Rusesabagina Release and its Meaning to Rwandans

While still celebrating the release of Paul Rusesabagina, the ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero, interpretations differ on Kagame’s sudden change of mind on the issue. From “no one can bully us to release Rusesabagina” to “we are people who like moving forward” only in less than 3 months, observers read a volume, the majority seeing in it a clear sign of the decaying influence of a dictatorship. Here are some of the points of view.

One should fathom the nature of the Kagame’s regime: a government that lacks people’s endorsement and which, instead, seeks foreign support to feel legitimate. As such, elections are rigged, citizens are muzzled, people abandoned on their own while foreigners are welcome and cheered in Kigali, of course provided they turn a blind eye on people’s suffering. To feel a little safe, Kagame has sacrificed everything asked to him in exchange of personal praises and silence from international community. This kind of bargaining is in a very deadly disequilibrium as Kagame offers too much for just too little and too insignificant. From 2009, Rwanda recruited an American PR firm to create a “good” image of the dictatorial regime. One of section of the contract was to organize conferences and international meetings in which Kagame was the speaker. It is under this component that Kagame delivered lectures in renown American universities to disseminate his venomous lies about leadership. Instead of investing monies in human capital at home, Kagame paid huge sums to foreign oligarchies.

As a result, Kagame was able to get away with murders and war crimes committed in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) until Rusesabagina came in. It is generally believed that Kigali experienced unprecedented pressure coming from the American administration. In his calculations, Kagame had expected to hold Rusesabagina prisoner forever as long as the latter was not apprehended on American soil. This explains why Kigali authorities feld so confident up to the level of publicly admitting their role in the kidnapping. The strong involvement of the American government infuriated Kagame who understood that he is no longer the little darling he used to be.

Being among the biggest manipulators, Kagame tried all he could to make the world forget this ordeal. It is believed that the invasion of the DRC by the M23 supported by Rwanda could have played out, but instead, it worsened the situation. That is when Kagame realized his smallness and tried to negotiate to save his image in front of acolytes who really believed that Rusesabagina was condemned to die in Kigali prison. In fact, a 68 year-old person would not survive 25 years in Rwanda’s prisons. Impossible!


Kagame wanted the US government to change their reading of Rwanda’s history by starting using the terms “genocide against the tutsi” instead of the “Rwandan genocide“. It did not work out. As a matter of fact, whoever says rwandan genocide is pointing at numerous thousands of Hutu killed mostly by the RPF, and whose official commemoration is banned in Rwanda. In the end what Kagame got from the “negotiations” is the statement that the US is going to support the peaceful political change in Rwanda, and that Rusesabagina would leave it up to Rwandans to find a peaceful way to sort out their political matters. Political change in Rwanda, be it peaceful or violent is not what Kagame wishes. He repeated on different occasions that those who are waiting for changes would die before their dreams come through. You can imagine the amplitude of damages the US statement caused in his stomach.

Rusesabagina is home among his friends and surrounded by his family members. The lesson that should be learnt is that whoever wants to fight dictatorship has a green light to do so. As a matter of facts, building a world free of dictatorship is a moral duty of each good citizen. That is the message the US government sent out. Ready, Set, Go!




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