By David Himbara
Ugandan journalist and former close associate of General Paul Kagame has dismissed Michela Wrong’s book, Do Not Disturb. Mwenda argues that Kagame kills his opponents not because he is a violent power-hungry dictator as Michela Wrong maintains, but became political murder is a rational foreign policy tool. That is how Mwenda exonerates bloodletting tyrants world-over who hang onto power by murdering their opponents under the pretext of safeguarding national security. The absurdity of Mwenda’s utterances is best demonstrated by his homeland, Uganda. President Yoweri Museveni’s comrades who disagreed with him and went into exile were not murdered but returned home. In one case, a former exiled Ugandan even competed for the presidency. In Rwanda, Kagame’s former comrades-in-arms are either dead, exiled, disappeared, poverty-stricken, or in prison. Michela Wrong’s work is a welcome and effective documentary of Kagame’s version of political murder.
Andrew Mwenda has dismissed Michela Wrong’s book, Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad for two reasons. First, the reason Kagame murders his opponents is not because he is a violent autocrat as Michela Wrong argues but became the elimination of political enemies is a rational foreign policy practice. Second, Michela Wrong’s book does not meet basic investigative journalistic work because she was easily misled by the families of the men General Paul Kagame killed. Here are Mwenda’s own words:
“Many readers…missed the core of my argument. I did not seek to argue that the government of Rwanda under the leadership of President Paul Kagame does not hunt to kill its enemies abroad. I only meant to illustrate that Wrong did not do basic investigative journalistic work…
Mwenda adds that Kagame assassinates his opponents because “of a rational foreign policy, not because of some violent psychopathy of Kagame as a person.”
Mwenda is a poor historian not at the global level but also of his own country, Uganda. Mwenda should educate himself by contrasting Kagame’s murderous record against world history and against Uganda’s record. In Uganda, the bush-war comrades known as National Resistance Movement (NRM) Historicals who fought alongside Museveni have not been murdered, including those who fell out with him and fled Uganda. For example, Kizza Besigye fled the country, citing persecution by the Ugandan state. He lived in South Africa for several years, during which time he continued to criticise Museveni’s government. He returned to Uganda to compete for the presidency several times. Besigye who is also a businessman never lost his properties when he challenged Museveni for the highest office in the land.
General David Sejusa fled to the UK after accusing Museveni of creating a “political monarchy” to hang on to power. He later returned to Uganda. Amama Mbabazi did not flee Uganda but was sacked from his prime minister position after he challenged Museveni for the Ugandan presidency. Mbabazi was not murdered – on the contrary, he has rejoined the NRM party. In Rwanda’s case, Kagame is the only historical of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) left standing, after eliminating his comrades via murder, imprisonment, disappearance or reducing them to poverty-stricken beggars.
Mwenda’s has achieved one thing in his Kagame apologia. Mwenda has exonerated bloodletting tyrants world-over with his ahistorical utterances that all hapless victims of murderous regimes endangered national security. Tyrants such as Kagame throughout history merged their self interest with the state’s wellbeing. The tyrants’ opponents were declared treasonous enemies of the motherland who had to be killed. Think of the exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky killed in Mexico on the orders of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Michela Wrong’s book Do Not Disturb is a welcome and effective documentary of Kagame’s version of political murder in his quest for presidency-for-life.