Paul Kagame has been touring top American universities giving speeches deceiving unsuspecting students and uncaring top brass at these academic institutions about what he calls accomplishments of his reign: peace, human rights, democracy, development etc. This is vintage Kagame. He has the whole Rwandan population under lock and key, assassinates and imprisons dissenting voices, and then goes to the land of his benefactors to taunt the West as if to say, “I do what I want; you can go to hell!”
President Kagame basks in the glory of an honorary doctorate in humane letters from William Penn University, but on the way to the ceremony, his motorcade passed a noisy protest – Rwandans, Burundians and Congolese chanting, “Kagame criminal!”
Other than his love of million-dollar-a-trip luxury travel – money that ends up in his private pockets because he rents the private jets bought on public money to the Rwandan state – and expensive $20,000-a-night hotel rooms and an opportunity to visit his children studying here in the USA, Kagame seems to be thrilled to receive honorary doctorates and rub shoulders with academics. For a man who never stepped in a university out of indiscipline and not lack of intelligence, has he discovered that universities are useful centers of learning, contributing to human progress?
Universities have historically been places where intellectual freedom, openness and innovation have been nurtured. It is then ironic that Kagame, the enemy of freedom and openness in Rwanda, would be welcomed to Harvard, Tufts, MIT, Brandeis and Stanford to extol the same values that he lacks and fights. He should be grateful to Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Michael Porter, Rick Warren, Michael Fairbanks and other hired mercenaries whose greased hands can return favors that enable dictator Kagame to hobnob with academics who do not care about the plight of Africans.
Of late, Kagame has not been received with fervor at the U.S. State Department and the White House. He must be secretly lamenting that. Universities provide an alternative opportunity to be around here and to continue his campaign of deceptions and denials. On this particular trip, he seems to be indirectly telling his strongest supporter, the United States, that he will change the Constitution and run for as long as he wants, and nobody will stop him.
Universities have historically been places where intellectual freedom, openness and innovation have been nurtured. It is then ironic that Kagame, the enemy of freedom and openness in Rwanda, would be welcomed to Harvard, Tufts, MIT, Brandeis and Stanford to extol the same values that he lacks and fights.
Nobody should ever not take Kagame’s threats seriously. He has killed and waged wars with impunity.
He is fond of saying privately that the West and the so-called international community lack the interest and will to stop him from doing what he wants.
He is right in this regard but wrong in another sense. Rwandans have the interest and will to stop and reverse the effects of his murderous madness.
And when that happens, and Kagame survives the coming change in Rwanda, Tufts, Harvard, Brandeis, MIT and Stanford should perhaps crown him with a tenured professorship of dictatorship. After all, he has stolen enough money to offer generous endowments to these otherwise prestigious but heavily commercialized institutions.
Shame on you Tufts, Harvard, MIT, Brandeis and Stanford!
By Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa is an alumnus of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, former ambassador of Rwanda to the United States, chief of staff to President Paul Kagame and secretary general of the ruling party, Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). His latest book is “Healing a Nation: A Testimony: Waging and Winning a Peaceful Revolution to Unite and Heal a Broken Rwanda.” He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.