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Do Not Disturb
The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad
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We think we know the story of Africa’s Great Lakes region. Following the Rwandan genocide, an idealistic group of young rebels overthrew the brutal regime in Kigali, ushering in an era of peace and stability that made Rwanda the donor darling of the West, winning comparisons with Switzerland and Singapore. But the truth was considerably more sinister.
Vividly sourcing her story with direct testimony from key participants, Wrong uses the story of the murder of Patrick Karegeya, once Rwanda’s head of external intelligence and a quicksilver operator of supple charm, to paint the portrait of a modern African dictatorship created in the chilling likeness of Paul Kagame, the president who sanctioned his former friend’s assassination.
Amin, Idi (Gen)—former army chief of staff, toppled Obote, president 1971–1979, died in exile in Saudi Arabia in 2003.
Besigye, Kizza—former National Resistance Army (NRA) rebel, Museveni’s doctor during Bush War, opposition leader.
Byanyima, Winnie—former National Resistance Movement (NRM) cadre, UNAIDS executive director, married to Kizza Besigye.
Kayihura, Kale (Gen)—former NRA rebel and chief of police.
Kazini, James (Gen)—commander of Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), took part in Operation Kitona and Kisangani wars.
Museveni, Yoweri—founder of NRM, president of Uganda since 1986, married to Janet Kataaha.
Obote, Milton—prime minister, then twice president, 1966–1971 and 1980–1985, died in 2005.
Otafiire, Kahinda (Gen)—NRM stalwart, minister of justice.
Mbabazi, Amama—NRM stalwart, former prime minister.
Saleh, Salim (Gen)—Museveni’s younger brother, former NRA and then army commander, businessman.
Batenga, David—Patrick Karegeya’s nephew, in exile.
Bayingana, Peter—doctor in NRA, founding member of Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), killed in 1990.
Bizimungu, Pasteur—fifth president of Rwanda, 1994–2000.
Gafaranga, Apollo Kiririsi—businessman and intelligence informant, wanted for Patrick Karegeya’s murder.
Gahima, Gerald—former attorney general, founding member of Rwanda National Congress (RNC) opposition group, in exile.
Gisa, Jeanette, née Urujeni—businesswoman, widow of Fred Rwigyema.
Habyarimana, Emmanuel (Gen)—army officer under Juvénal Habyarimana, joined post-genocide army, former defence minister, in exile.
Habyarimana, Juvénal—third president of Rwanda, 1973–1994, killed in plane crash in 1994.
Himbara, David—economist, former adviser to Paul Kagame, professor of international development, founder of human rights group, in exile.
Higiro, Robert—former RPA rebel, major in Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), UN peacekeeper, human rights activist, in exile.
Kabarebe, James (Gen)—former RPA rebel, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) army chief, former Rwandan army chief and defence minister, presidential adviser.
Kagame, Paul—former NRA rebel, sixth president of Rwanda, since 2000.
Kagame, Jeannette, née Nyiramongi—businesswoman, first lady, wife of Paul Kagame.
Kanyarengwe, Alexis—army colonel who helped install Juvénal Habyarimana, vice-chairman and then chairman RPF, died 2006 from an “abrupt paralysing ailment.”
Karake, Karenzi (Gen)—former head of Directorate of Military Information (DMI) and National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), known as “KK.”
Karegeya, Patrick—assistant director in Ugandan military intelligence, Rwandan head of external security (ESO) 1994–2004, killed by strangulation in Johannesburg in 2014.
Karegeya, Leah, née Umuganwa—businesswoman, widow of Patrick Karegeya, in exile.
Kayibanda, Gregoire—second president of Rwanda, 1962–1973, killed by starvation in 1973.
Kayonga, Charles (Gen)—former army chief of staff.
Micombero, Jean-Marie—former secretary general at Ministry of Defence, prominent RNC member, in exile.
Munyuza, Dan—former head of DMI and ESO, current chief of police.
