Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Paul Kagame dealing with the "PR machine melt down"

Since over a year Kagame's regime has been facing a PR Fukushima on an unprecedented scale.

Previously, for over a decade, his pr machine was one of the most effective in the world. The combination of :
 seemed to work fine, until bloggers discovered why we need Kagame. Dealing with bloggers in the longtail of the global public sphere demands adaptation of an otherwise successfull approach.

It's great to see that Paul Kagame is aware of these major developments and increasingly aware of the fact that we collectively will be forever students of new media. However, I got a piece of advice for "Mister PR":

Yesterday he was doing a twitter session (good start I would say) on the BBC. However DjiDén Maninka asked a very simple question as to what his response to the Mapping report is:
@DjiDenManinka @paulkagame Que dites-vous à ceux qui vous accusent d'être un des principaux responsables des massacres à l'est du congo ?
Paul Kagame's reaction (an empty outburst and personal attack) shows that truth or compassion with the survivors of these mass killings are not part of his preoccupations, but also from a digital PR perspective he could do better:
@DjiDenManinka. U shd ask the Congolese,belgians n international(UN) any issues to do with Congo! Or ask yourslf?
Personal attacks, propaganda and evasion have consistenly been the main ingredients of Paul Kagame's Pr Machine. Just look at this interview with Stephen Sackur. If this is the kind of reaction he gives to people outside of Rwanda, it's easy to understand what happens to journalists asking "wrong questions" inside Rwanda.

However, in an era of digital PR the regime in Kigali clearly has to reinvent a more convincing answer to these hard questions, that's the only conclusion I can come up with. Off course I loved to add some fuel to the excitement:
@paulkagame answer to the question by @DjiDenManinka on the mapping report shows this criminal should be in prison in The Hague

Adaptation to new media hurts, no doubt, it's a steep learning curve, even for "mister PR":
@coloredopinions. If the Hague was put there for any meaningful thing u shd be the one to be/go there and the lot like u!!!

@coloredopinions. U r as tired,recycled,old n idle-minded as that mapping report u talk about...!
Isn't that reassuring for all of us who struggle to understand how to use new media effectively on a daily basis?

To sum up my advice to Paul Kagame and the digital team he is assembling, let me quote Winston Wolf:

"I'm not here to say please, I'm here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess you'd better fucking do it and do it quick. I'm here to help - if my help's not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen. "


Anonymous said...

A PR Fukushima?! Dear Nkunda, this is quite insensitive and truly thoughtless given the horror and sheer number of the victims of the latest quake/tsunami in Japan. I am asking you to delete the uninspiring expression. I agree with the overall analysis. JP

Vincent Harris said...

Nkunda won't be able to do that, he is not the author of the post.

I'm affraid the word Fukushima and meltdown will become synonymous in the near future. Just as Tsunami has become a synonymous for avalanche. No insensetivity or thoughtlessness intended.

Would be nice to read what part of my analysis you agree with.