Several brave souls have actually declared their intention to run against Rwandan President, aka Dictator, Paul Kagame in this year’s election, even though two of the country’s three viable candidates landed in prison last time and a third fled the country after his party’s vice president was found by a riverbank with his head cut off.
This week the Rwandan government announced that all presidential candidates’ social media messages—text, photos, and video—must be approved by the national electoral commission.
Since the Rwandan government has long since assassinated or frightened any real journalists out of the country, this will severely hinder candidates’ efforts to get their message out, even to the tiny percentage of the population who have both cell phones and electricity in their homes and the larger percentage who have cell phones but have to leave their homes—often walking miles—to charge them.
Or to those of us outside Rwanda who might be trying to follow this year’s election.
A great deal, no doubt, but one word Kagame most certainly does not want broadcast or even tweeted to the world outside is “famine.”
That word might embarrass both him and his powerful friends Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Howard Buffett, and Reverend Rick Warren, all longtime champions of his so-called economic miracle.
Bill Clinton and Howard Buffett aren’t likely to be pleased by reports that their agricultural aid to Rwanda is helping starve rather than uplift Rwandans, so would they want Rwandan presidential candidates to have the freedom to tweet “Rwandan famine” or related images?
Clinton has said that he is willing to tolerate some of the Rwandan government’s failings in the area of human rights because, “They have achieved so much,” and “Nothing’s perfect.”
Indeed. A recent investigation published by London-based Global Campaign for Rwandans’ Human Rights reports that “since November 2015 more than three million Rwandans [a quarter of the population] are at the verge of starvation and more than 150,000 Rwandans have emigrated out of the country, mostly to Uganda, due to a ravaging famine, particularly in the Eastern Province Districts of Rwamagana, Nyagatare, Bugesera, Kayonza and Kirehe as well as Nyanza and Gisagara Districts in Southern Province.”
[Source: The Organisation for World Peace]
And something else is wrong with this picture.
Two of the famine stricken districts of Eastern Province—Kayonza and Kirehe—are among the three districts that the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI) boasts of helping in its publication “Anchor Farm Project: Rwanda.”
“CDI focuses its smallholder outreach operations in Rwanda’s Eastern Province—in the Kirehe, Gatsibo, and Kayonza districts—where they have an established network of field officers, government agricultural workers, and more than 35,000 farmers benefiting from agricultural extension services during the 2016-2017 seasons.
CDI’s work will focus on the effectiveness of its farmer extension programs.
The core focus of these programs will be on integrated soil fertility management, predominantly for a soy-maize rotation; access to quality and reliable seeds, inputs and input finance; climate resilience and erosion control; and working directly with large buyers to secure the best price.
The Clinton Hunter Development Initiative (CHDI), which is a partnership between the Clinton Foundation and The Hunter Foundation of Scotland, established and operates the agroprocessing business Mount Meru Soyco LTD.
Soyco, which produces cooking oil for the local Rwandan market, provides a market opportunity for CDI smallholder farmers.”
And damn if there isn’t another problem here. This Hunter-Clinton Foundation agro-processing partnership—Mount Meru Soyco LTD—in the now famine stricken district of Kayonza—appears to have been a source of “reputational” anxiety for Clinton Foundation staff and for John Podesta.
Podesta is of course former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton; former CEO, now Chair and Counsel for the Center for American Progress; former Counselor to Barack Obama; former Chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Team; co-owner of the Podesta Group, a major lobbying firm; and perhaps most infamously, campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated 2016 presidential run.
These 2012 e-mails released by Wikileaks in the Podesta e-mails expressed concern that former President Clinton might be held responsible for whatever Mount Meru Soyco LTD gets up to:
Report by Ann Garrison Global Research, 1 June 2017