Ndahiro, Emmanuel (Dr.)—Kagame’s former doctor and adviser, former head of ESO and NISS.
Ntabana, Aime—one of Patrick Karegeya’s informants, missing since 2013.
Nyamvumba, Patrick (Gen)—former chief of defence, AU/UN mission to Darfur commander, former minister of internal security.
Nyamwasa, Kayumba (Gen)—former RPF head of military intelligence, commander of gendarmerie, army chief of staff, head of NISS, ambassador to India, founding member of RNC, in exile.
Ndagijimana, Jean-Marie Vianney—foreign minister in first post-genocide Rwandan government, in exile.
Nziza, Jack (Gen)—former director DMI, permanent secretary ministry of defence, now inspector-general of armed forces, known as “The Terminator.”
Rudasingwa, Theogene—former RPF general secretary, Kagame’s chief of staff, founding member of RNC, in exile.
Rutagengwa, Emile—former RPA rebel and DMI operative, Patrick Karegeya’s assistant, in exile.
Rwigyema, Fred (Gen)—former NRA commander, Ugandan army chief, inspirational head of RPF, killed in 1990.
Sebarenzi, Joseph—former parliamentary speaker, in exile.
Sendashonga, Seth—interior minister in first post-genocide government, assassinated in exile in 1998.
Twagiramungu, Faustin—prime minister in first post-genocide government, later opposition leader, in exile.
Kabila, Joseph—son of Laurent, president of DRC, 2001–2018.
Kabila, Laurent—revolutionary, leader of Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire, president of DRC, 1997–2001, assassinated in 2001.
Mobutu, Seko Sese—known as “the Leopard,” president, 1965–1997, died in 1997.
Nyerere, Julius—first prime minister of Tanganyika, president of Tanzania, retired in 1985 while remaining hugely influential, died in 1999.
AN INCIDENT AT THE MICHELANGELO
A large eye does not mean keen vision.
The Michelangelo Towers hotel has always been a favorite with Johannesburg’s movers and shakers. It’s an ugly building, with more than a touch of the ridiculous. South African architects have long been fixated with Renaissance Italy, and the Michelangelo, which gazes across a courtyard to a giant bronze statue of a dancing Nelson Mandela, the Sandton City mall’s distinguishing feature, is modeled on a Florentine palazzo. Only this palazzo has the grim solidity and restricted views of a dungeon.
No matter. South African government ministers are regularly spotted being shown into their chauffeur-driven cars by the top-hatted doormen, and the tables in the café restaurant, where a piano lugubriously tinkles, are usually occupied by at least one of the “tenderpreneur” millionaires who benefited from Black Economic Empowerment, whose eyes make the briefest of contacts with those of a well-known newspaper columnist before moving discreetly on.
Visiting African dignitaries, in particular, remain loyal. Back in the days when many were still fresh from guerrilla life, with its forced marches, camp beds, and military rations, the Michelangelo offered them a first taste of the capitalistic indulgences that could be theirs. A certain affection endures.
On the afternoon of January 1, 2014, a customer stood at reception, giving the staff a hard time. Tense and overwrought, David Batenga, a young Rwandan who had made South Africa his home, was trying to cajole the Michelangelo’s employees into yielding up the secrets of the guest register.
He was growing increasingly frantic at his inability to contact his uncle, Patrick Karegeya, whom he knew had checked a guest into the Michelangelo three days earlier. Patrick was the kind of man who constantly worked his phones, pinging texts, messages, and emails in relentless succession his nephew’s way. Since New Year’s Eve, though, there had been only silence. It was out of character. It felt wrong.
Tourists from the Northern Hemisphere tend to flock to South Africa over Christmas and New Year’s, hungry for its warmth and light. As schools let out, businesses close, and families head for Durban and Cape Town’s endless beaches, Johannesburg and Pretoria fall quiet. The high veldt sits baking in the heat; the jacarandas, jasmine, and bougainvillea lining suburban streets fill the air with sweetness; and each afternoon, clouds clump like cottage cheese on the horizon until a sudden wind whips through the trees. Then rain sluices the gated communities with gelatin-thick sheets of water.
