I am writing this letter from faraway India. I listened with horror as CCN and BBC belittled the just ended presidential elections. Their untruths were suffocating to listen to. I felt I needed fresh air but I wondered where I would find it.
I was not to wait for long. Shortly, after the Electoral Commission announced provisional results, I found myself in the company of some Indian businessmen and our discussion gravitated towards Rwanda and the just-ended elections. One man surprised me. I sat and marveled as he heaped praise on Paul Kagame.
Unlike the BBC or CNN, this Indian has never been to Rwanda. But he could easily have been President Kagame’s campaign manager. His passion is real. His perception similar to that of the millions of Rwandans who, through their democratic right to vote, spoke in one voice and said: “Yes. He is our man”.
But how come a man from Bangalore gets what the BBC and CNN cannot? How come they see a negation of our rights where we see their affirmation by Kagame’s leadership? The truth is that these young journalists are looking for answers in the wrong place. They should be looking for answers from the new African reality in which Africans now, increasingly, view the world through their own prism.
And make no mistake: Kagame is more of a democrat that the editors at the BBC or CNN. Anyone who knows how the media works also knows about editor dictatorships and their terror of newsroom underlings.
Though elected by no one except their employers – through pure barter of talent for cash – the editors pretend to speak for the masses; they arrogate to themselves the so-called eminent title of the Fourth Estate. On the contrary, President Kagame sought his mandate democratically and the people said: “Yes”.
For the western media and their so-called human rights cronies to claim that the election was a ‘sham’ or a “masquerade” is to dishonour the spirit and aspirations of millions of Rwandans. It reflects a consistent pattern of arrogance and patronage; the misguided assumption that it is their right to prescribe to us how to behave or to choose.