The West is supporting Paul Kagame’s regime in Rwanda and today we had another of our mainstream United Kingdom news hacks, being very British as he gave his little lecture on morals, “arguing” that Britain should stop supporting the man in Kigali if he doesn’t reign in his mate Laurant Nkunda over the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.(1) Well, of course, they should and in doing so they would only be following the lead shown by the Dutch and the Swedes.(2) It would appear to make sense and without the extra money Kagame won’t be able to provide the material support for Nkunda to carry out his ethnic cleansing.
Nevertheless, the article by a certain Richard Dowden smacks of that type of naivity and lack of depth that the author can only think affects us all. For instance, here is his “balanced” view of Kagame, “Kagame, a visionary leader and a formidable man of action, is warmly welcomed in London and Washington. For them, at last, here was an African leader who spoke their language of progress and could deliver. Rwanda’s education and health systems are good.”(3) Right so we have got an African leader who speaks Britain and America’s “language of progress and he could (can) deliver” so what is the catch? Well, Richard comes up with the conclusion that “Kagame does not believe in too much democracy. Parliamentary elections last September were described by the EU observer team as lacking in transparency. There was “an absence of real political opposition”.(4) Yes Richard, who is the Director of the Royal African Society, has all the traits of a real investigative journalist here and he is in total in agreement with Stephen Kinzer, who writes, “Although he vigorously pursues his admirers in Western democracies, he allows less political space and press freedom at home than Robert Mugabe does in Zimbabwe.”(5) Nevertheless, while Mr Kagame is not exactly a big fan of democracy that wouldn’t really appear to be too much of a problem as far as Richard is concerned and his message is that good old “Blighty” should show some moral backbone until Kagame stops actively supporting Nkunda.
Now here is my opinion; Britain should not be supporting the regime in Kigali at all and Rwanda is a country that ‘Reporters without Borders’ rated 147th out of 169 countries when it came to freedom of the press in 2007,(6) it is a country where Human Rights Watch says deaths in police custody is a common occurance,(7) and it is a country, which even the Americans recognise as a place where “arbitrary arrests and acts of violence, torture and murders are committed by police.”(8)
The facts listed above would seem to suggest that the Americans and the British are all too aware of who they are dealing with. Nevertheless, Kagame is one of “our” men in Africa, as Amin, Obote, Mugabe and countless others once were and are “our” men. Moreover, like it or not, Nkunda is another one of those men. These are the men the United States and Britain hope will hand Central Africa’s mineral wealth to them on a plate and this is what this is all about. The fact that millions of Congolese have died and millions more will probably die during the plundering of their country is, at the end of the day, incidental as far as London and Washington are concerned.
3 see 1 ibid
The picture shows Paul Kagame and his mate, not the Tutsi one Nkunda, the Texan one
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