By David Himbara
John Honderich, the former publisher of the Toronto Star, passed away on February 5, 2022. Few Rwandans know him. Here was a man who tried to foster independent journalism in Rwanda.
Honderich explained what provoked him to pursue this purpose as follows: “When one examines the horrific role played by journalists in the incitation of the Rwandan genocide, one can understand why it is critical to build up and bolster the journalistic tradition in Rwanda.”
By 2007, Honderich periodically visited Rwanda where he coached editors and journalists including those of the ruling party newspaper, The New Times.
His dream of cultivation of a strong and independent media in Rwanda ended up in tatters, however.
He soon learnt the true nature of General Paul Kagame’s regime – a state synonymous with arbitrary arrests, disappearances or killings of critics, including journalists.
At the time of his death, Honderich was reading the latest book on Rwanda – Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad.
Rest In Peace, dear John Honderich. Your effort in Rwanda will never be forgotten.