Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has reportedly named former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as an advisor to his government. Some Rwandans have hailed Blair’s appointment and expressed optimism about the former British Prime minister’s ability to advise the government on both international and domestic matters. Blair is also expected to help raise funds to help President Kagame’s government, which has been praised for transforming the country after the 1994 genocide in which scores of Tutsis and moderate Hutus lost their lives.
Political observers believe Blair’s appointment would not only boost President Kagame’s international clout, but also present him as a friend of the West. Casimir Kayumba is the managing editor of the independent Ukuri magazine. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that Rwandans welcome Blair’s appointment.
“Actually we read that news here in a Rwanda newspaper, apparently a government newspaper and it was quoting a certain newspaper in London, and I think the guardian that Tony Blair has volunteered to be an advisor to the president of Rwanda. But that news cannot be confirmed because the same newspaper was saying that he (Blair) has sent people, former advisors to him, to come to Rwanda and actually those people are here in Rwanda. So it can be true,” Kayumba pointed out.
He said Rwandans have so far welcomed the news of the former British Prime Minister’s appointment as advisor to President Kagame.
“Actually they are very much happy about that. So happy about that and they are not surprised because they always take the former prime minister for England as a friend of Rwanda. I don’t know how, but actually they regard him as a friend of theirs,” he said.
Kayumba said Blair’s appointment is a positive step towards the country’s recovery from the 1994 genocide.
“Rwanda is coming from a very long history in the 1994 genocide. And in 1995 when the RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front rebel group) was taking off and trying to take control of the situation in the country, and in Rwanda they regard Tony Blair as one of the people who assisted them. Actually, him and Clinton (Former United States President) they regard them as brothers,” Kayumba noted.
Blair has reportedly said that he is ashamed at the world's neglect of Rwanda during the country’s brutal civil war in 1994.