Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thoughtful article on Kagame as a benign dictator

Rachel Strohm made me aware of a well-written and thoughtful article on Kagame as a benign dictator by Jack Chapman in which two central claims are made to support his conclusion that:
"Kagame is a dictator. But as long as he maintains stability and delivers reasonably equitable development, he is the sort of dictator Rwanda needs."
First argument is that Kagame has a vision:
"Kagame does not seem a man motivated by the selfish desires of previous African leaders. Rather he presents a vision for a future Rwanda, inspired by the Asian Tigers and by the collective pride that is fostered by a flourishing nation."
The second argument is that
"disintegration of the RPF, or the rise of the extremist faction, would see the end of a coalition between moderates and hardliners within the RPF and that this in turn would probably rip open Rwanda’s social wounds, potentially stirring up the simmering ethnic animosity."
The problem Jack Chaplan tried to solve is stated in the beginning of his article :
"There are few figures more divisive on the continent today."
The question is off course weather Jack Chaplan's article offers a viable solution to a polarized debate on Kagame. Sure his article, like the one he quote's by Phil Clark, rises far above the level of unfounded slander as spread by Peter Guest in the guardian July 15th 2010 about Victoire Ingabire:
"This year, there have been figures who have sought to highlight the old ethnic divisions that once tore Rwanda apart and exploit them for political gain."
The New US Ambassador to Rwanda recently said:
"Peace and security in the eastern Congo remain elusive... and we believe that Rwanda continues to have a critical and proactive role to play in stabilizing the region"
However, stability in the region is based on a correct analysis of the past, present and future. It's precisely in that department that especially American and English journalists and policymakers have made very serious mistakes.

Those who polarize the debate on Rwanda are sitting behind large desks in places like Washington DC, New York and London. Instead of correcting Paul Kagame and his regime when they instrumentalized the genocide to distort the role the French played before, during and after the genocide, anglosaxon journalists and policymakers have gradually become accomplices by spreading and promoting the propaganda of the regime. Paul Quiles, who presided over the French parliamentary mission that investigated the role France played before, during and after the genocide, wrote to UN Secretary General in 2008:
"the multiplication of contradictory versions of the events that took place in the great lakes region since 1990 leads to confusion and heated polemics"
Paul Quiles does admit that France did make mistakes while training the Rwandan army at the time, but at the same time he firmly states that that never means France is responsable for the genocide. Paul Quiles explains why and how. Mitterand, allthough helping the Rwandan army to defend itself against the RPF/Ugandan attack, also obliged President Juvenal Habyarimana to open up political space in Rwanda and conclude the Arusha treaty. Both sides abused this process. On the side of the Hutu's hate radio against tutsi's, the RPF by breaking the Arusha treaty.

Concerning the responsability of all parties before, during and after the Rwandan genocide, Paul Quiles analysis is clear and simple and is the best basis to reach a consensus on how to deal with the polarized debate on Rwanda, Congo and the great lakes region in general.

Cynically speaking Victoire Ingabire, unlike Paul Kagame, does not have bargaining power to reach some Arusha treaty.

Victoire Ingabire is not backed by a rebel army from Uganda, but by a rag-tag band of bloggers which donors and state department think they can ignore.

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