(L-R) Map of Rwanda of the time of RPF invasion, and the current map.
It has become a norm. Rwandans have no right to speak out. Somebody wrongs you and cynically asks you how it feels, and the only correct answer you have to provide is “I am alright”. Really? are you alright? Serious?
Somebody who survived killings in Byumba, Kabgayi, Kibeho, Kashusha, Nyabibwe, Mugunga, Itebero, Osso, Tingi tingi, Kisangani, Mbandaka…is asked if RPF killed Hutu refugees and the only right answer is “No, they helped me to come home”. Nobody can talk against the government led by the 21st century’s unbeatable dictator, Paul Kagame. In this country the freedom of speech has no space.
Rwanda is referred to as a country that has made tremendous economic development but something very integral is missing: freedom. Look at the picture below:
The puppy in the cage looks, and is healthy. He/she has a space to play and can see what is happening in all the four directions. But look at the size of the cage! This puppy gets all necessary treatments, morning, day and night. However, this puppy would like to be walked around and breathe fresh air. At Rwandan, this puppy is developed, just like Rwandans are said to be. The puppy is even better off since it does not have to worry about the future, but Rwandans must!
Sen’s theory of development.
Since 1999, nobody in academia, political and socioeconomic arena was able to convincingly challenge Sen’s Development as freedom. Sen asserts that the enhancement of freedom is the only acceptable way to evaluate human progress and that development depends on the free agency of the people. By bringing out this invaluable piece in the literature, Sen challenges the Singaporean model of development according to which denying political and civil rights is acceptable if it promotes economic development and the general wealth of the population (Sen, 1999:15). For Denis O’Hearn, it is rightfully put when we agree that we should approach political freedoms and civil rights not through the means of eventually achieving them (GDP growth) but as a direct good in their own right (O’Hearn, 2009).
In its most recent report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) gives us the state of things in Rwanda.
“Rwanda has made important economic and development gains, but the government has continued to impose tight restrictions on freedom of expression and association”.
But why does Kagame think nobody should open their mouth unless for teeth check up?
Paul Kagame (in front) was supported by westerners to secure a military victory in 1994
This man, a former officer of the National Resistance Army of Museveni, the leader of Tutsi rebellion (Rwandese Patriotic Front-RPF Inkotanyi) after Rwigema’s death, a man well known for his cruelty when he was serving as a senior intelligence officer in Uganda or even when he was hunting down Hutu from the north of Rwanda; a machiavellian guy who did not give a damn when he sacrificed his own people, Tutsi, as a price to achieve power via genocide; this man does not want to hear anybody talk about his war crimes and crimes against humanity. Whoever dares, is accused to promote genocide ideology or instigate hatred among the people or for making a threat to the national security.
Deo Mushayidi, a Tutsi and genocide survivor and the founder of Pacte Démocratique du Peuple (PDP-Imanzi), entered politics to tell the truth on how Kagame uses Tutsi and genocide for his own interests. He (D. Mushayidi) was kidnapped by Kagame’s secret services in Tanzania, brought to Rwanda and sentenced to life imprisonment. Ingabire Victoire Umuhoza, the president of Forces Démocratiques Unifiées (FDU-Inkingi) came to Rwanda to contest the presidential election. She reminded Kagame that Hutus who were killed should be remembered and those responsible brought to justice. She was sentenced to 15 year in prison.
Numerous other politicians, journalists and military men were either killed , jailed, or forced into exile because they tried to reason the strong man of Kigali, Paul Kagame. Some were hunted down and killed in exile, a recent example is the former spymaster, Colonel Patrick Karegeya killed in South Africa on last Saint Sylvester’s night.
Diverse views have warned that should Kagame fail to change his style, Rwanda could see itself in another cycle of tribal killings like two decades ago. These calls seem fruitless because Kagame feels too strong to be influenced by words.He has built a strong army inside and outside the country, he has befriended influential personalities in the world such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, he has forged cooperation with giant business people like Bill Gates and religious business such as Rick Warren. Above all, it is said that Kagame joined the Illuminati order, a secret organization that oppose religious influence over public life. The membership of this order has grown for centuries and is believed to include many leaders in the world, thus its ability to influence the global decision-making.
That is why Kagame despite all crimes he is accused of, remains unpunished and is given so many favors. One sound example is the dispatch of Rwandan soldiers in different peace keeping missions in Haiti, Liberia, Sudan, and recently, in the Central African Republic. Why would a psychologically fit person give such a consideration to a criminal regime? Two possible answers can go for this. Either the decision makers are not psychologically fit or they are criminals just like Kagame himself and they do not see anything wrong in what he is doing, or both.
This explains why Kagame remains untouched despite all his mischief in Rwanda and in Congo for decades, this is why in Rwanda people open their mouth only when the have to see the dentist for a check up.