The bodyguards of Rusesabagina

Posted: November 17, 2010 in Uncategorized
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By Magnus Mazimpaka November 16, 2010

Rwandan prosecution is asking the United States to help investigate Paul Rusesabagina, a man wrongfully portrayed as a hero in the movie, Hotel Rwanda.

Based on the facts on the ground, unfortunately, Rwandan courts should not expect full cooperation from the USA.

First, this is a complicated case.  It involves heavyweights with connections in Washington who, if Rusesabagina is found guilty, fear will be implicated.

Rusesabagina who owns a charity foundation, Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, is UN Goodwill Ambassador with the same influence at the UN like former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Now, prosecutors in Kigali say his foundation has raised thousands of dollars in USA, Canada, Belgium, and other countries under false pretences.

According to the foundation’s website, the funds are collected to help lives devastated by poverty, illness, conflict, genocide and war. Rwandan authorities say they have no records showing that even a penny of these funds was sent to the country.

Regrettably, looking at the professional positions and history of those working with Rusesabagina, this case is more likely to die a natural death than to be prosecuted by Rwandan authorities with the cooperation of the USA. For example, Sean Tenner, the Executive Director of Rusesabagina’s foundation, was on US President Barak Obama’s campaign team.

Currently, Tenner advises multiple African Diaspora movements in the United States that are against their home governments.

He served as Vice-President and Chicago Office Director of M+R Strategic Services, the public policy firm that helped launch the Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of more than 180 faith-based advocacy and humanitarian organisations.  Many of these organisations have continuously criticised President Kagame’s regime and have tarnished Rwanda’s image internationally.

Tenner was also part of the team that formulated a legislation involving the US in heavily advertised efforts to “end the genocide in Darfur”, a project in which the US has huge interests.

Other heavyweights with connections to the White House and the UN that are likely to resist efforts to bring Rusesabagina to justice include Brian Endless and Kitty Kurth.  Endless is Rusesabagina’s Senior Policy Advisor.  He is a faculty member in the department of political science at Loyola University Chicago.

He also founded and serves as the Executive Director of American Model United Nations International in Chicago, one of the largest collegiate Model UN organisations in the world.

Endless has worked with the UN for over 20 years.  Endless acted as a consultant to the United Nations and UN issues for members of the US House and Senate.  Do not expect this man not to use his strong connections to defend Rusesabagina. On the other hand, Rusesabagina was a mere hotel manager.  He was never in politics, nor does he have experience in humanitarian work.

When you read official statements that Rusesabagina sent to the White House and US Senate, attacking Rwandan government and demanding the release of American lawyer Peter Erlinder, charged with genocide denial, and Victoire Ingabire, charged with forming a rebel and terrorist group, there is no doubt he is being advised by experienced and highly connected people.

Rwanda’s prosecutor Martin Ngoga said he has the Western Union receipts with Rusesabagina’s names showing he sent the funds via the money transfer company from San Diego, Texas, to Burundi and Tanzania.

Obviously, Rusesabagina does not work alone.  There are people like Bob Walsh, Rusesabagina’s fundraiser.

Walsh cannot fail to defend Rusesabagina. He is an attorney and has held high positions in the US government. Do Rwandan courts think they can pin down Rusesabagina?  Think about this for a moment.  Walsh is Legislative Director for Congressman Bobby Rush—a very influential man in President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party.

Rush has the distinction of being the only person to date to defeat Obama in an election for public office. Using his skills as a public interest lobbyist, Walsh can push his boss Rush to derail efforts by US authorities to help Rwandan prosecution in investigating Rusesabagina.  Remember Rusesabagina has been in the public trying to convince people that Kagame is hunting him.  This is enough reason to blackmail anyone trying to pursue this man.

The list of people expected to mount roadblocks is long. There is Kitty Kurth, Rusesabagina’s publicist.

Kurth is the President of Kurth-Lampe, an international public relations, political consulting and strategy firm.

Not only does Kurth-Lampe have close ties with Obama (the firm wrote his first major speech at the Democratic Convention in 2004), but also helped former Vice President Al Gore on media issues.

This could help explain why the Rwandan government has received stinging media coverage over the last couple of months, not to mention attacks by dissidents, subversives, and genocide deniers, including Rusesabagina. While the world believes that Kagame’s government oppresses dissidents, little does it know about the stings he receives from them.

Rusesabagina’s official reaction in the media (CNN, Reuters, BBC, AP, The New York Times, etc.) vindicates the expertise that he is provided with by such influential American corporations.

You do not expect an hotelier like Rusesabagina to receive such positive coverage from the strongest media corporations in the world where people like President Obama pleads for one.

Not one of the above media corporations has investigated or questioned him about these criminal allegations (funding terrorists and fraud).

Rusesabagina’s accusations that Rwanda is killing Congolese and is being funded by the UK, and his demands Britain should stop providing aid to Rwanda, have been repeated over and over in the media because of his connections.

No one has the audacity to make such strong allegations against a powerful nation like the UK on a public platform like CNN, and expects to remain untouched unless influential people are supporting them.

The fact that the US has not provided known evidence to Rwandan courts indicating Victoire Ingabire’s alleged terrorism operations is proof that Rwanda’s courts should forget about receiving any help regarding Rusesabagina’s case.


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