It’s a testing time for the divorced, the single, and the exiled. So many parties, so many family get-togethers, each festivity underlining one’s solitude. Patrick, born extrovert, joker, and socialite, was on his own again that year. His wife, Leah, who had moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, with their sons, Elvis and Richard, was visiting friends in Washington; his daughter, Portia, was in Montreal. So when he heard that Apollo Kiririsi Gafaranga, a young Rwandan businessman and playboy friend, was flying in, it felt like a relief.
Usually, Apollo went to stay at Patrick’s house in Ruimsig, a modern suburb on the outskirts of Johannesburg. But this time, Apollo had made an unprecedented request: he asked his friend to book him a suite at the Michelangelo, explaining that he had a series of meetings planned with Russian, Zimbabwean, and Qatari businessmen. Money was no object, he said. Patrick obliged, and when Apollo flew in on the morning of December 28, Patrick went to meet him.
Patrick had every reason to be careful. Rwanda’s former head of external intelligence, he had fled the Central African country in 2007 after a high-profile falling-out with President Paul Kagame and set up an opposition movement. Kagame was widely assumed to be behind the botched assassination attempt on one of Patrick’s political allies in South Africa in 2010. It was logical to assume Patrick was on the same hit list, but he refused to take the level of care David Batenga thought appropriate. “Uncle used to say, ‘Relax. We’re just too paranoid. Start living.’”1
But David did worry, intensely. His relationship with Patrick was unusually close. The ex–spy chief had been the man who insisted he attend school, in the teeth of bitter resistance from David’s father, an old-fashioned Tutsi pastoralist who believed in the prime importance of “cows and land, cows and land—he had plenty of both.” Patrick had paid for David’s schooling and played a pivotal role in getting him to Durban to study accountancy.
When Patrick fled to South Africa he had initially lived with his nephew, who had unquestioningly taken on the role of chauffeur, fixer, de facto bodyguard, secretary, and confidant. “I literally knew everything about the guy. He was more than an uncle, he was my father, my guardian, my best friend. He was everything to me.”
The two men even physically resembled one another. Discount the three-decade gap and David could be a younger version of his uncle; they shared the same surprisingly pale skin—el-Arabi, mwarabu (the Arab), or muzungu (white man), comrades dubbed Patrick—the same mobile, sardonic mouth and knowing, mischievous eyes.
When David talks about those days, he starts and does not stop. He could be giving evidence to the South African police—as he has done so many, many times—or testifying in court, as he longs to do. Dates, times, appointments, the wheres and whens of meetings and BlackBerry message exchanges—there’s a relentlessness to the detail that betrays a brain turning over traumatizing material, trying to sift the significant from the trivial, wondering what could have been done differently.
At lunchtime on the 28th, David drove over to join Apollo and Patrick and together they watched the English Premier League soccer match at the Garden Court Hotel, just off Nelson Mandela Square. Patrick was a Liverpool fan, David supported Arsenal, Apollo wasn’t bothered either way. “Uncle said, ‘This Hutu guy, he wants to go for a massage.’” David ferried the two to a Chinese massage parlor outside the mall and left them to it.
Truth was, David never felt at ease in Apollo’s presence. “I took an instant dislike to him. I didn’t like him from day one, and it only grew. If you sit with someone for hours over several days, their character slowly emerges. You could see he loved money.” David noted, in particular, the intermittent quality of communications with Apollo when he was in Rwanda. “He’d vanish. Switch off his phone and be off Skype for three, four months in a row. Everything would go dead. And then he would suddenly show his face in South Africa.” It made him wonder what exactly Apollo had been up to during the break.
David had shared his doubts with Patrick, but his uncle brushed them off, and if you’re a young African man you don’t tell an elder he’s talking rubbish. Counterintuitively for a former head of intelligence, personal suspicion had never been part of Patrick’s emotional makeup. He based his relationships with people on split-second assessments, gut instinct, and once an individual entered the inner circle, they stayed there.
