Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has accused Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager, who saved the lives of more than 1,000 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, a terrorist leader.
Kagame, who said this at a news conference, added that Rusesabagina was leading “a group of terrorists that have killed Rwandans.”
Rusesabagina, 66, became famous for sheltering Tutsis at the Mille Collines Hotel in Kigali and later helping them escape, a story told in the 2004 Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda.”
Some government officials and survivors have disputed this account.
“Rusesabagina has blood of Rwandans on his hands. He will have to pay for these crimes,” the Rwandan president said
Kagame said during the news conference that Rusesabagina would get a fair trial.
Rusesabagina’s family say the charges are fabricated and that he became a target in the past years for criticizing the Rwandan government, his daughter, Carine Kanimba, told dpa.
Rusesabagina was arrested on terrorism charges last week.
His family and lawyer have not been able to see him.
Rusesabagina is a vocal government critic and said to lead the MRCD, a grouping of political parties in exile opposed to the Rwandan government.
During the 1994 genocide, more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.
Kagame is lauded for bringing stability and economic development to the country after the civil war, though he also limited civil freedoms and cracked down on the opposition.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
COVID-19: NAHCO introduces disinfection services to airlines
NAHCO in a statement on Wednesday, in Lagos by Samuel Akinrinmade. Head, Corporate Communications, said that the disinfection service is a technical process that involves the use of fully kitted Cabin Appearance personnel.
The process also includes the use of sophisticated machines, specially formulated and non injurious chemicals to fumigate and clean an aircraft.
Akinrinmade said the company has extended the service to all its client- airlines in partnership with Multi-Level Innovation Services Ltd/Raven Hygiene.
“NAHCO currently provides disinfection service to Virgin Atlantic, Egypt Air, Qatar Airways and Rwanda Air, while Fly Dubai and Salam Air are handled on an ad-hoc basis.
“NAHCO is poised to providing safe and convenient aircraft disinfection to all its numerous clients, as well as those who may wish to join the service in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s gu
“In view of the rampaging COVID-19 virus, and the need to ensure that the aircraft are safe for use, we have partnered with Multi-Level Innovation Services Ltd, represented by Raven Hygiene to offer this ingenious service to our clients.
“This is aside our regular aircraft cleaning. This is a highly technical process that has been put in place to aid the industry in the fight against COVID-19 and we have a specially trained team in this regard,’’ Akinrinmade said.
He further said that, the responses from their existing clients have been highly encouraging and called on other airlines to join hands with NAHCO to ensure the skies are made safer.
Commenting, the Managing Director of Raven Hygiene, Mr Adeniyi Makanjuola, attributed the collaboration to the need to reduce the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Edited By: Zainab Garba/Sadiya Hamza
Barbados tourism expert advises African operators on innovation
Jamie-Lee Abtar, Executive Director, Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Women in Travels from Barbados, on Tuesday urged innovativeness among African tourism practitioners to enhance speedy recovery from COVID-19 pandemic losses.
Abtar gave the advice during the youth tourism conference session of the 16th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market, organised by Mr Ikechi Uko, with the theme: “The Role of the Youth in Restoring Tourism Growth in Africa”.
She said that being innovative distinguished a leader from a follower, urging tourism practitioners across Africa to turn their visions into products and services.
According to her, innovators understand that innovation never happen in a vacuum.
“To be able to recover from the losses of COVID-19 pandemic, we must be inspired to be innovators, leaders, collaborators, digital disruptor and be distinctly different.
“The characteristic of a great innovator is that they see a space others do not and they invent something new, they don’t just listen to what people say but they take initiative.
“These are virtues we must imbibe to scale through this critical period; as tourism practitioners, always be prepared for change and be active in making the change happen.
“To be distinctly different can be challenging but essential for your business to thrive,” she said.
Mel Tlhapi, Managing Director, Mel Prods South Africa, advised African governments to allow youths participate in tourism policy creation to generate experienced and unique ideas.
Tlhapi urged the youths involved in tourism business to always upgrade themselves academically to stay relevant in the industry, advising them to stay fearless regardless of the negative effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.
She urged practitioners to solely embrace an aspect of the tourism value chain and remain vibrant in it instead of embracing so many chains without being professionals.
“I advise the youths to create niches for themselves in the industry, be fearless and embrace just an aspect of the tourism value chain, be well grounded in it and do not be a jack of all trade,” she said.
Chiamaka Obuekwe, Managing Director, Social Prefect Tours, spoke on the importance of collaborations to promote intra Africa travels.
Obuekwe said that personal rebranding, reputable business arena and mentorship were very essential to restoring tourism growth in Africa, urging tourism practitioners across Africa to take them seriously.
She said that Africans must consciously rewrite their stories to correct the negative perception of the international communities, going by the challenges of insecurity, poor infrastructure and other social vices projected to the world.
According to her, the negative perception could only be corrected by beginning to tell beautiful stories of Africa and rebranding the continent.
” The youths have a lot to do in tourism development across Africa but African governments must create the needed infrastructure to woo investors and tourists.
“I advise that we in Nigeria create a tourism package to showcase our tourism potential, just like we have events like Magical Kenya, Remarkable Rwanda and Incredible Ghana.
