Most authoritarian leaders come across as caring and loving individuals who are keen to defend the defenceless. Behind this ‘sheep’s’ skin there is normally a ‘wolf’ waiting for the right opportunity to pounce. No dictator in modern history can match President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in playing the roles of; victim, defender, saviour, nationalist, great statesman, global leader, liar, villain and aggressor, simultaneously. He has perfected the art of PR (public relations) to a level that even the experts in deciphering illusions are left helpless to his disingenuousness. Some seasoned politicians, academicians, philanthropist, clergy, youth, people of good will and Rwandan nationalist have fallen prey to Kagame’s insidious misinformation.
Those who remember General Idi Amin Dada, of Uganda, will recall how he managed to entrap some of the most educated Ugandans and other unsuspecting individuals in his early years to his deceit. He came across as a nationalist, expelled Indians in the national interest, stood up to the west, made Uganda a member of Islamic League of Nations, championed his flagship ‘keep your city clean operation’ (equivalent of Umuganda in Rwanda), declared economic war and invaded neighbours. He infamously joked that he would make Tanzanian President Mualimu Julius Nyerere (RIP) his lover at the height of his plans to invade Karagwe, in North West Tanzania. This has similiriaties to Pual Kagame’s threats of ‘hitting’ President Kikwete at an appropriate time. Amin bought Embassy buildings in most big cities around the world to house Uganda’s missions abroad. He also bought planes for the then Uganda Airlines, the national carrier, and boosted of a strong and well equipped army. One cannot forget his building of a ‘terror organisation’ in what was called State Research Bureau. To some Ugandans and Africans he was a hero while to many others he was a villain. I still wonder how history would have portrayed General Amin had he invested in PR like General Kagame of Rwanda has done.
President Paul Kagame’s junta in Kigali has perfected General Amin’s beguiling ways by investing heavily in public relations (PR) machinery. This has helped the Kagame junta to sustain their deceit and obscure the reality on the ground in Rwanda and its neighbouring region. It has even managed to entrap well respected academicians like those in, Tufts University and Stanford Graduate School of Business to buy into Paul Kagame’s, the man, masked ‘wolf’. George Bernard Shaw couldn’t have been more right when he stated that, “Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience”. These academicians and others who have fall prey to Kagame’s beguiling ways are no wiser too. Just as they can’t help being fooled by visual illusions, they have fallen for the ‘decision’ illusions of Kagame’s junta PR has managed to show their mind. I strongly believe that sooner or later some of these academicians will live to regret their decisions to ignore ‘numerous cries’ from Rwandans, Congolese and others in Great Lakes region who are real victims of their disingenuous ‘guest’. Most of you remember the most recent case of London School of Economics academicians who were full of praise for Col Gadaffi’s junta. You may also remember how dictator Suharto of Indonesia was praised while annihilation of East Timorese was taking place. President Suharto’s Indonesia that was leading in the rise of the ‘East Tigers’ was left behind at the expense of the silent Singapore and South Korea who though authoritarian to some degree were not brutal to its people. Indonesia is still grappling with the after effect of Suharto’s dictatorship and poor leadership despite the many awards that various universities in the US awarded him.
Like General Idi Amin, General Kagame has assembled the most brutal state security apparatus in Africa at the moment, Rwanda’s DMI. Led by General Jack Nziza, a Mufumbira from Kisoro in Uganda, it has built a terror network that uses most of the brutal tactics of Amin’s State Research Bureau, which was led by Kakwas from Congo. Where it has surpassed state research is its abuse of international institutions like the Geneva Convention that accords diplomatic immunity to key Embassy Staff to export its terror beyond its, Rwanda’s, borders. Paul Kagame does also play the ‘nationalist’ card that most dictators, like General Amin, Hitler of Germany, Pinochet of Chile and Suharto of Indonesia, played to appear state minded and doing things in the interest of the state. Unlike General Amin, Kagame has amassed a lot of personal wealth at the expense of other hard working Rwandans and he continues to grab properties of Rwandans perceived to be contesting his style of leadership. He has privatised even the national treasures like King Faisal Hospital and many other organisations to benefit his cohorts at the expense of Rwanda’s citizenry. Whereas Amin did not kill relatives of victims or grab their property, Kagame’s junta does kill or impoverish even those thought to sympathise, let alone having blood relation, with the victims of the wrath.