It was a peculiarly un-Rwandan characteristic, but then, Patrick was the least typical of Rwandans. He’d always opened his home, his heart, and his wallet to emotionally damaged, questing young men in need of surrogate father figures, and Apollo, for all his flashy bravado, fitted that category.
There were self-serving reasons for the friendship, too. Apollo was in business with Jeannette Kagame, the president’s wife. He regularly shared beers with members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front in the officers’ mess in Kigali, where he soaked up political gossip: “What kind of gossip? Oh, the state of the nation,” explains David. “Who’s in agreement with who. Who’s not happy with Kagame. Which investors are in the country. Who is in and out of favor. Which foreign officials are arriving, what RPF relations are like with various rebel movements. He didn’t say much but he seemed to know a lot.” For an intelligence expert in exile and in opposition, Apollo’s chitchat was gold dust.
So David left the two men and returned to the soccer. He spoke to his uncle by phone that afternoon. “‘Are you still in the massage?’ I asked. Patrick said, ‘Yes, we have our feet up, we’re drinking coffee.’ I said, ‘OK, I’ll see you guys tomorrow.’” By evening Patrick was safely back at home.
Patrick and Apollo spent the 29th together, and that evening the three men met up again to watch soccer at the News Café in Randburg, an unashamedly macho sports bar. Leaving his uncle to wend his way home, David ran Apollo back to the Michelangelo at 11 p.m.
The 30th was much the same. David, who was juggling his self-appointed role as fixer and fallback driver with his job as an accountant, attended a meeting with some asset managers at the Michelangelo’s restaurant. He joined Patrick and Apollo afterward, leaving them there for another business meeting at 3 p.m.: “I called Uncle at 6 p.m. and he said, ‘I’m going home and he’s going to the hotel.’ I checked up on him later: ‘Have you reached home?’ ‘Yes.’”
On the 31st, David called his uncle to tell him he was going to see Kennedy Gihana, the secretary-general of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), the opposition group Patrick had cofounded. Gihana had survived a mysterious car accident, but had been discharged from the hospital on crutches. David wanted to visit him at home.
Patrick told his nephew he was going to see Apollo at the Michelangelo. “I was invited to a Black-and-White New Year’s Eve party that evening, which started at 8 p.m. I rang Uncle and said, ‘Are you sharp?’”—South African slang for “cool”—“He said, ‘Yes, everything is okay.’” It would be their last exchange.
At a quarter to midnight, David rang his uncle from the party to wish him a Happy New Year. “I phoned all three of his phones. Only two were working, but he didn’t pick up.” This was unusual. Those who have worked in intelligence rarely go incommunicado. “He was always someone who responded very quickly, within five minutes. But I thought, ‘These guys are having fun,’” remembers David. “Patrick loved social events. And there was nothing to indicate anything was wrong.”
In Montreal, Patrick’s twenty-four-year-old daughter, Portia, seven hours behind, was also watching the clock. The thousands of miles separating father and daughter were never allowed to interrupt a constant conversation. Her WhatsApp account sports a photo of her graduation: Portia, in black gown, has her head on her father’s shoulder, while Patrick, arms wrapped around her, is beaming with pride. She was waiting for midnight to strike in South Africa so she could surprise him.
Like David, Portia has near-photographic recall of that period. The day before, father and daughter had chatted via Skype. They had talked about a miniskirt ban in Uganda, and the irony of German race-car driver Michael Schumacher being plunged into a coma after a skiing accident. “I asked him what he had been up to and he said he had come from dinner with a guy from Kigali”—Apollo. Portia cracked a joke, asking, “Do you really trust those guys?” “Argh, I know, but sometimes you have to,” Patrick replied.2
With her family scattered across two continents, the young law student had been feeling beleaguered. “My dad was stuck in South Africa, my mum and brothers were in the States, I was the only one able to move between any of them. My great fear was that something might happen to someone in the family and we wouldn’t be able to get to them.”
