By David Himbara
British Parliamentary records show that Chelgate Ltd contributed to Andrew Mitchell’s ventures in Rwanda in 2011–2012.
Chelgate Ltd, a UK public relations consultancy is currently in news for the wrong reasons. Chelgate is coaching the regime of General Paul Kagame in how to handle the crisis of Paul Rusesabagina, an exiled Rwandan opposition leader who the regime kidnapped from Dubai in 2020. Members of the US Congress, the European parliament, and human rights organizations describe Rusesabagina’s rendition to Rwanda as illegal under international law. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Kagame’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye, conceded that the regime paid for the executive jet that transported Rusesabagina from Dubai to Kigali.
During the Al Jazeera-Busingye interview, a video of Busingye being coached by two public relations consultants from the British firm, Chelgate Ltd, was inadvertently exposed.
It turns out that Chelgate-Kagame relationship is traceable to Kagame’s British propagandist, Andrew Mitchell, who is currently a Conservative backbencher in the UK parliament. The UK parliamentary records show that Chelgate paid £2,000 to assist Mitchell to travel to Rwanda in 2012 for his Project Umubano there. Which means that Kagame, Mitchell and Chelgate were in cahoots even when Mitchell was still Secretary for International Development in 2010–2012.
Meanwhile, Terence Fane-Saunders, the Executive Chairman of Chelgate is expanding his PR empire to Africa via Rwanda. He has advertised for “a first class PR/PA all-rounder” to lead Chelgate’s new Africa headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda. Fane-Sanders describes Rwanda as
“one of the most successful economies in Africa with low levels of crime and corruption, a government administration that really works, and a global pace-setter in senior opportunities for women. All this in a charming city, surrounded by stunning countryside, with its great lakes, safari parks, mountains and, of course, its wonderful gorillas!”
Propagandist Mitchell and his client – General Kagame – must be pleased with Chelgate’s reputational management work in Rwanda.