“He believes in killing his opponents, that is the problem I have with him, there is a long list of people that have died politically,”
Interview with Patrick Karegeya, former Rwandan Chief Spy and Army Spokesman.
The Rwandan authorities and President Paul Kagame denied having had anything to do with the attempted murder of Nyamwasa. What do you think?
It is not an assumption, it is a reality. He is fully involved. Not that I’m creating it. I know Kagame is having great difficulty in explaining some of the issues that [Nyamwasa] has uncovered, for him there is no possibility for debating issues, he just shoots.
How do you interpret the attempted murder?
For someone from my country, it is no surprise. We expected it. We ignored the time but we knew it would happen. It is the way Kagame acts. We receive information daily and know that they are trying to hunt us down.
Do you fear for your life?
What would be the reasons for Kagame wanting to get rid of you?
He cannot stand that anyone would think differently. All dictators constantly perceive people around them as enemies . Their mission is to perpetuate themselves in power by surrounding themselves with family members or people that protect them from any country that can remove them from power. And for that, critics are accused of genocide.
How is the opposition within Rwanda?
The pressure is terrible because there are no basic freedoms: not human, not political, or expression. There is only one man, what he says is law. If you open a question, you are accused of insubordination. The country is being governed under the wheels of fear. There is manipulation at all levels. Within the country, it is very difficult for the opposition to organise. Opposing Kagame’s agenda is to risk jail. The games have been painted with a single idea. He defines who will be the candidate and what percentage are going to get in the elections. There is no real opposition. But fortunately, people are starting to wake up.
And the opposition in exile?
It’s growing. The exiles are realising that the differences between them are only helping Kagame. At first, Kagame killed Hutus, but Tutsis now too, Hutus and Tutsis are realising they have the same problem.
This is not the image we have overseas about Rwanda
He has been sold as a saint, there are certain lobbies advertise it very well, but this image can fly with the facts. When the truth is revealed, the picture fades. It is not the first dictator that the West has supported so strongly. Amin [in Uganda] Saddam [in Iraq], Mobutu [in Congo] all had their friends in the West. Perhaps he has been sold better, and whenever there is any doubt, get the letter of “good but, after all, he managed to end the genocide.” I wonder: I can not deny that fact, because there was a genocide?
What do you mean?
The genocide was unfortunate, should never occurred and the guilty must be punished. But it’s not a license to deny rights. Pressing the press because he was responsible for mobilising the population against genocide is like asking people to stop eating because it can cause obesity.
Interview by Gemma Parellada and translated by Joramjojo
“He believes in killing his opponents, that is the problem I have with him, there is a long list of people that have died politically,” said Mr Karegeya.
“I was in a position to know so I think I am talking from a point of knowledge.