Rusesabagina’s Case Highlights Why West Must Value African Views 

Paul Rusesabagina talking to his lawyer in court

It was decided and well-planned long time ago in the West that long after Africa will have had independence, the West will still be Africa’s master. For a long time, most Africans knew very little if at all, about this sinister motive. But now finally Africa knows. Rwanda knows. Including knowing what we need to do to disentangle ourselves from the neocolonial trap. While it will take a lot more time to completely free the continent from the shackles, there is no doubting that Africa is on the right course to break loose.

In the struggle to gain total freedom from Western dominion, the continent has no better servant activist than its son from East Africa, Rwandan President Paul Kagame. He is so consumed by the selfless noble cause that most Rwandans have now gotten used to viewing him as a shared statesman. He soldiers on for every African in the knowledge that on their own, individual persons and countries stand no chance of winning the protracted fight against the mighty West. Besides the power of synergy being made formidable by collective effort, there is no point being free and well while the family next door remains under captivity. There can be no free country in a besieged region. With this in hindsight, you will appreciate why Rwandan President Paul Kagame keeps making statements as well as ask questions such as the following.

“Sure, I am calling for fair trial myself. So, it is not UK, US, or the European Union. No. I want to see a fair trial myself. Why do you think being fair belongs to Europe, or US or anybody else and not to us – why? This is how people, you see, end up being caught up in some of these useless things, and they end up being racist. It is like the only thing to be fair in Rwanda or in Africa, has to be supervised by Europe or US or some other place. No. Absolutely not.”

The President said this in an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 on the 17th of May, during his recent visit to Paris. Up against Marc Parelman of FRANCE 24 and Alexandra Brangeone of Radio France International – RFI, he was responding to the pair’s assertions that the United States, European Union and others have been deeply concerned about Paul Rusesabagina. They said these countries doubted whether he will get a fair trial in Rwandan courts of law, given the way he was arrested. After decisively dealing with the manner-of-arrest question by assuring the interviewing duo that there was absolutely nothing wrong tricking a criminal into arrest, they had followed up with the equally tickling probe below.

“But the US, EU and others have expressed their concern about him getting a fair trial. When they say this, they suspect that this is actually not the case because of the way he was tricked, and because they don’t think he will get a fair trial. You have to be concerned when you hear this.”

The exhilarating interview was a rare opportunity for a top African leader being allocated   enough time on one of the leading Western media platforms, with journalists interested in a fair exchange of information. Most others normally shamelessly come with a predetermined sinister agenda to put down the interviewee. That said, we still find ourselves with more unanswered basic questions, even after that thrilling marathon engagement. 

For example, do we know exactly what some of the views expressed by the West through their media mean in the context of Africa’s place in their minds and foreign policy? Case in point is how they stubbornly, or is it naively, for benefit of doubt’s sake, continue to press relentlessly hard against Government of Rwanda for the unconditional release of Paul Rusesabagina. How can it be so difficult for them to shift their attention, at least for a moment, from his role in the Hotel Rwanda film, to seriously focus on the criminal charges brought against him by courts of law in Kigali in relation to acts of terrorism committed against Rwandans in Rwanda? His hero’s status in their view notwithstanding, there are grave accusations against the man that only super pretenders would afford to ignore. 

Permit me to ask of the West a few questions. One, does the West’s stance on Rusesabagina mean that a person of his bloated profile and cultivated ties with the West should not be tried in an African country’s courts of law no matter the magnitude of criminal evidence against the suspect? Two, can’t the West realize that in the process of defending the politically, morally, and legally indefensible in their strategic interests, so-called, they are undermining with naked indifference the African governments’ effort to consolidate rule of law? 

Three, wouldn’t this rule of law drive if allowed to strongly take root, end up helping the continent stabilize and pacify itself in the long run without having to rely on Western resources for intervention? Four, does the West really assume they care for and love Africans more than their African governments, or it is a case of outright failure as humans to resist the temptation to arrogantly look down on the weak and inferior? Five, is the level of insensitivity on the West’s part to Africa’s call for dignified treatment that high to the extent that no matter how loud the cry, Africa should not expect rational response from the West?

Six, having finally agreed to heed the call for giving equal value to Black Lives, is it now time to initiate a sister movement to BLM in the name of African Views Matter? Mr. President Kagame Sir, Africa thirsts for more of your advocacy in even louder voice. And evidence available shows that efforts such as yours is paying off. Because it is beginning to look like the West will at one point soon come to terms with the uncomfortable truth that Africa now knows very well their motive and relent. As a strong ally, Rwanda being on top of a growing list of African nations who even know better, should provide some comfort to the West. That the fight will not escalate.

About the author: Kabagambe Rwiyemaho Ignatius is Head of Corporate Communications, University of Rwanda.

Twitter: @KabagambeI




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