Kaieteur News – I believe Mia Mottley, the Barbadian Prime Minister, and Dr. Irfaan Ali, the Guyanese President, are going to become two of the most admired CARICOM heads when their respective tenure is completed. They both seem to be leaders who want to leave a legacy that will put them in the category of the great CARICOM leaders of yesteryear.
Dr. Ali has been through a torrid time before reaching the presidency. He saw his electoral success slipping away for five months in which this nation got drowned in the vortex of pessimism saved only by the world’s inflexible intention to preserve the democratic process in Guyana. In this crisis, the Commonwealth of Nations and its Secretariat stood with Dr. Ali.
In Barbados, Mottley has emerged as one of the most popular Barbadian prime ministers who may very well be recognized as the second greatest Barbadian PM after Errol Barrow. Both leaders seem inclined to expand the democratic culture of their respective countries. They should move this attempt to the world stage when they attend the Commonwealth Heads of Nations meeting in June in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
Barbados and Guyana have no political or trade relations with Rwanda. They owe that country and its murderous president, Paul Kagame, nothing. Kagame makes the dictators in China and Putin in Russia look like angels. You criticize the Chinese and Russian dictators, you end up in jail. You criticize Kagame; you end up in a coffin.
Kagame is one of politics’ greatest disappointments in the contemporary Third World. He came to power after he led a guerrilla war against the Hutu regime that committed genocide against the minority Tutsi people. The massacre of the Tutsis remains one of history’s worst acts of genocide.
Kagame is intoxicated with power. His rule is marked by secret murders of thousands of Hutus against whom he is on a permanent crusading vendetta, and his fellow Tutsis who criticize his violent rule. Kagame has assassinated some of Kigali’s most prominent citizens who have spoken out against his murderous rule. He sends out hit squads around the world to “rendition” opponents he is afraid of. Four of them stand out.
One is Rwanda’s most famous pop singer, Kizito Mihigo. He was found dead in his cell the day after he was detained. Mihigo’s father was killed in the genocide. The second one is the former spy chief, Patrick Karegeya, who broke with Kagame, began to speak out and was killed in his hotel room in South Africa. This infuriated the South African government and relations between the two countries have been strained since. Any government would view it as an assault on its sovereignty if you send hit men to murder your opponents in its country.
The third rendition was Callixte Nsabimana, who was abducted in the Comoro Islands. But the most famous of the four is Paul Rusesabagina, the man who became an international hero after a Hollywood film featured his real life story in the movie, “Hotel Rwanda.” President George W. Bush awarded him the Medal of Freedom in 2005. He was abducted from Dubai and taken to Kigali. Today, Rusesabagina’s trial begins. It need not be mentioned that he is on several trumped-up charges.
One doesn’t know if by the time the Commonwealth Heads meet in June, Rusesabagine’s trial will be over or he will mysteriously die in his cell. If he is still alive, when the confabulation begins, Mottley and President Ali must seek CARICOM’s assistance in calling for an enquiry into the deaths of these persons and his (Rusesabagina) release.
Rusesabagina’s persecution may be the Achilles’ heel for Kagame. The US, the EU and international human rights groups are taking a keen interest in the trial that begins today. CARICOM needs to join them. What the five-month election impasse in Guyana showed the world, is that the small island-states of CARICOM represent a fortress of enduring democracy comparable with any region in the entire world. CARICOM as a community of democratic states was forceful in preserving democratically held elections here. They must present that stamp of democracy when they attend the meeting in June.
It is doubtful that Kagame will escape focus on his murderous regime today. Sadly, the US and Europe have turned a blind eye to Kagame’s atrocities the past 20 years out of a sense of guilt. Anyone reading about the genocide will know that the US, Europe and the UN waited too late to act. By the time they did, 800,000 Tutsis were savagely killed. To revenge that genocide, Kagame is on a killing spree. He must be stopped.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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