Category Archives: Politics

Kagame, is “a Brutal Dictator, and One of the West’s Best Friends” – Anjan Sundaram

His grip on power is nearly unassailable. Since becoming president over two decades ago, he has extended constitutional term limits, shut down the free press and clamped down on dissent. Reporters have been driven into exile, even killed; opposition figures have been imprisoned or found dead. His country has been reduced to tyranny.

But this dictator isn’t a pariah, like Vladimir Putin of Russia or Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Instead, he’s one of the West’s best and most reliable friends: Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda. Since coming to power in 1994, Mr. Kagame has won his way into the West’s good graces. He’s been invited to speak — on human rights, no less — at universities such as Harvard, Yale and Oxford, and praised by prominent political leaders including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and the former U.N. general secretary Ban Ki-moon.

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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.

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On March 24th, 2023; the government of Rwanda through its Minisiter of Justice, informed the public of the upcoming release of political prisoners sentenced over charges related to military attacks by the rebel movement FLN (Forces de Libération Nationale), the armed wing of the MRCD (Mouvement Rwandais pour le Changement Démocratique). Paul Rusesabagina is said to be among those to be released. While the government of Rwanda is advancing the presidential grace a the sole reason of this release, diffferent observers think that foreign governments might have played a key role in brokering the deal to set free Rusesabagina. Here is what is known on this case.

In August 2020, Paul Rusesabagina, a belgian citizen and US permanent resident boarded a plane he believed was heading to Bujumbura, Burundi, where he was expected to deliver key speeches in conferences on peace and reconciliation. It is believed that he was drugged, and slept to wake up at Kigali International airport where he was arrested immediately. He was held incommunicado for about ten days before he was presented to media. The Government of Rwanda kept changing versions of what really happened but all brought to conclude that the illegal rendition was masterminded, financed and operated on orders from Paul Kagame himself. Rusesabagina was accused to have formed armed group that aimed at dethrowing Paul Kagame. Along with dozens of former FLN’s combatants, including the movement’s Spokesperson illegally arrested and deported from the Comoros, Rusesabagina faced the court action under what was seen as sham trial. He was sentenced to 25 years.

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Paul Rusesabagina of Hotel Rwanda fame to be freed from prison


Imprisoned political activist Paul Rusesabagina, whose story inspired the Oscar-nominated film Hotel Rwanda, will be released from his incarceration as early as Saturday morning, senior Rwandan and Qatari officials have told Semafor.

At the conclusion of a key cabinet meeting on Friday, Rwanda’s Minister of Justice, Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, plans to announce that Rusesabagina and twenty others sentenced with him on terrorism-related charges will have their prison terms commuted. Their underlying convictions will remain intact, according to two senior Rwanda government officials.

“Should any of these individuals return to the criminal activities for which they were originally charged, the sentence will be automatically reimposed,” one official said.

Rusesabagina, a high-profile critic of Rwadan President Paul Kagame, became a global celebrity after Hollywood memorialized his efforts to save more than 1000 Hutus and Tutsis during during his country’s 1994 genocide. But in 2021 he was sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges for his role leading the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change, the dissident coalition whose militant wing Rwandan authorities accused of violent attacks resulting in civilian deaths.

Rusesabagina denied responsibility for the killings and in 2022 the U.S. State Department said he was “wrongly detained.” According to officials familiar with negotiations, that framing “evolved” in talks as the U.S. sought to acknowledge Rwandan concerns about the underlying security and terrorism issues involved in the case.

Rwandan officials plan to release a formal letter from Rusesabagina requesting a pardon from Kagame. In it, he expresses “regret for any connection” between his political work at the Movement for Democratic Change and acts of violence by its armed wing, as well as for “not taking more care to ensure that members” of his opposition coalition “fully adhered to the principles of non-violence in which I fully and deeply believe.”

Rusesabagina also writes that he will withdraw from Rwandan politics if released and “spend the remainder of my days in the United States in quiet reflection.” According to sources, the letter was prepared by Rusesabagina with assistance of his own legal counsels in the United States and Rwanda.

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While details are still unfolding, both Qatar and the United States provided crucial help to secure Rusesabagina’s release. According to my sources, the Biden administration opened a channel from the White House that took a different approach to negotiations than previous U.S. government efforts, while the Emir of Qatar helped facilitate discussions about a “humanitarian” release. The countries reached a crucial compromise that opened the door to a deal by agreeing that Rwanda would not be expected to roll back the convictions of Rusesabagina and his associates.

A senior Rwanda government official told me that “the close personal relationship between Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Rwanda President Paul Kagame played a key role in this equation, as did the very constructive tone from the White House seeking a reset in Rwanda-U.S. relations.”

