Should freedom of press bring instability in Africa?

THE Western Media has been reporting about a hunt of journalists in Rwanda and an intended move to invoke the legacy of genocide and national security to silence independent voices in the media.

THE Western Media has been reporting about a hunt of journalists in Rwanda and an intended move to invoke the legacy of genocide and national security to silence independent voices in the media.

Some international media organisations have apparently not been reading the articles for which journalists are incriminated—they have instead copied to us the same rhetoric and statements used for all those arrested journalists in the past, in the name of media fraternity.

Rwandans have read Kinyarwanda articles in some of these culprit newspapers that were insanely calling upon the population not to pay taxes; articles discouraging investors to spark off business because of an imagined ‘impending coup d’état’ and ‘war’; articles calling one ethnic group to stand up against the other in a country where genocide took place not so long ago and many other inciting stories.

The sympathy of some Western Media towards Rwandans, who are working hard day and night trying to consolidate reconciliation and development, has been reflected by statements calling for suspension of aid and international sanctions.

Take an example of the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières) who said Rwanda’s government, was responsible for “a series of grave press freedom violations” and called the European Union to stop disbursing it’s funding for the presidential elections.

As if this was not enough, some of the Western Media have trusted sources information such as peddlers like Charles Kabonero, Agnes Uwimana Nkusi and Jean-Baptiste Gasasira.

These peddlers have been able to copy stories from fiction movies like; ‘Inspector Derrick’ and Jack Bauer’s ‘24’ in order to play the ‘victims’ card simply to attract funds from different unsuspecting international organisations.

Charles Kabonero and Gasasira Jean Bosco peacefully left Rwanda through the official border with their passports. However, while on the other side of the border, they made ambiguous claims that they were being hunted. Why would the state allow its citizens to travel freely out of the country and then pursue them in other countries?

It doesn’t make sense; it bears no logic at all! Their stories which are a malicious snare are simply directed scoops picked by some Western Media groups who don’t have the time to ask themselves how someone who is hunted by a government can cross the official border without being intercepted.

The credibility of Charles Kabonero and Gasasira has always been questioned. On many occasions and on record, they both blackmailed different government officials by demanding certain sums of money so that they (Umuseso and Umuvugizi) don’t write damaging articles about them.

Some (officials) went by their wish but those who rejected their poisoned request saw defamatory stories being produced in the two newspapers.

And whenever the named officials took a case to court, the two unprofessional journalists mobilized the Western Media claiming oppression of the media and lack of justice in Rwanda.

Some Western media houses do not even try to compare it to their own situation? Should the case of President Sarkozy against Mediapart on allegation of corruption be interpreted as lack of press freedom in France?

Charles Kabonero and Gasasira Jean Baptiste have gone as far as receiving money from families of genocide suspects living in Europe promising them to publish their version of the story to question the ruling of justice. An undisclosed lady based in Netherlands is sad about the 500$ she availed to the peddlers few days before the suspension of Umuseso and Umuvugizi. What they had promised to do for her didn’t happen.  

Jean Bosco Gasasira continues to toy with these careless international organisations saying that he was attacked by ‘State operatives’ but he will never say that a culprit was apprehended and convicted with the highest sentence.

He will never say that he fabricated damaging stories that encroached on the privacy of an individual but will turn the story into a case of harassment from a senior prosecutor.

Kabonero and Gasasira will tell people that they are being ‘followed’ by cars of security apparatus or those of Rwanda’s Embassies abroad but they will never be precise on the type of car and which number plate for the purpose of making their stories sweet in the ears of those who want to listen.

Agnes Nkusi Uwimana will write articles inciting Hutus to rebel because they are allegedly being “marginalised” and expects people to ignore the law against genocide.

Some media groups, which claim to be professional, will quickly pick the ‘SCOOP’ and conclude that a “series of grave press freedom violations are taking place in Rwanda” just because they want to sell a negative story about an African country that is stable.

This frenzied excitement only shows that these organisations and individuals have severely exhausted their creativity and badly need an attention-seeking fix to get going. How absurd!

They deliberately ignore and fail to understand what happened in Rwanda 16 years ago, and in the name of press freedom create ‘imaginary’ tension in a country where actual peace and reconciliation is being consolidated.   

These arrogant members of the international community are once again clearly showing us that they don’t really care about any African country just in the same way they did in 1994 when people were being killed in Rwanda and in the late 1990’s when they chose to keep a deaf ear to the re-organisation of a genocidal force in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwandans who are a resilient people shall never succumb to air-headed bullies who underestimate the high level of determination they have towards preventing the occurrence of any genocide in any part of the world.

The author is a political analyst.

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