By Erasme Rugemintwaza
“Our lives are as valuable as those of Belgians and Americans.”
These are some of the statements of President Paul Kagame, who strongly condemned the attitude of the superpowers and some powerful organizations, which constantly pressure Rwanda to release Paul Rusesabagina.
Paul Kagame made the remarks while sitting in Kigali, where, on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, he attended by vision conference, the annual meeting of the Global Security Forum, which was held in Doha, Qatar.
During this meeting, President Paul Kagame spoke with Steven Craig Clemons, journalist working for The Hill, one of the main media houses in the United States. The journalist asked the President what he had to say about the people who have relentilessly called for the release of Paul Rusesabagina. The journalist made a point of stressing that some say that what happened to the man who became famous following the film “Hotel Rwanda” was a personal rivalry between the “two Pauls”, Paul Kagame and Paul Rusesabagina.
President Paul Kagame responded by saying that Paul Rusesabagina’s case is transparent and those who demand his release should be aware that the lives of Rwandans are as important as those of Belgians and Americans.
President Kagame said he sympathizes with those who innocently do not understand this story and really want to learn from it; but that there are many other people who are not interested in understanding the matter except to say and show that Rusesabagina deserves to be released. He says briefly that this story illustrates what is happening in this world, difficult to understand but which happens by the way.
Rusesabagina’s story, Kagame said, has two sides, one of which is based on the movie “Hotel Rwanda”. The film also seems , remarks Kagame, to tell a fictional story but in the end transformed Rusesabagina, into a hero of Rwanda.
Another face, Kagame said, was built on the first one because so many people created Rusesabagina based on the film as a miracle man, and he too, relying on his fame, either personally or under the instigation of those who made him famous, created and led an armed group which launched an attack on Rwanda. .
“The factions changed names, split into factions, but he supported them to the point of becoming the leader of one of them,” Kagame said. He used to travel to the African Great Lakes region, once in DRC, Zambia and other parts of the region.”
President Kagame said that Rusesabagina certainly had Belgian nationality and the permit to reside in the United States. “Armed groups that he has supported, sponsored, have often carried out attacks in our country from Burundi and from the DRC. Here [Rusesabagina] has given proof, there are some, he does not deny it.”
Paul Kagame said those who support Rusesabagina, have never found any evidence to prove that the way Rwanda used to arrest him, is illegal. “They have not found the evidence to prove that the way to bring Rusesabagina to Rwanda is illegal,” he said
President Kagame said there were other co-accused from Rusesabagina, who testified against each other, but in particular all 20 accused Rusesabagina. “The people who made him famous are doing their best to get him released, regardless of his innocence, his actions or what his co-defendants say.”
President Kagame declared that it seemed to him that the “Powerful” thought that he deserved to be released because quite simply he is a Belgian citizen and has the green card to reside in the United States. Here, the president explained that in the pursuit of Rusesabagina, the United States and Belgium are the two countries that have collaborated to disrupt the evidence of the allegations against him. “For a long time, we have been exchanging information with the two countries, the Belgian justice and that of the United States, and we have provided them each with evidence, for almost a decade. They cannot say that they do not know , but it’s like they’re saying stop everything, switch off, forget everything, we want this man be released. ”
“These organizations, these countries are powerful but I think we have to keep our people safe and we will do it legally and transparently, then they will keep talking about the story of Hollywood; but when it comes to our lives, our lives are worth as it is for the Belgians and the Americans “, pursuit Kagame.
In the interview, Paul Kagame said that all criticism of Rwanda is based on the fact that Rwanda was able to achieve something, and wondered what it would be if the country had not made progress. “If we hadn’t made any progress, if we hadn’t achieved anything, what would their critics have relied on today? We can be criticized for making progress, and perhaps for not standing idly. ”
President Kagame said that Rwandans themselves respond to criticism against Rwanda, and these people see and read it.
In conclusion, we can say that what is clear in this interview is that Kagame has not said anything new about what he has always stood for since he kidnapped Rusesabagina. Kagame has as always claimed that Rusesabagina’s arrest is legal and that the international community has not been able to prove otherwise. In short, an unconvincing disjointed interview whose objective is not to convince but rather to worship one’s ego and vilify the superpowers!