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Rwandan president rejects human rights criticism

March 17th, 2010
01:32 AM ET

Watch the complete interview with Rwanda's president on our podcast.

Watch the complete edition on 'The Story of Stuff' on our podcast.

By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

(CNN) - Rwandan President Paul Kagame hit back Monday at human rights activists who say he's behaving like an autocrat and fueling a bloody civil war in Rwanda's neighbor, Congo.

"If you are talking about people in the human rights community from outside... I have an issue with this," Kagame said, 16 years after he was hailed as a hero for ending a genocide that killed at least 800,000 people.

"You tend to make a judgment of a country, 11 million people, on what a couple of people have said and (they) don't take into account what Rwandans say."

Kagame added, "Nobody has asked the Rwandans ... it's as if they don't matter in the eyes of the human rights people. It's our own decisions in the end."

He said everyone in Rwanda has to play by the rules and be accountable. "There has to be leadership to make things move in the right direction," Kagame stated.

Kagame's comments came a month after the New York-based group, Human Rights Watch, said opposition activists are facing increasing threats, attacks, and harassment ahead of Rwanda's presidential election in August.

Human Rights Watch said opposition party members have suffered serious intimidation by individuals and institutions close to the government and Kagame's ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

The RPF took power in 1994 after its army swept into the capital of Kigali and overthrew the Hutu-dominated government responsible for the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans, most of them members of the minority Tutsi community.

In the aftermath of the 100-day genocide, the fastest in modern history, Kagame transformed his country, turning it into one of the fastest growing nations in Africa and - in the view of some - a model of economic and social development.

Kagame said Rwanda has made significant progress in erasing some of the scars left behind after the tragedy.

"That's why the country is stable. That's why the country is moving on. That's why the country is developing."

Kagame insisted he has nothing to do with the continuing civil war in mineral-rich Congo, even though he acknowledged that Rwandan troops intervened there a decade ago in an attempt to stop rebel groups from returning to Rwanda.

The war became the largest and most destructive conflict in African history, costing more than 5 million lives, as various groups and foreign armies fought for control of Congo's land and mineral resources.

"I cannot be blamed for the problems of Congo or any other country," Kagame said. "There are the Congolese who have their own country, who are supposed to manage it, who are supposed to govern it. It has nothing to do with me."

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  1. Antonio

    Kagame is a hight killer. He killed more than 3.000.000 congolese and rwandaise people. His regime is more dangerous than the nazi's regime and I hope that at the end he will be judjed.

    March 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  2. Sima

    The president of Rwanda lies too much ,many people support Ingabire VIctoire.In Rwanda people still be killed,there are been putting in prison for any reason..innocent people are suffering a lot in Rwanda

    March 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  3. J. Brothers

    President Kagame said: "You tend to make a judgment of a country, 11 million people, on what a couple of people have said and (they) don't take into account what Rwandans say."

    Who is he kidding? I am Rwandan and I agree with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are saying about this General. Rwandans have suffered so much under him. He does not care about rural areas. Kagame has developed Kigali, but if you venture out of the capital and exit off the main highway, you will be shocked. The Rwandan economy is in the hands of a few elites. In the past 16 years, they have accumulated so much wealth from mining in Congo and monopolizing international trade.
    More Rwandans are dying of hunger than before the genocide, nobody dares to speak unless you want togo to jail. The countryside is ruled by lawless militia callled "local defense". They job is to reinforce the laws, but they have guns and are never paid by the government. Guess who pays them and how? Do you wonder why army generals are running away from him? Kagame is trying to eliminate all real or imagined competitors.
    How about the journalists? Because they questioned his practices, Kagame is accusing them of plotting a coup. This is not even funny, it is crazy!!!
    God, give us liberty and let Kagame keep his development

    March 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  4. Yududu

    Dear Amanpour;
    This is to let you know Kagame is the man from whom all the Rwanda tragedy came from. First he attacked Rwanda from Uganda where he was Chief of Uganda Military Intelligence, then it has been proved that his militia infiltrated all the country, detonating bombs and other grenades to cause chaos, then lastly he was one who prevented the international community to intervene after he shot down Habyarimana's plane on that fateful day of April 6, 1994. After he took power, he continued his killing spree inside Rwanda and in Congo where more than 5 millions people have died. Now it is shocking to see him parading the world saying that he is the savior of Rwanda. Note that he has on his head two international indictments for genocide and crime against humanity. He would be now behind the bar if he was not a head of state. As Prof Philip Reitjens from Belgium recently said Kagame is "the worst criminal in the world holding a public office". It is that fear that obligate him to eliminate all opponents real or imagined, including from his own political family. Overall Kagame has his place behind the bar not on the CNN shows.
    Regards;

    March 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  5. United Youth for Democracy Rwanda Turikumwe

    Rwanda political stalemate:
    Police investigations, another tool to thwart political rights.

    The Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, on VOA Kinyarwanda today confirmed that as long as the police is investigating Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza or her political party, she and her party UDF INKINGI, will be definitely denied the right to convene anywhere in Rwanda. On 12th March 2010, responding to both our applications dated 16th February and 04th March 2010, the Mayor of Nyarugenge (Kigali City) informs that because of pending police investigations regarding Victoire Ingabire, the Chair of UDF INKINGI, there will be no authorisation for UDF INKINGI to hold a national congress in the municipality. In an interview on national Radio aired on 12th March 2010 the same authority added that “we can't allow them to convene because we don't know what they will say to the public”! This is totally against the freedom of expression and freedom of association.

