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Life Reflections

Loathe or love her; Rwanda is for progress and bears none ill-will

By April 5, 2019June 6th, 2023No Comments

After parking my run-of-the-mill jalopy at a bank, I hobbled to its ATM cabin. The queue of factory workers of the area was long but I had all the time, so I joined up to await my turn.

But before I could say “turn”, the bank’s security guard rushed up, brandishing his hippo whip. I held my breath, wondering who the likely culprit in this apparent breach of the peace could be. Only for him to scatter everybody, then turn to me with: “Boss, you can now enter.”

And it clicked. For that jalopy, I was “boss”. The lip of it, my foot!

Ignoring the guard, I apologized to everybody and we queued up as before. I only spat out a remark as to his being a disgrace to Rwanda, for such discriminatory behaviour. And chided my queuing ‘comrades’ over not protesting such abuse.

For the last twenty-five years, the Rwandan government’s impassioned effort has been to eradicate this kind of indignity. Inculcation of cultivating the assertion of our dignity, our self-worth, whatever our station in life, has been government’s raison d’être.

Never again will a Rwandan’s honour be trampled by anybody, domestic or foreign.
And lest any Rwandan forget, this has been the signature refrain of President Kagame for practically every speech he has ever pronounced, every action he has ever undertaken, all on behalf of Rwandans.

None should kneel for anybody.

These thoughts may sound hyperbolic, being triggered by the conduct of one guard. But letting the smallest of past ugly tendencies ride is a future seed for atrocities like those visited on our society in 1994 and before. It’s our collective duty, therefore, to fight these tendencies wherever they may rear their heads.

It’s still fresh in the memory. When some Rwandans gave in to being compartmentalised into superior and inferior classes, that’s when they opened the window for seeds of genocide.

From a proud people who had together fended off the landslide of slave trade like none else in the region, when some knelt to the feebler force of colonial divisionism, Rwandans had given way to the shame of genocide. “Feebler force” not in the sense of facing off with it. Rather, that it could be played subtle till its expiry, leaving us bruised, alright, but intact.

Otherwise, when some Rwandans were played for fools, that’s how, during the first two post-colonial surrogate regimes, whole sensible Rwandans could be prompted on mere radio to kill their compatriots without thought.

That’s how we went to “that place, the place at the limit of human experience”. The Genocide against the Tutsi is the place.

Against all odds, however, we shook off that tsunami and emerged stronger than ever before.

So, in the words of President Kagame: “We shall not accept any orders from whatever quarter. From a geographical point of view, Rwanda is a small country. [But] with regard to her ideology and politics, she is a [powerful] country.”

And going beyond his trademark modesty, I dare add: with regard to her military, too.

If in doubt, ask the African countries that were made to test Rwandans by a superpower puppeteer with its full participation, at their weakest: 1990-1994. No need to name names.

Otherwise the trickle from our immediate north, it’s just a passing cloud.

Our dear Excellency Y.K. Museveni can slow our country’s and region’s integration and growth for only a while. Holding them at ransom for long, nah! If he doesn’t see the sense in this, circumstances will force it upon him.

Of course, he has always harboured megalomaniac ambitions of being lord of this region and, inexplicably, thinks it’s this country that’s holding him back.

Remember him insisting that only one ethnic group out of Rwandans could ‘legitimately’ provide a head of state for us, thus, like colonialists, promoting ethnic division?

The reason was that that president would answer to his every whim, to provide a springboard for his imperial designs.

Come to think of it, when those foreign conspiracy theorists sprang the idea of a Hima Empire that we found so bizarre, maybe they knew something we didn’t – maybe he’d actually dangled the idea under their noses!

Funny how “quislings” were always on his lips, as the butts of his mockery!

Yet think the letter to Clare Short (UK), later, of how Rwandans had a bankrupt leadership that needed changing. Think many other infantile attempts to please foreign powers. Like how he jumped in to interrupt – and oust? – the Rwandan army in Zaïre (D.R. Congo) as they closed in on the ex-Habyarimana army and Interahamwe holed up there, ready to return and consummate their macabre handiwork.

Think the alleged betrayal of John Garang to rope South Sudan into his designs; think Burundi. As for the original three EAC members, he’d already bagged them by his effort for the EAC revival. With the backing of foreign powers, he was sure to clinch that grand enterprise.

But for Rwanda, his Hima Empire crusade would have been good and sealed.

Like Bokasa (late Emperor, Central Africa), today he’d be sitting on a golden chair, back topped with a golden cockerel-figure. His Imperial Majesty resplendent in golden robes with a golden crown, on a golden throne.

Alas, Sire, the twilight years are upon thee and nary an imperial throne to behold!

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