In July it was leaked that Rwanda has been one of the countries that have used the Israeli Pegasus software to spy on political rivals, members of civil society, journalists and even heads of state. Since 2016, 3,500 people had been monitored, including the President of South Afri- ca, Cyril Ramaphosa, the former Head of Foreign Affairs of neighboring Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Mi- nister of Burundi, Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, and the dau- ghter of Paul Rusesabigna, the man who inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda.
A few hours later, the government led for 21 years by Paul Kagame denied the most, accusing it of misinformation that seeks to damage the international image of the country. The news did not surprise those who follow current affairs in the country, but it did surprise those who only hear the stories of a post-genocide Rwanda of 1994 that re-emerged like a phoenix to be a unique example of development in Africa. For the latter, the book Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad, by British investigative journalist Michela Wrong, is a great read to learn on the country’s dark side.
The book could well have been named “We are spying on you”. In over 400 pages, Wrong paints a country where sur- veillance, fear and repression rule the field, inside and out- side of its borders. An acquaintance on a work visit once told me that the city was pristine, everything was going well but you felt watched. It probably was.