    The current controversial party law, the organic law n° 19/2007 of 04/05/2007 modifying and complementing organic law n° 16/2003 of 27/06/2003 governing political organizations and politicians grants to the Ministry of Local government the key position to handle political parties’ applications, registrations and activities. It’s the last resort and the highest authority in the hierarchy of appellate system. The Minister is clear: there will be no authorisation for congress, no registration of UDF INKINGI. The national police is weighed down by the orders from the President to grill opposition leaders. The Ministry and the municipal administrations bestow the issue as a tool strong enough to deny political rights. This political tactic to silence any opposition is systematically used against all opposition leaders.

    How about the presumption of innocence? Why should the government deny citizens constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty?

    This conspiracy and the use of powers of the police to try and silence the opposition are unacceptable. It is not surprising that public confidence in the force and the administration has been shaken. We call upon the President of Rwanda to prove his real commitment to a peaceful democratic process by distancing himself from Minister James Musoni’s views.

    We call on the partners of the government of Rwanda, the bilateral donors funding the election in Rwanda and the international community to make sure all the actors in this process are sincere and accountable. The current standoff reveals the hidden agenda of the ruling party and its government to shy away any serious competition and its clear intention to rig the process from the start.

    March 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  6. Leonard de la Paor

    ALL Black countries should be taken over by the UN. They will then allow local elections for domestic policies, but there will be no national elections for at least50 years, until the UN can see for themselves that Black people have begun to understand what democracy is all about.

    March 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  7. Mugisha

    Dear Amanpour,

    The Great Lakes region of Africa has been devastated by President General Paul Kagame's repressive regime. He has killed over 6 million both in Rwanda and Congo. Today, the overwhelming majority of Rwandans would love nothing less than democracy. If allowed a free and fair election, Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza would win against Kagame. That is why he is affraid of democracy. That is why they use repressive laws to block, imprison, and kill their opponents. It is also why he continues his proxy wars in the Congo in order to maintain power by saying that the country is in constant danger. The new thing is government staged grenade attacks. BEWARE OF kAGAME'S LIES.

    March 17, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  8. therisingcontinent

    We know the Kigali regime has been lying all these years on a number of issues because the international community allows them to do so. A few examples of Paul Kagame's big lies that are accepted unchallenged include: the narrative of the Rwandan genocide, the responsibilities in shooting down Habyarimana's aeroplane on April 6th, 1994, the mastermind of genocide the ICTR couldn't find after 15 years and nearly 1 billion $ of money spent, Gacaca system in bringing reconciliation in Rwanda, development of Rwanda when a significant fraction of the population is malnourished, existence of democracy in Rwanda, invasions and presence of Rwandan soldiers in Congo, etc. The last BIG LIE is about that story of double genocide that Paul Kagame and his PR machine is putting in the mouth of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of UDF-Inkingi and presidential candidate of this yet to be registered party. The lady has NEVER talked about double genocide. Here is the transcript of her declaration when she was on January 16th, 2010 at the Genocide Memorial at Gisozi (Rwanda). This is what she said, ‘...It is clear that achieving reconciliation has a long way to go; it is far away and this is understandable considered the number of people who were massacred in our country, because such tragedy is not something to move on from easily on the one hand. On the other, when you analyse the situation objectively, you don’t find any serious strategy intentionally developed and implemented to help Rwandans to achieve that reconciliation. For example, we are here honouring at this Memorial the Tutsi victims of the Genocide; there are also Hutu who were victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes, not remembered or honoured here. Hutus are also suffering. They are wondering when their time will come to remember their people. In order for us to get to that desirable reconciliation, we must be fair and compassionate towards every Rwandan’s suffering. It is imperative that for Tutsi survivors, Hutu who killed their relatives understand the crimes they committed and accept the legal consequences. It is also crucial that those who may have killed Hutus understand that they must be equally punished by the laws. It is finally very important for all of us Rwandans with our different ethnic backgrounds to understand that we need to come together in unity and with mutual respect in order to develop our country peacefully. The reason we came back is therefore to find ways collectively of starting off on that roadmap towards unity, working jointly to remove injustices from our country, addressing as one issues of getting Rwandans to live freely in their country. Thank you.’ She talked of Tutsis – victims of genocide and Hutus – victims of crimes against humanity. Of course the RPF regime which wants to kill Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza politically, will twists what she said whenever they have an opportunity like having a CNN audience. Knowing how structurally the RPF regime has built its policies on Public Relations machines to cover up the reality on the ground, it would be advisable to question whatever they announce to the international community. For example if Amanpour was really an objective journalist, since Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza aspires to compete for the high office in Rwanda, she should get from her her side of the story about what Paul Kagame has accused her of. That's what real journalism is about. Unless Amanpour would be part of the PR machine of Paul Kagame's regime like the Rwandan media that the regime has terrorised and categorically instructed not to give any space to the lady for her to explain or discuss anything.

    March 17, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  9. JP

    The short video excerpt posted here shows Christiane Amanpour trying to squeeze a question in between Kagame's denials but to no avail.

