USA: Rwandan Dictator Paul Kagame Avoided by US Government Leaders During National Prayer Breakfast

Paul Kagame and Wife Jeannette in Kigali in February 8, 2023

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On Thursday February 1, 2024, US President Joe Biden and top U.S. leaders gathered in Washington DC, for the National Prayer Breakfast. The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event attended by leaders from the government institutions, including the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Judiciary system, and the government. The event was organized by the nonprofit National Prayer Breakfast Foundation and is open to all faiths. As the event was happening,  a new drama involving the Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame unfolded and has fueled unanswered questions and speculations about his waning relevance  as a political leader and about the power struggles in Rwanda.  His speech has raised  concerns about whether he is the president of an oligarchy of Tutsis or the president of a unified and reconciled nation that includes Hutus, Tutsis, and Twas.

When the National Prayer Breakfast  event  attended by US President Joe Biden was happening, the Rwandan  controversial dictator General Paul Kagame was being hosted by the leaders of a state close to Washington, DC.

Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame had travelled to the US to attend the National Prayer Breakfast Day. According to sources close to him, he had been expecting to be invited to join Joe Biden at the National Prayer Breakfast ceremony. He was not. In fact he was not invited and his presence in the US did not go as predicted. 

National Prayer Breakfast: President Joe Biden Call for  the Need for Peace and Humanity

Among those who attended  with President Joe Biden were  House Speaker Mike Johnson,  House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, House Representatives Tracey Mann and Frank Mrva, and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and  Marsha Blackburn,
the Chair of the National Prayer Breakfast and Foundation, Senator Heidi Heitkamp., Secretary  Peter Buttigieg, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, and state senators.
Italian Musician tenor Andrea Bocelli performed and  Senate Chaplain Barry Black led the sermon.

In his speech, President Joe Biden focused on the wars going on around the World, especially in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza and called for the need for peace and humanity.  
"I also see the trauma, the death, and destruction in Israel and Gaza.  And I understand that the pain and passion felt by so many here in America and around the world. ... The challenge of our times reminds us of our responsibility as a nation to help each other [deliver] just and lasting peace — deliver it abroad and here at home.

This is a calling to stand against hate, to remember the very idea of America.  We’re all created equal.  We’re unique in the world — the only nation based on an idea — “We hold these truths to be self-evident” — we’re all created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives.  I have long believed we have to look at each other even in our most challenging times not as enemies but as fellow Americans.

Scripture tells us, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”  I believe that’s our collective calling today.My prayer, my hope is we continue to believe our best days are ahead of us — that as a nation we continue to believe in honesty, decency, dignity, and respect.  We see each other not as enemies but as fellow human beings, each made in the image of God, each precious in his sight."

General Paul Kagame's  Reputation Tarnished and His Presence Unwanted by World Leaders.

According to the sources, when planning the trip to the USA,  Paul Kagame's lobbyists promised the active interactions with US  leaders, especially US President Joe Biden and members of the US Government and top US Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. But according to AfroAmerica Network sources that closely followed the trip and the dynamics around the African leader, things did not go smoothly. One major problem: the presence of the Rwandan Dictator Paul Kagame in the US is unwelcome. Hence, the lobbyists working with Rwandan Embassy in Washington, DC.  changed the plan and had to organize an event with the leaders of the state of Virginia.

The plan included inviting the leaders and their delegates who have been supporting Paul Kagame or may not be aware of the humanitarian and war issues Paul Kagame has caused in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. He was allowed to speak and to interact with these leaders. 
 Over the last years, General Paul Kagame has continued to face hurdles. In recent years, General Paul Kagame once a American favorite dictator, lost favor starting with former President Donald Trump and his administration and continuing under the current US President Joe Biden (see  Rome, Italy: Rwandan Dictator Paul Kagame Avoided by Key World Leaders During 2021 G20 Summit     and also:  USA-Africa: US-Africa Summit Highlights - People Ties, Global Governance, Democracy, Health, Food Security, Trade and Technology, and Rwanda's Paul Kagame Challenging the US Over the Case of Paul Rusesabagina).


