PATRICK Karegeya, in an interview accorded to a reporter for a Ugandan paper, has called on Rwandans to stand up now and fight for their freedom. I am glad to report that they have heard his message loud and clear.
They have stood, in their hundreds of thousands, to be counted and to fight for their freedom, only in ways Karegeya and Kayumba never imagined.
I have travelled the campaign trail with President Kagame. I have seen and heard hundreds of thousands celebrate the very productive seven years of Kagame’s presidency and ecstatically promise him seven more.
From Gicumbi to Nyaruguru, Nyamasheke to Musanze, Bugesera to Kicukiro, the youth, women, the erstwhile marginalized in society and others too numerous to count are happy to recount what Paul the man and Kagame the leader has done for them.
Not for them the lofty ideals of a nebulous justice, not for them an unattainable democracy, not for them the mirage of development ( in many parts of Africa development is like Jupiter, neither here nor there, theoretically present but distant and unavailable).
No, these ordinary citizens are living the reality of restorative justice. They celebrate participation in the governance of their country as citizens, leaders and voters.
They are proud of the security they have, and the dignity Rwandans are now proud of in the International arena. They see the election of Paul Kagame as an investment in their own wealth.
They have made a rational calculation of the bankable benefits the last seven years has given them and decided to invest in him for a further seven. At the campaign rallies, they talk of capital and socio economic emancipation.
Scholars would do well to learn from them. Paul Kagame seems to have truly unlocked the mystery of capital.
Then there is the emotional connection. I have seen people from the West in tears as they see joyous elderly women bask in the Presidential embrace. No overbearing security to separate Kagame from the hoi polloi.
Some, after shaking his hand, have vowed not to wash their hands for days, the dictates of hygiene notwithstanding. I think it is time for Karegeya and others like him to listen to their democratic voices. You heard me right, democratic voices.
Because you see, for the first time, these citizens have a voice and they have used it. This is democracy. In times past, the FDLR and their associates used to claim Rwandans had voted with their feet by fleeing to the DRC, conveniently ignoring the fact that they were held hostage. Well, if they want to see people voting with their feet, they should come to the mammoth crowds thronging to the RPF rallies.
So I find it strange that Karegeya confuses democracy with dictatorship. The electorate know better, are not duped, and in the last analysis are the only ones who matter.
In one State in the United States of America, the citizens voted into office a dead man. Their will was respected and the man’s widow took his Senate seat. Is this democracy?
Dictatorship? Confusion? Karegeya should tell me. What I know is that when the people speak, their voices must be heard. Rwandans will speak loud and clear on the 9th of August. I trust Karegeya and his friends will listen to them, but I digress.
Why pray, does Karegeya want President Kagame to step down now? His constitutional term is not yet over, and he is entitled to another one.
Unless of course Karegeya does not believe in the Constitution which I would find unacceptable for a lawyer. As for future actions and intentions, why establish a mens rea when no crime has been committed?
But perhaps I am trying to be rational in an irrational world. Karegeya claims the meetings to plan the Rwanda invasion in 1990 were held in his house in Mbuya, a Kampala suburb. What he conveniently glosses over is the fact that a number of other Officers that I will not name for now, availed their houses for these secret planning meetings.
The RPF is used to modesty. He then makes the astonishing claim that President Museveni was instrumental in the planning and execution of the RPF invasion of Rwanda.
I cannot speak for President Museveni or the Ugandan government on the matter, but if this claim is true, why would Paul Kagame, Fred Rwigyema and others use Karegeya’s house as hideout to plan the attack?
Why not simply go to State House or wherever such weighty matters of State are dealt with and be done with it?
As they say, success has many godfathers and I suspect Karegeya simply wants to claim the very real success the RPF has had as a liberation movement, and in Government.
For a former intelligence officer, Karegeya has a very cavalier attitude to State craft and International Relations.
First he accuses the President of Uganda of being behind the attack on Rwanda. Then he claims the Republic of South Africa has given him political asylum, and then promptly calls for the overthrow of an elected African leader, in total contravention of South African and African Union laws and decisions on the matter.
He then declares himself ready to support anybody involved in the overthrow of said elected leader, and in so many words, says he has selected South Africa for its proximity to Rwanda so he can be part of this extra constitutional removal of an elected leader. What are you smoking Patrick?
I am waiting for the reaction of the Republic of South Africa to these incendiary remarks. I refuse to believe that the Country of Nelson Mandela, who it may be recalled, is a Statesman who was willing to defend his cause in the odious apartheid Courts, would willingly harbor a fugitive whose cavalier disregard of the law , State and African Institutions is too blatant to ignore.
Let me end this article with my disappointments. I have said before, and I will say it again, that what Rwandans are looking for is leadership that leads to their development as individuals, as families, and as a Nation. What alternative vision of society does Karegeya, Kayumba et al represent? What would they do differently from the RPF if they had power in Rwanda?
I look for it, I cannot find it, and I therefore conclude they simply are indisciplined – and I use the term guardedly, for lack of a better one – totally indisciplined.
I do not know of any other Country in which a General, or a former Colonel, ex intelligence Chiefs to boot, can claim high and loud, that they do not agree with the Head of State or other political leaders, and think it normal to continue to hold their posts, and expect acclaim for it.
That is not democracy, it is anarchy. Ask Gen Macrhrystal… of the USA. When said intelligence Chiefs defect for whatever reason, and plot against their Country from a foreign land, that can only be labeled treason.
I see no other name for it. When Patrick Karegeya calls President Kagame his colleague, he may have his reasons to do so. However, to the rest of us, President Kagame is Rwanda’s elected Head of State and we take strong umbrage at those who would denigrate him and the Country he represents.
Patrick Karegeya is calling on Rwandans to risk their lives in the service of a mirage. Yet, his family and he himself are safely ensconced in South Africa or wherever else they may be, not that they would be in any danger in Rwanda.
To call for the risking of the lives of others and that of their families when you are not unwilling to risk yours also has a name, a terrible label. I will not say it because my readers know it and hold it in contempt!
War is not play as Patrick Karegeya should know. Rwandans are not ready to be the caricature Bertrand Russel painted of the English Soldier at a railway Station during the first World War: “crowded with soldiers, almost all of them drunk, half of them accompanied by drunken prostitutes, the other half by wives or sweethearts, all despairing, all reckless, all mad.” We are not despairing, we are not reckless, we are not mad.
You should hear the delirious acclaim President Kagame receives when he says Rwandans have embraced development and will courageously resist those who want to drag them into the wars of yesteryear. Hear ye Patrick! I rest my case.