    My question to you Christiane: How much of the President's denials do you believe in all sincerety? If I tell you that the answer should be "NONE", would you be bold enough to recognize that it is MY WORD against HIS WORD? A priori, you have no reasons to doubt mine even as I sign this posting with a pseudonym!

    It so happened that I watched your reportage from Rwanda on CNN. I am compelled to say that you did a good job. A VERY unbalanced job unfortunately. Please find opposing views and sources. Please make a professional attempt to measure the climate of fear that hoovers above the country. Hutus and Tutsis of Rwanda are terrorized by this ruthless man.

    Please read around and let the truth be known. Read what Alison DesForges had to say and why she became persona non grata in Rwanda. It is not time yet for historians to correct the Rwandan history (victors in 1994, 1973, and 1961 have each time rewritten history as they pleased), but it is time for justice to prevail.

    March 17, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  10. Jean- Pierre Bwirabumva

    Kagame has massacred my entire family in the town of Byumba. My mother, my father, my sisters and brothers were killed in the stadium of Byumba after we were rounded up and assembled in the stadium by his body guards led by his body guards.

    My uncles, aunties and cousins were all killed there. I was wounded and taken for dead and loaded among dead corpses on trucks to be buried in fosses excavated those soldiers at Kabuga’s flourmill in Byumba. Only God knows how I came out and now I am alive to tell the story.

    I am horrified when I see Kagame travelling around the World and receiving all kind of Honors and recognitions. It’s incredible and beyond belief how the whole World can ignore all the crimes he is committing in Rwanda and Congo.

    Over 6 millions killed in Congo and millions unaccounted for in Rwanda since he took power. That’s more than all the people who have been killed in Darfur, Kossov, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts all together.

    How the whole World can close their eyes and ignore such a criminal as Kagame who is trotting around the World freely. The likes of Tony Blair (special adviser to Kagame) & Co who support Kagame and all those who are so vocal against Mugabe and El-Bachir should look to themselves when they are receiving Kagame and giving him an unconditional support such as Africom or those who gave him their support to join the Commonwealth. That is purely hypocrisy and cynical to the millions of Rwandans and Congolese who are victims of Kagame.

    When victims are Africans the only people who are not accountable for their crimes are those who represent the interests of “Her Majesty or the real Politics”.

    I am still waiting and hoping that I will live to see the day I will give my testimony in court to incriminate Kagame for the crimes he has committed against me and my family and all those who were killed that day in the Stadium of Byumba.

    March 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  11. Mwene

    Kagame is pure breed killer. Ask congolese people they will tell you who is Kagame!! I wonder why Christian Amapour wastes her time interview a pure murderer on TV? Next time for your information, ask him who really kill former Burundi President Cyprien Ntaryamira? He is a real killer that Burundi is afraid of him. Because Burundi is afraid of Kagame, they (Burundi Government) has extraded an opposition leader, Deo Mushayidi. If he was not handed over to Rwanda, Kagame was going to attack Burundi. If you don't know a killer, this is the one...

    March 17, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  12. Usijari

    1/ I should say thank you Amanpour. I like your shows and when I miss it I know I can always trace it online.

    2/ You have no idea who is the man you were sitting with. He is the killer. Kagame and RPF killed my people brothers, sisters, grand parents and uncles. He forced my brother to join the army to fight on RPF behalf in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo when Kagame troops were fighting the Ugandan army in Kisangani.

    3/ There is no autocracy in Rwanda there is oligarchy in Rwanda. I agree with the former Rwandan parliament speaker Mr. Sebarenzi. In fact, what had happened in Rwanda under former regime is less worse than what happened after the genocide. Look at the number of lucky Rwandans who freed the country in recent years under Kagame regime even those in Kagame circle are fearing for their life and flee the country. The recent example is Kayumba Nyamwasa who was Rwandan ambassador to India, Bizimana the Rwandan ambassador to the Netherlands and the former foreigner minister Andre Bumaya.

    4/ It is sad that Kagame is falsely known as the good man at international level. I know you know what is really the problem in Rwanda – spread the word so that what happen to my beloved Rwandan does not happen again.

    March 17, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Reply
  13. Anthon

    Can these writers talking about 3,000,000 people being killed in Rwanda and DRC show their bodies? The imagination has fouled even the people who use ICT?
    Can these people tell us, whereabouts of persons who died of hunger in Rwanda?
    Who is then fouling the world?

    March 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  14. Jean- Pierre Bwirabumva

    Rwadan Genocide Blackmail by Kagame.
    Kagame has made the Rwandan Genocide a blank cheque to blackmailmail any thing brought against him and he can get away with anything.

    Kagame has spent the last 16 years travelling around the World saling his own crimes in the name of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

    When asked about human right abuses, freedom of speech, democracy,in Rwanda and war crimes and genocide being committed in eastern Congo, he always anwers that it’s a result of 1994 Rwandan genocide.

    Rwandans have been denied by Kagame all basic human rights (freedom of speech, democracy etc…) “Because of the Genocide in 1994” justifies Kagame….(he can quote anything at will) and if you disagree with it the minimum sentence is 15 years in jail for having “revisionist or genocide ideology” just because you disagree with Kagame’s regime.

