Rwandan Green Democratic Party Vice President beheaded
Reports that Rwandan Green Party first Vice President Andre Kagwa Rwisereka was been found be-headed back in July are beginning to permeate the Western media. This is the latest episode in a tale of intimidation and murder of members of the Rwandan Green Party.
I’ve been meaning to write a piece for a while asking why the Tories are obsessed with Rwanda. Like many neo-liberals (including Tony Blair), they seem to like President Kagame’s policy of opening Rwanda up for business – as the Independent newspaper highlights.
Huge numbers of Tories go to Rwanda every year, and the country was a key part of the policy to ‘de-toxify’ the Tories. As the same Indy piece points out, though, there have been a few recent allegations of corruption, which have shut people up. Corruption is bad for business as it is for everyone. So Cameron hasn’t been quite so complimentary of Mr Kagame, of late. The oppression of his political opponents – as we tragically see today – has got a little much for every neo-liberal’s favorite African leader.
However, while Mr Cameron and his fellow Tories were so fond of praising Mr Kagame there were the numerous allegations of involvement in crimes which didn’t damage corporate interests. That they are said to have contributed to the deaths of more than 5 million people apparently doesn’t matter.
The widespread allegations are that, for more than a decade, Kagame has been allowing Rwandan troops to cross the border into the Congo – claiming to be pursuing the perpetrators of the genocide, and in fact stealing mineral mines there, and murdering and raping as they go. These plundered minerals are then smuggled out, and sold through Kigale. The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo – mostly in this region – has killed more than 5 million people – not far off 1/1000 on earth. Mr Kagame has for years been implicated in these mass deaths. Yet because the minerals were sold to Western corporations, Mr Cameron and Mr Blair think that Mr Kagame is a great leader.
So, the murder of the Vice President of the Rwandan Green Democratic Party is a tragedy. But in death, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka has helped to highlight what has been true for years: the Western right don’t support African leaders because of what they do for Africans. They will happily support those implicated in the deaths of millions, so long as they sell Western countries the goods they want, no matter what the human cost.