Rwanda-France relationship: A report as a gift!

By Arnold Gakuba

It was on Saturday, April 10, 2021, when Professor Vincent Duclert presented a voluminous report of Rwanda-France 1994 history to the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. This report has made Paul Kagame to be happy and show a piece of smile – he showed Professor Vincent Duclert a friendship sign – as it was observed in the video published by the Rwandan Television. What’s the content of book? And what impressed the President Paul Kagame and his entourage, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta?

Since 1994, Rwanda-France political relationship has been plagued by allegations that France did not tell suitable words regarding Rwandan genocide to Paul Kagame (PFR) until the government called upon all Rwandans to condemn publically France and the French citizens. However, things have changed. The report released and submitted to Paul Kagame has pleased him and his regime. It has become the catalyst of political relationship resumption between Rwanda and France.  

In 2018, the French President Emmanuel Macron put in place a Commission headed by Professor Vincent Duclert mandated to historically analyze the role of the French government in the Rwandan genocide; which report is now out. Though, it seems that this report has not been done in a scientific way but in a political way aiming to please Paul Kagame and his regime. The goal has been achieved.  

According to the above mentioned report, the French government ignored the fact that it helped the regime of Juvénal Habyarimana during genocide. Based on the report, Professor Vincent Duclert said that he is unfortunate to hear some people criticizing the concept of “Genocide against the Tutsi.” We are reminded that this was object of insult and anger against some diplomats while trying to send supportive messages during the genocide remembrance period. The reason is very simple; Paul Kagame’s regime always put in place a strategy to use in order to gain the international community. Therefore, “genocide against the Tutsi” is on the top today. The report confirms that the genocide perpetrated in Rwanda was against the Tutsi. It is against those who argue that there has been a double genocide or that there were other Rwandans who were victims of the genocide apart from the Tutsi. This pleased so much Paul Kagame and his henchmen. President Emmanuel Macron, helped by Professor Vincent Duclert ended up knowing what Paul Kagame needs to reestablish the diplomatic relationship with Kigali after a long period – 27 years of strained relationship.

Professor Duclert also states that there was a genocide plan in the years of 1990-1991-1992-1993; and deliberately denies the RPF’s role in the Rwandan genocide in that period but praises the RPF army for stopping the genocide. He says “The RPF has taught Europe and the world. This is the first time in the world that there has been a military plan of stopping genocide.” These assertions raise some important questions: Did the RPF invade Rwanda in 1990 when the genocide had begun and came to stop it? If so, how did RPF know that genocide was being planned? Wouldn’t you find that the genocide was planned by RPF from then? Surprisingly, Professor Vincent contradicts himself by saying, “It was when the RPF took power and formed a government on July 7, 1994 that it announced its intention to stop the genocide.” This would mean that before, RPF had no plan to stop genocide.

Continuing his intention of praising Paul Kagame (RPF), Professor Duclert says “it has never been in history of the world the military which has the aim of stopping genocide” to mean that only RPF has done so. In fact, we have never seen anyone in the history of the world who knows how to delight Paul Kagame like Professor Vincent Duclert. Hence, he deliberately forgot that RPF’s plan to invade Rwanda in 1990 was not to stop the genocide, but to come to power – through whatever means, according to many testimonies we have – and that RPF had achieved its goal.

The Rwanda Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta, one of Paul Kagame’s top cherished people these days – as none can be Paul Kagame’s admired person forever – praised the report of Professor Duclert saying that it builds the two-states relationship as if it is truthful. We wonder if the truth is what Paul Kagame and RPF want. Rwandans proverb says “the truth passes through the fire and is not burnt“. Would really be the same to the ‘truth’ of Paul Kagame and his RPF? Dr. Vincent Biruta confuses the “truth” saying that Rwanda-France relationship is based on writing and speaking the same language on the same issue; as also Rwanda is about to release its report similar to the one presented to Paul Kagame. In history, the truth has nothing to do with the fact that people can just agree on what they write or say for their own interests.

All in all, it is after a long period of time that Rwanda and France are not in a good political and diplomatic relationship. Let us hope that now, the political connection between the two countries has been established. It seems even that the French President Emmanuel Macron may visit Rwanda in May 2021. Will he come to Kigali to receive the report announced by Dr. Vincent Biruta which is about to be published as they have submitted theirs to Paul Kagame? Or, is there something else hidden behind that visit?

Let us wait and see!