Rwanda: An impossible PR for a definitely fading image

All along his political leadership, the Rwandan president Paul Kagame has effectively and persistently played alternatively both the ugly and good characters of his personality to please two different audiences: national and international. And each time after serious political crisis which taint internationally the image of his RPF regime, he has usually gone out strongly on a charm tour outside the country, telling his external sponsors that they got it wrong. And he has in most occasions succeeded so far.

In 2010, when he registered a Stalinist presidential score of 93% of votes, after imprisoning his political opponents, some being assassinated including journalists, he used PR companies working for him and media outlets to brighten again his image. It had been gravely darkened by the treatment his RPF government had reserved to political parties of the opposition, PDP-Imanzi, FDU-Inkingi, PS-Imberakuri and Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, prior to the presidential elections held on August 9th of that year.

On October 1st of the same year, the UN Mapping report accusing Kagame’s army of having committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of a genocide nature if they could be brought in front of a court was published. At that occasion, he blackmailed the UN telling the international institution that if they didn’t remove such allegations from that report he would withdraw his peacekeepers from Darfur and Haiti. Though he couldn’t get the document changed, he has succeeded in getting it forgotten in UN offices’ draws in New York. That is an apparent positive outcome that Ba-Ki Moon must have promised to the Rwandan president after publication of the report when he visited promptly Kigali following Kagame’s threats.

In 2012, Paul Kagame must have hoped to count as usual on his remaining unconditional sponsors to continue play his ugly character by supporting the Congolese M23 rebel movement, but he lamentably failed in his expectations. Not only has he alienated further his external supporters, but he has also extremely weakened his political position against his opposition which is always looking for such miscalculations to make gains on the ground.

In the last couple of years, stating that Kagame’s country has lost almost all the credentials it had managed to gain across the world, lying and manipulating certain truths of its recent history, and blackmailing the international community for its failure in 1994 genocide, would be an understatement. At the trend of how things to come evolves, the country built on “thousand” lies with reference to its thousand hills, may soon face some sad reality.

Probably in a last effort to make shine again an image so tarnished by repeated crimes of different nature inside the country and beyond, but particularly in Democratic Republic of Congo, the Rwandan president is using Rwanda Day in Boston [US], event scheduled to run from September 21 to 22, 2012 to invigorate how the country is today perceived internationally after so many evidence of its meddling in DRC for so long. The image of Rwanda has however been so irremediably damaged that what is being attempted is like an impossible public relations of a definitely fading picture.

The Rising Continent