Foreign reporters have a penchant for quoting others that I find totally obnoxious. If they want fact-based reports, how can they fail to dig out the facts, considering the ready resources at their disposal?
It would seem that they don’t care one way or the other and just dismiss African countries as failed states only fit for the dustbin. That is why they seek out countering negative reports, whenever they see anything positive coming from any such nations.
I say this after seeing an article of 4th March 2010 on Rwanda in the highly respected news magazine, The Economist. The article sneers: “Divisionists beware. President Paul Kagame has improved people’s lives at the expense of freedom.”
Uhm. So, “Divisionists”, we are finished! This man is improving our lives but he will not let us be free! Presumably, the man will not give us the freedom to divide ourselves into ethnic groups and to go at each other’s throats.
Look at Somalia, look at Niger, look at Haiti, and the others. We are supposed to be like that, so who is this man interfering with our lives? And, remember, the hoi polloi of this fair land do not feature anywhere. Those reporters don’t want to see them.
But, please, hear out The Economist reporter: “Most foreign governments and charities are so impressed by [Rwanda government’s] detailed plans and apparent lack of corruption….”. It’s not Rwandans, no, it’s foreigners who care.
And, in case you haven’t got it, that lack of corruption is only “apparent”. It is not a deliberate effort to rid Rwanda of the scourge of corruption. And no, it is not an effort in which President Kagame is leading a team of Rwandans.
Which gives the impression that Rwanda is actually not corruption-free but only appears to tolerate no corruption so as to impress “foreign governments and charities”. Is that how sickening it is supposed to be, being aid-dependent?
The reporter admits that Rwanda is leading the way in economic and technological reform in the region. He admits that Rwanda holds her own in gender equality and that she has improved her “infrastructure, education and farming” as well as her “ecology”.
Rwanda is also doing so well on the diplomatic platform that it is leading the way in keeping the peace “in Sudan’s Darfur province and elsewhere”. Even France, which seemed adamantly unbending, today is kowtowing to Rwanda, with President Nicolas Sarkozy coming to Rwanda and offering “something close to an apology.”
And the catch to counter that? The Economist reporter wouldn’t be worth his pen if he didn’t find one. So, “France, for its part, has not dropped charges against members of Mr. Kagame’s government who are alleged to have ordered the shooting down of a French aircraft carrying Rwanda’s ….. Juvenal Habyarimana.”
And, in good measure, the reporter finds it as his duty to remind everybody that Habyarina was “a Hutu”. And that it was the action of downing the aircraft that “triggered the genocide.” When will such reporters ever let the ghosts of the Hutu-Tutsi divide rest, and why don’t they give details of whatever they quote?
There is no word about how the man who posted those charges, French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, was discredited when his key witnesses rescinded their evidences. There is no word, either, on how those charges proved untenable when Ms Rose Kabuye, who was among the accused, offered herself to the French courts.
Most importantly, notice the subtle misinformation about the “trigger”. By now everybody knows that the genocide against Batutsi was systematically planned much before the Habyarimana crash. But no, The Economist reporter would rather it were seen as being “triggered” off by the death of the then president.
And when it comes to countering positive facts, the reporter does not lack in authoritative quotations. So, “awkward question-marks hang over Mr Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front. The president’s detractors say his party has not owned up to killing thousands of civilians…”
What does the reporter say? No, it is the authoritative “detractors” that can be relied upon for the truth. Does he know that whoever is alleged to have been killed, it was during the war of the early 1990s?
And does he know that that war between the then rebel RPA (Rwanda Patriotic Army) and the then Rwanda government army was not, as the Ugandan Andrew Mwenda has said, a tea-party? And that civilians were caught in the cross-fire?
There is also the fact that Interahamwe disguised themselves as innocent civilians. Everyone remembers incidents during the war when RPA fighters passed ‘peasants’ who were tilling the land only for those ‘peasants’ to drop their hoes and pick machine guns to shoot at the backs of those RPA fighters.
Whatever anybody may say, “divisionism” and “genocide ideology” are real and he knows best who has been victimised in their name. As Stephen Kinzer says, whatever his inaccuracies, even in USA “it is illegal to cry ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre”.
“One Rwanda” policies are Rwanda’s saviour. Show me a detractor-led state, and I’ll show you a failed state.