So although the BBC did not publish my comments, they were gracious enough to invite Dr. Filip Reyntjens on the "Have your say debate". Also on air was Dr. Alfred Ndahiro, President Paul Kagame’s media adviser.
Reyntjens who has spent half of his life studying Rwanda, is a walking dictionary. I should say that I have learned more from reading his books and articles than I have from living in Rwanda. To his credit, Reyntjens was among the individuals to first raise alarm prior to 1994, on the looming Genocide. However, in recent years, as have many others, Reyntjents has not shied away from criticizing the RPF regime.
His essay, “Rwanda, Ten Years on: From Genocide to Dictatorship,” is, humbly speaking, the seminal work that lays on the surface the abuses of the RPF. In this essay, he accuses the RPF regime of “Tutsization” of the state. Giving evidence to his allegations, he says that of the 169 top government positions, 135 of them (roughly 80%) are in the hands of Tutsi elites. This is in a country where Hutu comprise 85% of the population.
Hence it is not by accident, that the encounter between the two men (albeit on air) was very confrontational. Of course, Reyntjens being a professor tried to maintain his cool. However when he stated that in a free election, the RPF would only manage to get 10% of the vote. Ndahiro lost it and resulted to name calling and character assassination.
“Before he (Reyntjens) says anything, I don’t know whether you know this professor.” He interrupted, adding, “This professor has been hostile to the government of Rwanda. “
“You (Reyntjens) wrote the constitution of the Genocide government …” Ndahiro shouted, insinuating that Reyntjens is sympathetic to the 1994 killers.
It is regrettable that the RPF is unwilling to engage on a serious substantiate debate. They seem to have an irrational fear and hatred for criticism, thinking they know everything about the Rwandan society.
Anyway, the discussion was not without some humor. Reyntjens compared Kagame’s shadow opposition with bridesmaids. Individuals, who have worked with the RPF, are supportive and benefit from the RPF’s agenda. The individuals stand as opposition candidates, to give an impression that Kagame is allowing for multi-party competition. However, the real opposition is not allowed to participate. In the end, it is all nothing but a sham!