Rusesabagina, a controversial star of ‘Hotel Rwanda’ movie who grew up dirt poor before turning to “terrorism”

Paul Rusesabagina, longtime opponent of President Paul Kagame, was the manager of the famous 'Hotel des Mille Collines' in Kigali,…

Paul Rusesabagina, longtime opponent of President Paul Kagame, was the manager of the famous ‘Hotel des Mille Collines’ in Kigali, portrayed in the famous Hollywood movie “Hotel Rwanda” during the genocide against Tutsis in 1994.His background as the  manager of Hotel had inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda” before turning  into politics where he became a critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Speaking  to reporters earlier Monday, the acting spokesperson of Rwanda  Investigation Bureau (RIB), Thierry Murangira,declined to comment on the  circumstances of the arrest, arguing that it could “compromise the  investigation”.

But Rwandan investigators blame him for acts of  terrorism, fires, kidnappings and murders, notably committed on Rwandan  soil on two occasions, in June and December 2018.

The Belgian  federal prosecutor knew that Rusesabagina was the target of an  international arrest warrant and was informed by Rwandan justice  officials about his arrest.

Since he fled the country shortly  after genocide in 1994, the former hotel manager  became then a fierce  critic of Rwandan Government. While in exile, he founded the Rwandan  Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) and continued to blame Rwandan  President Kagame for muzzling the opposition.

Born in Ruhango, a  rural district in Southern Rwanda, in June 1954 where attended  neighboring Primary and Secondary Schools in Gitwe in Scientific  Section, Rusesabagina later moved to Kigali where he got an employment  at ‘Hotel des Diplomates’ before being promoted to the position of hotel  manager until the genocide was sparked by the death of the Rwandan  President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down  above Kigali airport on 6 April.

The then Belgian airline Sabena  owned another hotel des ‘Mille Collines’ at the time of the genocide and  when the European managers were evacuated Rusesabagina, manager of the  smaller Hôtel des Diplomates at that time, was made manager.

During  the genocide between April and July 1994, the four star hotel continues  to operate with 112 rooms, a bar/café, three conference rooms, a  restaurant, and the now famous swimming pool where Rusesabagina alleged  to have bribed the genocidaire militia and senior officers of the  defeated Rwandan Armed Forces (ex-FAR) with money and alcohol to keep  them from killing the refugees in the hotel.

By portraying his  story in the ‘Hotel Rwanda’ movie as someone who was helping people  during the genocide against the Tutsi, some genocide survivors and have  disputed Rusesabagina’s account of rescuing them from Hotel Mille  Collines at the time of tragedies.

Tom Ndahiro, a Genocide  scholar based in Kigali says that the news of the arrest of Rusesabagine   is welcome and should be a message to his deputies and ‘cheerleaders’  that their time is up.

This he said is because Rusesabagina has  openly supported genocidaires and their terror outfits that have crossed  into Rwanda and killed innocent civilians for a long time.

In  2015, people who survived the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi at Hôtel  des Mille Collines, as well as experts, said that a book by Edouard  Kayihura is a major contribution in the fight against Rusesabagina’s  lies that he saved the Tutsi at the hotel.

The book, “Inside the  Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story…and Why It Matters Today,”  written by Kayihura, a survivor from the hotel, tells the story of what  really happened during the Genocide. It discredits the 2004 Hollywood  film that inaccurately portrayed Rusesabagina as a hero.