The Purpose-Driven Death Squads

From the Kigali New TimesNovember 2009:

Renowned American pastor, Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church, yesterday delivered a special sermon at a prayer breakfast with a cross-section of Rwandan leaders, in which President Paul Kagame was chief guest.

Pastor Warren began his sermon recalling how he was invited to Rwanda by Kagame nearly six years ago and how he immediately pledged to bring his church members to the country he had just discovered to make known the positive deeds he had seen.

….Attributing to lessons he has picked from President Kagame, Warren described what he had discovered about leadership; “as having clear vision, willingness to take risks, sense of expectancy in faith and persistent hope.

…Tony Blair, who is on a two-day visit to Rwanda, also dropped by the event held at the Kigali Serena.

From the London GuardianMay 2011:

The Metropolitan police have warned two Rwandan exiles living in London that they face an “imminent threat” of assassination at the hands of the Rwandan government.

The dissidents received letters within hours of one another which advised them to take extra steps to increase their safety and raised the possibility of them leaving the country, the Times reported.

…Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, another founder member of the Rwanda National Congress and former head of Rwandan intelligence, was the subject of a failed assassination attempt in South Africa in June, last year.

In 2005, Warren famously unveiled plans to turn Rwanda into the world’s first “Purpose-Driven Nation”, following the principles of his religious motivational-cum-management book The Purpose-Driven Life. Warren called his strategy the “PEACE Plan”, and this has since become central to his branding. As was reported in March this year:

Pastor Rick Warren and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair shared an evening conversation Sunday in front of more than 2,600 people about faith, the Middle East, globalization, and 9/11.

…At the end of the night, Rick Warren and his wife Kay presented Blair with the third International Medal of PEACE for promoting reconciliation and advancing the goals of the PEACE initiative: Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation.

…Past winners of the PEACE medal include former President George W. Bush in 2008 for his work in caring for those infected with AIDS in Africa, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame for his work on reconciliation following his country’s genocide.

I had wondered whether Warren’s uncritical support of Kagame might one day cause him problems; back in 2009 Warren was obliged to downplay his links to the Museveni regime in neighbouring Uganda as the anti-gay hysteria there  increasingly gained international attention. Maybe he’ll have better luck with Kenya.

Also in March, Blair’s association with Kagame was the focus of a critical Daily Mail article:

Both he and his wife Cherie are regular guests of Kagame, flying in on a fabulously luxurious private jet… and staying in a smart suite at the Rwandan capital Kigali’s finest lodgings, the Serena Hotel.

Their relationship, it has to be said, is something of a love-in. Mr Blair describes Kagame, a former rebel soldier in the once war-torn country, as a ‘visionary leader’ and ‘great friend’. For his part, the grateful Kagame has called on his people to name their children after his new English chum.

…The plane is one of two blue-and-white Bombardier BD-700 Global Express jets — costing  £30?million each — owned by the ruler of a country where 60 per cent of the people live in poverty.

In a bid to cover up the millions he has splurged on the aircraft, Kagame’s government set up a private investment company, registered in South Africa, as a front.

…As long ago as 2009, [Blair] was spotted using one of the jets to attend meetings in Israel, Zurich and Abu Dhabi, before being flown into Kigali for a meeting with President Kagame.

It’s looking increasingly like another “typically Blairite” farrago, to borrow David Starkey‘s curt but memorable assessment of the LSE-Gaddafi fiasco.

5 Responses

  1. Add this to the attempted hit on General Nyamwasa in S Africa or the actual murder of a journo Mr Rugambage and the attempts on his editor and we have a very sick situation building in Rwanda.

  2. […] careful – Muscular xtianity as practiced in Rwanda Posted on 25 May 2011 by harebell Bartholomew does a lot of heavy lifting in shining a light into that murky place where xtianity meets politics in Central Africa. Hot on […]

  3. […] The Purpose-Driven Death Squads ( Subscribe (RSS | iTunes) […]

  4. […] this now that Uganda’s anti-gay hysteria has received international attention (Warren has an unfortunate habit of being linked to African presidents accused of running death […]

  5. […] difficulties. It should be recalled that Warren’s words of praise in March followed reports in May 2011 that Rwandan exiles in London had been warned by police of assassination threats, and the […]

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