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digging hole when in you are stop a

This trip has been worthwhile and its clear that David Cameron has a vision for Africa which goes beyond the usual quick-fixes of charity and aid. Most of Africas problems are related to isolation. In the global economy Africa has been left behind. As David Cameron correctly says it is only when Africa can engage the world through trade will it be in a position to develop through its own volition.

Mr. Cameron has invited the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, to address the party's conference this autumn. I believe this to be a serious error of judgement.

The Conservative party should not extend this invitation without first considering some unpalatable facts about Mr. Kagame and his chums in the RPF.

I write with some experience of the Rwanda story, having, until disagreements over strategy and tactics caused a parting of the ways, represented as Counsel one of the former Hutu Cabinet Ministers in the 1994 Government at the Rwanda Tribunal in Arusha.

The Prosecutor at Arusha is in possession of primâ facie evidence which would easily suffice, in ordinary circumstances, to justify the drawing of and issuing of an Indictment for prosecution of Kagame and other senior RPF adherents for grave crimes against humanity and war crimes. Much of this evidence has been provided to the prosecutor by Professor Filip Reyntjens of Antwerp University who has frequently appeared as an impressive expert witness at the ICTR. He makes little secret of what he has made available and that it amounts to allegations of grave crimes against Kagame and many of his RPF supporters.

The body of evidence is, I have it on impeccable authority, substantial, compelling and of the gravest nature. Such an Indictment is only withheld for political reasons, I believe.

A constant criticism of the ICTR is that in dispensing justice it is, unlike the ICTY in The Hague, not even-handed and that in this instance only the defeated will be put on trial.

The Prosecutor and indeed the whole Tribunal at Arusha is terrified that if the slightest suggestion that Kagame is to be indicted were to be made, then the whole edifice which is the ICTR would come crumbling down (and it is an edifice which is so rotten that not much would be required to bring it down) because the government of Rwanda would immediately withdraw its co-operation (in such areas as allowing investigators access to witnesses, preventing witnesses from traveling, closing the Prosecutor’s Office in Kigali etc.) with the Tribunal and effectively bring its work to an end. Thus there is little present prospect of Kagame or anyone else being charged.

That said, there is considerable pressure on the Prosecutor to act as and when the last trials of Hutu génocidaires are completed, it is conceivable that Indictments may still be issued. That may come as early as 2008 or 2009: I say that with some diffidence as my former client was arrested in 1999 and has yet to have his trial completed eight years on!

One fully understands why HMG and others wish to cultivate this man above whom so large a question mark lingers. Ripping a francophone nation like Rwanda away from the bosom of the French Union will be a bitter blow for French pride and French prestige in Africa which may ripple out to other discontented Francophones on the continent to Britain’s undoubted benefit. (Some might say that ripping almost anything from the French bosom would be a good thing: suggestions on a clean beer-mat!) But mostly it is the prospect of the development of oil and mineral resources in The DRC that attracts our interest and the hope that Kagame may enable Rwanda either to seize or at least exercise suzerainty over the border area of the DRC that abuts onto Rwanda wherein such resources are believed to lie.This area is filled with Hutu refugees against whom the RPF conducts frequent ratissages during which the laws and customs of war are but an irritating obstacle to the perceived efficient conduct of operations.

To cosy up to Kagame seems to be the flavour of the month but is something about which we ought to have substantial reservations.

What troubles me is that having this man address the Conference may yet come back to haunt the Party if he should in due course be indicted or if more material concerning his crimes comes into the public domain. He had a major official visit to the UK recently (Blair being less troubled than many of us about the kind of individual he has to dinner) when the Red Carpet was rolled out and Kagame was duly fêted. Further rumours suggest that Rwanda will apply for and be granted membership of the Commonwealth.

Kagame has in addition been accused by the French of shooting down the aeroplane of President Habyarimana, an act which may well have precipitated the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda.