    March 17, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  15. william forbes

    Definitely something is wrong with the world. I can't believe that whole world is blind and can see that Kagame is one of the best man that exist in Rwanda. He is working day and night, travelling the world trying to secure the future of the Rwandans. I do believe the people who have left their comments above haven't been to Rwanda recent or haven't withnessed the progress that is taking a place in Rwanda. Today in Rwanda children are attending school without paying any school fees.

    The government is now suplying a pint of milk to every child attending school Rwanda is the first country to be able to do that. Human Right Watch and other anti- Rwandan government human right NGOs knows that if Rwanda is doing well, they will soon have nothing to do in Rwanda, therefore they are trying to justify their reason to continue working in Rwanda. I am feed up with these people who can sit in their confortable chair and start criticising our leaders as if they are perfect people. Kagame might not be a saint, but nor the Human Right NGOs. Actually they are worst than those who killed carried out the Genocide in Rwanda. Can you leave Rwanda and Rwandans alone PLEASE!!!!

    March 18, 2010 at 1:29 am | Reply
  16. Yung

    Dear Amanpour,

    Thank you for giving a voice to people who can not talk for themselves.
    General Kagame killed so many people in Rwanda and Congo, has been terrorizing the Rwandan people and succeeded in manipulating the international opinion. Now that the truth is coming out, he is trying to intimidate journalists and human rights activists. He is talking about asking the Rwandan’s opinion and yet he has deprived them of any rights of expression. He is now fighting hard to kill any hope of real democracy in Rwanda and people like you who seek and bring the truth to light are the only hope for the Rwandan democracy.

    March 18, 2010 at 2:10 am | Reply
  17. Veritas

    Dear Amanpour,

    This is why this man and his RPF are always nervious when it comes to human rights activists, democracy, free press and equal justice:

    Coming to a New Understanding of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide
    Wednesday, February 18, 2009. 4:00–5:30 p.m.
    Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
    Annenberg Auditorium, 1120 Weill Hall

    Allan Stam, U-M Professor of Political Science and Faculty Associate at the Center for Political Studies, will discuss the genocide, civil war, vendetta killings and random violence that took place in Rwanda in 1994.

    In their recent NSF-funded work, Stam and his colleagues drew from a number of data sources, and their conclusions call into question much of the conventional wisdom about the the violence. They find that there were several forms of political violence being enacted at once (genocide, politicide, civil war, random violence and vendetta killings), that the extremist Hutu government as well as the Rwandan Patriotic Front engaged in violent activity against Rwandan citizens, and that the majority of victims were likely Hutu and not Tutsi. These findings have implications for public policy, advocacy, humanitarian intervention as well as post-conflict reconstruction.

    Regards,

    March 18, 2010 at 10:41 am | Reply
  18. Valere

    Dear Amanpour,

    First of all thank you for the excellent interview full of relevant questions.

    I was disappointed by the lack of clarity and the elusive caracter of Kagame's answers. And the way he repeatedly self congratulates himself about his country's development.

    I believe that Kagame does not deserve all the credit that is being put on him about development and reconciliation.

    About development, Rwanda remains a very poor country, where living conditions in rural areas have worsened and where a small portion of the economy has prospered to the exclusive benefit of a small minority of RPF leaders. Per capita income is only 370$ (2008) and the country is heavily depending on foreign aid (55% of the budget) and according to Mo Ibrahim index of governance in Africa, Rwanda ranks only 36th!

    Any african country receiving foreign aid worth 15% of its GDP and stealing a significant amount of mineral ressources from its neighbor would achieve much better economic results.

    Regarding political environment, the example put in questions by Christiane are relevant and reflect a real lack of space for political opposition. Cases of opposition leaders being intimidated by the political and police institutions are increasing and Kagame does not seem to consider their rights for a different a opinion. He each time defends that those who are threaten are those who do not follow the law. It is strange that in this country all the opposition leaders are criminals, and are found to be criminal only when they declare they oppose the ruling party.

    It is amazing the type of answers given when Kagame was asked about the issue of space for political position. When asked about the fact that the Green Party leader is being prevented from contesting the election, Kagame replies "but he is there", as if he should be happy for being still alive...

    Asked about if the reconciliation is working, Kagame says that yes and cites as evidence the fact that there is stability and that people can go out to work to their farms. In my view this is a poor evidence, and the reality is that the "deep" reconciliation is not there yet, and much more could be done in15 years. Look at Mandela's peaceful leadership after apartheid and you will realize that less than 10 years later, a true and "deep" reconciliation over there was obvious. The leadership in Rwanda has been too much powered and if there is stability, it is not because people have evolved and reached a level of peaceful living together, it is because they know that if they do not behave the way the strong man wishes, they may die. Such situation is not sustainable and people in the country experience an endless tension between rwandese, where one word in a speech can cause a storm of political reactions and physical threats (see what happened to Victoire Ingabire).

    Finally, as a Rwandese I felt ashamed by the lack of respect towards the millions of Congolese people that were killed due to Rwandese conflicts that have been brought to their then peaceful land. At minimum he could have expressed compassion and some apology instead of putting the whole responsibility of the catastrophe to the Congolese.

