In Britain, He Was An African Statesman That Will Host The Commonwealth In 2020. Across The Atlantic, Kagame Was Described By The US Government As A Brutal Human Rights Violator.
An African statesman
At the Commonwealth Summit in London, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame was a distinguished African statesman. The climax was the announcement by the British Prime, Theresa May, on April 2018, that Kagame with host the next Commonwealth Summit in 2020.
Meanwhile, accross the Atlantic…
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the US State Department’s 2017 Human Rights Report was issued on April 20, 2018. The report paints Kagame’s Rwanda as a scary place. Rwanda is described as a country that does not meet the bare minimum of human decency.
Arbitrary killings and disappearances
The overall Rwandan environment is pure hell:
”The most significant human rights issues included: arbitrary killings and politically motivated disappearances by security forces; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest; security forces’ disregard for the rule of law; prolonged pretrial detention; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights and on freedoms of speech, assembly, and association; restrictions on and harassment of media and some local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); restrictions on freedom to participate in the political process and the ability to change government through free and fair elections; harassment, arrest, and abuse of political opponents, human rights advocates, and individuals perceived to pose a threat to government control of social order; trafficking in persons; and restrictions on labor rights.”
Among the persons who ”disappeared” is Violette Uwamahoro
”On February 14, Violette Uwamahoro, a dual British-Rwandan national whose husband was a member of a diaspora opposition movement, the Rwanda National Congress, disappeared after attending a family member’s funeral. The government refused to acknowledge her detention for three weeks. On March 23, the government announced that Uwamahoro had been charged with treason. On March 28, she was conditionally released pursuant to a judge’s order and allowed to return to the United Kingdom in mid-April.”
The entire leadership of United Democratic Forces (FDU) Inkingi disappeared
”On September 6, the Rwanda National Police (RNP) detained the Kigali representative of the United Democratic Forces (FDU) Inkingi, an unregistered opposition party, Theophile Ntirutwa, and at least nine other members of his party and its leadership. Whereas the other detainees were granted immediate access to FDU’s lawyer and charged in a timely manner, Ntirutwa was assumed missing for 18 days until the RNP confirmed his detention on September 24’l
Prisons are hell — conditions were generally harsh and life-threatening
”According to the Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS), the prison population rose by approximately 15 percent, from fewer than 52,000 inmates in 2015 to more than 61,000 in August, which greatly exacerbated prison overcrowding…According to the Ministry of Justice, approximately 150 children under age three lived with their mothers in prison. The law does not allow children above age three to remain with their incarcerated mothers.”
Human rights abuses are rife, and Kagame does not give a damn about international conventions
”On October 20, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture suspended its monitoring mission under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, citing government obstruction, restrictions on access to detention facilities and detainees, and fear of reprisals against individuals interviewed by the delegation.”
Keeping Kigali clean by expelling the poor and the homeless
”Domestic observers and local media reported the RNP systematically rounded up and arbitrarily detained street children, street vendors, suspected drug abusers, persons in prostitution, homeless persons, and suspected petty criminals. As in previous years, the RNP held detainees without charge at the Gikondo Transit Center before either transferring them to the Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Development Center without judicial review or forcibly returning them to their home areas in the countryside. In August, for example, the Ministry of Local Government and the mayor of Kigali ordered the forcible relocation to rural areas of more than 560 persons detained by police for begging and loitering in Kigali, according to local media. The government maintained that individuals in transit and rehabilitation centers were not detainees, although they could not leave the centers.”
The Rwigaras’ brutal treatment and imprisonment
”On August 29, police raided the residence of the presidential aspirant and vocal Kagame critic Diane Rwigara. Rwigara and several family members reported being held incommunicado and placed under de facto house arrest for several days. The Rwigaras told local press that they were summoned by police for near daily questioning until their formal arrest on September 23. On October 16, Rwigara was charged with forgery, divisionism, and inciting insurrection; her mother faced the latter two charges and her sister the charge of inciting insurrection. On October 23, the court remanded Diane Rwigara and her mother to 30-day pretrial detention, which may be extended for up to one year. She remained in detention, and the trial had not commenced at year’s end.”
Will the real Kagame please stand up?
So which is the real Kagame? The African statesman that the British have honoured with hosting the Commonwealth in 2020? Or the brutal human rights abuser as described in the American government report? These questions remind us of the expression that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.