Paul Kagame committed to preserving his power

Eighteen years after 1994, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has not done any critical step towards opening up political space for free public debates on fundamental questions of national interest.

Ironically, on June 12, 2012 Kigali hosted an international conference on Gacaca which praised the achievements of this traditional judiciary system for consecrating more than a million citizens [plus their families] into a second class category of the Rwandan society, for allegedly having participated in the genocide.

Everything else being considered different about the two contexts, even Germans whose political leadership were responsible of the Holocaust were not as massively punished as are Rwandans today.

But the Rwandan case is understandable from the present rulers’ perspective. The elite Tutsi which holds every sphere of authority in the country since the fall of the last Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, wants to recreate the balance of power between the two ethnic groups that prevailed before independence. And so far they have tremendously achieved such objective.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of Rwandan independence, another international conference is held inKigali with the following theme: Discussion on Challenges to Democracy.

Pre-empting the debates, one could implicitly alleges that Kigali appears not ready at all to embrace democratic principles of governance, but instead would build additional barriers to ring-fence Rwandan political space by making democracy sounds like an alien concept to the country’s life.

Timohty P. Longman in his article published this week in the New York Times, while looking at the events of Rwandan recent history, is wondering if Paul Kagame is not only committed to preserving his power [as his main policy, as long as he lives], at whatever would be the cost. 

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