There is a popular Kinyarwanda adage that goes, “a thief’s days stop at forty” to mean that a thief can hide or run away from justice for some time but cannot do it all the time. This wise adage could be catching up with Paul Rusesabagina’s politically driven ambitions. Indeed, early this September, another nail was driven into the coffin of his illusions.
Innocently relying on Rusesabagina’s usurped fame from the much talked about Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda,” that portrayed him as Rwanda’s Schindler” who allegedly saved over one thousand Tutsis during the 1994 Genocide, a well intentioned group of parishioners from Wheaton, Illinois invited him as a motivational speaker, at a fundraising they had organised for building a school in Rwanda.
The good willed people were however to know the truth about Rusesabagina, the so called hero cum conman. This is when Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, the head of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, also head of the Wheaton Church after the later separated from its mother Church had adopted homosexuality as a way of life, requested the church not to let Rusesabagina address the parishioners.
“Truly I am horrified that we could have such a negative impact without meaning to, I had no idea this was a controversial issue,” Pastor J. Martin Johnson had to acknowledge.
But how could he have known and understood from his remote standing point, the complexity of the Rwandan tragedy, while most of what he might have heard came from people such as Rusesabagina and his supporters.
The Rusesabaginas are people who have embarked on an unworthy journey of rewriting Rwanda’s history and spoiling uninformed peoples’ minds.
The good Pastor would find reasons to be truly “horrified” if he really knew who the man behind the film hero is.
He would also understand Archbishop Kolini’s intervention not to let a church under his responsibility give a speaking podium to a man who has been spreading negationist and revisionist ideas about the Genocide in Rwanda.
Archbishop Kolini, as a Rwandan but above all, as a much respected good shepherd, he could in no way let the people under his charge be lured into such ideologies by someone who has by now become an expert in delusion.
Even Rusesabagina defenders cannot help but cast doubt on his statements when he claims that the groundswell of innuendo and animosity against him - a campaign led and fed by the administration of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, threatens to blacken his reputation. Rusesabagina’s offence has been to speak up, loudly and sometimes rashly, on behalf of the majority Hutus, who, he claims, have been disempowered in the modern Rwanda.
He says Hutus are being killed today, and their killers are not being held accountable.
“The failure of justice is critical,” Rusesabagina writes, “for it leaves our nation still in pieces and in danger of exploding again before long.” He portrays President Kagame as a tyrant. He has even talked—mistakenly, I think—about a “second genocide,” Claude Adam writes in relent.
And indeed, how could any one knowing a little bit about the current Rwanda go by Rusesabagina’s statement at St. Sabina Church in Chicago on July 8 that “… the Intellectual Hutus, businessmen Hutus, the elite with or without reason are put into prison because of the name Genocide. Fifty per cent are not tried by now and putting someone in prison in a country like Rwanda is not a joke; a prison is a container.
A prison accommodating 1000 people is accommodating 4000, ten times. Their children do not go to school because their parents are in prison.
Almost the whole country is in prison…” Although the Hollywood movie “Hotel Rwanda” may portray him otherwise, people should know that Rusesabagina did not play any role to help people survive at the Mille Collines Hotel. He only helped some of his close friends to get to the hotel and extorted money from many, as survivors of Mille Collines Hotel have constantly testified.
He used the fame conferred to him by the movie and declared himself a saviour in a move to serve his political agenda that is ridden with hate/Genocide ideology and unearthed in the creation of a political party known as Parti Démocratique Rwandais-Ihumure (PDR-Ihumure).
The party mainly gathers individuals who have family links with the Genocide perpetrators. Rusesabagina’s misrepresentation of facts about Rwanda are manifestly the colonial legacy which incessantly continue to give erroneous demographic figures that Hutus represent 85% of Rwanda’s population with Tutsis representing a paltry 14% of the population.
He is unable to reveal the current demographic statistics based on ethnic background since this legacy has since 1994 been abolished by the current government as it is envisaged in the Constitution Article 9 Para 2, (eradication of ethnic, regional and other divisions and promotion of national unity).
This also portrays Rusesabagina’s attempt to perpetuate the inflammable Parmehutu’s ideology depicting Hutus as constituting the majority of Rwandans and being the more true Rwandan citizens whereas the Tutsis as aliens/second class citizens.
It should be recalled that it is the same ideology that subsequently culminated into the infamous 1994 Genocide and alas for Rusesabagina, Rwandans of today cannot give platform to whatever could rekindle ethnic hatred.
I will rightly say Archbishop Kolini’s intervention in preventing Rusesabagina to continue misleading uninformed members of the international community was most welcome and that it should be a landmark for all other churches, mainly in the USA where Rusesabagina has been spreading his anti-reconciliation propaganda against Rwanda.
And Pastor Johnson’s “I’ve never even been to Rwanda, but we are Rwandans now,” candid reference to J.F. Kennedy “I am Berliner” while visiting Germany after the Second World War is quite refreshing.