Owen Schalk, a Canadian nobody, that desperately chases recognition for the sake of recognition, recently wrote a piece in the Canadian Dimension, titled “Despite widespread abuses, Canada maintains support for Rwandan Government,”. Schalk’s portrayal of President Kagame and Rwanda, however, is a complete distortion of reality.
Schalk initiates his piece by stating that “For three decades, Rwanda has been ruled by Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).” This characterization is profoundly misleading. President Kagame does not “rule” Rwanda; he governs with the overwhelming support of the Rwandan electorate. The people of Rwanda have consistently expressed their trust in his leadership through democratic elections.
Continuing down the path of misinformation, Schalk claims that “The RPF has rigged three presidential elections in Kagame’s favor: in 2003, 2010, and 2017.” This assertion is not only unfounded but also a blatant lie. Rwanda has never been accused of holding unfair or dubious elections, unlike some “well-known advanced Western democracies.” To put it in perspective, Schalk could benefit from revisiting the controversial 2000 U.S. presidential election between George W. Bush and Albert Arnold Gore Jr., as well as the 2020 election between Donald John Trump and Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., both of which raised suspicions of fraud.
Furthermore, Schalk alleges that “Under Kagame, Rwanda has sown regional instability, backing the M23 rebel movement in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).” This narrative is nothing short of fabrication, designed to distort the root causes of the conflict in the DRC. The crisis in the DRC is primarily fueled by internal factors such as bad governance, corruption, tribal identity-based hate messages, and the presence of over 266 armed groups terrorizing the population. These groups collude with local politicians and army officers (FARDC) to engage in resource trafficking and violence, often targeting individuals based on their ethnic identity, with Tutsis being the primary victims.
If Schalk is genuinely interested in aforementioned the truth behind the DRC crisis, he should refer to numerous UN reports (S/2015/797, S/2016/466, S/2017/826, among others) that have consistently denounced the acts of violence committed by the Congolese army and their allied militias. Western countries are undoubtedly aware of these reports but have failed to condemn them and prevent their media coverage in mainstream outlet, perhaps which is why Schalk will never reports such facts.
In essence, where Schalk in his delusion see a “blood-stained dictator hell-bent on sowing instability,” the Canadian Government has rightfully recognized the post-genocide Government of Rwanda led by President Kagame as an efficient, people-centered democracy. Rwanda is committed to building an inclusive and peaceful society where all its citizens can thrive. The Canadian Government’s continued collaboration with Rwanda on bilateral agreements that serve the interests of both nations is not only rational but commendable.