“I suggest we have a tourist festival like “Great Nigeria” or “One Nigeria” to showcase our rich cultural and tourism endowments which will be an annual event,” she said.
Carmen Imbili, Chief Executive Officer, Xceptional Tourism Services from Namibia, said huge confidence must be displayed by operators to forge ahead, be innovative in order to achieve post COVID-19 recovery in the tourism industry
Imbili urged practitioners to explore the power of technology and invest hugely in it as a way of life.
She called for collaborations across tourism practitioners in Africa for speedy recovery of the industry.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Wale Ojetimi
African tourism leaders recommend MICE for sectoral recovery
These tourism leaders cutting across countries such as: South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya, gave the advice at the 16th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market’s conference held online.
The roundtable was organised by Mr Ikechi Uko, with the theme: “Is MICE a Viable Pathway for Tourism Recovery in Africa?’’
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions is a type of tourism in which large groups usually plan well in advance and are brought together.
Rick Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Business Tourism Company, said that MICE in Africa was pretty new but started in the United States since 1714.
Taylor said that enormous opportunities would be available if MICE was properly developed in Africa.
“We need to work on returning to embrace our meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions because it was observed that an hour of physical meeting is only as effective as 5 zoom meetings, 10 phone calls and 20 emails.
“Some 14 new ideas were likely to be generated during physical meetings but only 7 ideas would be gotten from online meetings,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Alain St.Ange, former Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, said that the MICE market was an important one in the tourism industry, adding that there was need to discover more Africans who would be dedicated to work in grooming tourism.
He advised Africans to work together to achieve common goals of revamping the tourism industry and create global competitiveness.
“Tourism is the pillar of the Seychelles economy and with a population of 100,000 people, we are able to sustain the country through the returns on tourism.
“MICE is an important market in tourism, it needs to be developed rightly,’’ he said.
Nelly Mukazayire, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Convention Bureau, also attested to the fact that MICE was one of the innovative ways for revenue creation which Africans must leverage upon.
According to her, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous events were postponed and the country recorded losses to the tune of $8m.
“Rwanda is open to MICE, domestic tourism and travels now, the government has set up platforms to ensure tourists’ safety, who either come for leisure or business opportunities.
“The Rwandan government has established economic recovery funds, created home grown events that align with our investment priorities; Rwanda is a unique destination for events and MICE is guaranteed,’’ she said.
Jacinta Nzioka, National Coordinator, Kenya National Convention Bureau, said that the business of MICE had sustained the country as a tourist destination, adding that the Kenyan government was working with the private sector to further grow MICE.
Nzioka said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 97 tourism events were cancelled and over 42,000 jobs were lost.
She said when International travels began, 16 per cent arrivals were recorded to be on purpose of business, which she described as encouraging.
“Currently, we have stimulus packages for the hospitality sector, and recovery funds to restart the industry all put together by the Kenyan government; we see a bright future for MICE in Kenya,’’ she said.
Nzioka advised Africans to work unanimously to complement one another’s efforts in the development of MICE and not for competitive purposes.
Mr Bradford Ochieng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Tourism Board, said that the board had prioritised the promotion and development of business tourism to diversify the country’s tourism offerings and encompass more than leisure.
Ochieng said this was expected to increase the number of tourist arrivals, receipt and earnings from business travellers.
He said currently, the board was trying to partner with the private sector to develop affordable travel packages to revamp the industry.
“The MICE industry is an emerging one in the Ugandan economy, the Ugandan tourism board will continue to prioritise both leisure and business travels.
“We want to tell everyone that we are ready for MICE and planning to invest more in hotels, convention centres and all,’’ he said.
Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo
‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero says he was duped into coming to Rwanda, NYT reports
Paul Rusesabagina, depicted in a Hollywood movie as a hero, who helped save Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide, said he believed he was flying to Burundi at the invitation of a pastor, but was instead lured to Rwanda and arrested on terrorism charges.
Rusesabagina was speaking to the New York Times on Friday in an interview the paper said had been authorised by the Rwandan government and had taken place in the presence of government officials.
The 66-year-old political dissident and former hotel manager was propelled to fame after the Oscar-nominated film “Hotel Rwanda” portrayed him using his connections with the Hutu elite to protect Tutsis fleeing slaughter during the 1994 genocide.
He had been living in exile for over a decade, where he was a prominent critic of President Paul Kagame, accusing him of stifling political opposition.
Rusesabagina suddenly appeared in custody in Rwanda earlier this month, prompting accusations from his family that he had been kidnapped.
However, he said that he voluntarily boarded a private plane in Dubai that he believed was bound for Bujumbura, Burundi, where he had planned to speak to churches at the invitation of a local pastor.
Instead, he landed in Kigali, where he now faces 13 charges, including terrorism, complicity in murder and forming or joining an irregular armed group.
A spokesman for the prosecution on Wednesday told Reuters that Rusesabagina, who once called for armed resistance to the government in a YouTube video, faces a possible life sentence.
On Thursday, he was denied bail and will stay in jail for 30 days as the prosecution ends its investigations.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim