By Erasme Rugemintwaza
This Sunday, September 5, 2021, the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame was a guest of the Rwandan Broadcasting Agency (RBA). On the Cameras and microphones of RBA by Cléophas Barore and Luckie Lukumbasi, Paul Kagame held a press conference, interrupted by two breaks. In this press conference Paul Kagame spoke about everything, coronavirus, Pegasus, his image, his military interventionism, diplomacy in a word of politics but also his unwavering fanaticism for the Arsenal.
- About the coronavirus
In the beginning, Paul Kagame spoke about the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to causing damage and especially to intrigue the whole world and especially the scientific world. Paul Kagame invoked the problem of vaccine nationalism which divided the North and South too much where poor countries struggled with preventive measures, without vaccines in front of rich countries which had huge stocks of vaccines. In the search for the solution, Rwanda will have a modern firm manufacturing vaccines and drugs against the coronavirus and in the long run vaccines against malaria and tuberculosis. The fight to have this firm was difficult, but Rwanda presented strengths of eligibility following its impeccable preventive conduct in the fight against covid-19. The firm is at the same time a commercial investment as well as a health one.
- Espionage and Pegasus
On the Pegasus saga in which Rwanda was at the centre with the accusation of spying on President Cyril Ramaphosa, President Paul Kagame insisted that “espionage is older than humanity“, and that it is not only there prerogative of States but also the multinational companies do spying. Paul Kagame said that even these journalists got the information they published through spying. But he insisted on saying that quite simply normal things always get complicated just only when the name of Rwanda is evocated. Rwanda, like other countries, does spy to collect information and in this field of intelligence, tools and ways are widely diverse. Paul Kagame does not understand how Pegasus’ question can always come up when the answer has already been given for a very long time. He repeats it: “The answer is no with a capital letter”, “We don’t have it and therefore we don’t use it, how can we use what we don’t have?” Those who accuse Rwanda of using Pegasus want to harm him.
- The image of Rwanda and its president Paul Kagame
Regarding the image of Rwanda and especially its image which are persistently presented as those of the authoritarian regime and man, as it was even written in a book by Michela Wrong, Kagame starts from afar by saying that everything that is said has its origin in genocide. The great powers that always want to shirk their role in the genocide and even in the post-genocide are still snooping around for bad things to say about Rwanda and him. These Northern powers still believe they have better values than the poor countries of the South; thus the North still wants to impose models to follow to the South, without even wanting to discuss them. Of course, these powers have always set up the authorities and will continue to do so. But history has shown them that it doesn’t always work. Currently, these powers support and give free space to people who are thieves. Rwanda’s post-genocide first Minister of Foreign Affairs, who lives in France, slipped away with the money he was given to reopen embassies. He stole the country but nowadays, he became the Democratic champion for the West. So the West found a friend, in a thief. And for the others, each of them can tell you the other’s dark story
About Michela Wrong, Paul Kagame simply wanted to point out that the woman wrote a book to simply dedicate it to her dead friend Karegeya Patrick (whom Kagame did not pronounce the name), with the sponsor of some of these powers that are behind her. She did all she could to even block out opposing visions and ideas from what she wrote.
- About Rusesabagina
As for Rusesabagina, Paul Kagame made a point of saying that he saw this man once and only once when Rusesabagina was running the Diplomat Hotel and that it was Twagiramungu Faustin who introduced the man to him. To say then that they have been friends, these are rubbish; because even during the presentation of his film, Rusesabagina did not come to Rwanda. Paul Kagame points out that Rusesabagina is not being prosecuted for his film which should be fictional film, but for his role in the terrorist acts he himself proudly said to be his. Paul Kagame says things turned bad when politics entered it, otherwise there was nothing to envy of the movie player’s celebrity. Because, if it was for his film he would have been apprehended for a very long time. “Those who make a lot of noise about his case do not even want to know who his co-defendants are. They think he has immunity. And yet these people seem to mean, this one, whatever he’s done, don’t touch him. These noises are absolutely nothing, everything has been explained. This man will be fairly tried by a court of law”, said Paul Kagame
For diplomacy, Paul Kagame wished to underline that the strengthening of good neighbourly relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and the diplomatic revival with Burundi, have priority because whatever the case the good neighbourliness is essential. The problem remains with Uganda mistreating ordinary Rwandan citizens while Ugandans living in Rwanda have no problem. It seems that there is a political line drawn against Rwanda. Ugandan politics have come to the point of considering that all Ugandan problems are the seeds of Rwanda. It would seem that even covid-19 would be attributed to Rwanda, if that hadn’t been the global problem! Uganda has come to this level of building roads that bypass Rwanda into Burundi. After all, peaceful cohabitation is a good thing and no matter what, one day or another Uganda will end the situation which also divides many families.