The RPF says that that accusation has only been made because France wishes to cover up its own complicity in the genocide. In fact the charge has been made by Magistrate Brugiere whom I have met and can say with conviction is definitely not the creature of the Quai d'Orsay, which actually hates and fears Brugiere.

The genocide and its attendant war only came to an end when Paul Kagame and his RPF swept back into Kigali as victors in a war which saw both sides commit unspeakable atrocities. It is as a result of his leadership of the RPF at that time that the potential Indictments arise, given his duty as a commander to prevent atrocities or, if they occured, to punish them.

I am deeply uneasy that we should be courting this man. The best policy would seem to me to be seen to sup with this man using a very long spoon.

It seems that Cameron is as ignorant about the situation on Rwanda as he was about the tortuous tribal politics of Southall.

It's all happening because he thinks it's "cool" to be involved with ethnic-orientated situations. I suppose he thinks his bumblings will give the lie to critics who say the party is racist.

So he jumps in feet first with both eyes closed. What a chump!

Mr. Cameron has invited the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, to address the party's conference this autumn. I believe this to be a serious error of judgement.

He could be served with a European Arrest & Extradition Warrant at the Conservative Conference....that would be great television.....to see his face as he is led away from the podium by the police.

The whole Rwanda thing is shameful.

Brown has been here twice since the weekend and we even had the Gloucester MP in tow at Tewkesbury Borough Council Offices when the PM 'dropped in' yesterday. I hate to say this, but Brown really has scored big time here on the flood issue and I am alarmed by the vitriol within the comments I have recieved about DC's visit to Rwanda from our voters in what is currently one of the safest seats we have.

Anyway, enough about that and back to practicalities. If any of my fellow posters on CH could assist us here with the new Gloucestershire Flood Relief Fund that we are just establishing, it would be really appreciated.

We would especially like support from corporate contacts who might be in the position to throw a few quid in the pot (so to speak).

If you need further info, please could you e-mail me on [email protected]

Ed, please could we have an article? (pretty please...!!!...???)

Thanks All.

Cllr Adam Tugwell

Cameron really ought to belt up about Rwanda and pretend the whole thing never happened and he was here , in England where he is supposed to be , all the time .
Just airbrush the whole idiotic episode away and don't draw attention to it again .

The people who come on here to attack David Cameron's fact-finding mission to Rwanda have a primitive view of the world. A quickly changing and interdependent world. Would they rather the leader of the opposition stay at home and learn about Africa and poverty through Wikipedia? People ought to respect David Cameron for having the initiative to go out and investigate the situation first-hand.

Cllr. Tugwell's on-the-spot knowledge of what his constituents views of the Rwanda trip are rather points up the unwisdom of not cancelling, particularly, if we are to believe some reports, after some members of his team had counselled strongly against Mr. Cameron's going.

Some may laugh those off as Labour activists doing the dirty, but one must rely on Cllr. Tugwell to know how to sort his wheat from his chaff.

Those who have been posting that we are all out to get Cameron and that we are all Cameroon haters and baiters may now gracefully resile from that accusation.

What we are is people who want to win and are prepared to speak out candidly if we think, as is apparent here, that a serious misjudgement took place. What we seek to do is to make Mr. Cameron sharpen up his act so that when the election comes we can advance towards the enemy in the belief that we are not 'Lions led by Donkeys'.

He would have been slaughtered for being hypocritical about Africa if he had cancelled. Made the right decision.

You only have to put the words "Paul Kagame war crimes" into a Google search to see that this man is dead dodgy. What the hell is Cameron doing with him?

"He would have been slaughtered for being hypocritical about Africa if he had cancelled. Made the right decision."

From whom? If you asked 90% of voters to point to Rwanda on the map they wouldn't have a clue.

Is this your take on being a "UKIP troll", Henry? UKIP supporting Cameron? Hmm...Very interesting...

....and I've just found one site where he is called "The African Hitler."


The people who come on here to attack David Cameron's fact-finding mission to Rwanda have a primitive view of the world.

