Rwanda says that the portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina as a hero in the Hotel Rwanda movie is a "falsehood."
Paul Rusesabagina is a Rwandan national currently living in Brussels. Rusesabagina has been made famous by the film Hotel Rwanda, that portrays him as a hero who helped save lives of people who had taken refuge at the Hotel des Mille des Collines during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Rusesabagina was born in 1954 to Mr Thomas Rupfure and Mrs Kezia Nyirampara at Kabagari in the former Murama Commune in Nkomero Sector. He has been married twice first to the late Esther Bamurage daughter to Pastuer Sembeba. Rusesabagina's first marriage ended in separation because of adultery. They produced four children together. Later he remarried Ms Tatiana Mukangamije. They live in Brussels at Baron Albert d'Huart , 124.
He went to school at Gitwe Adventist College after which he went to study theology in Cameroon. In Cameroon he was dismissed from the Theology school due to his adulterous tendencies. He returned to Rwanda and went to study Hotel Management Catering and Tourism at the Utalii College in Kenya.
In 1994 before the Rwandan Genocide he was working at the Hotel des Diplomates which was under the same Sabena management as Hotel Mille Colline.
At the beginning of the 1994 Genocide Rusesabagina in the company of his wife and close relatives went to Hotel des Mille Colline to also seek refugee. On arrival at the hotel he met the hotel manager who was departing and the hotel manager instructed Rusesabagina to take over the management of the hotel.
He started charging money from whoever was in hotel apart from his friends and close associates. Whoever did not pay or issue a guarantee of payment was expelled from the hotel rooms. Examples of those expelled from the hotel rooms include;
i. Jean Pierre Muligo who was a journalist.
ii. Chantal Mugabushaka currently working with contact radio in Kigali.
iii. Mr Isaac Mulindahabi who was working with Rwandatel at the time.
iv. A one M. Passat a son to the late Prof. Muswahili. Mr Passat was an employee who had been handed over the keys of the hotel by Mr Bick the hotel Manager. Mr Bick sent Mr Passat a fax authorising him to hand over the keys to Paul Rusesabagina. In his film Hotel Rwanda there is where it implicates one employee who was disobeying his orders. This is because Mr Passat was rejecting Rusesabagina's orders of charging everyone for food.
A witness Mr. Christopher Shamukiga said that on the April 30, 1994 while at the Hotel Mille Colline he discovered large stocks of food and drinks in the Hotel basement. He started distributing this food to the hungry refugees. When Rusesabagina learnt of it he summoned him to his office and charged him 500,000 Rwandan francs.
The family of the Late Anselme Sakumi (who died during the genocide), spent over two hours outside the hotel pleading with Rusesabagina to be allowed into the Hotel. He refused them entry until a one Muvunyi gave him a cheque as a guarantee of payment. He also got cheques from different people, which cheques he would withdraw from Banque de Kigali - Gitarama branch as testified by Louis Kigerinyange who used to work with the bank.
On May 18, 1994, Mr Michel Houtart, the President CA Savena hotels instructed Rusesabagina to avoid rejecting those who could not afford payment. He however refused and instead hosted those who could afford to pay. The rest were chased away to the fate of the Interahamwe.
George Rutaganda who is currently detained at the ICTR in Arusha for crimes of genocide testified that Rusesabagina managed to get foodstuffs on credit from his place as a way of doing business in anticipation of being paid back.
Rusesabagina did not do anything special to save the lives of people at the Hotel to deserve heroism. Hotel Mille Colline was a UN protected site at the time and the focus of the UN forces in Rwanda. He instead was fulfilling his business interests.
Kagame's quotes on Rusesabagina
Rusesabagina's acts as portrayed in the movie were not true reflections of what happened in the hotel but a mere "false hood' that should not make him a hero as the movie suggests.
If I wanted to talk about heroismâ-oe I wouldn't have picked whoever was picked to symbolise the heroism as acted in the film. Some of the things attributed to this person (Rusesabagina) are not true. Even the things that are true do not merit the level of highlight. There could have been other cases
My humble opinion is that the issue of Rusesabagina distorts our history
They (refugees) did not survive because of Rusesabagina. Actually negotiations were going on between the XFAR and RPF. Demands were sent through the UN. We were communicating for a long time because there were people we had in our hands and the XFAR were saying give them to us and we save the Mille Colline people.
Infact at one time, Rusesabagina and his people tried to flee the hotel but they were caught up at the road block, beaten very badly and taken back.
He (Rusesabagina) should try his talents elsewhere and not climb on the falsehood of being a hero because its totally false whether it is being said by Americans, Europeans or anybody else.