Let us revisit the case of Charles Ingabire, the alleged Rwandan journalist who lost his life in Uganda a couple of weeks ago when unknown assailants gunned him down in the Ugandan capital.
Who was this person, and how is it that immediately foreign news organisations and interna tional human and media rights groups learnt of his death they began pointing fingers at the Rwandan administration as being responsible, even before the Ugandan authorities had so much as conducted an initial inquiry into the circumstances?
You realise what a cynical world we live in when you watch some of these things. Some international media organisations simply threw objectivity to the four winds and went along with the storyline of a political assassination (which of course, with liberal doses of insinuation, the reader was led to believe had been ordered by Kigali).
Look, we are not against criticism of the government of Rwanda or anyone else; what we are against is slander and lies and all kinds of dishonesty against anyone. Goodness knows, there is much to be criticised in Rwandan government officialdom, just like in officialdom everywhere in the world, and any honest media organization or other groups that take it upon themselves to dictate to other people how to live their lives certainly would find legitimate things to be critical about, without resorting to outright lies and slander.
But for some reason, certain individuals and organisations (like Human Rights Watch), and other assortments of Kagame haters just lose it at the very thought of the Rwandan president. For them no lie is too great when pursuing their goal of demonizing him, and no opportunity will they pass, no matter how divorced from logic, to use it to attack him.
Just look at the case of Charles Ingabire. A simple inquiry will reveal that this man never was a journalist in Rwanda, or anywhere else for that matter (writing an occasional blog does not a jour nalist make). Yet some newspapers were full of reports that this was a scribe who had always been a thorn in the side of Kigali!
The reality is that there was no earthly reason any government would want the fellow dead.
Here is the true story of Charles Ingabire. The young man was a survivor of the Genocide of 94, having lost several members of his family. He never was in any political organization at all. He never was in the military.
But he was an accountant. In a microfinance institution – the Inkingi Microfinance Group – up to 2007. Now, readers of Rwandan news will remember that around that time many of these mi crofinance institutions were going belly up, bankrupted by poor or inept management and lack of a basic understanding of good banking practices. Many poor people lost their savings in the wave of bankruptcies.
People were taking leaders of the institutions to court, and Inkingi Microfinance Group – which had its head office in the Biryogo slum of Nyamirambo, in a building called Maison Tresor – was no different. Its entire leadership fled the country rather than face court cases filed by very angry people whose savings had been wiped out. That is how Charles Ingabire left the country towards the end of 2007, only to surface at the offices of UNHCR (the UN agency for refugees) in Kam pala, claiming political persecution.
That is what happens with Rwanda – even the most common criminal fleeing the country will immediately begin fabricating stories about how the Government, and Kagame in particular, is after him or her.
So, who killed Ingabire? Was it someone who had lost money due to the bad management and subsequent bankruptcy of Inkingi Microfinance Group? We cannot know for sure. Could it have been some robbers in Kampala trailing him to a bar and shooting him? No one knows at this stage. Could it have been someone with a totally different kind of axe to grind with him? No one knows at this moment.
The honest thing for anyone reporting on the death of this man (or reporting about anything else) would be to bring out all the facts and let the reader judge for themselves, instead of foisting half-baked opinions and innuendo in the guise of journalism, or human rights findings.