While Semafor has not yet communicated with the Rusesabagina family, Qatari sources believe that after a short time in Kigali at the Qatar Embassy, the activist will be transported to Doha where his family may join him. And after some transitionary period, he will eventually travel to and live in the United States.

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  • Kagame’s views on this issue have evolved dramatically in a matter of months. Speaking on stage at a Semafor event in December, the president suggested he had no plans to release Rusesabagina and half-joked that it would take a foreign “invasion” to free him. “We’ve made it clear there isn’t anyone going to come from anywhere to bully us,” he said at the time.
  • When I interviewed Kagame again this month at the Global Security Forum in Doha, he told me his government had begun discussions about freeing Rusesabagina, and struck a much softer tone, saying Rwandans “forgive the unforgivable” and “don’t get stuck with our past.”

Steve Clemons






On behalf of members of ISHEMA Party and on behalf of all Rwandans, we would like to welcome the United States (US) Secretary of State, Hon Antony BLINKEN to the country of a thousand hills, Rwanda.

On this occasion, it is imperative to raise some important issues faced by our people because of lack of good governance, violations of human rights, lack of an open political space, which, if not well managed are driving the country and the whole region into a chaotic end. The American government has played a major role in supporting the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) despite its liberticide and warmongering nature in the Great Lakes region. While the RPF has a heavy responsibility, its partners, and donors such as the US cannot escape the public judgement. To confront these ills and correct what is popularly seen as mistakes of the past, a call to act is sent to the American People as well as to all the international community.

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Ibyifuzo bya KAGAME ni urukozasoni ku gihugu cy’u Rwanda, Turabyanze.

Mu minsi ishize Perezida Paul KAGAME yagiranye ikiganiro na Televiziyo y’Abafaransa izwi nka France24. Icyari kigamijwe kwari ukubaza Kagame ku bijyanye n’intambara u Rwanda ruherutse kongera gutangiza rugaba ibitero ku gihugu cya Repubulika iharanira Demokarasi ya Kongo. Koko rero, n’ubwo ibyo bitero byitirirwa umutwe wa M23, ibimenyetso byose byerekana ko ari u Rwanda rwateye Kongo, ndetse aya makuru agashimangirwa n’amashusho afatwa na Satelite z’Abanyamerika ndetse na Drones z’ingabo z’umuryango w’abibumbye muri Kongo, MONUSCO. Na Kagame ntiyigeze abihakana kandi ibi ntibyatuguranye. Igisa n’icyatunguye benshi ni ukongera kumva Kagame avuga ko ashobora kongera kwiyamamaza imyaka 20! Reka turebere hamwe uburyo ibi byifuzo ari urukozasoni ku gihugu n’abenegihugu.

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Portrait: Paul Kagame, les ombres du président rwandais

Qui est Paul Kagame ? Comment a-t-il transformé un pays sorti exsangue d’un génocide fratricide ? “The Times” revient sur le parcours du président rwandais alors que son pays et le Royaume-Uni ont signé un accord de sous-traitance du droit d’asile “off-shore”.

Traduit de l’anglais

Le president rwandais Paul Kagame à Nairobi, au Kenya, le 8 avril 2022.
Le president rwandais Paul Kagame à Nairobi, au Kenya, le 8 avril 2022. TONY KARUMBA / AFP

Envoyer au Rwanda, dont l’histoire récente est l’une des plus sanglantes du monde, des migrants vulnérables qui avaient pour objectif d’entamer une nouvelle vie au Royaume-Uni ? L’idée peut sembler à tout le moins saugrenue.

Ce n’est certainement pas le genre d’accueil auquel s’attendent les Afghans qui ont fui Kaboul quand leur pays est tombé aux mains des talibans l’année dernière. Et s’il faut en croire l’expérience – car des accords semblables de traitement des demandes d’asile ont été conclus par le passé entre le Rwanda et Israël et le Danemark – ces réfugiés ne resteront pas longtemps sur le sol rwandais.

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Hotel Rwanda: why does Kagame want to take in Britain’s asylum seekers?

If President Paul Kagame has been tracking the furore over Priti Patel’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, he’s been doing it on the hoof. Kagame moves constantly these days: the news broke while he was en route to Barbados after a visit to Jamaica. In the past two months he has been to Congo-Brazzaville, Kenya (twice), Zambia, Germany (twice), Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Mauritania, Senegal and Belgium.

How the president of one of Africa’s poorest nations can afford all this travelling is a puzzle, and the fact that his Gulfstream jet is supplied by Crystal Ventures, his Rwandan Patriotic Front’s monopolistic investment arm, raises interesting budgetary questions. In a country where checks on the executive have been whittled away, the dividing line between a ruling party’s business interests and the presidential expense account is distinctly blurred.

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