    Rephrasing what Kagame said about those who defend Ingabire, I am sure that those who have been defending Kagame will soon realize that they have been defending the wrong person.

    With very kind regards,

    March 18, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  19. john

    Amanpour,

    Thanks for the Article.

    Next time you meet this man the west praise for fighting graft and corruption please ask him to clarify the ownership of two luxury private jets he utilizes for the many travels accross the globe as published in the South Africa newspaper.

    It would be interesting to clarify the following;

    A. Were the jets paid cash and if so where did the money come from
    B. If they were financed, who is making periodical payments
    C. What is the rate the government of Rwanda pay per flight hour and how does it compare to periodical payments in B, (if they are financed)
    D. Does he have any ownership interests in the company under which they are registred or has any other business dealings with its papaer principals?

    If answer to D is yes and answer to C is the government pays greater than cost of finance (let us assume it is a wet lease), then this man is really the entrepreneur President. But wait isn’t this graft or corruption at the highest level? Can one use a public office to make money?

    March 18, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  20. John Mbarutso

    Dear Amanpour,

    I know you are a good journalist and I have a favor to ask you. Since you still have credibility from President Kagame, can you please visit Rwanda and tell the story from your own observation? For sure you will have tour guide from the ruling party trying to show and tell you what they want you to see and hear. But you are smart enough to judge from your own observation. Don't just visit Kigali because it was built to satisfy the eyes of those expatriates who don't care about rwandans. Visit rural area and see the struggle of 99% of Rwandans. I am rwandan, hutu from my father, tutsi from my mother. I lived thru genocide and left rwanda in 2000, after I realized that I had been so naive about ethnic hatred between these two groups. I lost almost the entire family on my mother side during the genocide. My mother, who is supposed to be a survivor of genocide like any other tutsi survivor lives a nightmare in Rwanda because she bears the burdens of having hutus children. I lost my father, who died in fleeing the war/genocide. Since he was Hutu, we are not supposed to remember or mention the loss of my father, he was on bad guys' side! Talk about reconciliation, do you think there is a reconciliation in Rwanda? People can't talk! They are not allowed to! They are terrified! They are watched like cows or animals! I decided to leave Rwanda because I saw how people changed and killed their neighbors! I think they can do it again! Either side! Don't let anyone foul you that one side is "bad guys" and the other "good guys"! There is no such thing in any society, but unfortunately this is how the story of the genocide was portrayed and still supported by Kagame! ITS VERY DIFFICULT TO KNOW WHAT RWANDANS THINK! Extremists are in both sides! And they will always use innocent people to lead and mislead the entire world. That's what Kagame is doing. He is a very good campaigner, liar! I wish peace to my fellow rwandans! I think Rwanda needs more smart people than just having one savior! I personally don't know the man (Kagame), but I use my personal judgement that I trust and think that he is not the savior. Make sure you don't contribute to the future tragedy of Rwanda. The cycle of violence does not take long: 1959, 1973, 1994, ... You are still a young woman, you may not want to see c contradiction to your own reporting. I realized that I do not belong in Rwanda; that country rejects people of my background. We don't have a place, we are victims from either side.

    March 19, 2010 at 3:24 am | Reply
  21. peter

    It is only fair that you give Victoire Ingabire an opportunity to defend herself. But you are right Amanpour, reconciliation doesn't need autocracy to happened , it is actually quite the opposite. And soon or later it will be officially acknowledged that Kagame killed his own people as he is saying the leadership he ousted did ( tons of evidence/testomony surfacing). Reconciliation will happen when we cease to put hierarch among the dead; the reality is they are a lot of innocent Hutu victims of Kagame and his army. They deserve respect and their family have not yet mourn them.
    On development, as an African, we are all hungry for the rare great story, Rwanda has the potential to be one, it will depend on among other things, how the succession of power will occur.

    March 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  22. Imenagitero

    You Guys, sentiments aside you must acknowledge that President Kagame is devoting his energy to make a better Rwanda. Those who still harbor nostalgic of the old guard should at least appreciate the new achievements in Rwanda. Calling our President all silly names cannot change our focus as people of the new Rwanda. We want a resolute President, unshakable and progressive. And surely Kagame is the choice of Rwandans. Who has the guts to decide on our behalf? Who should tell us that our rights are violated? Not Human Rights which defends its interest and those of its sponsors. We are tired of interference in our own affairs. Gone is the era of dictating us the path that we should follow. Please give us a break!!!!

    March 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  23. Mutabaruka

    Christine,
    You are a great journalist and I admire your work, as one of my fellows suggested, please visit Rwanda and give us some objective reporting! I like your effort and love your reporting but hate to see you being lied to. President Kagame and his RPF party sound like they are the only people who should speak for Rwandans, we need some objective independent journalism, we want to see the opposition parties free to speak without any intimidation and demonetization! the 11 million people in Rwanda see it all but how can they express their views in fear of death? every thing contrary to RPF's ideology is termed genocide ideology!! You either stand with RPF or you risk persecution for crimes you have no idea about! How can you still speak about democracy in such a government? Can you believe there is presidential election in 5 months and yet there is no body out there allowed to seek the peoples' support besides Kagame? and yet it will be called a free and fair election??????? you is he kidding??

