By David Himbara
The precise number of Rwandans killed, injured, or left homeless by heavy rains, floods and landslides in the last five months is not known. Nonetheless, images shared in the media tell the story of a devastated nation.
Today, on May 22, 2018, The New Times is reporting further devastation across Rwanda. This is how the newspaper describes the situation:
”Floods destroyed over 190 houses in Burera…
At least 197 families were left homeless in Burera while 191 hectares of crops were damaged in the area…
177 hectares of crops damaged in Gahunga and 14 hectares in Rugarama. The families that were left homeless are temporarily staying with their neighbours as they wait for relief…
6 kilometres of feeder roads connecting the sectors of Rugarama and Gahunga with other parts were cut off…
Water from the volcanos entered residents’ houses, damaged their crops, we have so far registered over 30 hectares of beans swept away…
The water is even still flowing at a high speed to the extent nobody knows what will follow.”
While hundreds of Rwandans are dead and thousands are homeless, President Paul Kagame is jetting around Western capitals. In the last two months, Kagame was sighted in London, Chicago, New York, Brazzaville, Geneva. He also attended his son’s graduation in California, USA. He is headed for Paris.
What kind of a person is Kagame — a leader who does not console his devastated nation?
Kagame is a selfish person whose purpose in life is a desperate pursuit of recognition as a global leader and an African statesman. More specifically, Kagame loves and lives for collecting awards and medals which he needs to validate himself. Look at some of the awards and medals bestowed on Kagame between 2003 and 2017. Thanks to Wikipedia and other sources, we get a sense of Kagame’s addiction to medals and awards:
- March 2003 — Global Leadership Award by the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).
- April 2005 — awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor Laws by the University of the Pacific in the United States.
- September 2005 — awarded the Andrew Young Medal for Capitalism and Social Progress by Georgia State University in the United States.
- September 2005 — awarded the African National Achievement Award by the Africa-America Institute in the USA.
- April 2006 — awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Oklahoma Christian University in the USA.
- May 2006 and July 2007 — ICT Africa Award, for organizations and individuals that have demonstrated excellence in promoting the use of ICTs.
- August 2007 — given the Hands Off Cain Award for his role in ending the death penalty in his country.
- November 2007 — awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor in Law by the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
- December 2007 — given the African Gender Award in Dakar, Senegal for his role in promoting gender equality in Rwanda.
- March 2009 — awarded “The Distinction of the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of Pioneers” by Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
- June 2009 — was awarded the Children’s Champion Award by the US Fund for UNICEF.
- July 2009 — given World Technology Award.
- September 2009 — awarded the International Peace Medal from Saddleback Church, USA.
- September 2009 — awarded the Clinton Global Citizen Award in recognition of his leadership.
- November 2009 — presented with the ‘Most Innovative People Award for Economic Innovation’ at the Lebanon2020 Summit.
- May 2010 — awarded ‘Lifetime Leadership Award for Development and Equality’ by Rwandan Women.
- May 2010 — awarded the 2010 Rwanda Convention Association (RCA) Award of Excellence in recognition of his role in steering Rwanda towards a knowledge-based economy.
- June 2010 — awarded Energy Globe Award’ on the occasion of World Environment Day celebrated in Kinigi, Rwanda.
- July 2010 — Rwanda International Network Association (RINA) awarded Kagame for his continuous efforts in the promotion of Education.
- October 2010 — recipient of Unity Club’s inaugural “Unity Award” for promoting unity among Rwandans.
- September 2010 — British Magazine New Statesman included Paul Kagame on the list of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010″ in 49th place.
- November 2010 — presented the “Grand Croix — Ordre de merit du Benin” the country’s highest national award.
- June 2011 — awarded the Chello Foundation Humanitarian Award 2011 for his “outstanding leadership of the Republic of Rwanda since 1994”
- September 2011 — the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Kagame with the 2010 IOC award for ‘Inspiring Young People’ around the world.
- November 2011 — AERG (Association des Etudiants Rescapes du Genocide) awarded Kagame “… in recognition of his efforts and courage to stop the Genocide as he led the Rwanda Patriotic Army,”.
- April 2012 — warded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by William Penn University in the USA.
- May 2013 — Oxford African Growth Award was awarded to Kagame by Saïd Business School.
- May 2014 — received a special recognition award from the African Bankers Association.
- May 2014 — honoured in recognition of leadership and dedication towards promoting ICTs and broadband connectivity by the World Telecommunication and Information Society.
- December 2016 — received the Champions of the Earth” award, UN’s top environmental prize.
- May 2017 — won the Dr. Miriam & Sheldon Adelson Award for Friendship with the Jewish People.
- November 2017 — awarded by the World Travel Market for attracting tourists.
- December 2017 — awarded person of the year by the African Leadership Magazine.
What do we have here?
An authentic leader does not need recognition to feel good — especially if he has earned that leadership. A genuine leader knows that her/his skills and impact are making a fundamental difference. An authentic leader gets on with the job — and does not need to self-promote. Sadly, in Kagame’s case, we see a lost person that is not driven by humility but by egotistical hunger that can only be met by awards and medals. The pursuit of recognition has completely consumed Kagame. Even when thousands of Rwandan people are washed away by floods, buried alive by landslides, and left homeless, their so-called leader is jetting around the world.