#RwandaDecides: A purely Rwandan affair

RE: “Did the huge crowds at Kagame rallies take critics by surprise?” (The New Times, August 2).

Editor,

RE: “Did the huge crowds at Kagame rallies take critics by surprise?” (The New Times, August 2).

They never doubted the magnitude of his popularity with the Rwandan people or the fact that, in every way, he towers way above any other potential political rival. Which is why their most strenuous efforts were applied to pressing him to not run; to resist the groundswell of Rwandan popular will that he remain at the helm.

In attempting through such unsuccessful pressure (President Paul Kagame is famous for being impervious to such illegitimate foreign pressure) to defeat the overwhelming will of the Rwandan people, all these foreign powers have amply demonstrated what they really think about democracy: Not much!

In reality the only democracy they desire in Rwanda, as anywhere else outside their charmed inner circle of countries, has always been about having someone in Village Urugwiro who will more readily dance to their tune.

It has never been about what the people of Rwanda want for themselves. Well, they will have to become used to the fact that, if there is one key cultural transformation the Kagame years have wrought among us Rwandans, it is a determination to dance to our own drum and nobody else’s. We treasure friendships.

We refuse wannabe masters with hypocritical lecturing on how we should manage our own affairs. The time for them to make themselves useful and earn the privilege to lecture to us was 23 years ago; perhaps even much longer, in 1959, 1960, 1962 to 1964 and then in 1973.

They failed the test miserably, and we paid the price. All those moments of their failure – in fact of their active involvement in our misery – taught us one thing: only Rwandans – alone – must decide our own path, how we organise our own affairs and make the choices of how we engage with the rest of the world for mutual benefit.

For the rest, they can criticise; they can insult to their poor little hearts’ desires, but that will not stop us from continuing on the road we have set for ourselves. The only people who matter where #RwandaDecides is concerned, is Rwandans. The rest, including those who seem to believe they should be the deciders on our behalf, will remain mere bystanders.

Mwene Kalinda

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