    March 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Reply
  24. Isidore

    Kagame has sparked genocide in Rwanda and should be prosecuted. He has killed more than 5 millions people in Congo DR. He is indicted by Spain and other countries. He is torturing people. He should be brought to book. Amanpour interview did not ask him the millions of people his army killed in Congo and Rwanda. It was a shame. A criminal like him should be arrested and be interviewed from his prison celll.

    March 19, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Reply
  25. Rudatinya

    I grew up in Rwanda until the age of nineteen, thinking that there was a difference between lies and truth, thinking that he who lies eventually gets caught and that the truth always prevail.

    Then after 1994, I have come to know that there was no real difference between lying and saying the truth except maybe the fact that saying the truth is good and lying is bad.

    What can I tell you ? I have seen some hutu orphans being treated as killers and some tutsi soldiers being welcomed as heros.

    This man has been lying since the very first day I heard about him, he is still lying today in the eyes of the whole world but yet he is introduced everywhere as a "President" and sometimes as a "hero".

    But he is first of all a mass killer who exterminated a large part of the population of our country and who didn't even care about weak victims of his own ethnic group.

    But when I see all of this sixteen years after and when I read all your comments guys, I think in myself that maybe it's true what they had taught me when I was young, that the truth always prevail.

    Let's do not sit and wait but fight for that truth to be known everywhere by everyone, let's stand up for the future of our people, hutu, tutsi, twa and all the people who love our country.

    Regards

    Rudatinya

    March 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  26. Muhutu Jean

    Thank you for this opportunity,

    I think , as a muhutu, that Kagame has done a job that no one could have done.

    First Hutus killed a million of tutsis, but Kagame ignored that while in power and never revenged.

    Second The genocide regime had never allowed any tutsi in governement office, today go and check; more than 60% of ministers are hutus, the rate is much higher for mayors and other high government officials,

    Third development has taken place in the country and a change has occured indeed; No where in the world will you find a capital looking like a countryside; There is nothing wrong that Kigali is more developed than other parts of the country. It is a good beginning and it's like naywhere in 'Taking Off Economies'. Why do people mind about developement in Kigali? What about when there was no developement at all, It was worse, wasn't it?

    Fourth All people who are talking against Kagame are living abroad and follow news on CNN. I am sure they don't know what is happening and write everything based on sentiments. Please go to Rwanda, you will learn more from people on ground than what you read on HRW reports.

    March 21, 2010 at 2:32 am | Reply
  27. John Mirenge

    Rwanda is back to pre-genocide era. The RPF government led by Paul Kagame is silencing everyone with different political opinions. Look at what is happening to Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Bernard Ntaganda or Frank Habineza. These are Rwandans who love their country who want every Rwandan to succeed but Kagame and his RPF continue to harass them and not allowing them to hold their parties' meetings or registrations. This kind of of behavior from RPF should stop NOW.

    A very respected General, Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa who recently fled Rwanda explained what's going on in Rwanda and the authoritarian rule that is being formed – please listen to him here:

    This was a man who fought along side Kagame and was one of the strongest voices in RPF but look what Kagame did to him.

    Please speak up for a peaceful Rwanda.

    March 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  28. Kami

    Dear Mrs Amanpour,

    First of all let me thank you for your amazing work! I often watch your interviews.

    I have so many things I would like to express about this interview but let just talk about few things:

    1) That man you had in front of you is not only a mass killer but also one of the biggest liar I ever heard!!! Among his lies, he says there are 11 millions people in Rwanda! I don't understand how he counts to reach such a number! Before October 1990, the population was less than 8 millions. People were killed since the first RPF attacks, in 1990, then came the genocide in April 1994 and after that Kagame & his people didn't stop to kill until now! With all that, Rwandans killed are not under 1,5 million. Those who flee the country are around 100,000. How come with that there are now 11 millions Rwandans in the country?? Who does he want to fool? Some analysts think it's a strategy for the elections in August. The RPF might bring some strangers (mainly from Uganda) & give them rwandan ID card so they can vote as rwandans. That technic has been used in Uganda so Museveni can remain president! As long as there is no population census, Kagame can say whatever he wants!

    2) In your introduction, you said that "when the world refused to intervene, PK led his Rwandan Patriotic Army to victory of the extremists forces who were carrying out the killings & afterwards he brought reconciliation & rebuilding to Rwanda {...}". Mrs Amanpour, do you know, among other reasons, why the world didn't intervene? It's because Kagame threatened the UN Forces who were already in Rwanda to shoot them if they don't leave the country in few hours! And he didn't stop the genocide but let it go on and prevent his soldiers to save their families wich were in danger!!! One wouldn't say Kagame brought reconciliation when there's no justice in Rwanda. People are struggling every day with the Gacaca system, wrongly accused for crimes they didn't commit, put in prison without any jugement during years and years (my father is in jail since 1995 without any prosecution and no one accusing him) unless they admit they killed. Can you imagine a country where you are free because you admitted being a murderer but put in jail even without any evidence, even when people are claiming your innocence? A country where one can send another in jail just to monopolize their possessions? Where is reconciliation when a Hutu can't cry for his loved ones killed since 1990? The government dont' want anybody saying Hutus died too.When someone dares they are called negationnist! The list of injustices is so long I can't tell everything! What's the use of rebuilding Kigali and transforming it like a european capital when most of the people don't have enough to eat??

