The New York-based Human Rights Watch, very recently has put out another report – which turns out to be just another of their hit jobs on Rwanda – with the sinister title “Join us or die”.
Reading through the thing, a stranger that has never stepped in Rwanda would be forgiven for thinking the country’s ruling party, the RPF, is the very devil itself.
You have to shake your head at what groups like HRW that enjoy total impunity, and whose top bosses are perpetually on some weird power trip, can do.
It has long been obvious one of HRW’s missions is to paint Rwanda, under the RPF administration, as an Orwellian society where “Big Brother” monitors each of our movements, and eavesdrops on our conversations everywhere – with very bad things supposedly happening to anyone the government deems “out of line”. (By the way, do not forget that this very HRW in 2017 claimed government was “summarily executing petty crimes suspects”, only for seven people that supposedly had been executed to turn up at a press conference, breathing and talking!)
According to HRW’s current report, now Rwandans abroad too allegedly are getting the Big Brother treatment. Human Rights Watch wants the world to know that Kigali keeps track of, or surveils literary thousands of Rwandans in the Diaspora. Including in Western countries like the United Kingdom and various other European states, in the US and Canada, in Australia, and several African countries. I don’t think even Vladimir Putin has ever been accused of having such capabilities!
Also, those are easily debunkable lies. Consider the claim that “the (Rwandan) authorities have created an environment where many Rwandans abroad, even those living thousands of miles away from Rwanda, practice self-censorship, refrain from engaging in legitimate political activism, and live in fear of traveling, being attacked, or seeing their relatives in Rwanda being attacked.
How do they for instance square this with the constant diatribes of old man Faustin Twagiramungu, against the government of Rwanda; against the RPF, against the president of Rwanda? How is this someone that is “under surveillance”, or that “censors himself”, or that is scared his (very many) relatives living in Rwanda could be attacked in retaliation for his words?
Another case in point is the Mbonyumutwa family. These are the offspring of none other than Dominic Mbonyumutwa, one of the founders of “Hutu power” genocidal politics in Rwanda.
Two of his children, Gustave and Ruhumuza Mbonyumutwa, live in Belgian where they are very active in Diaspora politics of smears (of course) against Kagame and his government – the people that deposed the extremist “Hutu Power” politics. The Mbonyumutwa brothers and others like them are very vocal on social media, saying whatever they want about the Rwandan government, its leadership, or its institutions.
But even as they do all that, their sister Maryse Mbonyumutwa is happily living in Rwanda; a high-profile individual running a top end apparel business, in between jet-setting to London, Paris, and everywhere all over Africa.
Strangely, no one in Kigali is threatening her, seizing her bank accounts, keeping her under house arrest, or any other of the things HRW claims.
I guess one of the great privileges for rich country organizations like HRW is that they will publish absolutely any fabrications they want about countries like Rwanda, because where they come from no one will subject them to scrutiny.
Anyone that wants to be an objective critic of Rwanda will agree the RPF indeed has its flaws, and shortcomings. No government in history has ever been perfect. Yet the RPF has, with the most meagre resources at its disposal, brought about a transformation of Rwandan society that’s scarcely believable. This is no hyperbole, as anyone that saw Rwanda in 94 knows.
One would be a great liar if they said they expected nothing but civil strife, upheaval, and permanent state failure in Rwanda. The most logical projection was that as a state we should still be subsisting on the alms of foreign NGOs.
But then, things took a completely different direction, with the country becoming an astounding development success story; one with some of the best indicators of social well-being in Africa. Perhaps this is one reason why there is so much tooth gnashing, rage, and hate by groups like HRW against Rwanda.
How dare these African blacks show such competence at running their own affairs! How dare they actually find solutions – that turn out to be successful too! – for their problems, without the involvement of the big, white bwanas in the West! How dare this Kagame have a mind of his own, he and his administration, and devise their own plans and actually succeed, leaving in the dust all the old tropes about how Africans can never be good at anything?
The other, most likely reason, is political. HRW has its own agenda about who should be running Rwanda.
As a very wise, very credible man wrote some years back: Human Rights Watch’s discourse on Rwanda has been viscerally hostile to the (RPF), which defeated the genocidal regime in 94. It is systematically biased in favor of letting unrepentant Hutu Power political forces back into Rwandan political life.
That is the truth.