But Portia had the optimism of youth. “I had decided to write a letter to myself reviewing each year, setting goals. And since this was the first one, I’d decided to do a whole life review. I’d written about the past decade, everything that had gone wrong, stuff that had happened to me. It was so hopeful and happy: isn’t that insane? I was telling myself, ‘You know, you’ve been through so much, but things are looking up now.’
“I remember telling Dad, ‘2014 is going to be the year of the Karegeyas. Things are going to be great. We definitely all have to focus and get our shit together.’ And he agreed.”
But when midnight struck in South Africa and she sent a message on Skype, Patrick didn’t answer. “I always got paranoid when he didn’t reply. I’d always send another message immediately afterward.” Nothing. She rang David. “Are you sure he’s OK?” she asked him. David sought to reassure her, but Portia was not convinced. “I was so uncomfortable that whole time.” David himself only half believed his own words. At 1 a.m., he tried ringing Patrick. “My wife was saying, ‘Why are you ringing him so much?’” He felt angry with Patrick now, annoyed at the anxiety his uncle was causing those he loved.
Also uneasy was Leah Karegeya, Patrick’s wife. She was by nature a worrier, but whenever she shared her fears of the Rwandan regime with her husband, he would shrug and say, “Doesn’t Kagame die, too? Do you want to live forever?”
Money was tight that year. The job this upper-class Rwandan had taken to make ends meet—working for a Knoxville agency offering care to America’s elderly—yielded nothing like enough. When a relative in Delaware invited her to explore possibilities in the area, she had agreed, flying out after a Christmas Day shift. She had been preparing for a road trip to Washington, where she planned to join her sons for New Year’s Day. “I’d been talking to Patrick by Skype, telling him I was scared because I had a two-hour drive to do on my own, through the rain. He never trusted my driving, so he told me, ‘Use the GPS and text me when you get there.’ And I did, but there was no answer.3
“I went to church with my friends to at least see in the New Year in a spiritual mood. I kept checking my phones, but there were no messages. I was getting a bad feeling. We were so used to communicating all the time. Portia called and said, ‘Something’s strange. Daddy hasn’t been in touch.’”
The following morning in Johannesburg, David was distracted. January 1 was his brother-in-law’s birthday and a family get-together had been organized. But at 9 a.m. he tried his uncle’s phones again. “All his phones were off. I thought he had a hangover, but decided to go round to his house and check.” That was when David became seriously alarmed. Patrick was not at home. The bed was made up and the car was not in the parking lot.
He drove to the Michelangelo, left his car in the giant parking lot, and went to reception. The realization that he didn’t actually know Apollo’s surname made him feel suddenly foolish. “I said, ‘I’m here to see a guest. I don’t know his last name, but he’s a Rwandan.’” The reaction from the receptionist was predictable, but David, like his uncle, knew how to charm.
“They searched the entire computer system, but there was no trace of ‘Apollo.’” At a loss, David walked through the Michelangelo’s restaurant—nothing—hung around for an hour, then went to the parking lot to leave. “And that’s when I see Uncle’s car. I tried to open it, but it was locked. That meant either they’d been picked up, or they’re in the mall, or they’re in the room—so at least I know they’re there.”
He returned to reception. “I thought, ‘Let me check under Patrick’s name.’ Now that was not sharp, he never booked under his own name.” But his uncle, astonishingly, had this time done exactly that.
“They checked—Room 905. I said, ‘Now we know, so phone the room.’ They called, but no one picked up.” The two must be walking around, David concluded. “So I sit down. And I wait and wait and wait. Occasionally I say, ‘Can you check?’ and they say, ‘We can’t bother the guest.’”
A “Do Not Disturb” sign dangled from the door handle, and in top hotels, that sign casts something like a spell. Whether they suspect rows of coke are being snorted on the other side of the door, that mini-orgies are being staged, or that professional poker games are in progress, staff are trained never to violate the instruction. Privacy is the top-tier client’s prerogative, and entering would mean breaking a professional taboo.
