By Chaste Gahunde
First of all, I would like to convey my message of sympathy to all those who are genuinely commemorating their loved ones lost in Rwandan genocide especially from october 1990. May our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers killed rest in eternal peace. May all of us survivors find ways to forgive as we aim at building a nation where “Never again” makes sense.
Having said that, following are my remarks on Kagame’s speech.
In his speech delivered on the 28th genocide remembrance occasion, Mr Kagame was heard trying to justify his war crimes and crimes committed against “them”. Everyone would have observed Kagame’s tactics to avoid the term “Hutu” in his speech. He does not see the rwandan genocide as a rwandan tragedy, rather as a tragedy against the Tutsi, bringing us to wonder why! He counts himself as a Tutsi, first, not as a rwandan contrally to what he usually brags about. For instance he says ” … those who killed our people”. In his belief, the Tutsi are his people, not the other way around.
What does this mean?
It means that even 28 years after the horrendous tragedy, Kagame does not want to believe that the Hutu, allegedly accused to have solely killed the Tutsi, are rwandans, and as such, Rwandans would have killed Rwandans. No. For Kagame, they killed our people. They did not kill their people, no. He remorselessly is searching as he always did, for scapegoat of what happened. This is a very dangerous stand. As a head of State, Kagame should have been trying to build a nation by first recognizing that Rwandans (Hutu, Twa and Tutsi) killed Rwandans ( Hutu,Twa and Tutsi). Without this foundation, a genuine reconciliation is hindered farther.
They killed “cocroaches“
The body language of Kigali’s strong man reveals how he does not care about our pain. In fact, he shows how, for him, remembrance is in April. He can’t understand how we, survivors Hutu, Twa and Tutsi, have been living with this tragedy, and still do on a daily basis. Genocide is our life, we are killed everyday, hunted every night, survived the following morning, and so forth. He finds no offence to falsify history, to manipulate words as it pleases for his political control. His intent is to make us believe the killers woke up in a morning and created the word “cockraoch” which they stamped on Tutsi and started hunting them down. He does not want you to know the origin of Cockroach (Inyenzi) and the links between Kagame’s war on Rwanda and the counter revolution rebellion of 1960s. I am not going back into that today.
And, to add insult to injury, he speaks it smiling, a sign to implicitly telling you, without remorse, how he benefited from the chaos. Kagame might be a wicked man, but is not stupid. This time, he managed well his communication skills. Only, to understand him the ability to read between the lines is required. With brio, he described how powerful countries have fabricated history of Rwanda, how they created heroes hinting at how he became the strong man, and possibly, how it was against his will. You can remember how Rwanda is praised over economic achievement by western lobbies and how any different version is shut down, you konw how many times authors of books narrating the RPF’s war crimes are refused platforms as if, as Kagame says, “they decided among themselves to not hear your version even if you show them facts.” Saying this amidst the Ukraine-Russian war – and we know how all the pro Russian media outlets are shut down- is not meaningless.
Kagame seizes the opportunity to say “no” to political opennes. He reveals his fears that those he calls criminals might be the new breed of champions of democracy.
This is not a simple revelation. You can imagine how Pieter Botha and Frederik DeKkerk felt when they were brought to have dialogue with Mandela , a guy they had put in prison for over 20 years and who was naturally set to be the leader of the country. Once Mobutu said, “Comprenez mon émotion”!
Kagame cannot say to the common citizen that the Government of Rwanda owes Ingabire Victoire over Rwf 60 millions for having unjustly put her in prison. He cannot, because that money must be paid to the last copper, must come from the taxpayer’s wallet, and all because of an autocratic, liberticide, undemocratic rotten system that calls him the father.
Your excellency, may be it is time to soften the tone, to fly lower and to open up the political space. Isn’t one of the Commonwealth of Nations’ values? I am a Laureate of the Commonwealth of Learning. Without that, you and I can agree on your lack of moral authority to talk about democracry let alone human rights. Ubugabo butisubiraho bubyara ububwa.