Last week I, read two markedly contrasting articles on Dr Christopher Kayumba following his arrest on charges of rape and other sexual misconduct. They were so different that they left one wondering whether they were about the same person. One was an article by Albert Rudatsimburwa in The New Times on Saturday September 10. It was a profile of the man that detailed his past actions and behaviour, and for this quoted the testimony of neighbours, colleagues and friends. It narrated his many run-ins with law enforcement and a host of other information, generally of misdeed, that the Rwandan public already knows. The article presents the man as he is, an intelligent person with high academic credentials, but also a deeply flawed and troubled individual. His actions seem to be a cry for help, not those of a man who can offer any. The other was a story by AFP, the French news agency, on Friday September 9 that was carried by all Nation Media Group newspapers in East Africa. It is more a projection of bias than a presentation of fact (except that of his arrest) that strives to present the man as they want the readers to see him. And so they create an alternative profile for him. According to the story, Kayumba is a well-known opposition figure. That is where they place the emphasis, not on the charges of sex offences he faces. The inference they want to draw is clear: he has been arrested for his political opposition to the government. The criminal element is only a secondary detail. It is only after slanting the story in this fashion that what he is alleged to have committed and the reason of his arrest is stated: “coercion and sexual misconduct reported by several people”. But by then their objective has been achieved: to draw attention away from a suspected criminal offence to imagined political persecution. In this fake profile, they do not tell us what makes Kayumba a prominent political figure, because outside university circles and beyond readers of English language newspapers, he is largely unknown among Rwandans. His only known claim to fame (notoriety really) is his intemperate behaviour (that’s putting it mildly), inability to control his urges, and being a public nuisance and menace to good order. I suppose you could call that opposition, you know, acting contrary to generally accepted norms. Or maybe it is because he has formed a political party to which he is probably the only member, or that he owns a newspaper that failed to make it in print and is struggling online. This is not the last we shall hear of Dr Kayumba’s supposed political clout. If his case goes to trial as it must, the media will be in attendance and in their manner add a few descriptive words to his profile. Expect to hear: fierce critic of Kagame, fearless defender of human rights, tireless fighter for democracy, and hero. Before long, there will be a scramble by the usual suspects to adopt him and manage his PR. This story is typical of the so-called international media reporting on Rwanda and indeed Africa. They create an alternative reality and facts and narrative to fit. They make up and raise the profile of insignificant people as long as they claim to be opposed to the government and then present them as a viable alternative to it. Mere claim is apparently sufficient for adoption. In this invented universe, where normal values are inverted, breaking the law and flouting normal conventions becomes a virtue to be lauded and is synonymous with political opposition. Conversely, adherence to accepted norms is a terrible vice from which we must be saved, or is evidence of a docile population that has been cowed into acquiescence. This, of course, is a load of rubbish. The truth is that it shows a negative attitude towards people, like Rwandans, that refuse to seek anybody’s permission for the choices they make for their progress and even existence. You see, they are such a wretched lot that they should be grateful for such kindness as selecting leaders for them. These kind people know what and who is good for them. It does not matter if those they recommend and whose virtues they extol are drunks and rapists, murderers and thieves, or genocidaires and terrorists. To imagine that such as these are serious political players fit to govern is extremely disrespectful, actually insulting. The media and those for whom it speaks is not alone in this insulting business. A certain neighbour, famous for intrigue and scheming, has been doing just that for the past twenty-seven years. First, they wanted a barely literate trader to be president of this great republic. They were laughed at as deranged or jokers of some sort. They did not take kindly to the rejection of their choice, which they saw as a snub. Instead, it seems to have spurred them on to mount a destabilisation campaign and a more frantic search for pliable leaders, ready to be poodle, that has led them into a shameless alliance with genocidaires and terrorists. Not surprisingly, their online propaganda publications have already adopted Kayumba as a political dissident facing persecution. What will they say when he is convicted for sex crimes he is charged with? Probably shut up and pretend they never knew the man. The same will happen to those building his false profile. They will drop him down as if he were a revolting object. Not a fate one would wish for a compatriot, but sadly, one he has chosen. The views expressed in this article are of the writer.