BBC Senior Africa Correspondent Anne Soy raised the ire of Rwandan president, Paul Kagame during the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held on Saturday, June 25.
Soy put to task Kagame, who doubles up as the chairperson of the Commonwealth group, over his actions in the recent past in terms of governing Rwanda.
She questioned his character and values, wondering what his priorities would be considering some of his critiques and opposition leaders in Rwanda were allegedly behind bars.
"As chair of the commonwealth, what are your priorities in terms of upholding the values of democracy and human rights given that there's been scrutiny on your country and the record of your government and critics have been pointing out the number of opposition leaders and journalists who are in prison. What type of leadership will this organisation have?" she asked.
Kagame, who took issue with the question, went on a 15-minute rant of how the foreign media such as the BBC, portrays Africans in a bad light.
"I think checking of facts is a serious problem with the very institutions we should have relied on to inform the general public about some of the facts or the interpretations of things that happened," Kagame stated.
"Who doesn't have values? I want to put this case clearly. Those from the North where BBC comes from, who always think that they are the face of values and the rest have to follow is a big mistake. We have values here in Africa and Rwanda."
"Those from the North who accuse you of not having values have been part and parcel of the problems such as genocide that happened in Rwanda," he added.
The Rwandan president, who has been in power since 2000, also pointed an accusing finger at foreign countries who allegedly create a recipe for disaster by causing divisions among Africans.
He posed a question to the Kenyan journalist as to the values and integrity upheld by BBC.
"You had savages coming and taking over the country and killing each other and the others assume higher ground and keep pointing fingers and think that we don't respect human rights."
"BBC you think so? You take time to broadcast from morning to evening, this is literally abusing people, Rwandans, and Africans talking about values, values, values. What values do you know my dear sister on behalf of BBC?"
"I want to assure you, there's nobody in BBC or anywhere else thereabout who would be holding values better than we do here in Rwanda. As far as I'm concerned, we don't need any lessons from BBC or from anyone. I tell you this with firm conviction," Kagame asserted.
The president also refuted allegations that he had imprisoned his fierce critics, noting that his country had an impartial judicial system that would only jail perpetrators and offenders of the law.
He gave examples of offenders who were on trial but were perceived as victims by the media due to the fact that they were critiques of the president's reign.
"So, the basis on which the judgments are made are not necessarily right. So, I'll let you make a decision at some point on what to believe or what you should be making other people believe. I know you may already be framing a completely different story about what I said or giving it a frame in which I didn't put it but that's okay," he concluded.
Soy, a former KTN journalist, remained mum during the 15-minute rant alongside other heads of government who did not interrupt Kagame's speech.
The journalist is a Deputy Editor and Senior Africa Correspondent at BBC.
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