Selective outrage: Andrew Kenny exposes President Ramaphosa’s hypocrisy on genocide

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent letter, “From the Desk of the Presidency,” vehemently denounces atrocities and genocide, stressing that the race, ethnicity, or religion of victims must never lessen the gravity of such crimes. However, his actions tell a different story. Despite condemning certain instances of genocide, Ramaphosa’s warm welcome of genocidal leaders like Sudan’s Mohamed Dagalo, responsible for the slaughter of 300,000 black Africans, and his cosy visit with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, implicated in mass atrocities, reveal a disturbing hypocrisy. Ramaphosa’s stance appears selective, driven more by political expediency than genuine humanitarian concern.

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By Andrew Kenny*

“It should never be, and must never be, that atrocities, gross human rights violations and genocide should somehow carry less weight because of the race, ethnicity or religious affiliation of the victims.” So wrote President Cyril Ramaphosa on 8 April 2024 in his weekly letter “From the Desk of the Presidency”. This is the same President Ramaphosa who, in Pretoria in Pretoria this year, gave a warm welcome to a genocidal killer, who was slaughtering black people in Sudan because of their race.

In this ethnic cleansing, 300 000 black African men, women and children were systematically murdered by the Arab rulers in Sudan. Not a word of criticism from Ramaphosa. He thought that the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 was bad genocide but that the genocide in Sudan was good genocide, to be congratulated with his big smile. To add to the repulsive hypocrisy of his letter, Ramaphosa claimed that Israel’s war of defence and retaliation against Hamas, which had murdered, raped, and kidnapped civilians of Israel and other countries, was genocide.

Last week, President Ramaphosa and foreign minister Dr Naledi Pandor visited Kigali, Rwanda, to meet President Paul Kagame on the 30th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide. Kagame, a racist tyrant, now presiding over a super-apartheid dictatorship, is more than anybody else responsible for that genocide, as I shall explain below. First, I’d like to comment on the genocide in Sudan, which is happening right now.

Strife

Sudan has for a long time been riven by racial and factional strife. The Arab rulers, all Muslim, have fought amongst themselves and against the black Africans, whom they regard with contempt. The Arab government of Sudan was responsible for the worst atrocities of the 21st Century, in the Darfur region to the west.

Black Africans were rounded up and butchered; African women and girls were gangraped. Up to 300 000 African people, maybe more, were killed. (Such numbers are difficult to estimate.) Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited South Africa in 2015, expecting a warm welcome, which he got. Ramaphosa was Deputy President at the time. The International Criminal Court (ICC) asked South Africa to arrest Bashir. Naturally the ANC did no such thing and allowed him to leave freely, to continue his work of ethnic cleansing.

More strife followed in Sudan, and Bashir was overthrown. Right now Sudan is being devastated by a terrible civil war, which has caused 7 million people to flee from their homes, has laid waste to the capital, Khartoum, has caused massive bloodshed, and threatens five million people with starvation. The worst of all the factions fighting for power is the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Mohamed Dagalo, who seems bent on finishing the genocide of black Africans started by Bashir and his like.

What does President Ramaphosa think of Dagalo? He just loves him! He greeted him fondly in his official residence in Pretoria, and there are pictures of the happy couple there. In fact, the Office of the Presidency loves Dagalo so much that in a Twitter post, it described him as “His excellency President Mohamed Dagalo of Sudan”. This was while Dagalo was still fighting for the presidency, as he still is. (The tweet was subsequently deleted.)

A recent SABC headline says, “SA President calls on world not to close eyes on genocide.” Ramaphosa did not close his eyes to the genocide in Sudan. With eyes wide open he looked at it – and smiled with approval.

Rwanda

Rwanda is a more complicated matter. Not just Ramaphosa but most of the Western world and almost all of its media have closed their eyes to the terrible events that led to it. The profound cause is the world’s worst racial problem, between two quite different races, the Hutu and the Tutsi. The Hutu are Bantu, by far the most common people in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa. The Tutsi are Nilotic, originally coming from the north-east of Africa.

Burundi and Rwanda are two small neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes region. In each, 85% of the population is Hutu, 14% Tutsi. In pre-colonial times the Tutsi lorded it over the Hutu, regarding them a sub-human, fit only to be serfs. This engendered a deep racial hatred between the two, which remains today the biggest cause of strife in Burundi, Rwanda, and the eastern Congo. The Belgians colonised the two countries and eventually allowed majority rule, to the horror of the Tutsi. In Burundi, after independence, the Tutsi soon defeated the Hutu and ruled over them in brutal, racist fashion. In 1972, the Hutu tried to fight for their rights. The Tutsi crushed them. Then, to teach the Hutu a lesson, and to find a Final Solution to the Burundi Hutu Problem, the Tutsi embarked on a careful program of partial genocide against the Hutu.