    March 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  29. chris tete

    I don't agree with some of the reactions

    I've been in Rwanda, for my first time, in 2009; and I was impressed by the development I saw there. tarmac road infranstuctures connect every province even the majority of the Districts to the Capital. What they call Mutuelle de Santé (people covered by is covered by health insurrance) is around 91%.

    March 24, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  30. Joan Augusto

    But, you gays stop lying. I was in Rwanda in 2008 when the ID project concluded registering Rwandans in the 30 districts and some of those who are in diaspora (even though it still registering some from the diaspora and those who were young at that time in the country) their statistics showed that the Rwandan population was above 10 millions. Then given its high birth rate and the uncounted population (up to now) it is not surprising that in two years, estimates can lead to 11millions.

    March 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  31. Bellize Quiz

    I admire this man (Kagame). He deserve honor and respect for his work. In stead of negatively portraying him, you should follow his example and reconcile with your fellow rwandans.

    March 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  32. ngwino Alexander

    We as Rwandans we should be proud of the economic, social and diplomatic achievement we have achieved since 1994. Many are African countries who wish their Leaders to be like President Kagame, in other to make changes in their respective countries. He is a man of trust (he always try his best to achieve his promises). Many example are there to support my arguments. Navigate on Internet and see development in ICT, real construction, roads contruction, diplomatie, culture, education to mentionne but a few...

    Some of those who are negatively seeing these development are those who shamelessly live this country after committing genocide or else are on one way or another related to some scandals like corruption, nepotism, regionalism, extremism etc...

    March 24, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  33. francois Xavier Ndore

    Rwanda achievements are telling themselves. One of them is the 56% femele representation in the National Assembly (a worldwide record).

    Those who critise that in Rwanda there are no freedom of expression have no ground at all; when it comes to media (including newspapers). Those who have access to private local newpapers (like Umuseso and Umuvugizi ...) know it. The newspapers are very critical and often isulting the President himself and even though their articles not substiated and mostly sensential, they keep going out (which can not be tolerated in most of the western countries).

    March 24, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  34. Quiz Bellize

    I admire this President. He really deserve honour and respect for what he has achieved so far (reconciliation being one the those). Why don't you imitated him and reconcile between youself (Rwandans); instead of keeping destroying each other with words full of hate.

    March 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  35. Mugisha Mussa

    Dear Amanpour!

    I really love to follow your interviews, especially when you invite Heroes like Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda. As you are aware the History of that tiny country cleary shows how much Kagame loves his country more than his personal interests.

    How can’t we try to recognize this when he stopped the Genocide against innocent wives and children who were being slaughtered by Hutu when no any other person wanted to intervene? He refused to revenge the death of his brothers and sisters and instead opted for putting in place a coalition government as one of the strategies to promote the National Unity.

    Rwanda, which was like the current Haiti (in terms of economic development and not loss of people) 16 years ago has now made tremendous achievements which are recognized by bright people across the globe. This was combined with improving the security of Rwandans and the citizens of other countries staying in Rwanda. Who could believe that only sixteen years after the Genocide and wars, Rwanda could be the first country to be declared free of landmines under the Ottawa Treaty? This requires a lot of political will towards securing the lives of the population.

    I believe that nobody can write here the achievements of Rwanda under the leadership of President Kagame in terms of security, fight against corruption, etc.

    I would like to advise Amanpour to do not consider the negationists making accusation without giving clear evidence to substantiate what they say. These people should also know that the likes of President Kagame are always protected by God because they make a lot of people under their responsibilities feel the beauty of life. Can anyone feel this under a genocidal regime.

    May God be with you Amanpour.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:16 am | Reply
  36. kipkorir

    I would like to add on these statistics, as elaborated by previous commentors, that over 5.2 million voters are expected to vote in August 2010 elections. Given the fact that the young population is the largest in Rwanda, due to many reasons (genocide, high birth rate etc...); the 11 millions as said might be true

    March 25, 2010 at 8:33 am | Reply
  37. Champ

    Paul Kagame is nothing but a mass murderer who killed millions of Congolese, Ugandans and Rwandans, a thief who stole from Congo, and a dictator who is leading Rwanda with an iron fist. He has wiped out whole villages in Rwanda. He called people to public meetings and bombed them, his troops put hot pepper in Congolese womens vaginas. They amputated and sodomized people in the Congo. That is who you were sitting with dear Amampour. Just know that women like you have endured much pain and suffering caused by the man you were sitting with.

    March 25, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  38. kipkorir

    Mister Champ as u call urself, have you any fact to support your allegations? As you say one could think that those accusations are still there up to now.

    As a Kenya living in Rwanda I can fully assert that you are a liar. May be you have you own reasons to say what u are saying. But, many of those who are in this blog know that ur allegations are pure propaganda.

    March 30, 2010 at 5:55 am | Reply
  39. Champ

    Mr. Kipkorir, I know the truth hurts. Call me what you may but the proof is in the pudding. If you have not met these Congolese women, I have. You can start by reading the UN Security Council reports since the invasion of the Congo until now. They come out every year. Get with someone from global witness, IRC, ICG, or anyone that is part of the Friends of the Congo organization. The silence on the worlds deadliest genocide since WWII is slowly being broken. Congolese people are speaking out. If you cannot find any reports on your own, look on http://www.conflictminerals.org and you will find.

