Gerard Mbanda is a Rwandan senior journalist but now director of media in Rwanda Governance Board. In his opinion “How Western Media gets it wrong on Rwanda”, published by NewsGhana this week, Mbanda says Africans think prosperity and stability can only be achieved through western prescriptions. Trying other approaches like Rwanda has done, means being labeled rebellious and inviting trouble.
Despite the reality that every society is capable of evolving on its own as the west did, western media is deployed to demonize bad students who try to challenge the prescribed order that every society must evolve according to the dictates of Western thinking. Rwanda and Kagame have broken the golden rule.
The race for the Rwandan presidency had three contenders, and no sooner had they started their political campaigns across the country, than the Western media and Human rights organizations started demonizing only one presidential candidate, now President elect Paul Kagame.
The usual narrative of vicious, malicious allegations in Western media, aimed at the person of president Kagame was a deliberately planned and coordinated campaign in the hope of damaging Kagame in the presidential race.
Western media aided the spread of such hate language, which is in complete violation of the role and ethical standards of the media and failure to exercise journalism of attachment and objectivity.
Biased western media coverage, “human rights” and “expert” reports demonizing president Kagame during an election time had three main objectives: first to influence the thinking of the Rwandan voters to see their leader as undemocratic and change their support for him, bias the international community to change their foreign policy and isolate, Kagame, and lastly, change the narrative about the Rwandan history of the genocide, by turning heroes into villains, victims into killers.
Despite clear denunciation from Rwandans for instance, one thing of the things in the western media narrative about the country that has stubbornly stuck, is the reference to Rwanda’s government as “Tutsi” led, and referring to others leaders as Hutu so and so. Those who seek to fan the dying embers of division among Rwandans cannot be unaware that such divisions were the building blocks to genocide.
Western Media criticism of Kagame comes at a time when the whole world can testify to how Rwanda has been transformed from a divided state, to a unified, prosperous nation.
Western media instead threw wild claims that the country is in a climate of fear, dictatorship, and that Rwandans lack human rights. Ironically, the same media demonizing Kagame was totally absent in 1994, when Rwanda was burning and over a million innocent lives were lost.
Rwandans are still waiting to see when Western media will gang up to pressure their governments to take action on hundreds of genocide suspects living in comfort in their countries.
Indeed, western media failed to influence the outcome of Rwanda elections because Rwandans know what they want, what others want is not in their interest.
Some advance allegation that Rwandans are forced to go and vote for Kagame, the Rwandan Diaspora voted for him with an overwhelming 95.5%. This showed that the claim of dictatorship and forced voting traded in western media was a product of fake news to serve interest of Kagame’s detractors.
Rwanda has critics and naysayers, who are fewer in number than those who are happy and contented with their leadership. Western media narrative wants to influence the world to believe that the reverse is true.
Rwanda may disagree with the west on its form of democracy, and the Rwandan people should be left free to determine their destiny.