freedoms are not allowed soon, the country is likely to see more violence, which no reasonable person wants.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 8:36:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhat surprisingly some people are still corrupt and do not think they will get caught. But they do. Others think about themselves and not the greater good. If the solution is to put things in Kagame's hands that sounds good. He has no favourites.

I think it is a mistake to think that these people are more important than they are. Rugambage - the deputy editor of a newspaper that printed lies - and admitted that it did - and is banned for 6 months. What would be the point of harming him? He was nobody. Of course his editor would try to make something of it to try to make his asylum claim look better but he is a liar anyway. In any event someone has since admitted killing him on a contract basis as revenge for a killing that Rugambage was supposed to have carried out in 1994. But the foreign press do not tell you that.

The deputy head of the Green Party - a man has been arrested and we now know that he was a man involved in loan sharking and most probably killed by a business rival. Anyway, the candidates were known for the election, there is no Green Party candidate, what would be the point of harming him anyway? None. A loan sharker as your deputy, not very impressive is it? Hardly the "senior politician" described by the Independent was he?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 10:01:00 AM

Blogger Nkunda said...

are you suggesting that there is a smart way to kill people? This Paul Kagame myth has got to stop. Oppression cant be accepted as a normal way of life. We refuse to live way!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 2:41:00 PM

Anonymous Amani Joseph said...

This recent rash of violence in Rwanda had me really scared. Murders on the street, beheading,etc.

I wondered how these violent crimes, dismissed as typical criminal activity could happen in a country with some of the lowest crime in E.Africa and constant patrols on the streets with armed military.

Then I realized random criminal acts of violence only happen to those who vocalize political dissent. I guess i am safe from random selection.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 7:29:00 AM

Anonymous J.T. King said...

don't forget that political opponents also randomly attract a high rate of violence out side the country...remember GoR reminded us that J'burg is a violent place after Kayumba was shot, and the "official" line on the murder of ICTR attorney in TZ is robbery...the random pattern is so random that you it extends beyond Rwanda.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 7:39:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rwanda may be a country of low crime but that is not the same as no crime. In a country of probably 11m people there are not enough police to protect everyone. Many survivors of the genocide - potential witnesses in Gacaca proceedings - have been killed or threatened but Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, anti-American bloggers have no interest in them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 10:43:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its unfortunate and funny how you people get interested in Rwanda's politics than yours. If you had vocalised this during genocide it would have made adifference but you kept silent and the only man who revived Rwanda Paul Kagame ended the mass killings and the nation that was forgotten is now talked about. Please send constructive ideas and first have facts before you write what you don't know. Rwanda has seen the worst and won't allow to go back soe when you sit there in your comfartable countries and write whatever you want remember that the nation you talk about and the man you acuse all sort of stuff is a hero to Rwandans, the region, Africa and the whole world ask the UN.

Thursday, July 22, 2010 4:27:00 AM

Blogger Dade said...

I wonder if any one here has read some of Charles Onyango-Obbo's 3 part piece based on recent interviews with Kagame in The East African and what you make of it. You might get a diffrent perspective on this matter.

Friday, July 23, 2010 8:16:00 AM


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