    If you truly live in Rwanda, try talking to people that live in rural Rwanda. Do you ever wonder why Rwandans whisper when they talk to you? They are afraid of all the agents across the country. When a waiter or waitress comes around, people keep quiet. There is a reason. Talk to former RPF soldiers who took part in the killings I am describing or former Australian peacekeepers who saw 10 000 people killed in a matter of hours in front of their eyes. These are eyewitnesses not just people living in Kigali. Once the whole truth comes out, you will be disappointed that you even tried to defend the mass murderer that is Paul Kagame.

    Go to facebook and you will be able to find Joseph Sebarenzi, former speaker of the house who is a genocide survivor and he may share even more of the reality of the Kagame regime. Or maybe just read his book. Do you wonder why 90% of officials who resign flee the country? Your full assertion of me is based on total misinformation. But you will see the light sooner or later.

    April 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  40. Champ

    Mr. Kipkorir,

    Now that I have provided you with a few sources among a milliard of sources with facts for your own education about Paul Kagame, please back up your "full assertion" with facts. Please give it your best shot to defend a proven mass murderer.

    April 2, 2010 at 1:33 am | Reply
  41. Emmanuel

    Dear Champ, I believe that I can answeer your question even though I know that u do not live in Rwanda and you are ignoring the truth and everything you talking about are based on hate fuelled elites abroad. People fleed the country (Rwanda) for many reasons. Some freed the country because of crimes the committe such as those living in Europe , USA, Canada and more. You cannot blame Mr. Kagame for people who dying or died in Congo because the interahamwe and FDLR who killed a million of people in Rwanda in 1994 are still doing the same. FDLR and other milittias in congo are responsible . Why do think interahamwe who killed their neighbors won't kill congolese. Unless if you are blind or ignorence , You should know better that Ingabire Umuhoza came in Rwanda to bring a same Idealogy which resulted the death from 1959 – 1994 . She does not have anything to improve the lives of Rwandans in terms economy, health, education ...... but want to take them in another genocide. We are better off as Rwandans than Hutu Tusti or Twa. The candidate should come showing improvement intented to bring not to divide people. The fugure of 90% of former officials fleed the country is bunch of lies . However , I know that some official involved in any crime are brought to justice no matter who there are. Based on 2009 UN report , Ingabire is one of the fandariser of FDLR, the milittia who are killing, raping women in Congo. kagame isprotecting his country as any leader should. The UN, Congo and interahamwe ( FDLR) and ther fandraisers ARE THE ONE WHO ARE REPONSIBLE OF THOSE 6 MILLION DEATH IN CONGO directly or inderectly. Stop lying . If anyone want to know the real truth, please come here in Rwanda .

    April 5, 2010 at 3:04 am | Reply
  42. Emmanuel

    People who claim to support Victoire Umuhoza are those who feel that People who died in rwanda in 1994 are not enough. They willing to do more. Here are thereasons: She supports FDLR who continues to kill congolese people based on UN report and She continues the same division among Rwandans which led to genocide.

    April 5, 2010 at 3:18 am | Reply
  43. Champ

    Dear Emmanuel,

    You didn't need to live in Haiti to know that there was a devastating earthquake. Just as you didn't need to live in the US to know that 9-11 happened. So whether I live in Rwanda or not is irrelevant to the truth. As much as you may convince yourself of what you are saying, there are UN Security Council reports for the last 10 years or more Rwanda's involvement in the death of 6 000 000 Innocent Congolese. There is direct evidence from the victims themselves saying Rwandan troops (the ones led by Paul Kagame) raped, sodomized and put pepper in women's vaginas.

    The CNDP is and has always been made by Rwandan troops or former Rwandan troops who fought with the RPF in Rwanda before 1994. This includes LAURENT NKUNDA and BOSCO NTAGANDA indicted for war crimes. It is well documented Rwanda's and Paul Kagames massacres in the Congo.

    I am very aware that Kagame's apologists and those who benefit from his government will say ANYTHING even the MOST RIDICULOUS OF LIES to defend their man. But the truth will not be suffocated. If you believe the lies you are telling here, what crimes did prime ministers TWAGIRAMUNGU and RWIGEMA commit before they fled the country. You are accusing people who flee of crimes. What did genocide survivors former speaker of the house JOSEPH SEBARENZI and DEO MUSHAYIDI commit before they fled the country? The truth is, you cannot disagree with Kagame and live in Rwanda. Hence the 90% officials who resigned and fled the country. Try to refute that or find other ridiculous lies to cover up for MASS MURDERER PAUL KAGAME! Only the ignorant would believe your lies.

    As for the FDLR and the genocidaires, Rwanda's defense minister GATSINZI was the chief of staff in the genocide government's army. RWARAKABIJE was the chief of staff of FDLR and is living freely in Rwanda. Those are facts but I know Kagame's fans don't care about facts. Myths are enough for them.

    April 7, 2010 at 1:48 am | Reply
  44. Champ

    To clarify the CNDP, RCD and may Rwandan sponsored rebellions are well documented for the genocide in Congo.

    April 7, 2010 at 1:50 am | Reply

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