- Military interventionism
Regarding the multiple military fronts on which Rwanda finds itself, Paul Kagame made a point of explaining his motto “African solutions to African problems“. For the Central African Republic, Rwanda is doubly present there, through MONUSCA and through bilateral cooperation. The latter was sealed to make up for the slowness of the intervention and even the mandate of the UN peacekeepers: Bangui was about to fall into the hands of the rebels. The Rwandan intervention was of great help to protect Bangui and even the elections went well.
As for Mozambique, the terrorist group claims to be “the army of the caliphate”, but in this group there are indeed Rwandans, Ugandans, Congolese, Burundians and Tanzanians. Which means that the problem is more than Mozambican, it is a regional problem. And in everyday life when a neighbour has a house on fire, you have to help him put out the fire. And Rwanda is in Mozambique alongside the other SDC countries, in good coordination. After the province of Cabo Delgado, the Rwandan contingent will extend its operations to another province. But there are great successes, the population is gradually returning; if necessary the mission can be extended, and have other objectives such as capacity building. But Rwanda is not alone there. And above all, it is not for anyone’s account, it is to help the Mozambican brothers in this province with a lot of resources that are being exploited by Majors like Total, but these resources must first benefit the community of Mozambican population. However, to resolve such problems of insurgency and rebellion, good governance must be established, like Rwandan example, and this also concerns Ethiopia and the Tigray.
- Kagame and Arsenal
To end the press conference Paul Kagame stressed that covid-19 has taken away almost everything that gives joy in life, because still living under the regime of barrier measures is frustrating than ever. Paul Kagame is been a great fan of England’s Arsenal team more than ever. He has been a fan of this club for over thirty years, and not only very recently he posted a message on his account tweeting about the poor performance of the team but he is used to giving advice, to the team, and for the similar reasons, he tweeted in 2011. It is his favourite team, which he will not leave, because he does not know how to leave a friend in difficulty. In addition, the team has a contract with Rwanda which aims to increase Rwanda’s tourist attractiveness by writing “Visit Rwanda” on their jerseys. Next to Arsenal, there is the PSG, the team several times champion of the French League 1, with which Rwanda has concluded a contract almost similar to that of Arsenal, with the same advertisement of “Visit Rwanda”. Paul Kagame says he’s happy with the stars of the team that Lionel Messie recently joined
Briefly these are the main orientations of the press conference of Paul Kagame, who seemed terribly tired, with two pauses, and some answers seemed to come from a deep hesitation.The questions of the Rwandans in the sites chosen by the RBA were mostly thanks except the problem of the price of Bugarama rice, to which Kagame gave a very evasive answer and contrary to the philosophy of regional integration. The farmer’s question about the price of rice being higher than imported rice is itself a repeated criticism of the “Made in Rwanda” policy. The prices of Rwandan products, like this rice from Bugarama, are more expensive than imported products. Paul Kagame preached the policies of protectionism and preventing the importation of rice on the pretext of poor quality. This risks creating serious diplomatic matters. And quite simply, the products cannot have the same price, because they are not of the same quality; in addition, even one industry produces products of different qualities. The press conference was open to the world and major media such as CNN, RFI, Jeune Afrique, Reuters participated.