Really ? I think they have a very sophisticated view of the world and are less prone to tunnel-vision than some people who have trouble sorting priorities.

Then again it is a bit unworldly how readily Cameron has ceded ground to Brown since 27th June...one might think he is frightened of Brown. In fact the whole childish performance of Osborne playing graphologist makes me wonder if Blair's long exit instilled fear of Brown in Cameron and Osborne....because since 27th June they have certainly avoided getting in Brown's way which is troubling.

Ducking out from the CBI Conference to go to play school assistant in Hull but to skip off to Rwanda when it floods in Middle England.......with the prospect of a junket to Pakistan....it looks as if Brown is setting the agenda and the Conservatives are ceding ground

Bloody Minded @ 18:59

From whom? If you asked 90% of voters to point to Rwanda on the map they wouldn't have a clue.

Answer: The media

DC was in a lose-lose situation and in that situation, stick with Plan A

I am thrilled that Cameron took on this project. The short sightedness of some of the comments posted above just serve to remind me of how far the party still has to go and how Cameron is right to call on the party to be hungry and disciplined. Some may brush this off as simply a PR stunt that backfired, but I feel there is a whole lot more to Cameron and his team that people give him credit for. His brand of compassionate conservatism both home and abroad is both commendable and inspiring.

President Kagame does not sound like the kind of person we really want at the party conference.

Can Cameron please demonstrate some sense and change his mind on this before he makes yet another catastrophic blunder?

The first comment is right - he just keeps digging that hole for himself.

Not for the first time, Huntsman, thanks for such an informative, well-argued post.

I can see the headlines in 45 point font: "The African Hitler" visiting the green and nasty party.

>>I can see the headlines in 45 point font: "The African Hitler" visiting the green and nasty party.<<

More like the Nazi Party the way we're going.

This man Cameron has disgraced us all.

Bloodyminded - we aren't really 'political' or organised enough to carry out a troll operation to support Cameron, but you are right that he is a recruiting sergeant. Our take is that all Tory MPs are the same because they accept increasing stasis from Brussels, the court of Human Rights etc. Who cares which performing monkey is in front of the organ? I just thought he was right not to give up his African cred.

Have you read about Kagame?

This is from his Wikipedia article:

"As President of Rwanda, Kagame, along with Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998 (see Second Congo War), a conflict which has resulted in an estimated 3.8 million dead, a death toll not seen in wartime since World War II."

In 2001, the UN claimed: "Presidents Kagame and [Uganda's President] Museveni are on the verge of becoming the godfathers of the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the continuation of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo."

Also: "Critics have accused Kagame of exploiting Western guilt over the genocide to deflect public criticism of corruption and human rights abuse by his government."

Hmmm...this is worrying.

It's in Wikipedia, therefore it must be true!

Can we at least use decent references please before everyone starts jumping to conclusions.

Well why would it not be true Anon? We've already heard he's described as the 'Hitler of Africa'.

I think we should all write to the Party Chairwoman to tell her that this man must not come here. It's as bad as inviting Mugabe.

I've met the new chair and I believe she is a decent woman who will take notice.

Can we have a sense of proportion please. I was flooded out twenty years ago. My daughter was being born at the time. I welcomed a visit from the loss adjuster, the plumber, BT, the builder and the electrician. The last person on my list was the local MP.
Cameron could best spend his time finding out what was happening from local officials and then ensuring resources were made available as required and developing policies to help prevent future flooding. Wandering around in a pair of wellies bothering people trying to salvage their possessions would be self-indulgent posturing. His being out of the country for a couple of days made no difference at all.
However, the comments about Paul Kagame are well made. Anyone involved in Rwanda in the 1990s is likely to be soiled and a potential risk. Can't we get Mandela or Desmond Tutu?

Having listened again to the video clip of Mr. Cameron I note he mentioned that important phrase "good governance" which Saint Bob Geldof, Bono and other do-gooders never mention in case they offend their African chums.

