By Joseph Rwagatare
The evil that men do comes back to haunt them. So it is with Paul Rusesabagina of the Hotel Rwanda fame (or is it notoriety?).
The evil that he committed at the Hotel Mille Collines in 1994 on which he has built his life to date and cleverly turned into heroism has given him appetite for more evil. But the stardom he has enjoyed since Hotel Rwanda was released is waning and the money that came with it will soon dry up as his flopped recent fundraiser in Chicago shows.
Nonetheless, he remains a dangerous and deceitful man who must be exposed. And that is what survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi who were at the Mille Collines (Hotel Rwanda of the movie of the same name) during the genocide are ready to do. They can no longer stand his lies and posturing and want the whole world to know that the man is an impostor and conman.
Senator Wellars Gasamagera, speaking on behalf of fellow survivors at the Mille Collines, was very categorical in his denunciation of Rusesabagina.
“We have followed with dismay Paul Rusesabagina making people believe he is really the fiction movie hero. We have at several times denounced his megalomaniac and deceitful attitude to no avail. The world keeps being blatantly misled by this individual with his supposed role in saving 1200 plus individuals at great personal risk. We categorically deny having been saved by him. Instead, we wish to tell the world this character has abused for too long the trust of so many people of good faith, and the credulity of the uninformed.”
The many people who sought refuge at the Mille Collines and whom Rusesabagina alleges to have saved passed through many difficulties to get to the hotel.
“Paul Rusesabagina played no role whatsoever in facilitating us get access to the hotel,” Senator Gasamagera says.
A fellow survivor, Felicien Mutalikanwa, adds: “He made people who were lucky enough to get a room at the hotel pay him hard cash for the privilege, or sign cheques or promissory notes. Anyone who could not was threatened with being thrown out to the eager Interahamwe waiting at the gates of the hotel.”
According to Senator Gasamagera, Rusesabagina ran a very lucrative business selling to the hotel dwellers rice and sugar, and eventually other foodstuffs and local beers brought to him by Interahamwe militias at very high prices while the refugees had nothing to feed crying kids. He used the proceeds from the sale to line his pockets.
“Yet today we hear with bewilderment that the so called caretaker provided people with food and all”, he says.
Rusesabagina was no saviour to anyone in the Mille Collines. This is how the survivors at the Mille Collines explain their survival.
“The people who were held hostage in Mille Collines were exchanged for FAR (Forces Armees Rwandaise) who had been surrounded in the RPF-held enclave around Amahoro Stadium”.
Senator Gasamagera and fellow survivors are again categorical in dismissing Rusesabagina’s role in saving anyone.
“We once again wish to repeat that Paul Rusesabagina could in no way have saved us. Today he is claiming to be a “modest and ordinary man” who saved people. The truth is he was, and still is, an egocentric character, driven by self-interest who enjoyed a pleasurable life in an environment of suffering where children and women were starving to death”.
Mr Mutalikanwa describes how the many people taking refuge at the Mille Collines sometimes managed to get food and cook it in the hotel’s kitchen. When Rusesabagina found this out and realized he was missing the opportunity to make money, he cut off electricity to the kitchen.
“Was this the action of a saviour?” he asks.
The ease with which Rusesabagina made money at the Mille Collines has led him to do the same in Europe and America. He uses the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation to raise large sums of money supposedly to help orphans. Yet no orphan in Rwanda has ever benefited from this money. What is now well established is that he uses the money to support terrorist groups fighting the Rwanda Government in order to bring back chaos in a country that is just emerging from the mayhem of genocide.
It now seems Americans and other unsuspecting generous people are getting wise to his ticks. That explains why his fundraiser in Chicago was a flop.
His other source of money – the lecture circuit at university campuses is also drying up as more informed people turn up at his lectures and challenge his misinformation attempts.
Rusesabagina is running out of options. His final recourse to remain in the limelight and hopefully continue to get money from the enemies of Rwanda is to politics.
This vainglorious and opportunistic man has been positioning himself again as a hero who will save Rwanda – this time as a politician. His accomplices in this new enterprise are of similar ilk. The brothers Rudasingwa and Gahima are equally egocentric, greedy and corrupt, and a little mad. The disgraced soldiers Kayumba and Karegeya are both traitors. The FDLR are terrorists, rapists, murderers and plunderers. This is the unlikely company of saviours.
This is the man who keeps hopping from one evil deed to another. The trail of evil has begun to haunt him, and there will be no let up.