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General Paul Kagame Admits to Systematic Massacres and War Crimes Committed by Rwandan Patriotic Army Under His Leadership

Now, once again, Paul Kagame has hit a wall. Not received by US President Joe Biden, he attended the National Prayer Breakfast event organized  by  Virginia leaders, and held in Washington Hilton hotel, Washington, D.C. where he delivered a speech. 
The event was attended by Kansas Former US Rep Jim Slattery and  Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. 

In his speech,  Paul finally admitted that the  rebel troops he was in charge of in 1990 Rwandan civil war committed war crimes and crimes of genocide against other ethnic groups at the unseen scale. 

However, throughout the speech he only mentioned the Tutsi ethnic group,  and ignored the qualification of other ethnic groups, known as Hutu and Twa. The omission of other ethnic groups in the speech, while only focusing  on the Tutsi, appeared to shock the audience. Some among the participants  told AfroAmerica Network that they could not understand why  the president of a nation in which the three ethnic groups  live together and  who was calling them to build a unified and reconciled nation, ignored the other two ethnic groups .

Strangely, and a first in his statements over 30 years of rule, he  openly  admitted that mass graves all around the country were full of victims from the unmentioned other ethnic groups, Hutu and Twa, massacred by the rebel army under his command.
He said : "The desire for retribution was huge. As the commander, to keep my own emotions in check, I had to order my officers, at a certain point, to stop showing me the mass graves. We could not allow people to take justice into their own hands. We had to break the cycle of violence, and convert the urge for vengeance into a national program of unity and reconciliation."

Over the last 30 years, despite confirmation of these large scale massacres in the reports from several experts and independent organizations, the massacres of Hutu,  Twa  and Tutsi ethnic groups by the Rwandan Patriotic Army under the command of Paul Kagame have been ignored. These reports include the 2010  UN Mapping Report and the  Gersony Report.

The Gersony Report included the 1994 findings made by a team under Robert Gersony, working under contract to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The report identified systematic massacres of civilians from Hutus, Tutsis and Twa ethnic group  by the Rwandan Patriotic Front rebels during and after their military victory in the 1990-1994 Rwanda Civil war. The findings were suppressed by the United Nations and involved governments, and its existence was denied.

The 2010 UN Mapping Report documents the systematic massacres and acts of genocide committed in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)  by the Rwandan army and its created, armed and funded militias.

What is Next for General Paul Kagame? 

Now the question is: after this drama in Washington, DC, USA what is next for Paul Kagame? Sources close to Paul Kagame's office pointed to his visibly declining assurance  and noticeable growing frustration combined with health issues  and wonder what may follow for Rwanda, in general.

There are already speculations that Paul Kagame is preparing his exit from power,  and looking for a replacement who would protect the interests of his family, despite his public claim that he would be ready to rule the country until year 2050. 

Some Rwandan human rights activists and political leaders are also wondering what is next for Rwanda ( see example here:  Disappointed, But Still Standing: Are Rwandans Building their Nation on a Rock or Sinking Sand?).

Meanwhile, during his trip to Washington DC, a ceremony to honor the heroes was held in Rwanda. Those designated as heroes are controversial figures in the Rwandan history marked by servitude, systematic ethnic massacres, interethnic wars, and many more tragedies involving intra and inter ethnic bloody conflicts.

Two controversial Hutu leaders, labelled as house servants or glorified administrative assistants given their irrelevance in the Rwandan government,  were leading the ceremonies on the behalf of Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame: the Prime Minister, Édouard Ngirente,  also known within his closest friends circle as "No Way Out" and the Defense Minister Juvenal Marizamunda known within his closest inner circle as "Hide Your Tears into Your Belly".

 According to AfroAmerica Network sources, the nicknames of Édouard Ngirente  and  Juvenal Marizamunda come from the desperate situation of serving a regime as house slaves without any other safe option.

©2024 AfroAmerica Network



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