Thus far, so good. The problem is that Kagame's idea of 'good governance' is very very different from that of his would-be host at the party conference. Mr. Cameron meant it in the best sense and was entirely right to mention it as a goal. Paul Kagame thinks of 'good governance' as something to pay lip service to and then to avoid like the plague.

In 2003 he got 'elected' as President with 95% of the vote and his Tutsi dominated RPF picked up 33 out of 53 elective seats despite only being backed by the 16% Tutsi minority. In a fully free and fair election he would never win the post of Town Rat Catcher because the Hutus form 84% of the population and would never vote for him in a month of wet Sundays.

I am quite sure that if one were to look hard enough, one could find a suitable replacement for this gentleman as a star turn for the party to fete,applaud and share canapes with. As it is, I remain convinced that we should think very very hard before firming up an invitation to grandstand to Paul Kagame.

Incidentally as soon as The Times hinted the other day at this invitation I sent an email to Mr. Hague pointing out the pitfalls. I still await the courtesy of a reply.

You can take the horse to water, it seems, but you cannot make him drink.

Rwanda was yesterday's genocide.

Darfur is today's.

Darfur is where Cameron should be focused.

Well on this one it does look as if Cameron was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. Which of course does beg the question how on earth did he allow himself to be trapped into a no win situation like this? Rather like foolishly allowing himself to be far too closely tied to the, always in doubt, Ealing Southall result this really does bring into question both Cameron's judgement and that of those around him.

Have a look at this site if you would like to know more about Paul kagame and why they call him "The African Hitler".

The pictures were taken in April and May 2005 by Mark Cuthbert-Brown, Provost Marshal of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), with the assistance of John Cleland from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

This happened in post-genocide Rwanda and unfolded in front of a dozen UN agencies, 120 non-governmental organizations and 5,500 UN peacekeepers.

! Some of the pictures are quite disturbing!



The commentary on the presence of President Paul Kagame at the Tory Party conference is remarkably unfair to Kagame and, by extension, the government he leads.
That the 1994 genocide happened, that up to a million people were slaughtered in a 100 days while the world watched, that the UN, the US and Britain did nothing to help, and that Belgium and France in particular could be held particularly responsible for letting it happen, and the later (France) for continuing to support the murderers throughout the genocide period, is fairly clear and on the record.
That the genocide came to an end is due above all to the role of the RPA under the command of Paul Kagame.
As for the killings in the Kibeho camp, a seriously complex situation, I would strongly recommend before people lash out with instant indignation on the basis of little knowledge that they read chapter 13 in Philip Gourevitch's fine book on the genocide and its aftermath (probably the most moving, accessible and humane study of the whole horrible period)titled "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families" (PICADOR, 1999).
The Rwanda nightmare is not just another African tale of dysfunction, in its scale, its horror and its rapidity it was unique.
The commitment of the government of the new Rwanda under Paul Kagame, over these last fifteen plus years, has been remarkable in so many areas. No government anywhere has had such a formidable array of problems and challenges and it has met these challenges with intelligence, determination and as much decency as one could honestly expect given the resources available.
David Cameron's choice of Kagame was a brave and imaginative one and one he can be proud of.

I hope DC didn't return from visiting Rwanda with the same naive impression that Claire Short received. She described Rwanda's mainman as a 'sweetie'. Honestly...
Kagame is highly intelligent but ruthless. I have visited this country myself many times since the genocide and the truth is that this is a frightened country which most of the population would love to leave.
Anybody could end up in one of their prisons for any petty reason. If somebody laughed or showed lack of respect during one of their Peoples' Court trials it could be prison. Once in prison it is all too easy to remain there as papers get lost or prison officials attempt to extort bribes.
Successful businessmen get visits from government people to extract money or risk being presecucuted. This is a highly corrupt country.
Young women rarely get offered office jobs unless it is by a predatory male.
The Government has a huge control over the economy and will hike up the price of a basic foodstuff overnight.
Most children at state boarding schools are lucky to taste meat more than once a month.
The country is a draconian mess.

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