Home NewsNational The Guardian Newspaper’s Problem With The Truth On Rwanda Continues

The Guardian Newspaper’s Problem With The Truth On Rwanda Continues

by Vincent Gasana
1:51 pm

Footballer Luvumbu has been a talking point since disciplinary measures were taken on him for politicising the game.

The Guardian newspaper, based in London, is one of the world’s major newspapers. Newspapers matter, it is important to protect their journalistic integrity. For its own good therefore, the Guardian should henceforth cease writing about Rwanda. At least until such a time it remembers that as a newspaper, its role is not to campaign against the country, but to accurately inform about it.

Anyone with an interest in Rwanda, and who reads the Guardian with any regularity, will be familiar with the paper’s inexplicable policy of devoting valuable space, to indulge journalist Michela Wrong’s equally inexplicable anti Rwanda campaign. The latest article by another journalist, however, is even more bizarre. It attempts to force a link between a parting of ways, between a Congolese footballer, at one of Rwanda’s biggest football clubs, Rayon Sport, and the Rwanda-UK migration agreement.

“Rwanda’s sacking of footballers adds to fears over UK’s ‘immoral’ asylum seekers plan” the headline declares. So tenuous is the attempted link, it is a wonder they did not break something, bending over backwards to make it. Although something important does break, almost every time an article about Rwanda is published in the Guardian, another thread connecting to the regard the Guardian had earned snaps. It is a sad sound that is also a warning: do not trust whatever you read about Rwanda, in the Guardian newspaper.

Note the quotation mark on ‘immoral’, in the headline. Did the sub editors not consider putting the quotes on Rwanda, in the “Rwanda’s sacking…” too?

Whatever the reason behind the player’s contract termination, it was between him, his football club, and the country’s football federation, Ferwafa. It had nothing to do with Rwanda, unless you count the upset the player may have caused some fans, who can legitimately describe themselves as Rwanda.

The entire piece has absolutely nothing to do with the story it purports to report. What the Guardian did was to take an incident, and use it to write a story of its own making, bending and twisting whatever fact that needed to be twisted and bent, to fit that story.

And that has become the format for virtually everything the Guardian does on Rwanda. It does not inform the reader about Rwanda, it informs them about the impression of Rwanda the Guardian wants to create.

The story of the gesture made by the Congolese player deserves to be treated separately, being as it is, of more significance than the Guardian either realises, or chooses to acknowledge. Suffice to say that it is incendiary, state propaganda, sponsored by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government. And it is in any case, the kind of gesture that would attract disciplinary measures at any other club, and any federation, anywhere in the world

The Guardian tells us, quite accurately, that the Congolese national team had performed the gesture at the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations competition, implying that the gesture caused no controversy. The reverse is of course true, material accompanying the gesture, were banned by the tournament organisers, leading to a tantrum from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) political class, led volubly by the president, Felix Tshisekedi.

Equally economical with the truth, is the Guardian’s claim that the player’s contract was “severed.” Luvumbu was suspended for six months, a punishment with which he disagreed, and after a negotiation between him and his club, a mutual agreement to terminate the agreement was reached.

Like many Congolese who have made Rwanda home, the player could have chosen to remain in the country, but opted instead to return to the DRC. He was not “forced” to leave Rwanda. In fact, in spite of the sensitivity around the gesture, the Rwandan authorities were conspicuous by their complete silence on the issue.

This fact however, did not suit the Guardian’s story, and so had to be changed.

“But Rwanda’s reaction has been seen as overly defensive at a time when the east African state is increasingly linked to a brutal rebel group that is causing havoc in DRC” claimed the paper. Seen as overly defensive by whom? We are not told, and what reaction? Rwanda evinced no reaction, why attribute one to them?

Maybe so the paper could write that “the treatment of Luvumbu has raised questions about the UK government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.” The questions were apparently raised by the charity, ‘Freedom from Torture’, which issued a statement, that “this incident once again places a spotlight on the government’s ‘immoral’ plans to send refugees to Rwanda…”

Perhaps the charity is looking ahead, and wants to protect any of the asylum seekers who might become professional footballers, from a torturous six month suspension.

At least they need not worry about Luvumbu, he reportedly earned $50,000 from the DRC government, for performing the gesture. If he is lucky, the Guardian’s article might earn him a bonus, not a bad day’s work.





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