Anger at France drives Rwanda into arms of the Commonwealth

#1
Anger at France drives Rwanda into arms of the Commonwealth
Times Online
Link
Paul Kagame, the Rwandan President, says that his country will cement its bitter divorce from France and the French-speaking world, which he holds responsible for the 1994 slaughter of up to one million of his countrymen, by joining the Commonwealth later year.

“There are many benefits for us in joining the Commonwealth — cultural, economic, political,” he told The Times.

Mr Kagame has been invited to attend the next Commonwealth summit as an observer. “I hope they will then approve our membership. I am looking forward to it.”

Mr Kagame, a lanky former guerrilla fighter with an austere manner, rarely shows any emotion. But the softly-spoken 50-year-old struggles to contain his anger when discussing France in Africa. “They are the ones who armed and trained the militias . . . the evidence is everywhere. They continued to do so even after the genocide started,” he said.

The bitter relations between the two countries came to a head in November when a French judge accused Mr Kagame and several of his top aides of shooting down the aircraft carrying Juvenal Habyarimana, the former President — the incident that triggered the 100-day massacre of mainly Rwandan Tutsis and of moderate Hutus opposed to his regime.

Rwanda retaliated by severing diplomatic relations with Paris. Thousands of infuriated Rwandans took to the street in anti French protests.
 
#2
Mozambique joined despite never having been a British colony. Possibly surprising only that more non-former colonies haven't given the opportunities provided to improve links with neighbours through the Commonwealth.
 
#3
Now that NuLab changed the law so Commonwealth Citizens can vote in UK elections Rwanda should be superb to fill up all those gaps in British cities where housing could protect green spaces and trees.

When Britain's population hits 100 million maybe Labour will start paying Exit Premia for the "Native English" to emigrate.

Why the hell do we want a "Commonwealth" ? we said goodbye to Empire. The only Commonwealth worth having was run by Oliver Cromwell and I am starting to regret its passing
 
#4
The best bit about this is it really really will wind the frogs up :D
 
#5
The same Frogs who have accused Paul Kagame of kicking off the genocide by shooting down the previous presidents aircraft?

Sounds like a bit of handbags at dawn to me.
 
#6
It was always known as 'The British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations'. Why do we need more basket cases as members when all that will happen is handouts to them and immigrants to us?

Africa et al still blames the 'colonialists/imperialists' for their ills but they love to get the shekels off us and of course, indirect access to UK by virtue of membership. Just what we need. More non-English speakers to add to the mob already here who can't speak/write it and another minority group with all the trimmings that will have to have its own funding in our diverse society.

Please tell me, anyone, what we in UK will benefit from this - apart from p####ng off the French which is always a good thing.

Anyway, Rwanda was a former Belgian territory - don't see them in the limelight doing anything to sort their problems. They just shut the door and off they went. Independence? Sure, there you are, goodbye.
 
#7
western said:
The same Frogs who have accused Paul Kagame of kicking off the genocide by shooting down the previous presidents aircraft?

Sounds like a bit of handbags at dawn to me.
Luckily not so many Rwandans have hands any more.
 
#9
Appalled as I am to say anything good about the French, they certainly knew how to run their colonies.
I recall driving through Uganda and into Rwanda in the late 1980’s. Uganda still had roadblocks manned by stoned/pissed children with AK47’s, very few tarmac roads outside of Kampala and no chance of a decent meal on route. It was a dangerous place to be.
Crossing the border into Rwanda and everything changed. A fantastic road network, a professional-looking adult army (relatively speaking), some decent hotels and restaurants in Kigali and plenty of food in the shops for the locals. More than that, the ordinary people seemed far more content, healthy and secure in their outlook than their Ugandan neighbours.
I could be wrong, but I think that there was the beginning of PC rumblings about the French colonial power at the time; leading to a gradual decrease in French influence in Rwanda. Unfortunately we all know what happened next… left to their own devices, the buggers slaughtered each other.
Re-colonisation, it is the only answer.
 
#10
The difference between former French colonies and former British colonies in Africa is that the French have maintained far greater influence in trade and defence, to the benefit of French interests. Go to Gabon and you wouldn´t even realise it had gained independence 30 years ago - a puppet dictator, a French airportable Battle Group on permanent station and nearly all businesses French owned. Do you think the French would have allowed Mugabe to kick out all the white farmers if Zimbabwe had been a former French colony? Non monsieur. Why do they maintain such close links? Above all to help diversify their oil and gas portfolio, but also to boost export sales particularly in construction. By contrast, UK interest in Africa is left to Sir Bob Geldof, oh and half a dozen undermanned High Commissions covering multiple countries, with I think three defence attaches in the whole of sub-saharan Africa (Kenya, DRC and RSA but I may be wrong). This spat between Rawanda and France is meaningless sour grapes and I don´t suppose Chirac is losing any sleep over it.
 
