Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Rwanda president Paul Kagame like ‘Putin of Africa’, Bill Browder claims

The anti-corruption campaigner said the whole Rwanda plan should be ‘torn up’.

Luke O'Reilly
Sunday 10 December 2023 11:32 GMT
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Rwanda president Paul Kagame (PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Rwanda president Paul Kagame (PA) (PA Archive)

The president of Rwanda “is like the Putin of Africa”, an anti-corruption campaigner who has taken on the Russian president has said.

Financier and political activist Bill Browder made the comparison between Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Russian president Vladimir Putin on BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

He was on the show to discuss emergency legislation which aims to rescue the Government’s plan to send asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda after the scheme was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court.

Mr Browder used the example of Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager hero on whom the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda was based.

Mr Rusesabagina was sentenced in 2021 to 25 years in prison in Rwanda on terrorism charges. He was released after serving two years and returned to the US, where he now lives.

“I know this story very intimately because, the hero of the movie Hotel Rwanda, the guy who saved 1,200 people during the genocide, he was critical of Paul Kagame,” Mr Browder said.

“He was then kidnapped, brought back to Rwanda and sentenced to 25 years in a trumped-up trial.

“The idea that we’re going to be sending political refugees to a country that’s like that is just absurd.”

Mr Browder added that the whole Rwanda migration plan should be “torn up”.

“The whole thing should be torn up and thrown out,” he said.

“If we want to stop uncontrolled migration there are other ways, but Rwanda is just completely absurd.”

The Government of Rwanda has been contacted for comment.

Mr Browder is the head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign and a critic of Mr Putin for more than a decade since he tried to expose what he called the “looting” of his Russian investments by allegedly corrupt officials.

In 2009, Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer he hired to investigate what had happened to his money, died in Russian custody.

Following Mr Magnitsky’s death, Mr Browder pushed for anti-corruption laws bearing the lawyer’s name to be introduced around the world.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in