Editor: Paul Kagame is a US asset in central Africa. He rules Rawanda, but has caused instability in the Congo as well.
An Open Letter to Paul Kagame
by David Himbara, Published on Medium, June 13, 2019
Dear General, you accomplished two objectives in your speech on corruption delivered at Abuja, Nigeria, on June 11, 2019. First, you flattered Nigerian leaders that they lead a model African nation — wealth side by side with mass poverty notwithstanding. Second, you shamelessly lied to your Nigerian hosts that in Rwanda you are Mr. Clean while your opponents fled Rwanda because they were corrupt. General Kagame, it’s a truism that politicians bend the truth. But in your case, the question is whether there is an element of truth in what you utter. Case in point is your Abuja speech on corruption.
Kagame flattered his hosts that Nigeria is a great achiever that makes Africa proud
”I wish to start by calling to mind the greatness of this nation. The diversity, creativity, and ambition of Nigerians represent Africa. The achievements of Nigeria’s sons and daughters, here at home and in your global diaspora, make our continent proud. Nigeria has always shown common cause with Africa’s progress and prosperity, and this does not go unnoticed. This country is truly the engine of Africa’s potential. This is how we see Nigeria. I hope you know that.”
General Kagame, if you had said that Nigeria has the potential to be great, that would have been truthful. Your statements were ill-informed, embarrassing, and clearly opportunistic designed to impress your hosts.
According to the World Bank, 53.5% of Nigerians are poor — defined as the population living on less than US$1.90 a day. With a population of 200 million, therefore, 107 million Nigerians are poor. Yet, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and the largest oil and gas producer on the continent .
The reason for enormous wealth side by side with mass poverty, as the eminent son of Nigeria, Chinua Achebe used to explain, is failure of leadership, social injustice, and corruption. Add to this mix the rise of Boko Haram, a jihadist terrorist organization that has caused havoc in northeastern Nigeria and beyond.
General Kagame, instead of uttering sycophantic phrases to your Nigerian hosts, a real African statesman would have encouraged them to lead Africa in fighting corruption since this was the topic being discussed. You could have also congratulated Nigerians in their current efforts to repatriate from foreign banks billions of dollars stolen by previous dictators. Nigeria has recently begun to recover some of the stolen assets — which is highly commendable.
Kagame’s description of corruption in Rwanda was a big lie
We were out in #Baltimore 7/15 with @baltoppa as part of @UNAC1 days of action for #HandsOffIran. Be on the lookout for presentations from our successful #antiwar webinar in solidarity with Iran, coming soon!