Gasana condemns US envoy Power over ‘double standards’

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Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations has dismissed assessment made about Rwanda by his US counterpart, Ambassador Samantha Power, as “speculative and short of facts.” 

Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana said lumping all regional countries together, to mean they are synonymous in context, is misleading.

During a UN Security Council open debate on the prevention and resolution of conflicts in the Great Lakes Region, on Monday, Power, the U.S. Permanent representative to the UN, said that despite Rwanda’s progress in many aspects, the country’s record on protecting and promoting civil and political rights is “less impressive.”

Power said Rwanda, like Uganda, Burundi and DR Congo, has “inextricable connection” on the issues relating to democratic accountability, human rights, the rule of law, economic progress, and peace and stability.

However, Amb. Gasana said the allegations of absence of political space and democratic accountability in Rwanda are baseless.

“Power does not have power over Rwanda,” said Gasana, who is also the state minister for cooperation.

“We need first of all to caution her in lumping together the approaches of the four countries as there is no ‘one size fit all’ solution in responding to the challenges the region is confronted with.”

The envoy said while Rwanda commends Power’s remarks as to Rwanda’s gains since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi—in economic and social fields and Rwanda’s key role in maintaining peace and security in the international arena – there was need to emphasise that Rwanda’ achievements did not occur in a “vacuum” but through the “good leadership” of President Paul Kagame.

“Rwanda’s success stemmed from many factors, including good governance and an enlightened leadership led by President Kagame that put together solutions tailored to the Rwanda situation in the immediate aftermath of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Gasana added that the Genocide, which claimed over one million lives, wouldn’t have stopped had the RPF, led by Kagame, not taken it upon themselves to stop the killings and bring the nation to order.

“And you were all here, the Security Council, in 1994; tens of thousands being killed (everyday); what have you done? Nothing,” Gasana said.

“We want this man (Kagame) … he was the only one to take responsibility and stop the Genocide; he is our hero.

So we will never, ever accept whoever tries to deny what the Rwandans want to achieve, or what is the choice of Rwanda.”

The Rwandan diplomat said the “well-tested system” has prompted the people of Rwanda to opt massively to keep their President at the helm of the nation.

“You don’t need to agree with us, but you can respect our choices. There are some of the things we might disagree with your country, but there is nothing we can do about it. We leave it to you,” Gasana added.

Meanwhile, Gasana used the platform to challenge Burundian leaders to concentrate on seeking solution to the political turmoil their country find itself in rather than being fixated on Rwanda and President Kagame in particular.

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