“I become an asshole,” remembers David. “I am literally there the entire day, until the evening.” By this time, he was consumed by anxiety.
A female member of the staff finally agreed to go up to Room 905 and knock on the door. Once again, there was no answer. “I say, ‘Please go in the room.’” But that “Do Not Disturb” sign kept working its magic.
Eventually the hotel manager relented, taking the elevator to the ninth floor with a security guard in tow. They returned to the front desk with a bizarre, partial report. They could see the bed from the door and the legs of someone lying on the bed. The television was on, very loud.
“The guest is sleeping, sir.”
“Did you talk to him?”
“I need to speak to the person who is sleeping.”
“We would need to call the police.”
“Please do that.”
When the police arrived, they went directly to Room 905. “Maybe they thought it was a drugs-related crime. I wait and wait. I get tired. I start standing. All I get from the desk is, ‘The police are here. They are working on your case.’ I go and watch TV in the restaurant. Finally a woman taps me on the shoulder and I stand up.”
Asking David to sit, the hotel employee made what must have been the most unusual announcement of her career:
“Your guest is dead, sir.”
“My mind,” remembers David, “was revving so fast. I thought it was Apollo who was dead—maybe that was more hope than anything else. I was thinking, ‘Could he be a traitor?’”
Then she took David up to Room 905, a hotel room whose bland elegance—the stained wood, the muffling Persian rugs and heavy drapes, the polished mirrors and throw cushions—was designed to convey unobtrusive luxury. Jarringly, inappropriately, the room was crowded with uniformed men, its atmosphere charged with testosterone and shock.
“There must have been twenty cops in there. ‘Don’t touch anything,’ they said. I saw his jeans and socks, and I think I really knew then.”
At moments of great drama, events slow down. Flooded with adrenaline, the brain uses the extra time it has somehow been granted to meander, picking up on the quirky and the curious. A man lay on his back on the made bed, David saw, sheets pulled halfway across him. His hands were on either side of his head, suggesting he had been fending off an attacker. The victim’s blue-and-white-checked shirt had ridden high above his bare stomach in the struggle, revealing a huge weal across his chest where his skin, normally pale by African standards, had turned livid, deprived of oxygen.
“He was the color of charcoal,” says David. “Remember that he had been there twelve hours by then, and the blood had dried.” Blood from the victim’s eyes, nose, and ears was streaked across his face and had coagulated in the mattress. It had soaked all the way through to the other side, the police found when they flipped it over.
Below the dead man’s nose, bloody froth had dried to form a small, pink mustache. David looked at his face, not wanting to believe what he was seeing. “His eyes were closed. For a moment I was thinking, ‘It looks like him, but it’s not him.’” Finally forced to register that the victim on the bed was not Apollo but his surrogate father, the man he respected above all others, David broke down.