The comparison would not be complete with explaining why these two dictators managed to create the illusion of being nationalist and sometimes even masquerade as pan-Africanist. During Amin’s era there was resentment on Indians like there is resentment of immigrants currently in Europe. General Amin to divert attention for his killing of prominent Ugandans like Ben Kiwanuka, Kalimozo (the Makerere Vice Chancellor at the time) and many others, he expelled Indians in what was dubbed ‘Mafuta Mingi Operation’ and part of his mis-guided so called ‘Economic War’. In Rwanda as legal proceedings were starting to take shape in what had triggered the Genocide, General Kagame expelled the French in a bid to divert attention and play the nationalist card as most survivors and international observers had been beguiled into believing that the French had a role to play in planning the 1994 Tutsi Genocide. Here you can see similarities in these dictators’ ways of diverting attention. In all their speeches you will always find a line of standing up to the colonialists and trying to justify the archaic argument that it is colonialist that have led to our state of affair. I always challenge those who buy into this absurd argument with the words of Joe Hill (1915), “Don’t mourn, Organise.” My argument is based on the premise that our leaders like Paul Kagame and Idi Amin divert our energies for scrutinising their misdeeds to an archaic and misleading fact of history, in the process disorganising us. America was colonised too, but it is now the most powerful in the world. The Americans organised and set up institutions that are enduring and were stronger than individuals. If it was not the case may be they would be having George Bush Senior as president, his frailty notwithstanding. After all the Algerian President Elect or Magabe of Zimbambwe are good examples of frail and ‘fixture’ presidents. I do of course deliberately avoid the mention of the contentious issue of Rwanda’s ‘TWO TERM LIMIT’ of presidency enshrined in the supreme institution, Constitution of Rwanda, of the land. ‘Habwirwa benshi hakunva beneyo’. Is it the colonialist flouting that Rwandan institution?
I am sure most the readers who are of a sober mind will appreciate my reason for concluding that President Paul Kagame and his junta has our ‘smarted’ General Idi Amin’s junta in perfecting the art of preying on people’s minds by using PR. One can argue that Kagame has been able to out ‘smart’ Amin for mainly four reasons. The information age we live in has provided a vehicle that gave Kagame an advantage. The continued support from the west, in terms of Billions of Dollars, has enabled Kagame to hire big names and firms to do his PR unlike Amin who relied on individuals like Bob Astles. The guilt by big powers to take RPF’s advice to not intervene early in the Genocide and the inaction of key actors at the time like President Bill Clinton and Tony Blair (who as opposition leader should have pushed for Britain’s intervention) have allowed the support to take a long time. The last reason is better viewed as academic. The west and major global institutions like world bank, IMF and United Nations are under pressure to provide a case(s) of success in Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs). These same institutions messed up the original object of the Washington Convention that was aimed at poverty reduction. They now have no choice but to go into ‘unholy’ marriages with deluded leaders just to save their faces and jobs for the mess in MDGs as next year, the target date, fast approaches. Paul Kagame with his ‘charming’ offensive PR was a natural perfect candidate for this ‘unholy’ marriage. His ‘Economic War’, the Amin style is to grab land from peasants, privatise national treasures, grab properties from real or perceived opposition and ‘sell Genocide’ in the name of economic success, or miracle. What Economic ‘success’ with national wealth in the hands of very few Kagame’s cohorts and little purchasing power locally, as result of the poor RPF policies, to stimulate demand? This reminds of United Kingdoms ‘boom and bust’ of Tony Blair’s, Kagame’s advisor, era. I think Tony has done a good job of advising on ‘spin’ and authoritarianism. Remember the Iraq ‘dodgy’ dossier? Don’t you see similarities with Kagame’s current accusations of RNC and continued allegations about FDLR? As the Paul Kagame candle dwindles, we wait and see how history will judge and portray the scale of delusion inflicted by Paul Kagame the man and his PR machine when the curtains finally close.
However the balance sheet of the human losses inflicted by Kagame’s junta in my opinion is far, far greater that General Amin inflicted on Ugandans.
Source: Inyenyeri News