Rwandan President Talks Buisness, Chicago Mob Attacks

CHICAGO (CBS) — Rwandan President Paul Kagame was in Chicago over the weekend, addressing expatriates who gathered in the city for a two-day event.

Kagame also met with business leaders, and he granted WBBM Newsradio 780 his only broadcast interview.

As Felicia Middlebrooks reports, Chicago businessman Joe Ritchie met Kagame eight years ago. He introduced Kagame to the chief executive officer of Costco, who then invested in coffee from Rwanda.

The Costco CEO then brought in the Starbucks CEO, who invested in Rwandan coffee as well.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports

President Kagame says he has built a powerful network of friends.

“The family of friends kept growing bigger and bigger every year,” he said.

Former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert gives Kagame high praise.

“Here’s a man that came along and changed things, and I think that’s extraordinary,” he said.

Kagame is credited with the movement that stopped the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed.

He was just reelected to a seven-year term, receiving 95 percent of the vote.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) is looking forward to doing business with Kagame.

“I want Chicago to become the hub of international trade, in particular as it relates to Africa,” Rush said.

But some more troubling subjects also came up when Kagame visited. He said he had heard about the mobs targeting innocent people in Chicago’s affluent neighborhood, and weighed in on how he would handle the problem.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports

Kagame said the mob attacks – which have happened largely in Streeterville and near the Magnificent Mile, and on CTA trains – might well be more complicated than what meets the eye.

He said in his own country, violence exhibited by young people is not uncommon. What is uncommon is how authorities deal with it.

“From my standpoint and all experience, the way to deal with that is not simply to put more policemen on the street,” Kagame said.

He says no city can just allow violence to continue, but along with the police presence, the underlying causes of the mob action should be examined.

“Give them hands on-training; some kinds of skills,” Kagame said. “Also, are they looked after? They are fed, they are educated – more importantly, they are given skills.”

In Rwanda, 17 years after the genocide, Kagame says people come out of six-month programs to train them and develop their skills totally changed.

  • Pothead

    They are looked after and they are fed on the tax payers dime. Listen up Mobutu, you know nothing of the American animal.

  • Pothead

    This guy should go tour Englewood while he’s here. Maybe spend a couple nights there.

  • SisterHood

    Actually Kagame may know what he is talking about, considering the demographics of Englewood pretty much mirror those of Rwanda. 42% of the population under 15, birth rate of 40 per thousand, death rate of 15 per thousand, average life expectancy of 56 years. Number one tourist attraction, the mountain gorilla.

    • Tyreese

      I think the difference is, the people there, are all living in poverty. Here, people may live in poverty by our standards, but in reality we hard working people are forced to pay taxes so that so many lazy worthless people can get free food, free housing, and free medical. Over there, a chance to learn a skill and have a chance to prosper is something the people charish. Many of the blacks here don’t want to work. Everything they need to live is handed to them. Anything they want, like ipods, etc, they simply take from someone weaker than themselves. There really is no comparison.

      • SisterHood


      • Tyreese

        @SisterHood, Englewood has it’s tourist attractions just like Rwanda, except our gorillas aren’t mountain gorillas and they are far more dangerous. HaHaHaHa.

      • SisterHood

        I guess you are right, Englewood doesn’t even have a tourist attraction either.

  • BHoffmeister

    One of the thugs arrested is already educated and cared for: he has a college scholarship lined up. The thuggery is a mentality that can only be stopped when we law-abiding citizens are legally allowed to defend ourselves. I’d rather fight back than file a police report and once the thugs start getting shot when they attack the attacks will quickly subside. Chicago politicians and liberals (God, the term “liberal” is surely an oxymoron in this case) must give up the mantra of calling for more and more police to solve the crime problem; about 99% of the time the police do not prevent crime, they merely go after the criminals AFTER it occurs. We need to kill the thugs…end it….end of story.

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