Kagame Scores Own Goal

By David Himbara

Very often, dictators lose touch with reality and begin to believe in their lies/propaganda. General Paul Kagame is an extreme version of this — he imagines that he has transformed Rwanda into the Singapore of Africa. From Kigali International Airport to his residence, he sees impressive buildings he has built, including the US$300 million Kigali Convention Centre. He drives in his US$500,000 Range Rover Sentinel, of which he has four. The dictator begins to fantasize that what he is experiencing is the real Rwanda. Until he is rudely reminded that this is not so.

When it comes to football — which evidently is Kagame’s passion besides violence, the Rwandan strongman enters the fantasy world. This is especially the case in his dealings with the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA). Meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino in 2017, and in 2018 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Kagame imagined the glory of hosting a FIFA tournament. Kagame decided that Rwanda should host the 2019 U-17 World Cup.

Perhaps not wishing to embarrass Rwanda’s strongman, FIFA did not even show up to assess Rwanda’s facilities and capabilities to host a world cup. Rwanda got the hint — and has ”withdrawn” from the bidding nations for hosting the 2019 U-17 World Cup, which includes the real Singapore, and Kenya.

Kagame, wise up. Forget the fantasy and the glory. You have neither the stadiums, nor medical facilities that would handle a world cup. Concentrate on malnutrition that is affecting nearly 50% of Rwandan children. Grow enough food to end hunger in Rwanda — especially in Eastern Province where thousands have been fleeing to Uganda looking for food.