Canadian MP quotes blood-stained Rwandan dictator on ‘kindness’ 

Paul Kagame

Imagine a Canadian MP travelled to Moscow and posted a parable by Vladimir Putin on kindness. What might the media reaction be? Turns out a Liberal MP did the equivalent in Africa and has so far escaped any criticism.

During a trip in which she met Rwanda’s foreign minister and innovation minister London West MP Arielle Kayabaga posted a photo of Paul Kagame with the quote, “If you have to choose to be right or be kind, I hope you choose to be kind because you’ll always be right when you choose to be kind.” Whatever the Rwandan president may have said about kindness, Kagame has more African blood on his hands than any other individual alive today. The US military trained leader played an important role in toppling governments in Kampala in 1986, Kigali in 1994 and Kinshasa in 1997. After the latter effort Rwandan forces reinvaded the Congo, which sparked an eight-country war that left millions dead between 1998 and 2003. Since then, Rwanda and its proxies have repeatedly invaded and maintained significant sway over eastern Congo, which it has pillaged of minerals.

In the latest bout of violence, Rwandan armed, trained and “directed” M23 rebels have displaced 800,000 people. The M23 are responsible for multiple massacres and members of the group were recently found guilty of killing the Italian ambassador, his bodyguard and driver.

Domestically, Kagame rules one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world. He has been in power for three decades and garnered 99 per cent of the vote in 2017. On Tuesday the New York Times published a commentary on the Rwandan president headlined “He’s a Brutal Dictator, and One of the West’s Best Friends”.

Canada’s ‘paper of record’ has detailed Kigali’s global assassination program. The Globe and Mail’s Johannesburg-based African bureau chief, Geoffrey York, has shown how Kagame extended his long-standing assassination program beyond East Africa, killing (or attempting to) a number of former top allies in South Africa. Rwanda has even targeted opponents in Canada, as the Toronto Star detailed.

Ostensibly, Kayabaga visited Rwanda to commemorate the genocide. She represented Canada at Kwibuka 29, an event commemorating the mass killing. But the ceremony focused on Kagame. The regime has long promoted a highly simplistic depiction of the 1994 killings to shore up its legitimacy, which is tied to the idea that the Kagame-led RPF ended the genocide.

But Kagame is actually the individual most responsible for unleashing the mass killings. A front-page Globe and Mail article added to an abundance of evidence the RPF shot down the plane carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana, which sparked the mass killings of spring 1994. “New information supports claims Kagame forces were involved in assassination that sparked Rwandan genocide,” noted the headline. The Globe all but confirmed that the surface-to-air missiles used to assassinate the Rwandan and Burundian Hutu presidents came from Uganda, which backed the RPF’s bid to conquer its smaller neighbour. (A few thousand exiled Tutsi Ugandan troops, including the deputy minister of defence, “deserted” to invade Rwanda in 1990.)

It’s outrageous that a Canadian MP would quote Paul Kagame on kindness. Arielle Kayabaga should apologize to the ruthless dictator’s many Congolese victims. Anything less will demonstrate the little regard the Canadian government has for Africans and that Canadian foreign policy is all about supporting the interests of the rich and powerful.

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