By Theogene Rudasingwa
It was an annual event that has been erroneously baptised national dialogue. It is neither national nor even a dialogue. Paul Kagame and his RPF-a minority in a political and ethnic sense- use the occasion to harass Rwandans who are not in their ever diminishing clique, and foreigners who raise questions about Rwanda’s current crisis of human rights and governance. Kagame’s monologue was almost solely directed against all foreigners- mainly the United States (whose Ambassador, Susan Rice, criticised Rwanda’s lack of democracy, press freedoms and abuse of human rights) and Belgium. His list of enemies also included the usual suspects: journalists and human rights activists. It is, however, to Ambassador Rice’s criticism that Kagame hurled harsh words and insults: intruder, nonsense, joker, liar, double standards, masqueraders, etc.
Kagame’s speech is very hard to analyse. In the past I have worked very hard to help President Kagame with his speeches, both on the content aspects, as well as on the delivery side. He proved to be a very poor student, even at the hands of people with more expertise than mine. I was visiting friends this weekend when somebody tried to convince me to listen to his latest speech. I was hesitant, for I have generally stopped reading or listening to Kagame’s speeches. He lies a lot. He has no respect for Rwandans. For the many problems that Rwanda has, he is either the source, complicates them, or has no solutions to offer. I succumbed to my friend’s pressure and went through the agony of listening to thirty minutes of a very painful reminder that Rwanda has become a state without a statesman.
First, his poverty of ideas comes out loud and clear. Listening to him, at some point I thought I was listening to a re-incarnated Idi Amin. He wonders whether Rwandans are deaf, they have nothing to say, or somebody prevents from speaking. Then he jumps to the late King Mutara Rudahigwa. Then to Africa and the begging business. On an and on..In psychiatry, they call it a “fleeting of ideas”, typical of states in which a patient has both grand delusions of themselves, and paranoia that every one is out against them, and ideas that seem not to have connections.
Second, his lies, deceptions and denials are all too evident. He attempts to rally people around himself by using , genocide, Bagosora, and the failures of the international community. He pretends that he does not know how the same international community he now insults ( especially the USA and UK) has protected him from accountabillity for war crimes, crimes against humanity ( UN Mapping Report), terrorism ( shooting down the Habyarimana plane, ). Otherwise, by now Kagame would be languishing in jail, alongside Bagosora. His remarks are calculated to once again intimidate the international community, now that there is a fresh and irresistible momentum to have him account for his crimes.
Third, his sense of frustration and anger comes through in form of harsh words and insults. We know this type of behaviour from ourselves or our children when caught red-handed. But Kagame’s is a special case. Rwandans and foreigners need to understand that Kagame’s mindset is that of serial killer and mass murderer, and stop dealing with him as a normal rational being. He is self-absorbed in a world of his own, and the entire Rwandan system re-enforces a distorted image of himself. The emperor is naked, but the clapping multitudes keep on telling him he is wonderfully made and dressed. Kagame is like a reckless driver on a high way, driving in the opposite direction to the traffic. He is over speeding; his passengers (the hostages) hold their breath but still smile and clap. Other drivers are wondering what is going on, as the police scramble to stop the mad driver. Over loudspeakers mounted on the Rwanda bus, he asks, “we ni nani?” “Who are you?”
In history and in modern times, effective statesmen do three things. When they are born and forged in difficult times, they help their fellow citizens to overcome fear. They accomplish this, by combining a sufficient dose of tension so that people act out their comfort zones, but making sure they are not paralysed by fear. Second, a statesman embodies the hope of a people, of a whole nation. Without such a hope, without such a vision, people perish (in kinyarwanda, bapfa bahagaze). Last, and most importantly, the statesman is large-hearted, to accomodate all his/her people/ nation with their faults and strengths.
President Kagame is no such statesman. He has subjected the whole nation of Rwanda, Rwanda’s neighbors, and the international community to fear. He is a mean-spirited man who takes pride in killing and dividing Rwandans. Concluding his monologue, Kagame said he has never been vague in his life,” what you see is what you get”. In short, he is telling us , “you can die, be fearful, hopeless, languish in jails and exile….I do not give a damn..who are you?”.
Bismarck, the German Chancellor of “blood and iron” who unified Germany is quoted to have stated that statesmanship consisted of listening carefully to the footsteps of God through history and walking with him a few steps of the way. Kagame has neither the humility nor the capability to listen to to God’s footsteps, nor to walk with Him even one step in the right direction.
Now that Kagame is against Rwandans, foreigners and God, who is for him? His speech will be counted among his worst and last, and surely a signal that for him and us, the final countdown to the end has begun.
Source: Rwanda Nziza