#11
It could be a good thing for Rwanda. A lecturer of mine, familiar with the situation in Rwanda informed us last year that Rwanda is a ticking time bomb. It is ready to go off again quite soon due to the new regime being a bit too strict. Maybe the Commonwealth may be able to help sort out this problem and aviod another devastating humanitarian crisis.

I didn't realise that Commonwealth citizens have the right to vote in UK elections and a right to live here. Does anybody have a link to anything on this? I only thought they could join our army.
 
#12
jest265 said:
It could be a good thing for Rwanda. A lecturer of mine, familiar with the situation in Rwanda informed us last year that Rwanda is a ticking time bomb. It is ready to go off again quite soon due to the new regime being a bit too strict. Maybe the Commonwealth may be able to help sort out this problem and aviod another devastating humanitarian crisis.

I didn't realise that Commonwealth citizens have the right to vote in UK elections and a right to live here. Does anybody have a link to anything on this? I only thought they could join our army.
Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK can vote in elections. They have no rights of residence in the UK. They can however apply to enter the UK on a working holidaymakers visa - this allows them to stay in the uk for 2 years and to work in the uk for 1 year within the 2 years. In order to qualify you need to demonstrate sufficient funds (about 2000 sterling) and come up with some sort of holiday plan.

The only other benefit for a commonwealth citizen is that employment in the Armed Forces is open to him. He is also generally able to apply for civil service positions in the uk but only if he already has Indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence).

Btw, why should the Commonwealth take rwanda?
 
#13
cpunk said:
Mr_Deputy said:
2. annoying les français.
That's enough for me!
Token frog at work has already said "I du not wownt tu talk abowt et" when I emailed him the link.
 
#14
Muckshifter said:
Appalled as I am to say anything good about the French, they certainly knew how to run their colonies.
I recall driving through Uganda and into Rwanda in the late 1980’s. Uganda still had roadblocks manned by stoned/pissed children with AK47’s, very few tarmac roads outside of Kampala and no chance of a decent meal on route. It was a dangerous place to be.
Crossing the border into Rwanda and everything changed. A fantastic road network, a professional-looking adult army (relatively speaking), some decent hotels and restaurants in Kigali and plenty of food in the shops for the locals. More than that, the ordinary people seemed far more content, healthy and secure in their outlook than their Ugandan neighbours.
I could be wrong, but I think that there was the beginning of PC rumblings about the French colonial power at the time; leading to a gradual decrease in French influence in Rwanda. Unfortunately we all know what happened next… left to their own devices, the buggers slaughtered each other.
Re-colonisation, it is the only answer.
Weren't Rwanda and Burundi Belgian? I thought they were German until post-WW1 when the Belgians got them. Won't be the first time I've been wrong though...
 
#15
LankyPullThrough said:
Muckshifter said:
Appalled as I am to say anything good about the French, they certainly knew how to run their colonies.
I could be wrong, but I think that there was the beginning of PC rumblings about the French colonial power at the time; leading to a gradual decrease in French influence in Rwanda. Re-colonisation, it is the only answer.
Weren't Rwanda and Burundi Belgian? I thought they were German until post-WW1 when the Belgians got them. Won't be the first time I've been wrong though...
No, you are right. I mentioned in my earlier post about the Belgians giving them independence then leaving. They were never French.
 
#16
Lanky & Intli,

Yes you are both correct. Initially a German colony, then a Belgium protectorate after WW1.

Don't know when or where the Frogs got involved, just going from memory of the place looking and feeling like part of Francophone Africa, even the locals spoke French when I was there!

ADDED
I'm sure that Rwanda was under the Francophone grouping from the early 1980's, thanks to Mitterand. I think France became Rwanda 's biggest donor, and they signed a military co-operation agreement.

But you are both correct and I was wrong on the colony issue.... I'm an old git and drank too much Star beer in Kampala during the time in question (Hello to any RMPs who were stationed there 87 to 89).
 
#17
Muckshifter said:
Lanky & Intli,

Yes you are both correct. Initially a German colony, then a Belgium protectorate after WW1.

Don't know when or where the Frogs got involved, just going from memory of the place looking and feeling like part of Francophone Africa, even the locals spoke French when I was there!

ADDED
I'm sure that Rwanda was under the Francophone grouping from the early 1980's, thanks to Mitterand. I think France became Rwanda 's biggest donor, and they signed a military co-operation agreement.

But you are both correct and I was wrong on the colony issue.... I'm an old git and drank too much Star beer in Kampala during the time in question (Hello to any RMPs who were stationed there 87 to 89).
Perhaps the Belgians used French rather than Flemish as their language of colonial rule? The French were clearly big political players there: Romeo Dallaire, in his Shake Hands With the Devil, writes about French military advisors playing a far from impartial role in the early-/mid-90s.

Given the role of exiles/militias etc from Rwanda and Burundi in what is now DRC, and the enduring French interest there (e.g. Kolwezi), I'm sure the French were heavily involved in all sorts of ways. I remember hearing a French spook in an interview about their sneaky-beakies in Africa saying he wished they'd had C-130s becuase whenever anyone saw a Transall on the pan they knew who was in town...
 
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