President Kagame in Toronto

September 27 -28, 2013: President Kagame in Toronto or the promise of a distastefully hot weekend


By: Emmanuel Hakizimana, Ph.D.-Montreal and

Gallican Gasana-Toronto                                                                                                                     

While the Syrian civil war remains on the front pages of the major world newspapers, the war in the African Great Lakes region continues unabated with its death toll since twenty years, and Western media outlets keep scrambling for hot stories, unmoved by the African bloodletting. Taking advantage of that media passiveness, the perpetrators of the foolish massive human slaughter, which has already taken more than eight million lives, are touring Western capitals and cities with utmost delight, while their handy-men go on rampage, slaughtering entire families. That is what the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is looking forward to. According to an announcement by the Embassy of Rwanda in Canada, the President of Rwanda is to visit Toronto on September 27 -28, 2013.

The outrageous nature of that announcement has prompted concerned citizens of African Great lakes region, from Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and Tanzania to send letters to the Government of Canada, to express their protest against the visit. They petitioned for President Kagame not to be allowed entry on Canadian territory, in consideration of charges which have been leveled against him, his fiery speeches and other serious violations of human rights violations by his regime. They also drew the attention of Canadian authorities on insecurity risks that visit could trigger, as President Kagame is known to travel with handy-men whose task is to hunt down members of the opposition. In addition to their protest letters, concerned citizen are also getting ready to face the possible arrival of President Kagame, and they have vowed to converge to Toronto from all over Canada and America, in order to stage a mammoth protest against the man who is regarded as the world greatest criminal still in power.

In fact, President Kagame’s criminal record is incomparably extensive. Following are just a few cases. 

United Nations Experts reports have brought out in the open, the fact that Rwanda has been supporting M23 Congolese rebels who have been ransacking Eastern Congo (DRC), by supplying men, weapons and ammunitions. These rebels have committed crimes against humanity, systematic gang rapes and forceful recruitment of children, to be used as soldiers. Evidence of the involvement of President Paul Kagame’s army in those crimes has led several donor countries, including UK, the USA, and Germany, the Netherland and others, limit their financial assistance to Rwanda.

The Rwandan Army, with General Kagame as commander in chief, stands accused by the UN Mapping Report, of the most serious human rights violations committed between 1993 and 2003 on the territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The involved crimes relate to serious violation of human rights and international humanitarian law against the people of Congo and Rwandan Hutu refugees all along the mentioned period, and the report states that these crimes would amount to genocide if evidence thereof were to be presented before a competent jurisdiction. 

President Paul Kagame’s regime is also regularly denounced by major human rights and freedom of expression organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, for victimization, imprisonment and murder of members of political opposition and independent journalists. The former vice chairman of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, André Kagwa Rwisereka, was beheaded a few months in the runoff of the presidential elections in August 2010. There is also the murder of former journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage and the imprisonment of Ms Ingabire Victoire, Mr. Deogratias Mushayidi and Attorney Bernard Ntaganda, who are respectively Chairpersons of political parties FDU Inkingi, PDP Imanzi and PS Imberakuri.

To complete his criminal records, President Paul Kagame also sends hit squads abroad, tasked with killing opposition leaders and independent journalists who have fled the country. Journalist Charles Ingabire was gunned down in Uganda, but an attempt on the life of General Kayumba Nyamwasa has failed in South Africa, as were the attempts by the same hit squads to kill Jonathan Musonera and René Mugenzi in Great Britain.

President Kagame has gone public, announcing his intention to extend his criminal activities to neighboring Tanzania. In a fiery speech before hundreds of youths on June 30, 2013, he declared that he would “lie in wait for President Kikwete to hit him at the right moment”. This threat was directed at the Tanzanian President, following his advice, during the 21st summit meeting of the African Union on May 26 in Addis Ababa, to get the incumbent governments of countries involved in the Eastern Congolese crisis, to sit down and negotiate with their rebel forces. According to President Kikwete, if Kinshasa government can negotiate with M23 rebels, Kigali and Kampala should also engage rebels opposed to their regimes.

For all these motives, thousands of concerned citizens who have immigrated to North America from Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, are mobilizing for a mammoth protest against President Kagame in Toronto in case Canada would grant him an entry visa. 

That being the case,  it remains difficult to understand why Canada would, as a principle, deport immigrants suspected of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity or even persons who are accused of having made hate speeches, and then turn around and welcome on its territory a person, head of state or otherwise. Especially one whose criminal records are second to none throughout world history.

Edited by: Jennifer Fierberg

Related posts