S.A– Rwanda Wrangle: Another Indicator of Western Hypocrisy?


ed geneva; font-size: x-small;”>On January 1st 2014, the body of Rwanda’s former Chief Spy, Patrick Karegeya, is found in a room of the prestigious Michel Angelo Hotel in Johannesburg.

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Preliminary findings by the SA Police point to death by strangulation. A Special Crimes Unit known as ‘ The Hawks’ is tasked with solving what appears to be a murder case.

We also know that no progress has been reported by the competent authorities in charge. Ever since the investigation started, there has been no arrests, no warrants, no leads, no suspects.

This should have been the end of the story until further notice; some in the global media decided otherwise. For reasons apparently mercenary in nature, some “big heads” in global media decided to go with the political angle, easier to sell to the consumers, irrespective of the facts, or lack thereof.

Kagame killed Karegeya! Too good a headline to pass up for something as meagre as journalistic integrity; so eager are they to sell the political storyline-the media- that they are unwilling to consider other possible leads.

For example, the one person who knew where to look when Karegeya went missing; His nephew David Batenga! After all, isn’t he the same person dropping names of suspects unseen by anyone else and conveniently absent at the time of the alleged meeting he says he was supposed to be a part of?

What of the reported power struggle in the ranks of the Rwandan National Congress (RNC) between the deceased and his former colleague Kayumba Nyamwasa? What about his former job as Chief Spy? Surely, he must have created some enemies there.

There may be nothing to such leads but if we are to speculate, why stop at one scenario alone? Unless, of course, you have a bone to pick with Rwanda’s current leadership or secretly wish for its demise for reasons only you would know.


Speaking of Nyamwasa… the dust has hardly settled on Karegeya’s case and here he is again, making headlines. Once again, here is what we know: On March 5th 2014, gunmen attacked his house, wounding a South African security agent and allegedly taking away his gun.

Kayumba and his family were out of the house at that time. No shots were fired nor any serious damage on persons or property reported; full stop. This particular case begs for answers on many different levels. According to media reports, the absence of Nyamwasa’s family at the time of the attack was due to prior warning of an imminent attack by South Africa security forces that were supposedly aware of the plot.

If that were the case, how come only one security agent was working that day? Why wasn’t there a whole unit waiting to catch the culprits in the act and formerly charge them?

Let me even push the speculation further by saying that any professional hit squad would have the smarts to stake out the house of their intended victim long enough to know whether or not the intended victim is physically present. Maybe I’ve watched way too many movies, but I would like to think that’s the way it would normally go down.

But questions and speculations aside, this latest case is very sketchy to say the least. This however, hasn’t stopped accusations to once again be floated around by Nyamwasa himself, the media, and this time around, the South African Government through the expulsion of three diplomats from the Rwandan Embassy.

Retaliation being the name of the diplomatic game, Rwanda followed suit by expelling six South African diplomats. Both Ambassadors are still in office but might anytime be called back by their respective Governments. Once again, very little is filtering out of South Africa as to the reasons of such a drastic move.

The Rwandan Government via its Foreign Minister had this to say about the unfortunate turn of events: “We have expelled six South African diplomats in reciprocity and concern at South Africa’s harboring of dissidents responsible for terrorist attacks in Rwanda”.

Media reports quote high-ranking South African officials referring to this latest case as the proverbial final straw that broke the camel’s back. If we are in agreement that no progress has been made in the pending investigations while the one case that made it to court is yet to yield any conclusive outcome, it would be fair to assume that SA acted hastily, jeopardizing otherwise good bilateral relations on account of hearsay.

If the SA Government has in its possession the kind of hard evidence that warrants the expulsion of foreign diplomats, why not relinquish it to the competent authorities for the truth to come to light?


It is increasingly clear to me that South African authorities are mere pawns in a much bigger chess game being played out before our very eyes in the media. It is no secret that Rwanda ruffles many western feathers and counts many “personal” enemies.

It is equally true that President Kagame shocks many a people in the West for being brutally honest about the way he sees and does things. You may not like his style, but that doesn’t make him or his Government guilty of everything that happens to self-proclaimed political opponents.

The presumption of innocence isn’t a privilege for the western few; it is a basic human right. A right too often denied to African leaders, irrespective of their eventual guilt or innocence, they deserve the benefit of the doubt as their Western counterparts.

So in the absence of an actual trial for obvious reasons, they- western detractors- try to turn public opinion against you by painting a pretty grim picture of who you supposedly are, using your own words as evidence of guilt, secretly hoping to trigger emotional reactions in western political circles that would result in sanctions for the success story they love to hate.

The leadership that stopped the 1994 Genocide of the Tutsi with own capacity and rebuilt Rwanda rather successfully has moulded its governance in finding home-grown solutions for domestic tribulations.

They’ve learned the hard way not to expect help that might never come when needed. President Paul Kagame is definitely a fine politician and experienced diplomat but undeniably not of the waffling kind. He calls it as he sees it, and they know it. Even his staunches enemies and harshest critics can give him that; when it comes to expressing his opinions, President Kagame says what he means and means what he says!

You may choose to see it as an admission of guilt but the fact remains that until you have facts to substantiate such allegations, you might want to exercise some restraint of your own; unless of course, hypocrisy works well on your resume.

Albert Rudatsimburwa

Political Analyst Great Lakes

Twitter: @albcontact



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