Kagame: Rwandans are better off fighting injustice
President Paul Kagame has called on Rwandans and Africans to denounce the unfairness that has characterized international justice where it is used as a tool to command the direction African countries should take.
The President made the remarks while speaking at the launch of Rwanda’s 2012-13 Judicial Year, held at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kigali, yesterday.
Freezing aid, suspending aid is injustice. It does not make us compliant, it makes us defiant
President Kagame noted that powerful and developed countries use aid and international justice to bully the poor and less developed African countries, blurring the line between justice and politics..
“It’s a carrot and stick approach towards African countries,” Kagame said. “One day its aid, the next day it’s justice.”
He pointed out that justice is applied in line with the interests of the powerful countries and not based on the crimes committed.
Citing the example of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the President pointed out that the ongoing crisis in that country is a century old and hails back to when the Belgium administration that had colonized the Congo, extended their rule to Rwanda and Burundi.
“...yet they turn around and ask Rwanda why there are Rwandophones in Congo. Those who took them there should be the ones to answer this question.”
“Rwandaphones are persecuted every day, these people who give Human Rights lessons keep quiet and condone what’s going on then turn around and blame Rwanda,” Kagame explained.
Rwanda has been continuously accused of fuelling the conflict in the DRC. A UN Group of Experts leaked a controversial report, containing fabricated evidence, alleging that Rwanda is supporting M23 rebels who mutinied from the national army earlier this year.
Following the leaked report, certain donor countries froze aid to Rwanda, with some suggesting that for the aid to be disbursed, Rwanda should denounce or condemn the M23 rebels.
“If I must denounce anyone, it will be those who led to existence of the group. I would denounce the government that does not respect or work for its people, I would denounce the international community that seems blind to what is happening before I denounce anybody else,” Kagame said.
The President added that the M23, the Government of Congo and the international community are all ideologically bankrupt because they cannot properly define a simple problem that they see there (in DRC)and, for over a decade, keep running around and blaming Rwanda.
“Why not the courage to blame themselves? What is the blackmail about?” President Kagame wondered, noting that it’s wrong if justice does not cover what is happening in the hands of the DRC government, even when crimes are committed in broad day light.
He observed that it is injustice when people involved in recruiting child soldiers are punished yet those who are killing children, killing their own people or inciting others to kill are ignored.
The President wondered why there are crimes committed in various parts of Congo, rapes in Kinshasa and killings reported in other parts of the DRC, but all blame is centred on M23.
“Rwandans, Africans are better off standing up to the bully attitude…Even with threats of aid, the attitude of bullies must be challenged,” Kagame said.
The President added that he was not sure if those who gave aid to Rwanda wanted the country to develop or if they used it to control and keep the country begging.
“There is no country in this world that receives aid and accounts for it better than Rwanda. There is none,” Kagame said.
He added that while Rwanda appreciates and acknowledges the role of donor support in the development of the country, it does not justify using aid as a tool of control.
“Freezing aid, suspending aid is injustice. It does not make us compliant, it makes us defiant,” Kagame said, adding that he is not the kind of leader who would be made to comply by means of injustice to the people or the country.
“This injustice cannot and should not be tolerated. If Rwandans at any moment feel that I am not defending their interests as I should – please let me know and I will step down immediately,” Kagame said.
“We are doing our best to take the country forward, unite and give our people a decent living.”
The President called on the Rwandan people to maintain the course of progress and development.
“Let us continue doing our best and let’s not be provoked. Let’s remain balanced on our feet. Let’s keep mastering our art of getting the most of the very little we have in our hands.”