- “[The book] stands out as perhaps the most ambitious attempt yet to tell the dark story of Rwanda and the region’s deeply intertwined tragedies for a general audience...There is a taut, cinematic quality to Wrong’s account."—The New York Times Book Review
- “Do Not Disturb is a disturbing book, showing the reach of the Rwandan state into its opponents’ lives around the globe…Do Not Disturb is a vital intervention.”—Foreign Affairs
- “Devastating… comprehensive and compelling.”—The Washington Post
- “A devastating book by Michela Wrong, comes something of a reckoning — or at the very least a reassessment. Do Not Disturb is a damning j’accuse on many fronts. An extraordinarily brave piece of reporting.”—The Financial Times
- “[A] Massively documented and footnoted book… her conclusions are persuasive.”—The Economist
- “Superb… an epic tale of blood, bitterness and betrayal… a gripping tale.”—Times UK
- “Meticulously researched, with substantial new material and interviews.”—The Guardian
- “Imagine a journalist of the 1930s brave enough to investigate one of the mysterious assassinations of Stalin’s opponents who had fled abroad—and to tell that story to a world where too many people were enamored of the Soviet leader. Michela Wrong has taken on a similar job today: to use a killing to expose a man today seldom recognized as a ruthless dictator. Her skills as a writer and expert knowledge of Africa make this a chilling story.”—ADAM HOCHSCHILD, author of King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa
- “In this extremely important and profoundly disturbing book, Michela Wrong sets out all the miss-steps that were ignored, all the flagrant human rights abuses that were overlooked and all the criminality for which excuses were found, until the new horrors that have been visited upon that country were perpetrated. Ms Wrong is not suggesting that we become Afro-pessimists but telling us that not only is the price of freedom eternal vigilance, but also that we must, in the words of Amilcar Cabral, ‘tell no lies, claim no easy victories’”—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
- “A withering assault on the murderous Rwandan regime of Paul Kagame, and a melancholy love song to the lost dreams of the nations of Africa’s Great Lakes. Michela Wrong proves once again that she is an intrepid and highly professional researcher of the subject she knows best. It’s a major accomplishment, very driven, very impassioned.” —JOHN LE CARRÉ, best-selling author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- "A unique insight into many hitherto little known dark sides of a profoundly criminal regime. Based on first hand observations and numerous interviews with key players, victims and witnesses, this book is an indictment of those complicit in ensuring President Kagame’s impunity during the last quarter century."—FILIP REYNTJENS, author of Political Governance in Post-Genocide Rwanda (Cambridge University Press).
- "The author paints a frightening picture of Rwanda as a police state that reminds one of hallmarks of the Stalinist era, where opponents to the regime are not disappeared because they are guilty but whose disappearance is sufficient proof of their culpability. Refreshingly free of jargon, the book breaks important new ground in the literature on Rwanda, in a lively and suspenseful prose. This is revisionist history at its best. I cannot recommend it too highly."—RENÉ LAMARCHAND, Emeritus Professor, University of Florida
- "Michela Wrong takes her readers on an absorbing political journey, in which Rwandan comrades-in-arms Paul Kagame and Patrick Karegeya steadily mutate into lethal adversaries upon achieving power. The ghosts of other historic mortal fallouts – Stalin and Trotsky, Sankara and Compaore, Robespierre and Danton, Mugabe and Mujuru – haunt this story, but more importantly, it draws our attention to the significant structural problems created by ex-military leaders’ participation in the building of post-war democracy and peace." —MILES TENDI, author of The Army and Politics in Zimbabwe: Mujuru, the Liberation Fighter and Kingmaker
- “Journalist Wrong (It’s Our Turn to Eat) delivers a distressing and deeply reported exposé of Rwandan president Paul Kagame and his control over an increasingly authoritarian state…This expert takedown packs a punch.”—Publishers Weekly
- “In Wrong’s panoramic cast of characters, the voices of those whose lives were destroyed ring out the loudest…Gripping, stylish journalism that proves the modern history of Rwanda is hardly settled.”—Kirkus Reviews
- “Wrong’s book is an eloquent and entirely convincing plea for that same glaze not to come over the world’s eyes when uncomfortable truths are told.”—The Los Angeles Review of Books
- “Michela Wrong lays out the context of her story with great care…The story is compelling.”—Democracy in Africa
- “Do Not Disturb is part murder mystery and part sweeping history of an extended family tragedy spread over two countries, three wars, four decades and a genocide. Along the way, Wrong asks hard questions about the true nature of Kagame’s rule and the claims made for Rwanda’s rebirth.”—The Observer
- "Do Not Disturb is a remarkable catalog of lies the R.P.F. sold to western apologists and the realities they covered up."—Current Affairs
- “A brave and tremendous book... she has produced a classic.”—The Spectator UK
- “It is… a remarkable study in the exercise of power by a small elite, and systematic mendacity in politics – which also resonates with our current moment.”—David Edgerton, The Guardian
- On Sale
- Jan 17, 2023
- Page Count
- 512 pages