In a unusually lengthy article published on March 15, 2012, Bloomberg News describes the Rwandan Dictator Paul Kagame as a Business Reformer who does not hesitate to brutally repress and jail his opponents.
The article, that may be found here, although briefly mentions the economic achievements in Rwanda over the last decade, emphasizes the brutal repression going on in Rwanda against real or supposed political opposition leaders and innocent civilians suspected of not supporting the regime, including students.
The article opens on and continues to point out the criticism of the brutal repression by the United States Government and non government humanitarian organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
From the article, it is suggested that while the economy revolves around five commodities: Beer, phone, bank, coffee and tea, repression touches all areas of the society. The Rwandan government security and intelligence services use all possible means to brutally repress, intimidate and crack down on potential opposition, the preferred tools being night raids, homes ransacked, media intimidation, jail and kidnapping.
The article concludes rather bizarrely, with Mauro De Lorenzo, a development-policy specialist with the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, arguing that “economic development and a government’s attitude to human rights shouldn’t be linked.” and that “Countries seem to be able to make progress on one without making progress on the other and they seem to be able to do that for a fairly long time.”
One may get that democracy and freedom are long term enterprises, but in that “fairly long time”, as the US Ambassador Susan Rice (see here and here) put it while criticizing the political repression in Rwanda: “The uprising in Libya has already sent a powerful—excuse me—has already sent a message to leaders in Africa and beyond. It is that if we lose touch with our people, if we do not serve them as they deserve and address their needs, there will be consequences. Their grievances will accumulate – and no matter how much time passes, they can turn against you.”
Bloomberg News usually focuses on economic and financial markets news. Hence, the unusual article with heavy political tone appears to be yet again another sign of the West worrying about the consequences of political repression and potential instability in Rwanda and in the African Great Lakes Region. As we underlined in our November 24, 2011 article: The West and South Africa Working on Succession Plan in Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda, the West is more and more taking interest in the Great Lakes Region and may not be willing to wait until the people turn violently against their tyrannical rulers.
©2012 AfroAmerica Network.