All Africans need to own their processes
It is depressing when you happen on the observations of Africans on how their fellow Africans are governed. With the admission that a majority of their countries are confined to the intensive care unit or morgue, Africans give you an idea of why so many of them are queuing up at Western-World embassies for that precious visa.
Surely, there must be something good about this continent or else none of them would have been trampled under by the colonial scramble over it. Why aren’t Africans finding this hidden treasure?
Unable to rise to the challenge of deciphering out the continental why, I’ll restrict myself to opining on my home turf, Rwanda, where the display of a denigration of anything African and a worship of anything ‘Developed World’ may be most glaring.
So, Rwanda. On the success side for last year, those observations quoted Transparency International as commending the country for her continued effort in combating graft, while making strides in rebuilding her economy and positioning herself as a regional business hub. Foreign investors were quoted as expressing happiness with her attractive investment climate and the UN Peace Building Commission as recognising her for contributing to peace-building, as “a living example of how to overcome adversity.”
All very well. But none a quotation of an opinion made in Africa.
On the failure side, “several allegations” were made on how opposition groups were being silenced. The Independent of London blamed the country for being “linked to an assassination plot against dissidents” – in Britain! Human Rights Watch was said to be crying foul because “there was no opposition” and “independent journalists were silenced”, the single evidence being the killing of a Rwandan “online journalist” – in Uganda! Allegations of crimes committed on foreign lands, which lands have the willingness to comply – if asked – and the capacity to investigate.
All, moreover, just allegations. But even those, nary a single one quoting African opinion.
Yet foreign opinion on Africa seems to be allergic to examining an individual country’s context. If Rwanda is where she is today, the journey she has covered must be considered: the depth of the hole she has risen from examined; the steep and thorny ascent she has had to negotiate recognised; the nail-studded weights from above she has had to bounce back pointed out.
When Rwanda is handed a “D” grade, one “F” jump from “ICU”, this grading can be seen to be informed by foreign opinion, out of context. A homeboy, an EAn, would consider all factors and come up with an appropriate grade – not necessarily better, but self-generated, at least.
Why do Africans seem to be holding their opinion in contempt? As for Rwandans, they may be a grade lower on it than their continental counterparts (No offence intended, Rwaandans).
That’s why they jump for joy when a Trévidic Report from France admits the truth that they knew all along, for which the Mutsinzi Report in Rwanda served as a reminder, if there was anybody susceptible to forgetfulness. The RPF/A were nowhere near the position where they could blast the Habyarimana jet out of the Kigali night sky.
And that’s why they celebrate when Canada bends to the just act of sending a fugitive to the scene of alleged crime – Rwanda. Alleged crime, because the case is still in court, after 17 years of delayed, and therefore denied, justice.
Rwandans should be fuming at this ‘too little, too late’ and at a ‘developed’ world that continues to provide sanctuary and succour to mutilators, rapists, killers and those who organised them: all génocidaires who oversaw or executed the extermination of – not over 500,000, not roughly 800,000, not under 1m, but – 1.25m Rwandans. And they should show scorn for a ‘developed’ world that rewards those who have betrayed them and joined up with these killers.
They should reject being taken for ‘short plantains’ (intsina ngufi). A lawyer from Canada in the names of Guy Bertrand has no business saying that charges by Rwanda laid against Léon Mugesera are “hare-brained”. What can he understand about Rwanda? When you tell him that Mugesera called for Batutsi to be sent home to Abyssinia through Nyabarongo, can he begin to wrap his mind around the maze of connotations in such a call?
Let’s suppose that he gets to know that Nyabarongo is a river. That it feeds into River Akagera as the main river that’s joined by tributaries to come out of Lake Victoria as River Nile, which is supposed to somehow pass through Ethiopia (Abyssinia)......his brain is boiling already!
As he defended Mugesera, I could imagine him fantasising about people being put on a luxury cruise yacht on River Nile, going back to the warm embraces of their loved ones at home. I could imagine him praising a man who called on some Rwandans to work hard and develop their country. The point he missed, though, was that the ‘Nyabarongo call’ was in reference to a divisive theory engineered by his (Bertrand’s) forefathers in Belgium. And he could not cotton on that the ‘call to work’ had everything to do with killing and nothing with development. If such interpretation is not flea-brained, may I never see what is!
Africans, Rwandans, ‘you’ll never get in somebody else’s house, what you cannot get in your own’ (Uburiye mu kwe, ntabonera mu kw’undi). The days of manna from on high are gone.
Africans should own their processes, however rudimentary. That is the heartening hidden treasure. And, few as they may be, some African countries are finding it.
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