When will the world speak out against Kagame?


The Economist has an article (behind a paywall) about how the humanitarian hero who inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda has been arrested and accused for terrorism and genocide denial in Rwanda, due to him speaking out against Paul Kagame who rules Rwanda.

Mr Rusesabagina’s courage inspired a film, “Hotel Rwanda”. America awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, commending his “remarkable courage and compassion in the face of genocidal terror”. Some compared Mr Rusesabagina to Oskar Schindler, who risked his life saving Jews during the Holocaust. Yet in Mr Kagame’s Rwanda, Mr Rusesabagina is now portrayed as the equivalent of a Nazi fugitive, who must be abducted and brought home to justice (see article).

Although Mr Rusesabagina initially won official plaudits in Rwanda, too, this changed after he criticised Mr Kagame for rigging elections and spoke of entering politics. Government officials swiftly (and absurdly) accused him of genocide denial, a crime in Rwanda. Mr Rusesabagina disappeared after flying to Dubai. He reappeared a few days later in manacles in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. His family says he was kidnapped. Rwanda says he was arrested “through international co-operation”.

Getting thrown into jail or even killed is a common fate of people who criticize Paul Kagame and his rule.

As the Economist says:

Western governments occasionally tut at Mr Kagame’s abuses, but they also sell arms and provide aid to his government. They see Rwanda as an island of stability in a volatile region and him as a leader who gets things done. Yet 26 years after he first shot his way to power, he seems ever less constrained. His authoritarianism, once deemed by many a necessary evil to hold the country together, now risks pushing it back towards conflict. And that, in Rwanda, is a terrifying thought

Thinking back, it is hard for me to thinking of the last time I have heard the rest of the world criticize the totalitarian and undemocratic behavior of Paul Kagame and his regime.

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