Every Hutu with more than a primary school qualification was killed; all Hutu with higher jobs than labourers were killed. Tutsi extermination squads went to every high school, picked out the Hutu children and slaughtered them, sometimes smashing their skulls with sledgehammers. Up to 300 000 Hutu were killed. There were piles of Hutu corpses everywhere. This was all out in the open. The world knew all about it and reported it in small columns on the inside pages of newspapers. The world did nothing.

The genocide of the Hutu was met with silence. It was not the silence of grief; it was the silence of boredom. The same world that had screamed and shouted when 69 black people were killed by panicking police in Sharpeville in 1960 said nothing when 300 000 black people were deliberately slaughtered in 1972. The genocide of the Hutu was a boring genocide, provoking yawns. The surviving Hutu knew they were on their own.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Rwanda was ruled by the majority Hutu. The Tutsi found this unbearable and unnatural. The master race being ruled by the untermenschen! Many of them left Rwanda and built up a Tutsi army in Uganda, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF). In 1990 it invaded Rwanda. It was eventually led by Paul Kagame and rampaged through Rwanda. The Hutu majority knew what was in store for them: death or serfdom. They knew Kagame was bent on Final Solution to the Rwanda Hutu Problem. Rage and terror rose to hysterical proportions in the Hutu population.

On 6 April 1994 (21 days before the South African election), the plane bringing home the Hutu president of Rwanda was shot down, almost certainly on the orders of Paul Kagame. This was the spark that lit the flame. The Hutu erupted. In a killing frenzy they fell upon every Tutsi they saw, eventually killing up to 800 000 of them. But Tutsi are better soldiers than Hutu (they are the best soldiers in Sub-Saharan Africa now), and eventually Kagame beat the army of the Hutu government. He installed a minority Tutsi government, ruling by force and fear over the majority Hutu. President Ramaphosa and foreign minister Pandor visited him last week. There is a photo of Ramaphosa giving his warm smile to President Kagame, perhaps the most brutal racist on Earth. So much for Ramaphosa’s fine words about never excusing genocide on race: he excuses the 1972 genocide of the Hutu on race. He smiles at the racist killer who provoked the 1994 genocide.

There is also a picture of Ramaphosa giving his sad, solemn look at a pile of Tutsi skulls. You will never see him giving his sad, solemn look at a pile of Hutu skulls. This is because the Tutsi killers in Burundi would have disposed of them. Anyway he probably would care no more about Hutu skulls than he would about the Ndebele skulls of people deliberately slaughtered by President Mugabe and his minister Mnangagwa, both of whom he adores. They were slaughtered because they belonged to the wrong race, which had voted against Zanu-PF.

Who kills

For most of the world, the important thing about genocide is not who is killed but who kills. If the killers are white people from the West, then genocide is tragic and interesting. If they are not, it is boring. The tribal massacres that happen all over Africa, where one black race slaughters another, are considered very boring – with the exception of the 1994 massacres in Rwanda.

The violent conflicts in the Congo are said to have killed over six million people in recent decades. Nobody, including the BBC and the UN, seems to care much. How often do South African newspapers carry stories about the Congo? How often do callers-in to radio programs talk about the Congo? By the way, an important factor in massacres in the Congo is the plundering Tutsi army of M23, strongly supported by Paul Kagame. Recently the South African Army was sent to the Congo to try to restrain the killers. This upset Kagame and is one of the reasons Ramaphosa and Pandor visited him, I suppose to ask his forgiveness.

If the killers are white and Western, the world is outraged. (White communist killers such as Lenin and Castro provoke little outrage.) This is the complete explanation of world outrage against Israel, where the killers are white and Western. Even if their crimes are tiny compared with crimes elsewhere, even if they killed accidentally and in self defence, they must still be denounced in the strongest terms. This is why Israel gets headlines from the BBC week after week. This is why South African radio programs are choked with callers condemning Israel.

Everything Ramaphosa does now is aimed toward the election next month. What effect will his mendacious remarks about genocide and his dishonest condemnation of Israel have on it? Very little, I think. Maybe some Muslims will vote for him because of them but they would probably have voted for him anyway. I think most voters will be more interested in the callous way his government enriched itself, humiliated working-class black Africans, looted the country, crippled the economy, wrecked electricity and water supply, brought record unemployment and led to soaring violent crime than they will in his sanctimonious hypocrisy on genocide.

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Andrew Kenny* is a writer, an engineer and a classical liberal.

This article was first published by Daily Friend and is republished with permission

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