Kagame warned not to go the Mugabe way- Wikileaks

Rwandan leader Paul Kagame was warned eight years ago not to go the Robert Mugabe way when he won his second term of office as the country’s president but last year he contested the elections and won another seven-year term.

Kagame became the country’s leader in 1994 when his Rwandan Patriotic Front overthrew the government and ended the genocide in the country that had killed hundreds of thousands.

Although he spearheaded reconciliation and the economic growth of the country resulting in his country becoming one of “Africa’s biggest successes” he has largely survived on the grace of the West.

He invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo twice with impunity and is reported to have used Congo’s resources to finance the war.

In an editorial soon after his 2003 election victory, Canada’s Globe and Mail said though Kagame had managed to transform the economy and promoted reconciliation largely because of the large amounts of aid he was getting, Western governments should move beyond genocide-related guilt and begin to measure Kagame by the standards they applied to others.

“They and he need look no further than Zimbabwe, a few borderlines to the south, to see what happens when power goes to a strongman's head,” the paper is quoted as saying in a diplomatic cable just released by Wikileaks. “History will judge Mr. Kagame by his ability to ensure that the poison of ethnic hatred is not supplanted by the vices of one-man rule."


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Reference ID






2003-08-29 12:35

2011-04-28 00:00


Embassy Ottawa

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.








E.O. 12958: N/A






1.   "Leaving Iraq would be unparalleled disaster"

Columnist David Warren reflected in the nationalist

Ottawa Citizen (8/27): "...[T]he situation [in Iraq]

continues to improve. It was never going to be a rose

garden, but it is clear to impartial observers within

the country that Iraqis themselves are co-operating -

the overwhelming majority within each of its religious

and ethnic groups, including even the Sunnis, co-

operating with each other and with the U.S. military to

hunt down Baathists and insurgents, and rebuild the

country both physically and institutionally, even

through the baking summer heat. It is the most

promising event in post-colonial Arab history. Yet it

could all be overthrown tomorrow if the U.S. decides it

cannot stay the course. Terrorism achieves its results

by drama.... [T]he problem, from the political view, is

that while the U.S. soldiers may be risking their lives

for the good of Iraq, what they are doing for the folks

back home is much less obvious. It is very real - for a

functioning, non-totalitarian Iraq will make a huge

difference in the fate of nations - but this requires

some explanation. Back home in the U.S., people want to

know how they are benefiting, by

putting the lives of 'our boys' on the line.... The

American people have grown tired of being in Iraq, and

want to move on. Their attention is refocusing on

domestic threats, and the Democrats are making hay with

the notion that progress against the enemy abroad is

made at the cost of progress at home. This is a lie,

but it is a good one.... The question on my

mind is thus, will the Americans funk out? And the only

thing I can say for sure is that if they do, it will be

an unparalleled disaster. For 9/11 itself was the

payback for the last U.S. funk-out from its

responsibilities as a superpower."



2.   "WTO: the rich get more"

Columnist Paul Knox commented in the leading Globe and

Mail (8/27): "...[I]f globalization is a win-win no-

brainer, why are international trade negotiations in

such a mess? There's continued pessimism about the

chances of a comprehensive free-trade-area-of-the-

Americas deal clicking into place on schedule at the

beginning of 2005. That's also the deadline for

finishing the Doha Round of negotiations under the

World Trade Organization, and Doha isn't shaping up as

a slam dunk either. Sharp splits among rich and poor

countries, and those in between, will be exposed next

month at a key meeting of WTO ministers in Cancun,

Mexico.... Social activists have worked hard the

past few years to challenge the notion that globally

integrated markets will necessarily bring prosperity to

the poor. Maybe they should relax. No one is

working harder to discredit globalization than the

representatives of rich countries at the WTO. When you

cut through the verbiage, the message from the First

World is this: globalization when it works for us; self-

interest when it doesn't."



3.   "The result in Rwanda"

The leading Globe and Mail opined (8/28): "...Mr.

Kagame now begins a new seven-year mandate. Helped by

large amounts of Western aid, he has made the economy

grow and promoted reconciliation at the community

level. He has the chance to lead the survivors of

appalling atrocities toward a genuinely democratic,

prosperous and harmonious future.... For their part,

Western governments must move beyond genocide-related

guilt and begin to measure Mr. Kagame by the standards

they apply to others. They and he need look no further

than Zimbabwe, a few borderlines to the south, to see

what happens when power goes to a strongman's head.

History will judge Mr. Kagame by his ability to ensure

that the poison of ethnic hatred is not supplanted

by the vices of one-man rule."



4.   "Howard Dean and the U.S. buzz"

The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (8/28): "Is

George W. Bush vulnerable in 2004? Until recently, the

answer has been an unequivocal no.... But there are

signs that may be changing.... Why the sudden buzz? For

one thing, Dr. Dean is a ferocious and tireless

campaigner. In the past five days he has made nine

campaign stops in eight states. For another, his

speeches pay scant attention to his Democratic rivals,

focusing instead on attacking Mr. Bush and his

policies.... Dr. Dean also appears to be tapping

a growing vein of unease about the President's economic

policies. He is a no-nonsense fiscal conservative,

widely credited with balancing Vermont's

books. He dismisses Mr. Bush's economic policies as

'borrow and spend.'... Nor is Dr. Dean the only

prospective Democratic candidate generating a buzz.

General Wesley Clark, most recently CNN's top military

analyst and formerly NATO's commanding general in

Kosovo, has hinted that he may jump into the

race. In addition to being a decorated Vietnam veteran,

Gen. Clark is a Rhodes scholar and former lecturer in

economics at West Point. Dr. Dean, no

fool, has already named Gen. Clark as a potential

running mate. Mr. Bush's second term is no longer a



3.   "If only money grew on bushes"

Columnist Marcus Gee wrote in the leading Globe and

Mail (8/28): "...If Mr. Bush and the Republican-

controlled Congress make the tax cut permanent, as

they have promised, it will cost Washington a total of

$1.5-trillion over the course of a decade. As if that

were not enough, the White House also wants to start

providing old people with subsidized medicines. The

cost over 10 years: $400-billion.... Of course, it

would be hard for Mr. Bush to change course now. He

sees himself as a man of his word. When he says he

will do something, whether defanging Iraq or cutting

taxes, he does it. But real leaders know that a change

of circumstances sometimes requires a change of course,

however embarrassing. Instead of stubbornly sticking to

an outdated and irresponsible fiscal plan, he should

cancel or delay at least some of his tax cut. Americans

would surely understand. As they must know, the only

thing worse for the United States than a tax-and-spend

liberal is a spend-and-don't-tax conservative."



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